Moon Shot – Part 4

A long, tense silence followed.

Margot kept her gaze squarely on the Captain with a clenched jaw, furrowed brow, and tightly balled fists at her sides. She had never seen anyone else with the same abilities as her, let alone use them with such poise and control.

“I said you can relax, child.” Captain Baptiste said in a dark, but reassuring tone.

“Who and what the fuck are you!?” Margot snapped back.

Captain Baptiste tilted her head forward slightly and made full eye contact with Margot for the first time.

Margot boldly returned her gaze and stood her ground. Her breathing was heavy, but under control. Her vision and hearing were hyper focused. Her heartbeat was like an earthquake. She felt a high adrenaline rush at fever pitch.

The Captain had a cold, stoic expression. She slowly answered Margot’s question:

“I . . . am the big . . . bad . . .  wolf, around here.”

Another long pause followed. The Captain began chuckling to herself. Her laughter slowly grew louder and more boisterous until she sounded maniacal.

This went on for an uncomfortably long amount of time.

Captain Baptiste finally ended with a sigh, while wiping a tear from one her eyes. 

“I crack myself up sometimes. Now, where were we?” The Captain said. Her words faintly echoed against the hard walls.

“Right, so . . . you wanted to see Agent Jackass’ manager?”  the Captain went on with a smirk, while glancing toward Agent Banks, still laying bloody and unconscious on the white, tiled hallway floor outside of the room.

“You had asked to speak with me, is that right?” 

Margot remained in full ‘fight or flight’ mode. She stayed silent. She didn’t move an inch, apart from her chest rapidly rising and falling.

“So. I understand you’re unhappy with the progress – well, lack of progress, really – that our team has made with you and your. . . condition?” the Captain inquired with her eyebrows raised. 

Margot stayed still.

The Captain’s pupils slightly expanded.

“Let’s talk.” said the Captain.

Margot’s hospital gown tightened around her. Her legs and torso were suddenly wrapped like a mummy. the top string of the gown had closed in and knotted around her neck; she began to choke and gasp for air. Her arms were crossed and pinned to her chest  – she now resembled an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. with one wrist over the other, as if she had handcuffs on. She began levitating, helpless, unable to breathe.

Within 10 seconds the whole room moved back into place. The mess of the bed sheets, mattress, and bedframe all gravitated back together until as neatly as it had looked before Margot had thrown it at Agent Banks.

“Have a seat,” Captain Baptiste moved Margot into a seated position on the bed.

Margot’s gown loosened around her neck so she was able to breathe again. She let out a deep gasp and began hyperventilating. She was still paralyzed and bound from the neck down.

“So, like Agent Banks said,” the Captain began, “oh, that’s right! Agent Banks! Where are my manners!? “

Baptiste held her hand up and snapped her fingers several times.


Margot heard a small, but explosive pulse of a sound with each snap of the Captain’s fingers. In her ghastly telepathic voice, she bellowed:


The Captain’s pupils were still abnormally wide. She went on, now back in her normal voice:

“So. We have a few different ways we can go from here. You’ve seen how the hard way goes. Right now, this is the easy way. I like to do things the easy way, Ms. Posseduto.”

Out of the corner of her eye Margot saw two tall, muscular orderlies lift up and roll away Agent Banks on a wheeled stretcher down the hallway outside of the room. He laid face down on the stretcher, bloodied and bruised. His right arm dangled lifelessly as it hung off of the side.

“So . . . what’ll it be?” the Captain asked while slowly approaching Margot.

Margot kept her mouth shut. She was still bounded by her hospital gown, and anchored into a seat on the hospital bed.

Captain Baptiste now stood directly in front of Margot. The Captain slowly leaned in toward Margot until she was at her eye level and they were nearly touching noses.

“You know you can speak now,” Captain Baptist declared, whilst leaning forward, face-to-face with Margot, with just a few inches separating them. Her eyes looked like miniature black holes as she leered directly into Margot’s normal, honey brown irises.

A staring contest ensued.

Margot continued to try and regulate her breathing – as much as she could manage, while tied up like a mummy – but didn’t take her eyes off of the Captain’s.

The mutual gaze of both women intensified. The acute absence of sound emitted a faint, high pitched ring that hummed throughout the hospital room.

Margot’s breathing had slowed down to a normal pace. Both Margot and the Captain were incredibly still.

Margot broke the silence with a deep inhale and exhale. She paused, inhaled again, leaned back slightly, threw her head forward, and spat directly in the Captain’s face.

The Captain’s face was stoic. She slowly wiped her mouth and nose off with her blazer’s sleeve. She looked again at Margot with her entirely black eyes and blinked – just once. Margot instantly lifted upwards, again choking while suspended in the air, and then suddenly backwards, violently colliding into the wall behind her, yelling in pain. She was pinned to the wall by the Captain, unable to move at all below the neck, and barely able to breathe.

