Crash continued trek amongst the polluted streets for another hour. Once he'd gotten his fill of moon bathing, he journeyed back to his apartment. Once in his bathroom he checked his neck for scars in the mirror. He didn't see any. He smiled in grim satisfaction and removed his shirt. His smiled dropped the instant he looked at his chest.
"Come on," he grumbled as he ran his fingers across his dimpled chest. There was an imprint of a fist in the middle of his sternum. Apparently the emerald he'd pocketed and chanted with had only healed him, but not repaired him. He groaned and dropped the shirt to the floor. He turned on his shower and finished disrobing before stepping in.
He was asleep before his head hit the pillow. In his dreams, his memories played through his mind like a silent movie. He no longer heard the screams, but he didn't need to, he'd lived through the fear and the screams echoed in his head.
The first time he was made aware other there was more to life than what he'd been seeing, he'd just turned eight. He'd sat on the porch of his grandmother's house and watching the Lightning bugs fly and listened to the crickets as they sang to each other. He'd always enjoyed the night. Unlike most kids his age, he didn't shy away from it, he ran to it. He embraced it. He was actually sad when the moon couldn't be seen because the clouds were taking up too much space and obstructing his view.
He didn't have that problem on this night. No, on this night, the moon was full and so bright that the entire yard was illuminated. Grandma didn't even yell at him to turn the porch light on so she could see him. There was no need. He sighed peacefully and kicked his feet. The blades of the grass tickles his feet. He was contemplating grabbing a lightning bug when a something pushed him forward then launched him from the porch.
His bowls of pain brought his grandma running out of the house.
"Boy! What'd I tell you bout jumping off this por-"
Crash couldn't speak through his tears. He tried, but the snot and tears got in the way. He chest heaved in pain and fear. He just knew his heart was going to leap out of his chest. He reached for his grandma and screamed again.
Florence was a strong woman. A no nonsense woman. A woman that had been wise beyond her years since before she had years to be beyond. She snapped her mouth shut when she felt the air around her begin to snap, crackle, and pop. She wondered if the Kellogg's man has been involved in the same type of drama her family was as she searched the yard for her grandson. She heard him, but couldn't see him. She closed her eyes and exhaled. A deep calm came over her and she willed it onto her grandson. His fear was palpable and the air quaked with it.
"G-g-grandma!" Crash called from the yard. He could see her, but he could also see something else. Suddenly he fell silent. Still. He knew everything was going to be okay.
Florence stepped back into a moonbeam and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she saw more. She scanned the yard Until she found Crash. He was huddled on the ground, his face bloody because he'd bitten his tongue and his knee scraped. He was relieved. Then she saw that his gaze was focused on and tracking something through her yard. She followed his gaze.
A soft hiss escaped the being's lips as it slithered along the dirt of the yard. Slithered because it didn't have feet and moved on it belly, but it was y'all enough to be seen. Florence looked back to crash then again to the being.
He could see it!
Of this she was certain. Having no other choice, she called out to it. Speaking it's language automatically. Not knowing why or how. It just was. Just as many things in the universe just were.
"Why are you here?" Florence yelled.
Crash heard his grandma scream, but couldn't make out what she was saying. It sounded like when the tape got messed up in the radio, but still tried to play.
"Daughter of the moon, you have tried and failed. You must know why I am here."
Florence narrowed her eyes and called forth her ancestors, the aura of this being was unnerving. Its energy not good. Of all her ancestors, it was Iah who answered. But instead of speaking to her, he went to Crash.
Crash didn't know what hit him. All he knew was that one Minute he was watching and waiting for his grandma and the next he was standing in the middle of her yard covered in blood.
And that's how the neighbors found him two days later. Covered in his grandmother's blood. Sitting catatonic next to her body staring out at nothing.
The doctors tried everything to get him to speak. Nothing worked. The electric shock therapy caused more harm than good because when he was hooked up, he would seize uncontrollably until the doctors were forced to medicate him. Hypnotism only caused him to speak nonsense according to his notes, that he'd read time and time again. The only time that he was able to respond was at night.
An orderly had been the one to discover that small fact. They'd entered his room to check on him and found him standing next to his window...in the line of a moonbeam.
"What you doing out of bed?" The orderly asked. More for himself because he knew the boy didn't speak. Hadn't in the past three months.
Crash turned his head toward the young white man. "Where's my grandma?" The child's voice quivered in fear. He couldn't remember what happened that night in the yard.
The orderly had fallen over his own feet trying to rush to get the on call doctor. When he'd told her that the boy in 507 had spoken, she didn't believe him, but let herself be led to his room anyway.
She dropped her pen along with her jaw when she noticed Crash standing in the moonlight. She called him by his name. He didn't answer her. She recalled his files.
"Where's my grandma?" Crash repeated. "I'm supposed to be spending the summer with her. Where's my grandma?"
Dr. Callahan was at a lost. She hadn't been expecting this. According to the police reports, there had been an horrific attack at the grandmother's house. The boy had witnessed it. The grandmother had been eviscerated and the place ransacked. The boy had escaped unharmed. Physically at least. Now he was asking for his grandma. How did she tell him?
"Can you call my mama?" The boy piped up. His voice now hopeful.
Callahan's head dropped again. That was another sad story. "Can you tell me your name?" She redirected him.
Crash told her.
"How old are you?"
"I'm eight. I'll be nine in October."
He was already nine, Callahan remarked to herself.
"Can you tell me what happened? What's the last thing you remember?" Callahan asked Crash before turning to the orderly. "Call Hynes. Now."
The orderly disappeared from the doorway as Callahan entered the room.
Crash watched the lady with a suspicious eye. Something about her didn't sit right with him. She was...off. He frowned and took a step back.
"You don't have to be afraid," Callahan told him as she stopped at the foot of the bed.
"You're...off. What's wrong with you?" He deadpanned. A look more befitting a grown man settled on his face as his eyebrows scrunched together and he crossed his arms. "You're wrong. What's wrong with you!" He screamed now.
Callahan raised her arms in an attempt to settle him down. "Hey. Hey. I'm leaving. Look." She backed out of the room.
Once she was out, Crash calmed down. He didn't know what was wrong with that lady. He just knew that she wasn't right. He could feel it. He breathed and turned back toward his window. The moon was so pretty. He relaxed as he let himself get lost as he counted the stars.