“Bible stories, that’s all they are!” I said.
“Mr Newby said the moon was created on the fourth day, along with the Sun!” Mr Newby being my seven-year-old son, Ivan’s Religious Education teacher.
“Well, not everything in the Bible is completely true,” I said gently, laying a hand on his shoulder. “Some of it’s an … interpretation.”
“What’s intep…, inteperetation?” His big blue eyes looked up at me earnestly.
I suddenly wondered what it meant myself. “Well, it’s a way of saying things in … a different way,” I ventured.
“Well, Mr Newby said it’s all true!” He turned back to his PlayStation and I resisted the urge to punch a cushion, picturing Mr Newby’s face.
“Have you ever thought about the Moon, I mean like where it came from?” said Sonja. I was head of the collections department, and she was my sexy secretary, although I had to keep my fantasies to myself, for now at least.
“What, don’t you start, I had my son banging on about it this morning, courtesy of his bloody RE teacher!”
“Well, Paul’s reading a book that says it’s an alien spaceship!” Paul being the boyfriend, a young ambitionless man of loutish appearance. Heaven knows what she saw in him.
“Uh-huh. She rested her face on her hands, red-painted nails pressing into her smooth cheeks, and looked up at me with doe-eyes.
I turned away, busying myself with aimless paper shuffling. “Well, what’s the evidence then?”
“Well, he says it’s a trillion to one odds that a planet would have just one satellite that’d be the exact apparent size of its sun.”
“Could be a coincidence?”
“Ha, or it could be a sign to us humans, when we grew to a certain stage in our development, that it must have been placed there artificially.”
“Seems like a lot of trouble to go to.”
“Paul says it’s a stepping stone.”
“A stepping stone to other planets. How would we get to Mars, for example, if we couldn’t practice by going to the Moon?”
Hmm. She had a point. Or rather Paul did. Or rather whoever wrote the goddamn book did!
When I got home that evening Ivan was on the PlayStation. “What are you playing?” I asked.
“I might have guessed. Where’s mum?”
“Taking a dump.”
“Don’t be rude!”
He didn’t look up, his fingers and thumbs whirring to the sound of explosions. “Servicebot 9 perishes! Servicebot 9 perishes!”
Leaving him to invade the Moon, I took a torch and went out into the night, down through the garden to our summerhouse by a small pond. Rippling on the surface was a bright, circular, silver-white, glowing object, right in the centre. I sat on a bench and lit a cigarette. Looking up, I watched as the fragrant smoke drifted across the moon, my face bathed in its liquid silver. I wondered, like millions doubtless before me, where had it really come from and would we ever know?
Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
- Please consider making a small donation to help towards the running costs of this site. It would be greatly appreciated.
- Don’t forget to check out some other stories on this blog. There are over 450!
- To purchase the stories on To Cut a Short Story Short up to December 2021 in paperback, Kindle, eBook, and audio-book form, and for news on new titles, please see Shop.