“You silly, silly, silly girl,” Captain Baptiste said, with an even wider maniacal grin.

“You’ve got some balls, kid,” she went on, while slowly nodding her head, “I’ll give you that.”

Margot was straining with all of her will power to move, but it was no use.

“Hmm . . . let’s try . . . something different,” The Captain said, with an ominous tone.


She snapped her fingers.

Margot found herself sitting alone in the middle row, middle seat of an enourmous IMAX movie theater. She was wearing 3D glasses, an Incubus band tee, skinny jeans, and black Chuck Taylors, and had a small bucket of popcorn on her lap.

She was as cool as a cucumber. All Margot remembered was that she had waited a long time for this movie to hit theaters. She could finally relax, unwind, and focus entirely on the highly anticipated film.

A 3D animation began playing on the screen. The vantage point was behind a silver and metallic blue spaceship – more like a ‘space motorcycle,’ actually – mounted by a motocross-astronaut in a sleek, form fitting space suit, matching the metallic blue and silver of the vehicle. It shot out of a tunnel along with a dozen other racers onto an outer-space race track, resembling a sci-fi racing video game. The outer-space raceway had digital billboards along the way, displaying the usual PSA messages before the feature presentation started.

Green neon lights were mounted on an asteroid floating along the side that read:


The spaceship went through a long, upside down loop – a large blimp could be seen floating high above the outer space race track, displaying a digital marquee that read:


The spaceship bobbed and weaved down the track until it crossed the finish line in first place, just inches ahead of the other racing ships. Hundreds of tiny firefly-shaped drones formed into a floating banner above the finish line that read:



where dreams come from.

The screen faded to black.

Words in a plain white typewriter font appeared in the center of a black screen:

707 Productions 

The text faded, replaced by a quote in the same font:

 "Who does this ungrateful little bitch think she is?"
- Captain Séléné Baptiste
Director of Supernatural Intelligence, NSA.

The quote faded into black.

The song Monster by Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj began to play –

“IIIII’ll turn the lights out . . . hiiiiiide ’til it’s bright out . . . oooooh just another lonely night . . . are you willing to sacrifice your life….”

The song continued as the black screen faded into an overhead view of a vast, healthy green swath of forestland. The tops of trees and cloudless bright blue sky soon gave way to the modest, but beautiful skyline of Jinn City.

Jinn City’s skyline was minimal, but unique, featuring three landmark houses of worship:

One on far South end of the skyline was a church, on the far north end was a mosque, and a synagogue on the eastern end of the city stood in the center of the city’s silhouette. The three structures dwarfed all the other buildings in between. All three had sky piercing spires, erected to the exact same height. From these three towering houses of worship, a trident shape formed along the skyline.

The film title appeared in a modern style font, in blood red, and in all caps:


The scene cut to a view of Duševno Boulevard, one of the city’s main avenues.

The main title disappeared.

The date and location in the same font style quickly appeared and faded:



The date and location faded from the center of the screen.

It was a quiet, sunny afternoon on Duševno Boulevard, one of Jinn City’s main streets.

A younger looking Orlando Jackson came into the main view as he walked down the street.

He wore dark grey khakis, a black belt, black Prada sneakers with navy blue accents, and a navy blue school uniform polo with the letters ‘JCHS’ embroidered in a light grey on the top left. A pair of large, all-white, studio quality over-the-ear wireless headphones covered his ears completely. Monster was still playing in the background. Jackson had a totally different, more energetic, and happier demeanor.

Jackson stopped when he reached a small, kitchy storefront on Duševno Boulevard. He took a quick selfie with flash on to make sure that his eyes weren’t bright red, like they were before he faced an L on the way out of the house. He walked into the storefront.

It had a purple neon sign in the front window that read:

Miss Séléné

Psychic – Tarot Readings – Fortune –

Manbo – Vodou Priestess –

Jackson took his headphones off when he walked into the shop. Monster stopped playing in the background.

There was a mini foyer – kind of like the man trap in a jewelry store – with another front door to the immediate left. This door had a digital doorbell mounted on the left doorframe, about 4 feet high.


Jackson rang the bell. He had an odd look on his face when he heard the chime. It sounded eerily familiar. The door’s several heavy duty locks all began to click and clack while they all unlocked at the same time. The door opened inward.

There stood Captain Baptiste. But not really.

She answered the door wearing an elegant, but simple, traditional white dress, and had her wrists and neck covered in dozens of beaded bracelets and necklaces. Her silver locs were wrapped atop her head and covered by a plain white cloth head wrap, resembling a crown or headdress.

“Hello, my child,” she greeted Jackson.

Jackson was still way out there. The scent of incense emitted from the inside of the shop, giving Jackson’s high a second wind.

“Uh, hi, good morning, miss-“

“It’s three in the afternoon,” she cut him off, plainly.

“Oh, right, sorry. I’m looking for, uhh . . . Miss . . . Suhleen?”

