The soft blue light streaming in from the window paints designs on her pale arms. Light, silky sheets swim between dappled skin, simultaneously highlighting and hiding the contours of her gently breathing form.
I watch from across the bed, enraptured.
For a moment we hung there, me watching and her lingering between sleep and wakefulness. But the moment couldn’t last, and under the weight of my gaze it broke.
Her cool eyes found mine in the dark, drinking in the moonlight and seeming to glow in the dark of the room.
"You're staring." She says, then laughs like tinkling bells.
"I...er-yeah. Sorry. You're just so radiant in the moonlight."
My compliment seemed to irritate her. I watch her face cycle from irritation back to placid. She blinks once and I can feel her roll her eyes despite the shadows.
In the dark I can feel my cheeks warm and I pull the sheet up to cover my face. She laughs again and it stings.
"No, don't hide. Silly." She raises my face up with two gentle fingers on my chin.
"I didn't mean to offend you." I mumble.
"You didn't. Just...bored me a little."
Shame rips through me and I’m glad it’s dark so she can’t see how her words cut me.
"Bored?" I ask, letting the word sink into the room without disturbing it.
When I look at her, there’s laughter in her eyes that feels like bullying.
"Oh, now...don't go taking it personally." she says, laughter peppering her words.
"Kinda hard not too." A shiver of shame runs through me. "What can I do to be more interesting?"
She runs her fingers along the corner of the sheet thinking. Her head tilts and long hair cascades over bare shoulders. "It's no fun if I have to tell you." When she turns to face me, her face is cast in shadow.
Something shifts in the air. She adjusts the blankets, pulling the sheet up and tickling my nose with it.
"Would you kill someone for me?" She asks. When I don't answer right away she pushes on. "Don't think about it. Would you..." she shifts and for a split second there are too many shadows in the moonbeams dancing across her skin. "...kill someone for me?"
I wring my hands together in the dark.
"Is this flirting? Are you flirting with me?"
She sighs a little and leans back, stretching. "Sort of. I'm just trying something."
I watch muscles coil up and release under the sheets.
"Ye...yah,yes? I'd...I guess I'd kill someone for you."
She laughs but it doesn't sound like bells this time. "I'd kill for you."
"That's...so sweet, but I don't want you to." I say.
She pushes back until she's sitting up in bed. The blanket drapes around her like a fog.
"What do you want?" She tilts her head.
"Just um..." I fiddle with the sheet. She gets the wrong idea and a wicked smile coats her face.
"Something really twisted?"
I sigh and just tell the truth.
"No, honestly I can’t think of anything."
For half a second she pouts but the face dries up quickly. "Well. Of course.” A heaviness hangs over the air. I get the sense I might be ruining this for us. She sighs. “Look. Just… ask me for the first thing that comes to mind. Anything at all."
I look over at her, finding her hard to read.
"Um...ok..." I glance around for a moment, taking in the shadowy room and the partially open window, moonlight pooling in.
"I said, don't think about it!-”
"-the moon. Give me the moon. Bring it to me. Right here. The moon. Okay?"
The request splashes over her and she soaks it in. I feel immediate regret and start to backpedal.
"No...I'm sorry. That isn't. I'm not like...I don't need the moon. Obviously."
"You asked for the moon, and the moon is what you'll get."
"That's...heh…that's cute." I feel a warm and cozy feeling start to wash over me.
But the temperature in the room shifts abruptly. That was clearly the wrong thing to say.
"Cute?" She clips. The flirting is gone. In its place sprouts a challenge, a touch of irritation. "You don't think I can do it?"
The dark hides my confused face.
"Well...you can't...No one can. It was just a stupid little...I was just trying to be charming."
"I was being serious," she said.
"Ok, well. I don't think I like this game anymore. Let's just go to sleep. I'll make us breakfast in the morning."
"No." A bit of playfulness has wormed its way back into her tone but it doesn't feel fun. It feels unhinged. "I'm going to give you the moon. Just like you asked."
I pull the sheet up higher, feeling suddenly chilled.
She lifts her hand. For the third time I feel a change in the atmosphere.
"I want you to watch closely now," she says as her hand pushes forward through space and toward the window.
I can’t blink, can’t move, can only watch as her arm begins to stretch.
My throat dries as I watch her arm lengthen impossibly, across the room, up towards the window, and then out. It grows in size from an arm, coiling muscles turning tree-branch thick out the open window.
It defies logic. I blink, wondering if she'd spiked the wine or done something else to me. It occurs to me vaguely that we barely knew each other.
"Are you watching? I want you to see this" she says, voice seeming to distort in my ears. She still looks so beautiful in the dark, but now terrifying as well. The scope of her seems to change until it feels like she is enormous, like she's matching the long arm of hers pushing steadily out the window into the black night, though most of her still sits beside me in the bedroom.
“I’m watching.” The words sound like they came from far away, like someone else spoke them. Not me. Not here in my bedroom watching this happen.
She takes her time, finding no hurry in her task. I watch without blinking, barely breathing until her fingers land and her fingernails dig deep trenches in the face of the moon.
There should be more.
Someone besides me should have been watching, witnessing. Someone with a better idea of what to do. A better idea of how to stop her, to convince her not to do this.
My mind fracturs, spinning off in too many directions.
"No. No, I don't want this."
Her head turns back toward me and despite the shadows I can see every line and shape, glowing in the dark room.
Her skin is vibrant, eyes filled with gleeful destruction. The moon came free of its orbit with a shudder that I could feel vibrating up through the floor and a sickening realization washed over me.
“Please. No. Put it back.”
“But darling. You asked.”
“No. Put it back. I wouldn’t really kill for you.” I stammered.
“I don’t want you to kill for me.”
“I /know/. Get ready to receive your present. It’s the last one you’ll ever get.”
I watch the moon grow closer and closer. The earth shifts below us. Somewhere landscapes are crashing together and falling apart. Oceans rising, buildings crumbling. The tide, obliterated.
Beside me, she is radiating joy. She feels like the sun pushing through storm clouds. She is happy. No matter what comes she is rapturous.
I know these to be my last moments. Everyone’s last moments. I should call someone, say something. My parents, family, friends, someone.
Atone in some way perhaps for my hand in this.
“Are you ready?” she asks, bringing the moon so close it kisses the window. I watch it grow in size. It is beautiful.
“It’s nearly here.”
I raise my hands up to receive the gift.