An illustration of a lake at night, with the moon reflected only below.

The Moon Lake

Fantasy
Male lead
Mystery
Cozy
Sad
approx. 10 minutes

A long, long time ago, there existed a place called Nowhere. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but grass, and day reigned eternal. Somewhere, in the middle of Nowhere, was a lake. This lake did not reflect the sun and sky above, however. Instead, it showed a brilliant night sky. Near the lake was a cabin and in this cabin lived a young boy all by himself.

Once upon a time, this young boy had a father. The night had balanced out the day, and he had lived happily in the cabin with his father. Then, one day, he no longer had a father, and the night was no more. The boy and his father used to fish in the lake, which never seemed to run out, and appeared to have no bottom.

On the morning of this particular day, the young boy awoke in his cabin from a dreamless sleep, as he did every day. He got up, got dressed, and went to make breakfast. First, he plucked fresh tomatoes from the garden. Then he mashed the tomatoes, carefully removing the exocarp, turning the tomatoes into a fine soup, which he cooked. While it boiled, he began slicing the remaining half loaf of bread from yesterday’s dinner.

Every morning, new tomatoes would be ready in the garden, and a new half loaf of bread would be ready on the table. It had been this way for as long as the boy could remember. Except, of course, for when his father had been with him.

The young boy poured the soup into a bowl and sat down at the small table by the window, which overlooked the eternal grassy fields of Nowhere. There, he sat and ate, as he did every day. When he had finished, he got up and went out the front door of the tiny cabin without putting away the remaining bowl of soup. There was no need. It would be gone when he returned.

The boy began walking through the grass, towards the lake. The lightest breeze moved across his face and through his hair, as it did every time he left the cabin. Arriving at the lake, he stood and looked into the star-covered night sky in the water. He walked around the lake. Then he sat down. Then he got up again and walked around the lake once more before sitting back down. No matter the angle at which he viewed the lake, the stars always seemed to be in the same place. He performed this small ritual every day, and found it to be oddly calming, though he could not have explained why.

After sitting there for some time, gazing into the lake, the young boy began to get up. As he was getting up, he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Something in the lake. Distracted, his foot slipped in the mud by the edge of the lake. The ground beneath his feet crumbled, and he fell into the lake.

He fell further and further, deeper and deeper into the lake. The boy had never learnt to swim. He had never gotten the chance. He flailed his arms and legs around helplessly, and his consciousness faded.

***

A long, long time ago, there existed a place called Everywhere. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but grass, and night reigned eternal. Somewhere, in the middle of Everywhere, was a lake. This lake did not reflect the moon and stars above, however. Instead, it showed the clear, blue sky of day. Near the lake was a cabin and in this cabin lived a man all by himself.

Once upon a time, this man had a son. They had lived together in the cabin, happy as can be. Now, he longed for those times, for he no longer had a son. His son had always loved food, so the man had learned how to cook. Every evening, he would bake a fresh loaf of bread. In the past, his son would have eaten most of it before it went stale. The man, however, could not even finish half. However, he continued to make one full loaf of bread, as though out of habit.

On the evening of this particular day, the man had just finished eating, and was gazing out over the grasslands, when he heard a peculiar sound from outside his front door.

***

The young boy coughed. He felt cold and wet, but there was ground beneath him. The grass tickled his face and, very slowly, he opened his eyes. For several seconds, he believed himself blind. Then, as his eyes began to adjust, he realized that he could still see. It was simply very, very dark.

Still dazed and cold, he got to his feet carefully and looked around. The landscape seemed to be the same, with grass in every direction, the tiny cabin and the lake right next to it. But the lake no longer showed a starry night sky. Instead, it shone with the bright blue sky of the day. Looking up, the boy realized that the sky above him was not completely dark, as he had first thought, but speckled with glowing stars. And there, practically glowing, was the moon.

The boy did not understand how he had ended up on the ground by the lake, but he was happy to be alive, though very cold and confused. He began trudging through the grass, towards the cabin, tripping occasionally.

After what felt like forever, the young boy finally found himself by the front door of the cabin and reached for the door knob. Before he could grab it, however, it began to turn on its own. Frightened, the young boy stumbled backwards, as the door opened and the silhouette of a man appeared in the cozy light of the cabin. Tears began to well in his eyes and, though he did not understand, he felt something light up within him.

***

The young boy felt the soft fabric of his bed on his face and the sunlight warmed up his face. For just a moment, he had been happy, but he knew that it had been only a dream, and he began to cry. Scared that he would forget, he tried to remember the image of the man in the doorway before he had woken up. He wanted nothing more than to stay like that, the memory of the man clear in his mind, forever and ever. It was not until a familiar scent wafted over him, that he realized someone was cooking.

A faint smell of spices and tomatoes filled the cabin. There was a soft clatter of porcelain, glass, and utensils. Then the pouring of water and the cutting of bread. Slowly, as though frightened of what he might see, the boy opened his eyes and turned over to look.

There, in the tiny kitchen in the cabin, stood a man. The man turned to face the boy, like he knew he was watching him, and smiled warmly, as only he could. The boy understood. He was finally home, and they were together, never to be separated again.

The end.


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