She corrected him.”That’s Miss Séléné. Say it with me, child – Seh – leh – neh.”

Miss Seh-lah-ney,” Jackson repeated.

“Close enough,” Miss Séléné was like. “What can I do for you today, young man?”

“Can I do a fortune telling?” Jackson asked.

“Twenty dollars, cash or credit, for a half hour sitting,” Séléné replied plainly.

“Uh . . . okay.” Jackson said.

“Step right in. Shoes off, please. Leave your backpack at the door,” Miss Séléné instructed Jackson as she locked the front door. It took her several seconds longer to close the door than it did to open it, as she locked each lock, one by one.

“Right this way.” Miss Séléné led Jackson inside the store to an area sectioned off with floor-to-ceiling white curtains.

He pulled back one of the curtains and found several seat cushions surrounding a large metallic black obsidian basin, filled nearly to the top with water. Sticks of incense slowly burned throughout the sectioned off space.

“Please have a seat. Cross your legs, back straight, breathe slowly and deeply,” Miss Séléné guided Jackson.

Jackson got into a lotus pose on one of the seat cushions and began to take deep breaths.

Miss Séléné sat across from him. In her hands she had a white, metallic Zippo lighter, a fresh stick of incense, and a small glass vial sealed with cork, containing what looked like very fine, opaque salt, with a few grains of dried white rice mixed in.

“So, Mr. Jackson,” she said,”Quiet your mind’s eye. Maintain your breathing. Open your eyes and lean a bit forward.”

Jackson opened his eyes. “Wait. I didn’t tell you my name,” he replied.

Miss Séléné had a familiar-looking, sinister smile on her face.

“Well, that’s how you know I’m good at what I do, child. Keep your eyes on the most central, deepest point of the water in the basin, until I say so. Maintain your breathing. Set an intention and clear your mind.”

Intrigued as ever, Jackson calmly did as he was told. He tried to clear his mind, but could only think of how he was going to miss his best friend, Margot. They were days away from high school graduation, and that Autumn were set to head off to different colleges on opposite ends of the country – Jackson would be off to UCLA, Margot was headed to Yale.

Miss Séléné closed her eyes and began softly reciting an indecipherable language. She opened the white zippo lighter, lit the incense stick with it’s flame, and with her left hand, began slowly moving the incense in a counter-clockwise circle just above the rim of the basin. With her right had, she poured some of the ‘salt’ from the small glass vial into the water.

Ripples began to form in the middle of the basin. Her cantations grew a bit louder, yet still just a bit softer than a whisper.

“Long ago,” Miss Séléné said, in a familiar-sounding growl, “This world was better. Humanity was different.”

Jackson began to have a vision. Miss Séléné continued to narrate.

“Human beings respected life in all its forms. They took what they needed, and were taken as they were needed as well. All life moved in harmony with the source, and with one another.

In just a few seconds, Jackson saw an immeasurable number of scenes come and go of ancient peoples around the world throughout different eras of time. The environment around them looked, brighter, happier, healthier; plants and animals were abundant and thriving. No matter the era of time, the humans of the remote past had a vast respect for life on earth. They took only what was needed of wildlife, hunted sparingly, and had a strong, loving, spiritual energy amongst them. Jackson saw entire lost civilizations that had thrived for millenia, with superior technology to the modern day and a much better approach to living alongside nature.

Miss Séléné continued: “Balance. Peace, life, and death, for all beings were all maintained, and well aligned. A small, sacred society of the spiritually gifted humans – the shamans, protectors of this realm and bridge to the spirit world – the Children of the Moon, maintained the balance of the world, and watched over humanity, as one.

Jackson saw the spiritual leaders of the ancient world entering trances. They were all from different places, but the ritual was the same:

Scattered all around the world, these spiritual guardians would stare at the moon, all chanting the same prayer; it was the same language that Captain Baptiste / Miss Séléné and Margot had recited. Their eyes would turn completely black. They would begin levitating in a lotus pose for a few moments while feverishly reciting their spells. They would see a vision of the future, or begin travelling through an astral realm, and then slowly float back down to earth.

“One night on a bright, full moon, they all encountered a mysterious, deadly force. A dark, impenetrable fog, that only the shamans could see, swept across the world. The fog brought disease, madness, and death to all who breathed it in. There were many names, across many peoples and languages, given to this horrible curse, but they all translate to one thing: ‘black . . . air . . . force . . . energy.’

Jackson saw piles of dead bodies across the world in a lost, advanced, ancient era of humanity. Men, women, and children were thrown into mass graves. Ones who had not yet died were covered in hives, or behaving strangely, as if they were zombies, or possessed by an evil spirit. Above them was a bright, sunny sky, but through the eyes of the shamans he saw a horrifying, pitch black cloud covering the world as far as he can see, with bolts of lightning suddenly erupting within the deadly fog.

“The shamans tried to clear the skies with protective spells and rituals, but to no avail. The dark cloud affected all who breathed it in, and all who came too close those already affected. Black air force energy was as contagious as it was relentless. All in its path were destroyed.

