The Sugar Quill
Author: Madaline Fabray  Story: I See the Moon  Chapter: Default
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I See The Moon

I See The Moon

<CENTER>"I see the moon, and the moon sees me.

"God bless the moon, and God bless me." – Traditional</CENTER>

 

Little Remus Lupin looked up eagerly into Mama’s smiling blue eyes and grinned. He had remembered all the words tonight without her helping, and he was proud of himself.

 

"Very good, Remus," Mama said, and she kissed him on the forehead. "Now lay down, and I’ll tuck you in for the night."

 

"Could you read me a story?" Remus asked, and he gazed longingly at his white bookshelf, with its painted blue bunnies and rocking horses. His books were neatly arranged on three shelves. His favorite was The Three Little Pigs. Remus especially liked it when Papa read him the story; for Papa could do the Big Bad Wolf’s rumbling voice. Mama wasn’t as good as Papa, but that was all right. He still wanted to hear the story, because he wasn’t tired yet.

 

"No, Remus," Mama said, and she shook her head. "Papa read you a story earlier, and it’s nighttime now."

 

"Awwww," Remus pouted. "But I’m not sleepy yet."

 

Mama chuckled gently. "Close your eyes and count your sheep, and very soon you’ll fall asleep," she chanted as she finished tucking him in.

 

"Roman is still up," Remus persisted. "Why can he stay up, and I have to go to bed?"

 

"Roman is older," Mama said. "You still need to go to bed early. When you are older, you can stay up, too."

 

Remus stuck out his lower lip. Mama always said that!

 

"Not another peep," Mama continued, and she patted his soft blue sheets. "Go to sleep!"

 

"All right," Remus said, and he closed his eyes. He heard the soft sounds of his Mama’s footsteps leaving his room, and he opened his eyes again. Remus hated trying to count sheep, for it never worked. Instead, he gazed at his ceiling for a while, which had magical glowing pinpoints which resembled stars. He shifted to his left side and looked out the window to see the full moon, which was just coming up. It was large and orangey-red. Remus loved watching the moon. He often wondered who must live up there. Mama and Papa told him that no one lived on the moon because it was too cold. But he liked to imagine there was another little boy, like himself, who lived on the moon. A little boy he could play with, and they would never have to worry about going to sleep when they didn’t want to!

 

I want to go to the moon someday, Remus thought to himself, as he did any night the moon was visible. Maybe when Papa teaches him how to fly, he could fly up there on his own broom. He could use the fishbowl for the funny helmets he had seen Muggle space explorers wear when they went there. The little boy turned to his other side and watched the outline of his goldfish Genie swim around in lazy circles around his castle, which glowed a faint purple as the sun went down and the moon rose higher in the sky.

 

Genie wouldn’t mind if I used his home for a hat so I could go into space, Remus thought. It would only be for a little while. We could always put him elsewhere until I came back. Maybe in the bathtub, he’d like that!

 

He watched Genie and the glowing castle, and his mind drifted to that faraway place called the Ocean. Papa said lots of fish like Genie lived in this Ocean. Remus had a hard time imagining seeing any more fish than the gajillions he and Papa had seen at the Pet Store. I wonder what it is like to live under the water of the Ocean, Remus thought. Are there glowing purple castles down there, only bigger? One that he could go in and explore? The little boy imagined himself swimming beneath the waves, heading towards a gigantic castle, a castle bigger than his house, bigger than anything! He imagined himself swimming inside and meeting a nice mermaid like the “Little Mermaid” in the story, and maybe a boy mermaid, and all sorts of goldfish like Genie. They could have supper down there, and have their bowls and cups float without magic. And then Remus imagined a big toothy shark coming, and saw himself drawing a wand like Papa’s and making the shark go away, and the merpeople cheering for him and….

 

Remus sighed and turned over on his back. His lower lip stuck out again as he looked at the fake stars. He wanted to see real stars tonight! Why didn’t Mama and Papa let him stay up later so he could see the moon and stars? He wasn’t a baby anymore! He no longer needed a diaper or a bottle. He was two years old, two fingers, not one! He drank from a big-boy’s cup and ate at the table with Mama and Papa and Roman using a big-boy’s booster seat.

 

The little boy sat up and folded his arms across his chest. It wasn’t fair! He was never sleepy and he wanted to be up! He thought about leaving the bed, leaving his room. He slid his leg over to the side of his bed, and the toe of his blue slipper peeked out from beneath his warm blanket. Remus swung his other leg around until he was sitting on the edge of the bed, then he paused.

