The Purple Moon

Ausania didn’t know if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of disaster, but Ausania knew a purple moon when she saw one. And this moon was as cheerfully and blatantly purple as – well, as everything! The walls were purple, the bedspread around her a deep magenta, the bars on the window slicing up the cookie-shaped moon with delicate fuchsia cream… She looked intently into the smiling lilac crescents of her fingernails, and whispered softly, “Well, it’s official now. I’m insane.”

Then she stood up and smoothed her purple blanket wrinkle by wrinkle over the purple mattress, put on her purple slippers and began uncertainly to stumble around the purple-floored room on purple legs, touching the purple walls and the purple things within them with trembling purple fingers. She took the purple phone off the hook and pressed the purple redial button.

“Everything is purple,” She said. “Yes, er, hi to you too. No, I’m fine. Yes, I know what time it is … Am I crazy? Yes, I’m afraid so, Lyrderi. You see, the world’s gone purple.”

“The world’s gone WHAT?”

“It’s beautiful, actually. I never knew being crazy could be so beautiful! The moon is purple and the stars are purple, and my hands are purple and the toes at the ends of my feet … no, I’m not stoned, ‘deri, I’m bonkers … oh, it’s a purple, purple, world out here …”

“Is that your new poem or something, then? You can’t just – Even if you really did go mad the moon wouldn’t turn purple just for you!”

“A new poem? No… but perhaps it could be! Not – not a real poem, maybe, but a crazy jingle … ‘My word is purple’ … hang on, purple doesn’t rhyme … Got it!

How do you feel
When the world turns a wheel
And everything goes purple around you?
How do you feel
When you wake up to a reel
And the crazy in your world has found you?
How do you feel …”

Lyrderi laid down the receiver soundlessly beside the cradle, wrestled her sockless feet into the half-dry boots next to the door, and ran out of the house with her shawl and purse and horn-clip all caught up under her arm on the way out. Several times on her way across the road and around the corner she glanced up at the sky, at the pearl-cream moon in a decidedly black sky threaded through with pearl-cream stars hanging serenely white.

Each time she looked she jerked herself back, rated herself furiously for being a heartless idiot, but at the threshold of Ausania’s house she turned back vehemently for one last hungry look, expectant and hopeful and self-scorning, like a child lifting the magic pillow as she prays for the coin she needs to appear under it … The moon was still white and shining and most emphatically not purple.

“Turn purple for me too,” She whispered softly up to the moon with her finger on the doorbell, blushing in the mercifully black darkness for her words even as she spoke them. “Turn purple for me. Just once, please. Just once for a little while, turn purple for me too!

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The Dreams of a Young Girl

Sleek and lithe, she bounded forward, the slanting feline eyes glowing like emeralds against the silken darkness of her glossy black fur. Her razor-sharp teeth glinted in the moonlight, but the cruelly curved claws were sheathed, and the padded paws fell steadily and harmoniously on the murmuring grasses. She ran on into the silence, the thrill of the hunt quivering in every muscular curve of her splendid form.
And I was she, and she was I…we were one…
One like predators driven fey by the luscious scent of prey.

Then the Sylvan night of which she was Queen transformed into a world of chuckling streams and rustling roses and choirs of birds twittering as they flitted from tree to tree. And into this beautiful world came one with delicate wings spread elegantly out behind her, clad in silver-threaded green gilded by the sun, warm and welcoming. She smiled sweetly upon the whole world, from the birds chirping audaciously about her head to the bunnies peeping timidly from their burrows.
And I was she, and she was I…we were one.
One like those with hearts full of contentment and sweet joy.

Over snow-tipped mountains and lush valleys she soared, mistress of the sky, leader of the beautiful white sisterhood, unrivaled in grace among these lovingly-crafted miracles of nature. The wind itself was her servant and accomplice; she sailed on it whither she wished.
And I was she, and she was I…we were one.
One as only the truly free can be.

The ocean, rippling serenely under the bright blue sky, held naught lovelier than her cascading raven locks, her trim figure, her flashing, interlocking fins…She dove in and out of the water, splashing the staid old turtle who crawled ponderously on the sea bed. She rode the surf fearlessly, floating effortlessly on the crests of the waves, shaking out her tangled curls, her eyes laughing, laughing…
And I was she, and she was I…we were one.
One like the sea and sky mingling at the horizon.

She leant out of the high, forbidding tower, her hair fluttering behind her, a rich russet cloak for her lace-draped shoulders. Her hands were clenched on the guardrail, her eyes wide and dreamy, thirsting, longing… but it was not at the feast spread out in the lawn below that they stared, the feast that heralded the dawn of her sixteenth year. They passed indifferently over the lords and ladies promenading, the ambitious scions of poorer houses buzzing around them, using the fete to build up their own connections. They were fixed on the dark, mysterious forest beyond the distant Palace gates… from which her Prince would ride to her one day…
And I was she and she was I…we were one.
One like two hearts that await the same tread.

The flames ate into the last of the pine-cones, burning the dreams in it to cold, impotent ash, as it had all the cones that had come before and all that would come after.
But they would not die. The panther. The fairy. The swan. The mermaid. The woman-child who waited dewy-eyed for her Prince. They would live on.
In me. In the innermost chambers of my fancy they would dwell, verdant for ever and ever and evermore.