In that colony all tunnels were red. Often smelling of virgin rains. All day long they ran to and fro to make meaning out of existence. They were imprisoned in darkness. They were born in darkness and huddled together in an uncomfortable warmth. They spoke little. They knew their lives. Monotonous running, foraging for food, battling for space inside the clammy tunnels.

They were the moonchildren. In summer heat, they planned their strategies and circled the ends of their world to save up for the future. They dreamed big. In autumn, they warred with with dry leaves, winds and ruthlessly suffocating dust. They could not walk against these winds. Yet their desires kept their tiny lives bound to their flimsy bodies. They all dreamed of the winter when rains would eat up their castles washing them in a flood down the canals and towards their truth.

To them their journey was towards the moon. All through their little lives secrets were whispered to the moonchildren about the faraway moon. All their ancestors had grown tiny wings when it rained and they had flown away to the moon. The moon was far far away. Yet their tiny wings would carry them there. None of their ancestors had returned. Even their relatives who had flown away the previous winter had not come back. They had established a huge dynasty on the moon.

They wished to be torn away from the heavy earth that chained them to it; to float and fly in the mist, like the butterflies on the fields. The rainy season was soon there, beginning with sprays of fragrant cool drops and the gentle rumble of thunder. The moonchildren turned fidgety with a tiny streak of thrill and fear running through them. As soon as their wings began sprouting on their backs the moonchildren found themselves inebriated by a silent excitement hitherto unknown to them. Their dreams were sprouting on their tiny backs to carry them to their dynasty where they would eat little bits of the sugary moon everyday and live for centuries. Ofcourse they knew that the moon always grew back howmuchever they ate. They admired their wings. The wings were flimsy as a dandelion seed and transparent as dew. They fluttered their wings and paraded down the roads. They whispered to themselves about the journey to the moon. Away from the dark dungeons they called home, towards a bright land of promises and joy.

One twilight hour the air was humid with rain in the distance. Soon they could hear the torrents of a downpour and calamitous claps of thunder. Flashes of lightning reminded them of their dream of the moon. They waited. Not a word was exchanged. The night had arrived for them to fly away. Far away from their realities to the land of light and sweetness, forever spoken of in their myths. Then the rain thinned down to a drizzle and all was quiet except the pitter patter of the the drops that fell into puddles of fresh smelling rain. . Leaves dried themselves in the cool evening breeze dripping with moments from the past.

A moonchild peeped out of his home. Into the distance. An instinct surged up in his little wings and up he flew. He whirred into the evening dampness, in the darkness that was so real, towards a beckoning dream. Light. A few of his friends caught up with him and all of them flew together. In an instant they were nearing the moon. Was the moon so close by after all? They shrieked and spread their wings wide. The moment of truth was here for them to put their wings to use. They wanted to land in glory and elegance. Yet there was some force that sent them reeling around. Now they rammed into something hot. A sizzle ran through their bodies. Some of them fell in a wrinkled heap. Something must be wrong. There it was. So close. Their dream of a lifetime. In full glory. The moon.

They did not beat a retreat. Their intuitions were right about this monstrous light that was consuming them. Their instincts were wrong. The heat was unbearable. They thought of the summer
months they had driven themselves up and down the grass to prepare themselves for this day. The light dazzled. It was too heavy for their flimsy wings. They realized their wings were not wings at all; they were lies. Some of them broke their wings and down they descended on unknown territory. They went around in gloomy circles, wings broken, dream unreachably far away. One of them battled on with the light. A spasm went through this moonchild’s fragile body. His wings drooped. The moonchild died. Darkness swallowed him and he was tied insurmountably to the earth.

Someone sweeped the moonchildren out of the yard, into the rain next morning.

3 thoughts on “Moonchildren

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