 

Mama will be mad, and Papa might even give me a spanking if I leave, he thought. But … if I’m real quiet, as quiet as Mr. Jinx, their kitty cat, maybe they won’t see me. Remus quietly hopped out of bed and crept towards the door, trying to be as silent as Mr. Jinx. His fingertips could barely reach the doorknob, even on tippy-toe, but his tiny hand grasped and turned the gold-colored doorknob, and the door clicked open. Remus smiled. Only a few months ago, he was too little to reach the doorknob! One day, he’ll be as tall as Roman, maybe even as tall as Papa.

 

Remus tried not to make a sound as he went down the dark hallway to the staircase. Here he paused a moment, for the boy still had a little trouble walking up and down these big steps. He knew Mr. Jinx used all four legs to go up and down, but if he tried that, he’d fall, and it was a long way down. Finally, he decided to sit down and scoot his way to the bottom of the stairway, trying not to make too much noise as his bum hit each step.

The little boy could hear Mama and Papa talking in the kitchen, something about the school Roman would be going to soon and about a strange illness the man up the street had. Roman was in the living room on the couch, munching on chips and listening to something on what Papa called the Wireless. It was some sort of musical program, but Remus couldn’t understand, and he didn’t care. He knew he’d have to be awfully quiet to sneak behind the couch past his brother and to the door, and the outside and the real stars and moon. He took a deep breath as he tip-toed across the floor, trying to remember where all the squeaky boards were that would give him away. Closer and closer he got to the door … just a little further … there! He was at the door, staring up the white painted surface to the window that gave him a view of the outside, his goal. The little boy reached up for the knob, his tiny hands shaking with excitement and nervousness. He twisted the metal knob, and the door opened with a loud click.

 

Remus heard his brother give a puzzled grunt, and he watched in fear as Roman turned his way. His older brother’s puzzled expression gave way to one of annoyance.

 

"Hey, squirt," Roman said. "You’re not supposed to be out here! Mama! Papa! Remus is …HEY!"

 

Remus turned and bolted out the door. He nearly fell head-over-heels down the large stone stairs but he quickly regained his balance and ran out into the yard. He could hear his brother shouting something, but he paid no attention as he gazed raptly into the star-studded sky. A soft summer breeze tickled his cheek and played with his light brown hair. He stared at the full moon, which glowed enchantingly. It seemed so close….

 

"Remus!" the little boy heard his Papa call out. Remus turned, somewhat guiltily, as he watched his father come down the stairs. "You are supposed to be in bed. Come back here, now!"

 

His father didn’t sound too mad, and Remus really didn’t want to go inside. Maybe Papa would play with him, just for a little while ….

 

"Papa!" Remus called out, and he giggled. "Catch The Snitch! Catch The Snitch! I’m the Snitch!" He took off running across the yard and to the side of the house, towards the fresh-smelling pine forests. In the distance, he could hear a low howling, probably one of the neighbor’s farming dogs.

 

"Remus! No!" Papa shouted, and now he sounded a bit angry. "Come back, don’t run in there…." Remus heard heavy footfalls in the distance and knew his Papa was coming after him. "Come back here, or you are going to get a spanking!"

 

Remus was a little afraid now. He had never heard his father sound so angry, and so … afraid? But Papa was a grown-up, he was never afraid. The little boy kept running deeper into the woods, his Papa’s increasingly angry shouts reaching his ears. Remus heard the dog’s howling close by now, but the farm where the big dogs were kept was far away. Perhaps one of them wanted to play tonight too, like him? They were big dogs, but nice. The biggest had let him ride on its back the last time he, Papa, Mama and Roman went to visit….

 

Suddenly, there was a sound of snapping twigs and crackling leaves nearby, to the little boy’s left. Remus stopped in his tracks and looked over to see two large, glowing yellow eyes.

 

"Doggie?" Remus called out hopefully, but suddenly he felt cold and afraid. This wasn’t like the big dog on the farm, the big dog didn’t growl or show such enormous, white teeth like this one was doing.

 

This dog in front of Remus ran towards the little boy with a howl. Remus screamed and started stumbling backwards in terror, but his slippered foot caught a fallen branch and he fell with a painful thud on the ground. He heard his father call his name, but he was too scared to reply as the dog snapped its jaws, gave another howl and leapt at the little boy.

 

Remus screamed in fear and pain as the dog’s jaws clamped down on his shoulder, and he felt himself being lifted off the ground and being shaken. He heard more shouting from his father, and was nearly blinded as a brilliant flash of gold light struck him and the dog. The dog dropped him with a howl and ran away deep into the woods.

 

"Papa," Remus called out. Tears stung his eyes. "Papa, it hurts, the mean dog bit me, it hurt me. Why, Papa? Dogs are supposed to be nice!"

