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The Boy Who Played for the Moon

Silent night. And a loud, spirited mind—mine.

“No, this isn’t right,” I muttered to myself.

I ripped the page I had just inked off my diary and crumbled it into a ball. Once again, I swept my plume against the yellowed paper in my neatest handwriting.

The moon mused as her stars crept, and crept. They swirled into frolics around her until she could only see their languorous spectacle.

“God, no. This sounds dreadful,” I reprimanded quietly, getting rid of the page.

My face fell in hindrance. Why did this feel so toilsome? Or, was I making it this way? Had I squandered my ability to pen gold once and for all? A tremor passed through every single nerve of mine at the idea. I shook my head. Obstinate, I grasped my diary and pen and then tiptoed out of my cramped dorm room.

The planches of varnished oak under my bare feet complained of shrill screeches at each vigilant step I took. I grimaced; the windows that were strewed in the academy’s main hallway were all entirely ajar. Despite my usual fondness of letting nature in, it didn’t enchant me much at the moment. Nocturnal crisp zephyr was not something I fancied when it was paired with my delicate, white lace negligée. Moonlight traversed the substantial corridor with grace—rays of light turned to ashen ribbons of silver eddying through the room.

Suddenly, a schmaltzy meow reverberated in my ears. I smiled, my right cheek deeply dimpling.

“Hey, Lune,” I hailed as I trotted towards the kitten perched on a windowsill.

My fingertips fondled the red and black patches of the fur on her back. She rolled around to expose her white stomach to me. As I stroked her, purrs of delight arose and her jade eyes shut close. My lips stretched even further.

A couple of minutes later, I gave Lune a last pat, heading to the room located at the other side of the hall: the library. Fortunately, the librarian never locked the doors. There was never any hint as to why she did that; the soundest explanation was that she just didn’t bother. Though, I preferred believing that she was aware of the late-night escapades some students took to the library and deliberately gave us access to it. Maybe that was some over-embellishment of reality. But doesn’t it require some sugarcoating at times anyway?

The grand room was plunged in darkness and pin-drop silence. I could hardly make out the large wooden table—accompanied by its set of chairs—in the middle of the room, the numerous bookshelves encircling it, or the candelabra oscillating from the ceiling.

Momentarily, the emanating charm of this den of knowledge, as well as wisdom, swallowed me up, entirely. In a strange serenity, I deeply inhaled. An earthy, arboreal smell tickled my nose. I liked it; old books always carried a musty smell that I couldn’t help but adore.

I settled on a seat, sliding a match out of its cardboard case that rested on the table, right next to a wax candle. I lit the match with a swift flick. A picturesque flame began swaying on the candle as soon as I skimmed the wick with the blazing match. I opened my diary to a blank, clean page. I tidied my spectacles on the bridge of my nose. My mind coiled in search of words that could come even merely close to expressing my current feelings.

Nathan.

I almost chortled out loud at the curious word I wrote. I knew very well I could not explicate why that Nathan was what I came up with.

“Nathan,” I tested out loud.

It tripped off my tongue as slickly as I predicted. As I was about to tug the page off the booklet, a music note resonated. My head shot up. The candle died down to a thin trail of smoke billowing in the air. Anew, a note rang in my ears, clearer than the last one. I stood up, solid on my legs. I strutted towards the music—out of the library, through the main corridor and down the stairs to attain the main entrance of the academy.

From afar, I could observe the keys of the piano in the hall wantonly torment themselves. It was forbidden for students to even approach the instrument, and now it was playing itself. No matter how bizarre the moment should have been, it simply felt forlorn. Bewitched, I inched closer. The red-wine curtains flung down to the floorboards, permitting the sudden ingress of moonbeam. My breath was stolen at the sight that was unveiled in front of my eyes.

A young man drummed his willowy fingers on the ivory keys. His mane was so flaxen it reminded me of snow, his eyes were sealed shut, and his skin was painted in a shade of pallor I had never witnessed before. Illness was the first thing that came to my mind; he embodied a state of eerie anemia. I quivered. The young man seemed so… Lifeless. And yet his melodies were vivid and lively. I stood there, dazed by his presence.

Abruptly, he ceased fiddling with the keys and opened his eyes. Moonshine made his arctic azure irises dazzle. He scrutinized me, and I did the same. I discarded my glasses, expecting for him to vanish, but somehow his existence persisted.

“Nathan?” I asked, deliberating whether the name was his own.

The boy remained hushed, but his head did cock to the side. For a moment, I considered that I have been seeing things, or going mad. If I hadn’t felt his presence, I would’ve believed that hypothesis. However, I just knew I wasn’t alone. This boy—Nathan, or whoever he could be—was here with me.

“Who are you?”

The question slipped out before I could give it a second thought. Amongst the myriad of pertinent inquiries that flooded my mind, this one somehow felt like it held more importance. I was left answerless.

A once calm gust grew agitated. Trees shuddered violently. An opaque canopy of clouds started shrouding the moon. Darkness crawled around me, and moonlight died down. The boy began fading.

“Hey, wait!” I exclaimed, reaching out to place my palm on his shoulder.

It passed right through. It was like he wasn’t there—not physically, at least. And as the clouds progressively ate up moonbeams, Nathan was consumed as well.

“No, don’t go yet. Stay and keep playing, please,” I said.

His lips tugged up. Yet again, he pressed a finger on a key. A honeyed, high note delighted my ears. In enjoyment, my eyelids fell close for a brief instant. The note was soon choked out; letting a thick silence float in the air instead. As I opened my eyes, the piano seat was empty. I rubbed my eyelids roughly, before placing my glasses back on my nose, ready to wake up from this fantasy. As I was about to exit the hall, a mellow male voice murmured. I stopped in my tracks.

“Maybe, just maybe, is this my denouement?”

I didn’t dare utter a word. Was he speaking to me now that I had lost sight of him?

“I think it’s time for my happy ending,” he concluded.

Then gone he was.

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