Did you pack the small one? Did you make sure it isn’t so full that it can’t close all the way?
Yes. That’s very good. We’re going out tonight, and it will be dark. It will still be nighttime, and the sun won’t be up.
I know what I said before. But listen—It wasn’t true. You know the moon? Of course you know the moon, I’m sorry. I know you are very clever. I know you have eyes.
The moon. It doesn’t actually make the dead rise. The moon is up, right this second, and the dead are still in the ground. And the moon can’t call any wolves. There are no witches. But this is true, so listen. Okay. Go pull back the curtain, just a little and quick!
Did you see the moon? And how yellow it was? And bright?
That’s because there’s gold in the moon. Remember the old stories? Men go crazy for gold. It gets in their blood, and they can’t be rid of it. Do you remember your father’s eyes? How they were green with little specks of gold?
Your father, the gold got so deep into his blood that it came out his eyes. If you cut him open, liquid gold would come spilling out.
That’s why he had to leave. It made him crazy. I couldn’t let that happen to you. If you saw the moon for too long, if you went outside, the gold would get in your blood.
That’s the real reason why you couldn’t leave. I’m sorry I lied to you, but I had to.
Before we go outside, I need you to climb on my back and hold on, and you’re going to carry your bag on your back. We’ll look like monkeys, each of us with something on our backs. Won’t that be silly?
There could be monkeys there, where we’re going. I’m not sure. But you must keep your eyes closed because of the moon. No matter what you hear or what I say or what anyone else says. Keep them closed. Even if you smell smoke, like there’s something burning, even if you hear me crying, even if we fall down. If we fall down, then wait. Even if you call my name and I don’t answer. Even if you hear fireworks and you want to see them. You can’t. Keep your eyes closed the whole time. The burning is just from people’s campfires. There are lots of people camping. They’re keeping warm because it’s night, and the moon isn’t hot like the sun.
If I’m crying, it’s because I’m happy that we’re going on such a big adventure together. If we fall down, it’s only because I tripped in the dark.
It’s okay. I’ll be fine. Anyway, now you know the truth about the moon. So get your bag, and put it on your back.
Yes, just like a little monkey. Now here we go.
Alison Wisdom holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her fiction is forthcoming in Indiana Review and appears in Ploughshares, Columbia Journal online, Quiddity, and elsewhere. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Josh and daughter Margaux. Find her online at www.alisonwisdom.com.