 

"Don’t talk, Remus," Papa said. He picked Remus up and started carrying him back to the house. "We need to get you home." Papa sounded so funny then, and Remus looked up at his Papa’s face, and he saw tears streaming down Papa’s cheeks. But why was Papa crying? Grown-ups didn’t cry, did they?

 

Remus whimpered in fear and pain as Papa carried him home. Mama and Roman were waiting at the doorway.

 

"Cole!" Mama shouted. "What happened? I heard howling, is it…?"

 

"Mom, Remus’ shoulder," Roman said, and he pointed at Remus.

 

"A mean dog bit me," Remus whimpered. His shoulder really hurt, and he hoped Mama had something to take the pain away.

 

"Dog?" Mama whispered, and she sounded afraid. "Oh dear god, no, Cole, it wasn’t … it couldn’t have been … it wasn’t Brownlowe, was it?"

 

"Celeste," Papa replied quietly. "Owl the Ministry and tell them what has happened. They need to know." He walked past Mama and Roman, and Remus blinked in the sudden, warm light of the living room.

 

Mama moaned softly before turning and leaving.

 

"Roman," Papa said as he set Remus down on the couch. "I need for you to grab some clean rags from the bottom drawer of the linen closet, and get the green bottle, that has some disinfectant…."

 

"It won’t sting, will it?" Remus asked. He hated the stuff they sometimes put on his skin if he scraped his knees or elbows, because it bubbled and pricked at his skin.

Papa gave a weak smile and shook his head no.

 

"No, Remus, this will help so your shoulder doesn’t hurt," Papa said. His voice sounded so strange! "It’s not the stinging stuff. Now you must stay very still, or your shoulder will hurt more, Ok?"

 

Remus nodded and bit his lip. He didn’t like seeing Papa so sad or scared. He had just wanted to play….

 

Roman returned with several clean white scraps of cloth and a glass green bottle with a clear liquid inside. He pulled out the cork and handed the bandages and bottle to his father.

 

"It was him, wasn’t it," Roman asked, and his eyes were wide. "Is Remus going to be like Mr. Brownlowe?"

 

"Shhh!" Papa hissed as he slowly poured some of the contents of the bottle onto Remus’ shoulder.

 

Remus squeezed his eyes shut, but the stuff didn’t hurt his shoulder like the stinging stuff did, and he felt the pain from the bite leave him. But he was confused. He knew Mr. Brownlowe, of course. He lived across from the farm where the big dogs were. Mr. Brownlowe was a quiet man who had streaks of silver in his hair and always looked tired and sick. A couple of months ago Remus and Mama had gone shopping and they had seen Mr. Brownlowe. He leaned heavily on a walking stick, like the one his great-grandpa used, and his face was gray. Remus asked Mama if she could make some of that hot stuff that she had given him when he was sick, because maybe it would help Mr. Brownlowe. Mama told him to hush and turned her attention back to the clerk and asked about that day’s prices for eggs and butter. Mr. Brownlowe smiled at the boy, but didn’t stop to say hi, and Mama kept looking over her shoulder at the strange man. She seemed afraid of Mr. Brownlowe, but why? And why did Roman ask if Remus would be like Mr. Brownlowe? What did him being bit by a mean dog have to do with the sick-looking man?

 

It was all very confusing, and suddenly, Remus felt sleepy. He closed his eyes and leaned his head on the back of the couch, enjoying the feel of the plush burgundy fabric against his cheek, as his Papa finished tying the bandages on his shoulder. Remus heard his mother come in, but he was too sleepy to open his eyes.

 

"I’ve sent the owl," Mama said in a hushed voice. "So now what will happen? What will happen to Mr. Brownlowe? And what … what will become of our son?"

 

"It’s too early to tell with Remus," Papa replied. His voice was barely a whisper. "We won’t know for another month if he will… if he will…." Papa then sighed. "As for Brownlowe, you know the laws as well as I do regarding those … like him." Papa’s voice became hard and angry.

 

"Are they going to call the Ministry on Mr. Brownlowe, papa?" Roman asked.

 

"It’s past your bedtime, Roman," Papa replied, his voice more stern than usual.

"But papa…."

 

"Go to your room, Roman."

 

"But…."

 

"Don’t argue with your father. Now just go. I’ll be up in a moment."

 

Remus faintly heard his older brother’s disappointed, slow step up the stairway and the low murmuring of his parent’s voices before drifting off to sleep.

<CENTER>****</CENTER>

A month had passed, and Remus had all but forgotten that fearful night when the mean dog had bitten him. The only reminder he had that the attack ever happened was a small scar which ran in a semicircle around his shoulder. In fact, he should have been very happy this evening. He was playing with his big brother’s used-up Gobstones and he was allowed to stay up late tonight.