Jackson saw the endless purge – black are force energy would surround its victims, penetrate their bodies through their mouth or nose, and leave them either dead, possessed, or dying and disfigured. Survivors would cover their faces, or even entire bodies to escape the invisible, deadly cloud, and avoided anyone who seemed to be affected. Brave ones who tended to the sick did not last long before they were also infected.

“The shamans of the earth communicated through their mind’s eyes. A last resort of defense was proposed: on the next full moon, they would combine their efforts all at once, and engage in spells to rid the world of black air force energy. Many of the shamans had already died of its effects. The remaining ones resolved to come together and fight.”

Jackson saw a full moon in a night sky, with millions of these spiritual protectors across the entire ancient world, levitating high in the air. A clear, opaque aura surrounded each shaman as they chanted their prayer in unison.

Each of the hovering spirit guardians began to strengthen and expand their forcefield, forming clear, opaque beams of light that connected one other. The light beams began connecting these spiritual warriors from greater and greater distances. Black air force energy began to lighten, and even fully dissipate when surrounded by the growing network of auric connections formed by the levitating mediums. The brave shamans looked like another layer of stars hovering in the night sky, eliminating a darkness only they could see.

The tides suddenly turned. In an instant, some of the opaque light beams and auric spheres disappeared. Thousands of these spiritual guardians began free falling, already dead before brutally crashing back down to earth.

Miss Selene went on: “Black air force energy had penetrated their defenses. Shamans began to fall, as if they were fireflies, swatted out of the sky. Others had a much worse fatethey were not killed, but infected and bewitched, while in their higher state of consciousness.”

Jackson saw a chaotic scene unfold – thousands of possessed shamanic warriors began to wreak havoc on their brothers and sisters.

“Their minds were corrupted, and their powers exploded with newfound strength and abilities. A battle ensued. Generations of spirit guardians were destroyed. The healthy ones could not compete – the violent, rogue shamans begot chaos, and could only be subdued when heavily outnumbered. Many on both sides were killed. The remaining unaffected ones had to retreat to protect themselves.”

“When the morning sun arrived, the possessed spirit guardians were back to normal, and did not recall anything from the night before. They were rounded up, restrained, and burned before nightfall by their own brothers and sisters. The common people then turned against the rest of the shamanic guides, torturing and killing them, seeing them as the purveyors of death and destruction. The remaining healthy shamans were forced into hiding, while trying to weed out the infected ones of their own kind.”

Jackson saw another time lapse throughout tens of thousands of years, progressing up to the present day. Miss Selene’s unreal-sounding voice continued:

“At the First Battle, this mysterious, malignant force was greatly weakened. Throughout human history it has grown and diminished again in strength – entire civilizations have been entirely wiped out by its effects, while others have grown immune, or resistant. Many of the ambitious and power hungry have tried to harness this force, only to be met with their own demise, or undoing. Though small in number, shamans plagued with black air force energy have remained as humanity’s most powerful, deadly, and unpredictable force. They are usually not aware of their gifts, until their curse presents itself. Some have been said to have been ‘cured,’ or ‘taught’ to harness their awesome powers while ridding themselves of ills of the disease. Others do not believe that this can be done, and vowed to vanquish the cursed shamans on sight. The fight goes on today against the ills of this black air force energy. The search for shamans, both healthy and afflicted, lies at the center of humanity’s survival. Every time the moon is at its brightest, the battle reignites.

Jackson’s view changed again.

He began to hear an airy, beautiful harmony of a song playing with magnificent acoustics; it was as if he were hearing the music live at a concert hall, or in a spacious night club. It was The Girl with the Tattoo, by Miguel:

“Those innocent eyes . . . that smile on your face makes it easy . . . to trust you . . . if they only knewww . . .”

He saw Margot. She was suspended in the air, hovering toward the ceiling of the Jinn City High School gym. The gym was fully decorated for prom; she was levitating so high that the gym’s large disco ball was rotating directly above her head. She was wearing the powder blue dress she had picked out a few weeks ago, but was covered in blood. Moonlight flooded the gym through it’s long, rectangular windows and reflected off of the disco ball, along with the DJ’s strobe lights, blue and white stage lighting, and other visual effects. Dozens of dead, mangled bodies were strewn across the dance floor, blood soaking their prom dresses and tuxedos. The lone survivor was Margot. Her eyes were fully black and her head was tilted upward, as she gazed directly at the disco ball above her. She smiled contently as the moonlight reflected from the disco ball directly into her view.

The song Girl With the Tattoo continued: “ . . . just don’t looose yourself along the wayyy . . .”

The disco ball began to shake, on its own. Margot gazed with sheer bliss into the hundreds of tiny glass pieces on the disco ball – it suddenly and violently dislodged from the ceiling and its wires, and now hovered directly in front of margot, a few inches away from the center of her chest.

