Moonlight Shadows


I heard the full moon sing last night; songs of ancient paths, songs of distant dreams; and the wild spirit that remains in my heart unfolded to hear it.

Like a ghost you came, and whispered: Play once more with me. Play another game.

How did Wendy answer Peter, that last time? “Peter, you old fool. I have no time. I am dying.”

Of laughter?

Yes, my love. Of laughter. Of the absurdity of this wild heart, in this frail body.

Then what else have you time for, if not one more game?

I was surely a highwayman, in a different life. I love my black fedora and vintage velvet coat, and the sound my boots make on the walkways by the beach. I enjoy the vague notoriety my unusual appearance grants me, and the smiles and nods of recognition from faces I don’t know and people I will never actually meet. I sit on the pier and every now and then a police officer walks by to make sure I am not drinking alcohol – once caught, forever guilty. The trickster’s lot, indeed.

At Thanksgiving I saw a couple playing chess and went to watch. “Pat always wins,” I hear the others say, and those who walk by ask Beth if she’s lost yet. I am four drinks into the evening, with two fingers of bourbon still in my glass; I’m feeling charitable, and I decide to help poor Beth. “If I were you, I’d call his bluff,” I say.

She does so, and she goes on to win. It’s unprecedented. Before I know it, the footman is pouring me another glass of bourbon and I am kicking off my boots to settle in for a game against this legendary player, Pat the chess player; Pat, who’s very identity is caught up in his ability to beat people mercilessly in this game every time he plays it.

Is there any point finishing this story? We all know that I won. The bottom line, is if a stranger turns up to Thanksgiving in a black fedora and velvet coat, it might be Loki, and it might be me, and neither of us should be trusted with your money (or your life).

When you die, we will be two silver foxes, running in the moonlight.

Down here, in the darkness by the sea, where land and water meet, I can see you. Your red hair caught up in the wind, dancing like the wildfire flame that you are. If I pay attention, I can feel your knuckles brush mine where our hands hang loosely, side by side.

I have all of eternity to be a fox, I tell you.

Time for one more game, indeed. Perhaps we should play for higher stakes; the highest stakes, even. There are dice in the pocket of my black velvet coat and I turn them absently as I consider this.

Would you really play that game? You will be playing against me, not with me.

Oh, Prince of Travelers – when will you learn? I am always with you. If I lose I will become a fox. And if I win…

I know what you want, if you win.

I smile wryly into the wind. “Give me but your voice, and I will lay all of Paris at your feet…”

Silence answers me. The wind alone is left to brush my cheek. The game, I suppose, is afoot.

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