 

But he wasn’t happy, he reflected grumpily as he clicked two brightly-colored, round stones in his small, pudgy hand. Everyone seemed strange today! Mama didn’t hug him today, or even touch him unless he tried to get into the pretty butterfly bush or his Papa’s aquarium with its brightly-colored streelers. Papa barely spoke at all, and only to Mama in hushed tones and he gave Remus anxious glances all day. Roman, too, was quiet, but he kept staring at Remus from an overstuffed recliner with a mixture of fear and fascination.

 

"Stop looking at me!" Remus shouted at his brother. "Why are you doing that?"

 

Roman gave little Remus a strange smile. "I wonder if you are going to turn into a monster."

 

"A monster?" Remus grinned, stood up and put his arms over his head. He hooked his fingers like claws and started stomping around. "Remus, the monster! Remus is a monster, ARRRGH!" He bared his teeth and made several biting sounds in Roman’s direction.

 

Remus expected his big brother to laugh, or snort and roll his eyes. He did not expect Roman to shrink into the chair, his eyes wide in fear.

 

Maybe he was only playing, too, Remus thought, and he stomped over to where his brother was seated and roared again. "I’ll get you, I’ll get you, ROOAR!"

 

Roman shrieked and leapt off the chair. He grabbed a book and hurled it at Remus, and the book hit the little boy in the forehead, sending him sprawling to the ground. It was a large book, too, one of Mama’s or Papa’s. Shocked and hurt, Remus started to cry.

 

"Stay away from me, you little freak!" Roman hissed.

 

"Roman!" Mama shouted as she came into the living room. "What did you do to your brother?"

 

"He tried to bite me!" Roman said accusingly.

 

"Did not!" Remus said between sniffles. "I wasn’t near you! He threw a book at me!"

 

"I don’t want to catch what you have!" Roman retorted.

 

"Roman, that’s enough!" Mama scolded.

 

"But Mr. Brownlowe…."

 

"We don’t know that, yet," Mama said, her tone even sharper. "We won’t know…."

 

"Mama!" Remus said happily as he pointed out the window. "Mama! The moon is out! The moon!" He started to repeat his favorite rhyme: "I see the moon, and the moon sees…."

 

Suddenly, Remus found he couldn’t continue speaking. It’s was as if Roman had cast a Petrifying charm on him.

 

<I>I see the moon….</I>

 

"Cole!" Remus could hear his mother scream. Roman shrieked and ran up the stairs. But Remus couldn’t tear his gaze from the moon…..

 

<I>The moon sees me….</I>

 

Heavy footsteps from his father. 

 

"Remus! Remus, no!"

 

<I>God bless the moon….</I>

 

Remus started shaking uncontrollably. He could hear his parents shouting, but he could no longer understand what they were saying.

 

<I>God bless me….</I>

 

The little boy let out a scream of agony as he felt a terrible pain rip through his entire body. It felt as thought someone was pulling very hard at his arms and legs, yanking the top of his skull and nose!

 

<I>I see the moon….</I>

 

He wrapped his arms around himself, hunched over and whimpered, and his arms were longer, somehow. Something kept pulling at him, as if he were boy putty….

 

<I>I see the moon….</I>

 

He heard strange, shouting sounds behind him, but could not tell what they were. He fell to the ground, his whole frame wracked in torrents of spasms.

 

<I>The moon….</I>

 

He looked down at himself, and saw his hands, but they were not hands, they were paws, like a dog’s. He tried to cry out … cry out to….

 

To whom? Who was he? What was he?

 

<I>The moon….</I>

 

Finally, the pain stopped, and the room was flooded with strange smells. He stood on his hind legs and tottered a bit, for they were longer than … then what? He didn’t know, and didn’t care, for he had seen them….

 

Two figures, pale and upright. They were shouting something unintelligible. But he didn’t care. For he knew what he was.

 

Hungry.

 

Prey.

 

<I>KILL THEM.</I>

 

He grinned a toothy, savage smile, and the two figures in front of him shrank back. He tipped his head back and uttered a howl, the call of his kind, and he sprang forward, the smell of fear and flesh in his nostrils….

 

The taller figure shouted, and a blinding light came from him. The light hurt, the light it hurt it hurt it hurt…..

 

Remus toppled over and everything went dark. <CENTER>

****</CENTER>

Remus woke up, bleary-eyed, to find himself lying on the couch. He uttered a small moan, for he ached all over. His head and legs, especially, hurt from … something. But what happened? Suddenly, his Mama appeared. She looked down on him, her expression worried.

