tagNonHumanA Cure for Moonlight

A Cure for Moonlight


It wasn't that Stella was shy, anti-social, agoraphobic or just weird. Quite the opposite, she loved being outside, she loved the smells of the forest, the sounds of a city. She wasn't aiming to be a hermit, she simply couldn't go out in the day. Since she was a tiny girl, she's had an allergy to sunlight. She remembers attempting to sneak outside once without being covered head to toe and within seconds, her skin blistered like the surface of boiling water, he mother ran screaming out after her, snatching her up and whisking her back in. Both of them were covered in welts, bubbles and sores for what felt like weeks after. Her mother, now dead, was an Albino. Stella only inherited her mother's allergy to the sun. Her skin is nearly as milky as she remembers her Mom's. Her hair is a deep auburn, she always imagined it would have streaks in the Summer as her father's did in the pictures. Oddly it's one of the few things that bothers her about being pinned up during the daylight.

She thought about the pictures of her father with his sun streaked hair and sighed. Stretching back in her chair, she rolled her neck and got up. Daydreaming was a sign she needed a break. She had been editing a manuscript since noon and it was now nearly six in the evening. Being December, it should be dark enough for her to venture from her cave, as she thought of her apartment. She slipped on her new shoes, royal blue ballet flats with peacock feathers up the sides. Wiggling her toes and giving one more happy glance at them, she pulled on her coat, grabbed her keys and shut the door behind her. Nearly every evening felt like a gift, or a release from a prison. She stood for a second and breathed in the crisp air before letting her feet begin leading her out into the world. The moon was full and she remembered what her mother said. "Moon light is a magical gift, and can show you things you'd never see by the light of day, if you let it," she smiled wistfully and felt a little pang of homesickness for the cottage she grew up in.

Walking along the sidewalk, she found herself heading to Louie's, a quaint little corner wine bar and coffee shop. There was live music tonight, a whimsical looking girl with a harp. She didn't play like an angel though, her deft fingers plucked the strings like a devil possessed her hands and it was like nothing Stella had ever heard before. She ordered a latte and unwound her scarf as she sat in her usual spot, a mosaic table in the corner by the window. She let the coffee warm her hands and she tried to what it would be like to be here in the sun. She always did that while she was out, imagined how things would appear in the full light of the day. She noticed the owner, Joe, heading towards her with his own drink, apron thrown over his shoulder, he looked like he was ready to be off his feet.

"She's good, isn't she?" he asked, indicating the frenetic harpist.

"I never imagine something this funky coming from an instrument like that," Stella agreed, pushing the other chair with her foot.

"I was skeptical, when she asked if she could play," he grinned, sitting down.

He smiled crookedly and pretended to watch the act, but Stella knew he was watching her reflection more. Since his father, Old Louie, died, Joe seemed to pull inwards with everyone. He only recently started opening up to her. He really liked the way her hair always seemed to be just the perfect amount of unruly and her smile was brighter and a 150 watt bulb. He noticed how she crinkled her nose while she was trying new additions to the menu, whether she liked them or not. She had only one slightly crooked tooth and once you noticed it, you could adore how flawlessly flawed she is. He looked down quickly when he caught her, catching him staring in the glass of the window. He felt himself blush as she down the last of her coffee and made to get up.

"They are, uhhh," he started as she slipped her jacket back on, "having a performance in the park tomorrow night."

"I wish I could," she noticed how his hands had started nervously trembling slightly, "I'm on a deadline with this proofreading, maybe another time?"

"Yeah," he felt his face fall with his mood, "Sure, I'll keep an eye on it and maybe next time you're free."

"That sounds fun," she said, but she knew she couldn't ever see a play in the park. She'd burn so badly.

Smiling at him one last time, she walked out the door and felt the air blast her in the face with an icy gust. Winter was great because the nights were longer, and came earlier, but they were so cold. Pulling her scarf higher and her collar up, she leaned into the gusts. Her ears were aching from the chill and her nose had started to run. She was a little bummed that Joe hadn't really given her any time to enjoy the warmth before asking her out. She knew it was coming, he had been testing the waters for over a week now. She wondered if she'd ever feel normal. She window shopped for a while, refusing to give into the frigid temperatures, she sought a quick respite in a new gallery that had just opened. Stopping to consider a piece of a woman on fire, she felt oddly angry at her pained face, the piece felt familiar and upsetting, and then she realized. The woman's ivory skin contrasting against the flames and the darkness, her pink eyes and white hair, the grimace of agony she wore... it was the face of her mother. She had a scowl scarred on her face from the sun, burn scars that would stay with her for the rest of her life.

As she stood, transfixed on the canvas she thought about the group of boys who had tore the protective shawl her mother had worn around her head and knocked her sunglasses off. They crushed them under their shoes and laughed as her Mom blistered and turned an angry, hot shade of red. Before they could think to grab little Stella, she did. She carried her in her arms ran as fast as she could to the car, but the blisters and seepage from her burns were stuck to her daughter's covering. Refusing to pull the protection off, even for a second, she braced herself and ripped the fabric away, taking some of her with it. She should have gone straight to the hospital, but she instead took her precious little girl to her best friend's house, Viola, and disappeared for nearly 2 weeks. When Stella saw her again, her face was scarred and shiny and she was marked with the look of pain she wore while saving her baby.

