Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
Esk met Sam at the local diner around the corner from the church early in the afternoon. He needed to figure out how to ask Sam to teach him about communing with the dead without raising suspicion. Prayer, it was called, Esk thought as he shook his head. Is this “prayer” something that I should discuss privately with Sam? The Gossips and other church humans do it publicly. Is this acceptable behavior? Or was Sam just trying to save me and sacrificing his good name for my sake by praying in front of the Gossips and the Reverend? All these thoughts and more raced through Esk’s neural connections as he sat down across from his friend. Sam ordered Esk a strawberry shake and a piece of blueberry pie a la mode to tie them over until supper.
“Did ya’ hear what Jean Bandersnatch is a’ sayin’ ‘bout Deacon Pritchard?” Sam asked.
“No, Sam. Please tell me,” Esk said with shock.
It had not taken the Reverend’s mate long at all to gather what information she thought she had on her lover to smear him with around town. Esk knew that their affair was not over, regardless of what she might be saying. He was eager to know, nonetheless.
“That ole’ biddie’s sayin’ that the Deacon Pritchard tried to come on ta’ her. Like, all sexually, ya’ know? Who’d wanna come close to the preacher’s wife, let alone make a pass at her? Ew…”
Sam shook all over and sucked down part of his chocolate shake. Esk wondered whether the shaking was a shiver from disgust or a shiver from the frozen slurry that he was sucking through the plastic tube in his mouth. He decided that it was probably a combination of the two.
Between attempts at sucking on his own straw, Esk asked a question here and there to test the limits of the Chief Gossip’s powers of, well, gossip.
Sam continued, “Well, the Reverend Bandersnatch is ready ta’ kill poor ole’ Deacon Pritchard, who I’m sure ain’t gonna mind it if he did do somethin’ sexual with Jean Bandersnatch ‘cause that’s just outright wrong and disgustin’, but that preacher’d better be fer watchin’ his own back with that wo’man tellin’ all the lies she tells all a’ the time. Next, it’ll be him she’s a’ talkin’ ‘bout in church service while he’s pontificatin’ up there on the pulpit. That’s what I think, anyways. Ya’ doin’ okay with that there shake, Esk?”
Esk did not do well with spontaneously learning to suck through a straw in his current form. It required several compartments of his head to work in synchrony, which was not happening—not smoothly, at least. Esk eventually decided to drink the thawing pink mess instead of making a fool of himself in the diner with his snorting and snuffling with the straw. Sam giggled at him as he downed half of the cold strawberry mixture. He suddenly experienced an excruciating pain.
“Ya’ got a brain freeze there, Esk?” Sam asked.
“A brain freeze. Ya’ know—that ter’ble pain that makes yer eyes feel like they’re gonna pop outta yer skull an’ yer gonna die? Brain freezes always make me wish I’d just pass out an’ wake up a new man ‘stead a’ goin’ through all that hurtin’. Feels like yer head’s gonna explode. Sure is fun ta’ drink somethin’ cold down, though, isn’t it?”
“Fun. Um…yes. Fun,” Esk propped his head up with his hands, elbows on the table.
“If ya’ drink yer shake slower, that brain freeze won’t sneak up on ya’ like that. Just a suggestion, buddy.”
Esk wondered why on earth humans would do such a thing to themselves—the diabolical brain freeze, for example. Hangovers. Brain freezes. Gossips. Reverends. Prayers. How do these creatures survive? Esk pondered this question as he nursed the remaining half of his shake. I must be brave. If I survive this strawberry shake, I must ask Sam how prayer works. Tonight. Yes, tonight I will ask him at home.
Esk rode home to the cabin with Sam about an hour after finishing his blueberry pie and ice cream. Esk was not prepared to ingest that amount of sugar, and his behavior reflected the sugar rush that he experienced next. Sam laughed and watched Esk from his recliner as he recounted Esk’s hyperactive antics at the diner.
“Boy, I sure am glad the diner gets a lot of kids in there with all that energy you’ve got,” Sam said. “I never woulda’ figured you’d go on such a sugar high, but dang, it’s funny,” he chuckled.
Esk was ready to jump out of his armor and bounce off the walls of the kitchen before he finally began to feel the inevitable crash that occurs with all sugar rushes. Esk slept it off in his recliner for several hours.
“Esk. Pssst! Esk…” Esk awoke to the sounds of Sam attempting to get his attention in an odd manner, hissing at him.
“Yes, Sam? I am awake,” Esk said, still wondering what all the hissing was about.
“Would ya’ like a steak, Esk?” Sam asked.
“Oh. A steak?”
“Yeah. I got a couple real good’uns at the store t’day. How do ya’ want yers cooked?” Sam was grinning ear to ear. “I’m grillin’ ‘em.”
“I would like my steak cooked in the customary manner, please, Sam.” Esk again found himself at a loss for knowledge of what he was asking for exactly.
“Okay. Medium-rare it is, then, buddy,” Sam said as he traipsed out the door with two amoeba-shaped hunks of muscle on a plate.
Esk, curious, followed him out to the deck where the grill was. It smelled of propane and Esk panicked.
“We have to leave, Sam! My olfactory senses tell me that there is a flammable gas in the air here!”
Esk yanked so hard on the arm holding the tongs that Sam almost lost the steaks over the edge of the railing.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Esk. It’s okay. It’s okay, buddy. That’s just the smell a’ the grill. Don’t go all ‘olfactory’ on me b’fore you’ve had one a’ these fantastic pieces a’ meat. There’s a chair over yonder. Siddown and have yerself a rest b’fore ya’ have a heart attack on me, okay? I’m gonna cook these steaks.”
Sam calmed Esk down enough that Esk began to feel more comfortable with the process of grilling steaks, but he still did not like Sam being so close to the highly explosive substance. Sam began to hum as he turned the muscles over on the grill rack.
Soon, Sam presented Esk with a plate of his own, complete with a steak knife and a fork.
“Dig in, buddy! Medium-rare, just like we like ‘em.”
Esk suddenly felt ill. Sam went to all that trouble to cook a muscle from another creature so that Esk could…eat it? This is madness! Sam wants me to assimilate the tissues of another creature for sustenance?! Oh, and how hard he worked to fix this meal for me. How can I refuse? But to eat another being? This is cannibalism! Esk tried politely refusing the meal. Sam would not have it.
“Here, I’ll bless it. That’ll make it better. I’m sorry, Esk. I didn’t realize ya’ were religious like that,” Sam said, continuing straight into prayer, “Dear Lawd, we ask thee ta’ bless this food t’ our bodies’ uses and help us not ta’ get food poisonin’ from it ‘cause Ole’ Leo butchered it fer us. Amen.”
A stark silence followed as Sam sliced off a tender morsel. Looking up from his plate, Sam realized that something was terribly wrong with his friend. Esk disappeared and left a big pile of green stringy mush where he had been sitting.
“We gotta get that boy checked out by a docter one a’ these days. This slimy stuff can’t be good fer ‘im ta’ be yackin’ up all the time. I wonder where he went off to, now…”
Sam did not notice the slimy ball’s trembling in Esk’s chair.
Sam went into the kitchen to grab a paper towel so he could clean up the mess in the chair. When he returned, he found no trace of the mess. Confused, Sam wandered up the dusty road in search of his friend. This inevitably led to Sam setting out two lawn chairs and drinking himself to sleep while waiting for Esk to return later that night.
Image by Chouaib Saoud via Pixabay