 

"Mama?" Remus whispered. It hurt his throat a bit to talk.

 

"Yes, Remus, I’m … I’m here," Mama replied. She moved her arm as if to reach out and touch him on the head, but withdrew hastily and let her arm drop to her side.

 

"It’s all right, Mrs. Lupin," said a strange man Remus did not know. He was standing behind the couch, near the doorway. "When he’s human, he’s safe, just like you or me. It’s only when there’s a full moon that he becomes dangerous. Remember that."

 

"What does he mean by that, Mama?" Remus asked. "I am human…."

 

"Shhh," Mama said, and this time, she placed her hand gently on the little boy’s head. "Never mind, Remus. Are you hungry, luv?"

 

Remus slowly shook his head and made a face. "No, I’m not hungry. I’m tired. I don’t feel too good."

 

"He probably won’t feel like eating for a while yet," the strange voice said again. Remus looked up to see a short, plump man with a wrinkled, kindly face look down on him. His Papa was standing next to this strange but nice-looking man. Remus couldn’t tell if Papa was mad or sad, or both, and this bothered him a bit.

 

"Your little boy probably won’t feel like getting up for a little while yet," said the strange man. "Let him lie about for a bit."

 

Mama nodded and patted Remus on the shoulder. She gave the little boy a sad smile and stood up. Remus was too tired to wonder about why his mama was sad, and he closed his eyes. He could still hear the grown-ups talking.

 

"You’ll be able to knock him out for the next year or two, maybe longer, but after that you will need to chain him up, for your safety as well as his," said the strange man. "You can order special chains through the Speedy Owl for just such a purpose. Do you have a basement?"

 

"Yes," said his Papa. "But we are more interested in finding a cure. The chains obviously didn’t work too well on Brownlowe…."

 

"A cure could be years away, Mr. Lupin. In the meantime, I would order the chains, in case I have misjudged how long you can still just knock him out. I’ve never seen a case in one as young as your son before. In many ways, we are in uncharted territory."

 

"Isn’t there anything we can do for him?" this was Mama’s voice. "I’ve heard so many terrible things about … this."

 

"Yes, and most of it is probably correct. There is nothing we can do except take things month by month, and hope better treatments are forthcoming. That is all, I’m sorry I can’t give you more hope than that. I will send you what information I have from the Ministry office, as well as the contacts for Werewolf Support Services. Good day, and feel free to owl me if you have further questions or concerns."

 

The door opened and clicked shut, and Remus heard a faint sound of weeping from Mama before drifting off to sleep. <CENTER>

****</CENTER>

By the afternoon, Remus felt better. Later that evening, he was seated on the floor with a new book his Papa had bought for him, "The Ugly Duckling." He barely heard Roman come up behind him. Remus turned quickly to see Roman looking down on him, with that same look of horrid fascination he had earlier.

 

"What do you want?" Remus grumbled. He remembered his brother throwing the grown-up book at his head, and he was still sore.

 

"Do you remember? What it was like?" Roman asked.

 

"What? I don’t understand!" Remus snapped. He was still a bit sleepy, probably from the big dinner he had.

 

"What it was like to be, well, you know … a werewolf."

 

"A what?" Remus’ brow wrinkled in confusion and exasperation. His big brother sure was acting funny!

 

"A werewolf! What you are now! What was it like? Don’t you remember?" Roman persisted.

 

"No," Remus replied crossly. "You are being silly. Now go away, I want to finish my new book…."

 

"Remus!" the little boy heard his Mama call. "It’s time to go to bed!"

 

"Aww, Mama," Remus protested half-heartedly as Mama came into the living room. "Can I finish my book first?"

 

"You can finish it tomorrow," Mama said and she extended a hand to the little boy. "Now it’s bedtime."

 

Remus set his new book on the coffee table and stood up. He took Mama’s hand with no further protest, for he was a bit tired. They both went up the stairs into Remus’ room, and the little boy climbed up into his bed. He kneeled on the mattress and folded his hands in his lap. He looked out the window and smiled as he saw the moon, large and orangey-red.

 

"Mama, it’s the moon," Remus said happily. "It’s almost full."

 

"Yes, Remus," Mama said, her voice barely above a whisper. She suddenly looked sad and … was it angry? But why?

 

Everyone was acting so strange, Remus thought as he started to repeat his favorite rhyme:

 

"I see the moon, and the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and … Mama? Mama, what’s the matter, Mama? Why are you crying? Mama?"

 

Mama was hugging him tightly, and her tears fell onto Remus’ cheeks and hair.

 

And Remus couldn’t understand why. <CENTER>

 

-Finis-

 

//
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