• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 11

Once in a blood moon

Rays of the setting sun prismed through Karen’s half-empty whiskey glass. She glanced at her watch, then heaved a bag onto her shoulder, and hurried up the stairs.

In the little attic room with a small roof window facing the east, two floor mirrors were already placed a few metres apart, one opposite the other.

She hesitated for a second; a panic from realisation of what she was about to do ran a cold shiver down her spine, but there was no turning back now. The room was slowly plunging into the dark.

Karen tipped the contents of the bag onto the table. Five big black candles, two tall white candles, two smudge bowls, two bunches of wormwood, one bunch of sage. There was also a moonstone ring that she inherited from her grandmother. She’s been wearing it all week. That’s what the Medium, Madam Rosalinda, said she must do to charge the stone with the energy.

Karen dragged the chair into the middle of the room, right between the mirrors. She placed the black candles on the floor, in the high corners of the imaginary pentagram, and the white candles by the front mirror, the smudge bowls filled with wormwood on the sides of the chair. Madam Rosalinda was very specific in her instructions.

Once the moon began to peek through the roof window, Karen lit the candles and the wormwood, and sat on the chair, a bunch of sage and a lighter clutched tightly in her hands, her gaze fixed on her own endless reflections.


Once in a blood moon

Slowly, the red moon filled the window. Its shimmering light poured into the room, bouncing off the moonstone on her finger, mixing with the flickering light of the candles, filling the dark abyss of the mirrors with a gentle glow.

It might be that her eyes were beginning to tire, but the shadows in the depth of the mirror began to move. Then, she heard light footsteps. Then, a soft giggle. And then a little boy walked towards her from the darkness.

Karen froze, her heart thumping in her ears. He looked different to what she last remembered him. Not in a hospital gown, not bald with sunken cheeks and dark circles under his eyes. Bright-eyed, with rosy cheeks, he wore a red coat, the one she bought him when he was five.

The boy played hopscotch within the boundaries of the mirrors, then sat on the floor as if playing with the toys only he could see.

He was so close. She could feel him. She could probably touch him, if she reached out, but Madam Rosalinda was very strict. Karen didn’t move and kept her gaze forward, eyes stinging with tears.

As the moon left the window, the light of the moonstone faded away and so did the image of the boy. Karen lit up the bunch of sage and sat in the dark until the early hours of the morning.