Blinking and rousing herself from her daze, Stella started to turn away, but something pulled her back to that painting. She studied the face again. It was her mother. The long, white hair flying around her with the heat of the flames, the necklace danging against her chest, even the narrow nose and full lips. Her feelings ran crazy, from deep sadness, to anger, to wanting answers. She mourned the beauty that her mother had been. Then she began to wonder, why were her eyes pink? Only Stella had ever seen the color of her natural eyes. She always, even around Viola, wore colored contact lenses.

She felt her hands shaking and her insides trembling. She felt heat rising up the back of her neck and she felt disgusted. Her feet found the pavement outside before she even realized she was going anywhere. Concentrating on her breath and the stars in the sky, the sound of people and cars, she tried to distract herself from the image of her Mother burning she rubbed the back of her wrist, feeling the slight texture of her own sun scars. She wanted to think about anything but that. She almost felt like she was being watched, but she thought it was probably just because she must have mad a fool of herself in the gallery. A loose curls had blown loose from the bun she was wearing, and waved in front of her eyes every time she was hit by a bluster of air.

In her own world, she realized she had probably walked too far. Completely distracted by the night's events with Joe and the gallery, she was broken from her little universe by a scuffle and yelling down the alley to her left. Instantly back to the day her Mom was accosted by youths, she felt her rage flare, and she, without hesitation or though, plunged down the narrow path. She quickly glided around boxes and trash until she saw a woman, on the ground and bound and the man with her at knifepoint. Having no tolerance for bullies, and her cup of self control running empty, she called out, with a surprising amount of calm and control.

"I called the police about four minutes ago. I'm only telling you now because I didn't feel gracious enough to give you a head start," she stared at the muggers with all the steel she ever had.

"When we see you next time, you pasty little bitch, we're going to rip you from one end to the next, so keep an eye open, because after tonight, we will be coming for you," one of the attackers hissed.

Waiting until they were completely gone, and a regular siren sounded somewhere close, she walked over to the hog tied woman and put her hands on the man's. He pulled away and watched as Stella made quick work of the knots The couple was shaking so hard, they could barely walk. Her hands were steady and strong and she felt like, all of a sudden, she could take on the world. She smiled as they thanked her, told them to go to the police, and gave them her number. They clutched each other like terrified children and walked quickly away. She felt numb, strong, almost invincible. The whole walk home, something beyond the night's events nagged and tugged at the edge of her mind. She felt safe, even after the threat and the mugging, even though she knew she had probably put herself in danger. This night had eyes, and she knew they were watching her.

Climbing the stairs to her place, she felt weary and ready for a hot shower and a quite night. Locking the door behind her, she left a trail of clothing in her wake. Shoes, kicked off by the door, coat flung over the back of her sofa, her shirt leaving a pool of purple silk, jeans strewn down the hallway and her camisole in the bathroom doorway. She turned the faucet on and took in the steam rolling off the water. She poured vanilla oil in, with some exotic smelling bubbles that she had grabbed at a bazaar. The smell was intoxicating and called to her. Stretching the night's excitement out of her muscles with a bit of yoga, lighting some handmade candles, she slowly eased herself into the water. She breathed in the creamy, spicy aroma and closed her eyes as the water enveloped her.

She tried her hardest to completely soak the tension out of her, she still felt, not entirely alone. She refused to act as though she thought she was being watched. She wasn't afraid for some reason, but she was alert. She shaved under her arms, her legs, and figured she might as well keep going while the water is still hot. She tugged at the bit of fuzz she had down there and propped one leg on either side of the tub. Letting her head fall back against the bath pillow, she spread herself and was soon as smooth as silk. Tossing the razor into the small trash can, she left her other hand to wander. Enjoying the folds of skin down there, she slipped her other hand back into the water and spread herself so her button of flesh was completely exposed. Slowly working in tiny circles, she found she wasn't quite in the mood. She took a deep breath and tried to imagine something that would get her ready and to her surprise, she found herself picturing someone watching her from her balcony, through the open door.

Getting into it, she slipped under the surface, and with the pressure of the water, the feeling of having to hold her breath, she found the pressure building, her pace increased just a little and she left her abs start to tense, her legs wanting to spread wider and her whole body turn electric and take on a mind of it's own. Forcing herself to stay under the surface, yet imagining someone watching just made it that much stronger and as she finished, she pushed herself up. Taking a deep breath, she felt center, hot and twitching, and she finally felt like she could go to bed. She stood up, rinsed off quickly under the shower, wrung her heavy hair out and dried off quickly. Braiding her hair, since it was wet, she found she was too exhausted all of a sudden to even put on lotion. She feel into her bed and enjoyed the moonlight on her breasts.

As she fell asleep, she thought something was amiss, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it. She signed and snuggled in gazing at the stars. He nerves started to feel warm and tingly, and she drifted off into slumber. She dreamt of moonlight, and part of her dream self realized what was wrong. She never pulled back the curtains. She was allergic to the sun.

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