A short story written and illustrated by Zoe Berkebile
If you missed Moon Threads, Part One, click here.
The child had heard the faerie stories, and she was nearly as fascinated by them as the stories of the sky beings that called out to her: the Moon Queen the star-princesses shining in gowns of spun moonlight, twinkling lords and ladies turning in their elaborate dance. All the children eagerly waited for the old woman and her stories, but that child most of all, for she had decided she was, herself, a being in those stories, and if she heard just what held her to the Earth, she might be released from it, and return once more to the skies or to Faerie, whichever it may be.
And years passed, and every so often on a night so dark it seemed stars and moon had been blown out like candles, the old woman came and shared stories of the things she had heard or seen, or fantastical things she couldn’t have possibly heard or seen, yet claimed to have all the same. The child was no longer quite a child anymore, nor the other children; and some had left for the vast and strange world, while others had stayed in the village, in all they knew. The child – but she was a young woman now – had stayed, even though she wanted to go…once, at least, she heard the story she was looking for, listening for, waiting for on moonless nights…
Once she was losing hope, thinking perhaps it was a tale that would never reach her ears, it did. The old woman had come with her stories, her hair of moon threads enough moon for them all, glinting silver and gold in the flickering light of the fire, and told the story of the shooting star, the changeling-star, who the Moon Queen had lost to the human world.
“And she looks for her in the night,” the storyteller said. “She searches for her among the human children during the new moon, when you cannot see her and the sky will be full of stars welcoming them back, and they will fly home on the wings of night, climbing like spiders on moonlight threads.”
Now it was the young woman with the silver eyes like a pair of stars who gasped, “That’s it! That’s it!”
The whole world was in focus now beneath her silver gaze, and she looked on everything anew. The others listening to the story, the others who were present, later would recall that her eyes had seemed to glow, her hair floated with an otherworldly lightness, like it was underwater. They claimed her feet barely brushed the ground, as if gravity held her no more.
She looked with a new perspective on the world, the woods and the houses of the village, the children listening to the story and now gazing with wonder at her, the villagers who backed up with wide eyes, the storyteller, the old woman, with hair like threads of moonlight, who did not seem much surprised.
“You!” she said, and the Moon Queen smiled, for that was who the old woman was. And her hair like threads of moonlight shone strange dream-colors, and her eyes grew brighter like a faerie’s glamour being stripped away. She was no longer the same weary human traveller she had seemed to be before, and the glint of magic that was hidden in her laughing eyes spread across them both.
Now it was the villagers’ turn to gasp as mother and daughter, moon and star, held hands and floated up into the sky, and stars and moon appeared as though waking from a long sleep.
At the edge of the wood, a spider looked on, weaving a web of moon threads.