Margot closed her eyes. The tiny glass pieces that surrounded the disco ball began to lift off of it, floating peacefully in the air around Margot as she levitated, forming a heavenly aura of bright, reflected moonlight around her.

“The girl with the tattoo . . . I used to know . . .” the song continued in the background.

Margot closed her eyes.

Fire alarms began blaring throughout the building. Several muted bangs could be heard coming from the cafeteria kitchen – directly below below the gym.

The building’s ceiling sprinkler system went off, but not a drop of water hit the floor. Margot remained levitating with her eyes closed and a Mona Lisa smile. The water released by the sprinkler systems formed a sheet of liquid water, floating above the gym ceiling.

Red and blue lights began flashing outside of the gym, visible through the gyms tall, rectangular windows. A cluster of police cruisers, vans, armored SWAT team trucks, fire trucks, and and ambulance surrounded the gym / cafeteria building. Dozens of car doors begin to open and closed. A helicopter was hovering in the distance, with a spot light shining along the perimeter of the gym/cafeteria.

Margot started slowly spinning, still airborne appearing to be in a euphoric state.

Every building window at Jinn City High school burst into small, jagged, shards of glass, all at once. The countless shards were suspended in the air.

Smoke bellowed out of the cafeteria’s broken windows. A hellish fire was now ablaze throughout the cafeteria, and was spreading quickly to the gym on the floor above.

Margot held both arms above her head, and pointed her toes downward. She started spinning a little faster, as if she were a ballerina. The disco ball shards began spinning, forming a rotating shield of tiny mirrors around her.

The sheet of sprinkler water hovering along the gym’s ceiling began to quickly separate. The water split up into six equal streams, each one shooting out of the gym’s long, broken windows, catching the floating glass shards with it’s sudden force. The streams of glass and water all shot towards the sky and combined into a massive, double-helix shape floating above the gym. The glass within the floating mixture reflected the strong beam of moonlight that illuminated the night sky. The floating water emitted a bright, opaque hue of refracted moon light off of the glass, capturing its power and energy were within it’s spinning double helix shape. First responders were taken aback. Many of them appeared to be stunned, maybe even mesmerized, by something that none of them had seen, or even imagined before. Unusual, terrifying, and unreal; but overall, it was a truly beautiful sight.

The mixture of water and glass slowly twisted and turned upward into the sky, as if it were a snake, dancing to the flute of a snake charmer. Like an airborne school of fish, the stream of glass and water quickly changed directions and completely engulfed the police helicopter above. The glass and water was now a violent cloud, enveloping the helicopter, sending thousands of pieces of glass and thick streams of water shooting into the engines powering its blades. The blades of the aircraft slowed and sparked electricity. The helicopter swayed to the left and begin to lose altitude. It began to free fall in a tailspin, before crashing along with water and glass directly onto the rooftop of the main classroom building of the school’s campus, exploding on impact. A nasty fire erupted in its wake.



The first responders at the scene were frantic, scrambling for shelter and calling for backup on their radios.

Margot was still twirling in mid-air over the gym. The hardwood floorboards began caving in, giving way to the deadly fire rising from the cafeteria below. Piles of promgoers’ bodies began sliding into the gaps of the gym’s floor, falling into the cafeteria, burning along with everything else. The smell of charred human flesh began to permeate the area.

Margot hovered out of the gym along with the disco ball’s mirrored glass that orbited around her through one of the long, broken windows, and floated upwards.

Margot was floating high above Jinn City High School. She suddenly stopped spinning. She breathed deeply gazed at the moon, while chanting a prayer in the ancient shamanic language.

All of the debris from the helicopter, broken glass, and gushing sprinkler water from across the entire school campus merged above her and slowly turned, counterclockwise. The horrifying mass resembled a powerful tornado. the dark, ghastly spiral suddenly shot up toward the sky until it was out of sight.

A few seconds passed. Law enforcement on the ground were shouting out conflicting orders to each other of whether to take cover or fire at the blood-soaked, floating girl in the sky.

Guns erupted. Bullets were shot toward Margot, but curved directly upward and flew into the air above her when they got close.

A few moments later, a monsoon of sprinkler water, filled with broken glass, debris from the school’s roof, helicopter blades – everything that was just in a massive spiral above Margot – came crashing down.

Screams of anguish followed. Dozens of first responders were hit and killed by the falling wreckage. Bullets fell from the sky with the same velocity as they had been fired. The gym’s roof caved in. The flames eating away at the school’s buildings intensified. Margot laughed maniacally to herself in mid air as death literally rained from the sky.

Jackson’s vision changed. He saw another time lapse – snippets of Margot and himself after high school. Graduation was cancelled. Jinn City made international news. A memorial was erected to those who died. Margot woke up in a psychiatric hospital, chained to her bed. Jackson saw himself at his father’s funeral, holding a folded American flag as hundreds of uniformed police officers saluted his coffin. A 21 gun salute sounded off. He saw Margot walking up to his door in giant, boxy sunglasses, again and again. He saw himself in distress – crying, burying his face in his hands every night, smoking cannabis constantly to numb his emotions. He saw himself, dying, at Margot’s possessed hands.

