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The Black Moon0

 

Unfortunately, that remarkable evening in December turned out to be extremely windy and bitterly cold. A fading moon, hiding behind a few sparse clouds, looked surreal through their transparent lacy curtains. Its pale beams rippled through the misty sky and pierced space with sharp needles, almost reaching the earth. But the moonlight tried in vain to touch the earth. Suddenly, the whole sky became covered with cirrus clouds, as if someone had thrown a thin blanket on it. The moon lit the earth sadly for the last time and, slowly turning from yellow into black, faded away. The rare travelers experienced an odd feeling of anxiety when the evening darkness finally spread its wide wings all over the city. The first inchoate, sparkling and almost eerie snowflakes, like tiny pieces of winter sky, danced in the air, embracing the fitful wind and touched the pavement, creating a thin layer of white slippery carpet.

It was Friday and people were rushing home after the long week, trying to escape the approaching snowstorm. A rough northern wind had suddenly whipped up and now blew blindly with the bitterness of an angry man, swirling dust and snowflakes, and everything in its path. By seven o’clock, the center city looked almost deserted. A black limousine slowly drove right up to the front entrance of a luxurious hotel. A tall old driver in a blue uniform opened the door and helped the aged, elegantly dressed man, a well-known artist, to get out of the car.

“Look, how strange it is. The moon has just changed its color from yellow to black and disappeared somewhere in the universe. I have never seen anything like this. What an odd sign,” somebody said behind the old man’s back while he was getting out of the car.

The artist craned his neck and stared into the dark sky for some time. But not being able to see the black moon, he ignored the stranger’s observation.

“Black moon?” the artist repeated peevishly, in a fretful voice. “There is no such a thing as a black moon. Nonsense.”  

Suddenly, the foolish remark and the voice annoyed him. He turned around to look at the stranger, but the vague silhouette had already whittled away into obscurity and only some smoke from his cigar, hardly visible, still wafted down the street. The driver took the old man by the arm and led him carefully, like an expensive, breakable vase, through the revolving doors and into the lobby of the Grand Hotel, crowded for the opening of his new exhibition.

The artist was known throughout the world for his abstract colorful paintings. Never in his paintings did he use any dark colors. The night sky heavily brooded over his head reminding him of the wool blanket that his ex-wife used to cover his bed. His vision and his mind were still sharp, but his lack of sensitivity to friends created a kind of vacuum around him. He carefully looked around, glanced one more time at the sky and not being able to see the black moon, signed heavily and went inside.

The bright light in the hall blinded him for a second, but then he suddenly felt some strange sharp pain in his chest. The old man slowly descended into the empty chair, closed his heavy eyelids and fell into delirium. In his dream, he saw the yellow moon that he held on his palm. The moon, like a balloon shrank slowly, puffing out the air, and turning from yellow to black disappeared into the unknown, leaving only a trace of black path on his open palm.

Meanwhile, the sky had become suffused with heavy clouds, moving quickly now from south to north, driven by the strong wind. The wind did its best, pushing the resisting moon to fall deeper into the dark.  It picked up its wild speed again, shaking the trees, which were already covered with ice. Icy tears, like small crystals, hung from the branches, ready to fall. Finally, as if the evil forces were winning out – the black moon smiled for the last time and disappeared from view somewhere behind the skyscrapers and the white mass of snow fell on the ground, creating an eerie scene from his dream, now vanishing into obscurity.

Yelena Dubrovina was born in Leningrad, Russia. Immigrated to the United States (1978). Yelena is the author of two books of poetry "Preludes to the Rain" and “Beyond the Line of No Return,” two books of short stories: “The Dying Glory” and “Portrait of a Wandering Soul,” and a bilingual anthology “Russian Poetry in Exile. 1917-1975.” She co-authored a novel with Hilary Koprowski, entitled “In Search of Van Dyck”. Yelena is the editor of two journals “Russian Poetry Past and Present” and “Russia Abroad Past and Present”. She is a bilingual writer, published in both Russian and American periodicals.

 

 

 

 

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