This month I didn’t have an opportunity to observe particularly odd behavior that I might credit to lunar effects. I was driving from Pennsylvania to Virginia on the interstate system, and it was impossible to isolate what might have been full-moon madness compared to normal crazed driving. So this month, sticking with a “Back to School” theme, I thought I’d talk a little about moon trivia.
For example, according to the Farmers' Almanac, many Native American tribes assigned names to full moons as a sort of time-tracking tool, a perfect example being the “harvest” moon – time to harvest! August is known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, a nod to the large volumes of sturgeon caught during August by tribes around the Great Lakes and other large bodies of water. Other tribes gave the name Green Corn or Grain moon, obvious agricultural references. My favorite, though, is the Full Red Haze Moon – named because of the reddish tint to the moon as it rises after those hot and hazy days in August.
I mean, what more perfect image could there be for a romance/suspense writer than that of a big, full moon, simmering in a red haze as it rises over, say, the ocean. I can see it so clearly…
On the beach, two lovers kiss, their skin, slick from the heat of the day, now cooled by breezes sweeping in on the crimson-tipped waves. Engrossed as they are in each other, they never hear the approach of the psychopathic killer who’d observed them earlier while they dined al fresco at a nearby restaurant. Something about our heroine disturbs him.
Maybe it’s her waist-length hair the color of the coal his great-grandfather hauled from the mines back in the day. He knows coal as a dirty, noxious fuel, leaving a cloud of black dust in the air that kills those who breath it. Maybe it’s the way our hero, a handsome young man, brings her hand to his mouth for a kiss. He presses his lips not to the back of her hand, like a gentleman would, but to the center of her palm, while their eyes make love as surely as if they lay together, unclothed, in bed. What makes him so special? Why does he deserve her love? Anyone’s love for that matter? Or maybe it’s how the woman reminds him of that long-ago cheerleader who shunned him in high school. Life was never the same after that.
We’ll never know what sparks our antagonist to act, but something about our heroine fills him with a need to make her suffer, just as he has suffered. He stares at that moon, that big, red ball in the sky, and for a moment it appears to drip blood into the sea. His hands flex with the need to touch the girl, to sample her lush curves so happily on display in the white sundress with fanciful red flowers that look eerily like blood splatter, and briefly he wonders if he's lost his mind.
But no, surely it was destiny that brought him to this place in the world on this particular night. He is there for a purpose, a reason. He moves in. First on the boyfriend. So unaware. So full of youthful passion in the way he clutches her. A quick chop to the back of the head, and the boy-man is down, twitching in the sand. Our killer turns to the girl. She's retreating, her feet kicking up sand as she back-pedals, her eyes rounded, her hands over her open mouth, and screams bubble up, so loud and shrill they must have come from some deep dark place in her soul. Blood gallops through the killer's veins, carried by the excitement of the prize before him, and he laughs at the sheer power of the moment. He moves closer, close enough to see that her cheeks are wet with tears, close enough to smell fear. He reaches, his hands open, claw-like, and grabs for her, and...
So sorry, got carried away there for a moment and creeped myself out. I’ll stop now!
Anyway, as I was saying, full moons intrigue me. Am I alone, or does a full moon do something to you as well?
Leah writes stories of romance and suspense, and the enduring power of love.
You can visit her at www.leahstjames.com.