At last, he saw a middle-aged Margot. She was floating in a lotus pose with her eyes closed, wearing a glistening, silvery robe. She was part of a circle around a bonfire of a dozen others, floating just like her, wearing the same garb; a much older-looking Miss Selene / Captain Baptiste was amongst the circle of floating shamans in a lotus pose. They were in the same exact spot where he would die – their usual smoke spot in Rondspoken Park, near the baseball fields and tennis courts – in the dead of night. “Jackson . . . Jackson . . . Jackson, Jackson . . . Jackson . . .” he heard the whispers of everyone in the circle, calling his name. Margot’s eyes opened. She looked directly at him.

Everything faded to black.

A strong, comforting sense of peace and reassurance came along with the last scene of his vision. Jackson now found himself in a dark, empty space. He again heard the voice of Miss Selene:

As you see, my child,” she said, “Your friend is one of the ‘powerfully cursed’. She is of the rare bloodline and spirit of a shaman with black air force energy. She knows not of her power.

“But . . . this doesn’t make any sense,” Jackson’s voice echoed throughout the void as he replied to Miss Selene. “None of this magic shit is real. And prom is still a few weeks away – and we’re not staying in Jinn City – we’re going to different colleges in the fall-“

I, am the fortune teller here, young man,” Miss Selene affirmed. “Make no mistake – these times will come. Whilst you are not a shaman, you are charged with a sacred, important duty – you will be her lifeline, her confidant, her best friend, her bridge toward harnessing her abilities, and using them to better the world. You will be, as the ancients called, her EY-WUN.”

“Are you deadass?! So let me get this straight. . . I’m her ‘A1,’ and she got ‘black air force energy’. . . you sure you’re not just taking my money and making this shit up while scrolling through Black Twitter?”

Miss Selene laughed heartily in response.

And if I just don’t buy any of this and go on with my life, then what?” Jackson was like.

“You will only recall what you need to, when you need to, of these visions. You will largely forget and dismiss them, for now. When the time arrives, your actions will forge an important path. She will need your help until you die by her own hands. If you do not rise to your duty, not only will you die in vain, but your friend will wreak havoc until will she is hunted down and killed by those who do not believe she is worth saving, and will suffer immensely along the way.”

“What the fuck, lady?! I don’t believe any of this!” Jackson yelled into the void.

“. . . says the boy in the middle of an astral vision of the future, drooling on himself in a vodou priestess’ shop . . .” Miss Séléné replied, while laughing at him. Jackson looked terribly confused. She continued to laugh heartily, echoing into the void.


Miss Selene’s iPhone alarm rang.

Jackson returned back to the present moment. He looked down and saw drool on his shirt.

“Well, that’s our time. Here you go,” Miss Selene handed him a business card and a tissue.

“Come back again sometime! Please leave me a good review on Yelp!” Miss Séléné said.

By the time Jackson put his shoes on, grabbed his backpack, and left Miss Séléné’s shop, he could barely remember anything from the fortune telling session.

His phone buzzed on his way out. It was a text from Margot.


3:33 PM

Margot: Bro last call if you want to be in our limo for prom! Btw I know it’s stupid but we’re all wearing baby blue. Same as the dress I picked. Lmk today if anything.

In an instant, a flash of memories ran through Jackson’s mind – he re-experienced the horrific scene of their upcoming prom night. Another glimpse he hadn’t seen before came to him – he saw his father, fall to the ground outside of the gym, with glass and metal sticking out of his back.

He blinked back tears, wishing that he had never set foot into Miss Séléné’s shop. He took a deep breath, and texted back:

Jackson: I told you I’m not going to prom bro.. nothing against y’all I just think this whole prom shit is corny

Margot: Laaammmeee. Fine. I tried lol

Margot: Let’s smoke one after

Jackson: I got u

Margot: Did you do the fortune telling thing? How’d it go?

Margot: Weirdo

Just as quickly, Jackson drew a blank. He had forgotten the vision of prom night that he had just seen. It faded away in an instant, like a dream soon after waking up.

Jackson: I forgot most of it already tbh. It had something to do with A1 steak sauce and a pair of NIkes. Black Air Force 1s, I think.

Margot: What a ripoff.

Margot: Maybe next time don’t go in there while you’re fkin stoned bro. lmao

The movie screen Margot was watching all of this on faded to black. A single word appeared:


She looked down at her bag of popcorn, it was empty.

Margot found herself back in the hospital, sitting on the same bed, in the same room, face to face once again with Captain Baptiste. Her hospital gown no longer restrained her. She felt no pain nor had any signs of injuries from her fight with the Captain moments earlier.

