I am remiss in my posting. I am awear; I will fix this.
But for now … meet Katie.
Contemplating The Moon

She lay on her back, looking up at the black sky, sprinkled with so many tiny specks of glitter. It was very late at night and the girl wasn’t supposed to be out, but her parents wouldn’t notice. They never noticed since she was always careful to sneak back inside before they woke up. From time to Time, especially on bright nights the girl snuck out of her house and crept all the way to the lake. That was where she was now.

She was a little girl; a small child with pixy-like features and long mahogany-colored hair that now hung down into the water, as she lay on her favorite rock. This rock was a large smooth gray slab that reached out and slightly up over the water. She fit perfectly on the rock. Unlike most children her age, she could lie still in a single spot for hours. She lay there gazing fixedly up at the moon. It was the only thing that saved the sky from being completely black.

Even with the stars the sky would be black. With out the moon’s light for them to reflect, they would be dark. That was what the little girl thought about the moon. It was like a big round ball that someone had long ago tossed up into the black velvet. It was still up there, shining brightly, being reflected in the specks of glitter that were also up there.

The liquid moon smiled up at its tangible counterpart. You couldn’t tell that the liquid moon wasn’t real, but she knew it wasn’t; one flick of her fingers and the image splintered into millions of minute fragments of moon, slivers of brightness.
But it was not the little girl who disturbed the reflection just then; she hadn’t touched it. She watched the shimmering moons as they began to come together in one piece. She had turned, and was on her belly now, as she watched the water. There was a figure blocking the moon; a tall dark shape, standing still. It was a man, she could tell, though she couldn’t see well, in the aquatic mirror, but she knew that he was a man.

She didn’t look up; she was afraid to talk to him. The girl could hear her mother’s soft lilting voice as she warned, “Now Katie, don’t ya be talkin’ t’strangers when yer out; it’s not safe.”

The man was looking up into the sky, the way Katie had just been doing. He had waded into the water and was just standing there, up to his shins. He wasn’t dressed for swimming; he hadn’t even bothered to roll up his pants first. He was wearing blue jeans and a jacket, though it was not cold out. Katie herself only had on a t-shirt and her overall shorts.

The man looked down into the water. His face looked unhappy, and Katie felt a deep sadness for the man. He didn’t look unhappy the way Katie did when her mother punished her by not letting her play outside, rather he looked the way granddaddy had looked since grandma had died. Granddaddy had begun to become more cheerful, but every now and again Katie would catch him looking as though nothing could ever make him happy again. That was the way this man looked as he stared down into the water. Katie hoped no one in his family had died. She leaned farther out on her rock to study the man. She was curious to know why he looked so unhappy.
The man’s jacket was buttoned up all the way and he had his hands deep in his pockets. One pocket bulged with something lumpy. Then the man withdrew a piece of rope. He began to play with the rope, curling and uncurling it, crossing it first this way then that. Then the man bent down with the rope between his hands and began making motions as though he were tying something. Katie could not see what he was tying because his hands were under the water. Was he tying his own legs together?

Katie began to feel afraid. She wondered if she should go for help; what did the man plan to do? He hadn’t seen her yet though, and Katie wondered with even more fear what he might do to her if he found her. Then the man straitened, shakily at first, then he steadied himself. He no longer held the rope.
He reached in his pocket once more and the moon shattered into a million pieces like fragments of broken glass. When the moon was again whole, Katie saw a picture floating face up in the water, near her. She squinted to get a better look at it.

The picture was of a woman holding a small child; almost a baby. Katie wondered who they were, and why was the man throwing away his picture.

The woman was very pretty and Katie was leaning out to get a better look at her, when there was a great splash.

She was confused at first; everything had suddenly become dark, it had gotten very cold and she couldn’t breathe. Katie was usually a good swimmer, but she had been so shocked by her fall and her clothes were weighing her down. Katie began flailing. Then there was warmth, and two strong arms arrested her movement. When Katie’s head broke the surface, she coughed and spit water, but the arms did not let her go. They carried her out of the water and finally set her down a few feet from the lake’s edge.

Katie stared up at the man as he draped his dry coat around her. She tried to thank him, but she was still afraid to speak to him.

“It’s too dangerous for you to be out by yourself,” the man said, “you should run home or you’ll worry your mother to death.”

Katie looked at the man’s dripping clothing, then the length of rope that had been tossed aside and made the only thankful gesture she felt she could manage. She handed him the one thing she was able to grasp in her flailing.

The picture was probably ruined from the water now, but the man took it from her small hand. He smiled sadly to himself , then placed his left hand on Katie’s head, removed it, then turned to leave.

Then remembering what the man had said about her mother, Katie too turned and ran in the opposite direction, tripping over the large coat. Her sneakers made slippery sounds in the grass, her socks squelched inside her shoes and her long dark hair streamed out behind her as she ran. Only when she got home did she notice that all the man’s buttons were missing from his coat. They had all been there while he wore the coat, so how had they all come off. Katie pondered these questions as she crept through the dark house, holding her wet socks and shoes. After she toweled her waist-length hair and pealed off her wet clothes for warm pajamas, Katie snuggled into her bed, thinking that she might go fishing for buttons the next day at the lake.

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