Philo's Stories

Eclipse Witch

the day before had been sunny, but she awoke that morning to a sea of clouds as far as she could see
she worries that her trip here was a waste of time, but she tries to keep her worries to herself, as though fearing that the clouds could hear them and worsen if she dares to complain aloud

by the time the partial eclipse is due to start, she anxiously waits in a field, hoping for something, anything to happen
invisible to her, the moon's orbit takes it closer and closer to being between her and the sun

the first sign of something in the sky is a chill that sweeps over her, not borne by any breeze, but by the absence of the sun
the light vanishes quickly from the sky, faster than her eyes can adjust
off in the distance, nearer than the horizon, but not by much, she can see sunlit fields, as though the eclipse was happening just for her
she turns her eyes to the sky, looking for where the sun and moon should be, but sees nothing but dark clouds that were bright a few moments earlier
as she looks, she feels a pair of disks slide deep within her mind and snap together as though held by magnets

she focuses so intently on the dark, cloudy sky that she barely notices her feet lifting off the ground
she feels a cool embrace wrap around her, cold, but not uncomfortable
it feels to her like moonlight permeating her entire body and it makes her feel safer and more comfortable than she's ever felt before
somehow, she knows that this is the moon sending its love across the void to her, carried on solar winds
the moon's love is thousands of times more ancient than humanity or language and will persist long beyond both, and in this moment, she is awed to receive even a tiny fragment of it

her unblinking gaze pierces a tiny hole in the clouds, which rapidly widens, the clouds held back in a perfect circle above her by the invisible force of the lunar magic she channels
she floats further upwards, past the treetops, taking control of the levitation herself, and the moon's embrace feels even stronger

just as abruptly as the moon covered the sun, it moves onward in its orbit and the disks slide apart in her mind
the abstract muscle that she used to float in the air and pierce a hole in the clouds does nothing to re√ľnite the disks, and she feels a sinking in her stomach
with a soft thud, her boots hit the field she had been floating above and the clouds silently reform above her as though the circular hole had never been there

she makes her plans for the next eclipse as soon as she can, knowing that she needs to
she chooses a spot among scrubby bushes on the side of a rural road far away from home, hoping for clear skies

at the appointed place, she waits, the sun beating down on her
the moon is still far away, but she can almost feel it moving towards her
when the moon arrives for totality, she feels the same sliding sensation and levitates off the ground again, this time in complete control of this fragment of lunar magic
the ticks of her watch grow ever further apart, her longing for the moon's comfort stretching the seconds
she stares at the eclipsed sun and gazes at the stars that surround it in the clear, dark sky
last time, the hole she pierced in the clouds was not wide enough to see much of the sky, and she spent the minutes of totality staring at the moon, but this time she has the time to cast her gaze further

eventually, even magic has to come to an end, and she softly returns to the ground again, her longing even stronger than ever as the disks slide apart in her mind
she will do anything she can to experience this again, even if it means sailing to the coast of antarctica.


thank you to Bridget and everyone else I saw the eclipse with; you made it so much more magical of an experience, even though it was cloudy