Captain Baptiste’s eyes were back to normal. She spoke with a kinder, almost motherly tone:

“So. What Agent Banks had meant to say was this: you are a shaman, affected by black air force energy. You are among the most powerful beings on Earth. I think you’re worth helping, mentoring, but most people in this world do not agree with me . . . if I hadn’t been cared for in the same way, my black air force energy would have gotten me killed, too.”

Margot blinked back tears. Her adrenaline had subsided.

“At the gas station, you willingly activated your powers to defend yourself. That’s impressive,” The Captain sighed, and continued: “You also caused immense destruction and took dozens of people to their deaths. Again.”

“This is not an easy path, my dear. But if you don’t work with us – with me, really – to control your powers, our enemies will find you, and kill you.”

“Who are my . . . our enemies, exactly?” Margot asked.

“The real question, Ms. Posseduto, is ‘who are our friends?'” Captain Baptiste responded.

“Think about it. Religions. Governments. Superstitions. People. Most people are afraid of people like us, and want us gone. The only friends we have our each other; people like us – the Children of the Moon. Not even all of our own kind thinks that we ‘powerfully cursed’ are worth the risk, and would rather stand by and watch us get wiped out . . . or even hunt us down themselves.”

“Do you understand, now, my child?” The Captain asked Margot.

“Yeah . . . I do,” she calmly replied. “I’m down. Let’s do it.”

“Good,” the Captain was like. “Get some rest, now. After that, we’ll get started. We have a lot of work to do.”

Margot quietly nodded. After the ‘film’ she had just seen, she felt a new sense of trust toward the Captain, in place of where her immense anger had been.

“One other thing, though,” Captain Baptiste added, “I’ve been working on my anger management lately. . . but if you ever spit on me again, I’ll beat ya mothafuckin’ ass, and I won’t heal your injuries afterwards next time, neither. Do you understand, Ms. Posseduto?”

“Call me Margot . . . bitch.” she retorted, with a rebellious half-smile.

The Captain laughed out loud.

Oooh this is going to be so much fun! Okay, Margot. I guess the baby really needs a nap. We start tomorrow!” Captain Baptiste said, excited as ever.

“What time, tomorrow?” Margot asked.

“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll know.” Captain Baptiste replied with the same grin Margot had on. She held up her hand and snapped her fingers again.


(to be continued. . . )

Moon Shot – Part 3

Three weeks before the death of Orlando Jackson…

A breezy early autumn morning sat gently, moving at a near still pace.

A soothing silence blanketed the suburban sprawl of Coven County, giving way only to a hint of a whistle of the winds gusting through the balding trees.


Jackson opened the front door in a tank top, basketball shorts, and a durag on, wrapped in an old black robe that had gradually lightened into a dark grey discoloration. Margot was on the other side wearing a faded, oversized dark grey hoodie, with Jinn City HS Class of 2018 written in all capital varsity font letters on the front. Her hair was in a bun, and half of her face was covered by a pair of oversized sunglasses, the ones that they give you at the the ophthalmologist on your way out after dilating your pupils.

Jackson stared blankly at Margot.

“You know I’m a vampire, right?” Margot asked.

“Like you don’t already live here,” Jackson responded as he pointed his head toward his living room, inviting her in.

Margot took a long, intimate look around the Jacksons’ home. The TV, and most of the furniture and appliances were only a few years old since they remodeled a few years back. The walls, staircase, framed pictures, and an aged shoe rack were a time capsule to their youth. She kept her boxy sunglasses on.

She took her shoes off in the foyer, planting them in their usual spot on the top right of the Jacksons’ shoe rack.

“Ch’been up to?” Margot asked.

“Shit,” Jackson brought down a box of Cocoa Puffs from one of the kitchen cabinets and started pouring cereal into two plastic bowls.

The usual ambient exchange followed – a cereal box closing; milk pouring; a fridge door closing as Jackson put it all together; metal clinking as Margot pulled two spoons out of the silverware drawer.

“Outside?” Jackson prompted Margot.

“Mhm,” Margot was already walking toward the sliding glass door that led to the deck and backyard. She slid it open and was greeted with the rich aromas of incense and cannabis as she walked through.

Jackson carried both bowls of Cocoa Puffs out to the porch.

Margot was already on her favorite deck chair, cutting open a Philly blunt.

“No time wasted, eh?” Jackson was like.

“I just came from the eye doctor,” Margot answered.

Jackson’s smile vanished.

“How long was the uh. . . appointment?”

“Just a couple of days, this time,” Margot said slowly while turning Jackson’s grinder – a small, circular one with a metallic, psychedelic rainbow color gradient.

“Did they treat you alright?”

“Yeah. They know me now. Got the leaf?” she asked.

“Yeah, one sec.” Jackson walked back inside toward the kitchen.

Margot briefly took off her thick, protective sunglasses. She immediately shielded her eyes – the mild autumn sun was far too bright for her. She had small wells of tears in her eyes, which she quickly wiped with the inside of her sleeve.

She slowly directed her gaze further and further up, pushing closer to the sun in an attempt to ween herself off of needing to wear her cartoonishly big, ultra dark shades.

“You good?” Jackson asked Margot as he slid open the glass door. He had come back with what looked like a snack-sized ziploc bag of leathery, brown flakes.

“No.” Margot said. “But it’s okay.”

The mood was mellow as Jackson passed the bag to Margot. She grabbed a small amount of the brown flakes and casually cascaded them into the Philly blunt, mixing them in with the crushed weed.

“I’m sorry,” Margot was like, “It’s just been, like . . .”

“Don’t worry about it.” Jackson reassured her. “I’m chillin’, you’re chillin’. We’re chillin‘.”

Margot started to seal her a perfectly rolled Philly with brief spurts of her lighter’s flame.

“Catch, stupid!” Jackson took a pull of his Elder Wand pen and lobbed it high in the air to Margot. She caught it effortlessly with just two fingers.

Jackson raised his eyebrows and nodded slowly, in low-key astonishment.

“Oh word?! Still got those frisbee sklils, huh?”Jackson asked while he let out a plume of cannabis vapor into the brisk Autumn morning air.

“Comes in handy. It’s a solid T.S.S.,” Margot replied.

She examined her high quality spliff while puffing on the Elder Wand, hands free.


“T.S.S.? Transferable Stoner Skill. Duh. Like how Snoop Dogg is great at rolling sushi,” Margot explained.

“No way,” Jackson said, swishing around his bowl of Cocoa Puffs.

“Google it. And do the honors, too.” Margot wiggled her freshly rolled blunt between her index and middle finger.

Margot and Jackson stretched out from the beat up deck chairs they were perched in, and just barely met each other in the middle, with enough reach for Margot to pass the blunt.

Wait wait wait wait hold on,” Jackson had an epiphany. “Let me pass it back to you, but we need take a picture of our hands, though.”

“So artsy.” said Margot, in between scoops of Cocoas Puffs and a light pull from the Elder Wand.

“Nah check it out, ‘cuz when we passed the blunt like that it looks like that old painting – “

Margot gasped, “Oh my god! The Sistine Chapel!”

“Yoooooooooooo!” They both exclaimed and harmonized together in sheer awe.

“Hold on,” Jackson nearly jumped out of the deck chair with his phone in one hand and the spliff in the other. The wind turned his old robe into a cape as he opened his phone’s camera app and leaned it against the wall next to the sliding glass doors. He set a a 10 second timer on the front facing camera.

“Let’s do it,” Margot said, more excited than she had been all day.

“Ready? I’m gonna set the timer.” Jackson touched the white circle on the bottom center of the camera app, and flew back into the deck hair. His phone’s screen began a countdown from 10, displaying large numbers with the tick of each second.

10, 9, 8 . . .

Margot tossed him the lighter. Jackson quickly ignited the lighter’s flame and held it up to Margot’s top tier blunt for the inaugural first few puffs –

7, 6, 5 . . .

He reached his hand out to hers like before, just in time for his phone to take the photo.

4, 3, 2, 1. . .

“Hold on one sec, it’s a long exposure!” Jackson was like.

“You’re ridiculous,” Margot was laughing for the first time in weeks as she held her hand in place to complete the scenic shot.

Jackson ran back over just as quickly to his phone.

“Ohhh my goddd bro,” he reacted with wide eyes to their freshly minted work of art.

“Lemme see lemme see!” Margot was like, while taking a pull from the freshly lit Philly.

Jackson showed her his phone’s screen.

Margot’s jaw dropped. She took off her protective shades.

“Yoooooooooooo . . .” They harmonized again, together.

They reveled in their photographic masterpiece – a recreation of the Sistine Chapel’s famous scene of God and Adam nearly touching hands, only it was Jackson’s outstretched hand, passing the Philly blunt to Margot.

“This is fucking magnificent,” Margot slowly, flatly proclaimed.

“This should be like . . . at the MoMA,” Jackson added. He was fighting back a huge smile. He was happy to take such a cool picture, but was thrilled to make Margot feel better.

Margot slowly held out the blunt to Jackson, her eyes still locked on Jackson’s phone’s screen.

“We’re running out of options for you, Ms. Posseduto,” Jackson said.

“Wait, huh? What options? ” Margot looked at Jackson, confused.

She dropped the blunt. Her face went pale with fear.

Jackson was looking directly at Margot with fully blacked out eyes. The left side of his head was battered and bloody. His demeanor and appearance had suddenly changed. Margot was in shock, eyes locked with Jackson, unable to move.

“I know you’re not exactly happy to see me,” Jackson said in what sounded like a mix of several different voices, harmonizing together. Everything went black.

Margot awakened, suddenly – she sat up out of a small hospital bed, surrounded by plain, white walls in a small, brightly lit room.

There was a small surveillance camera in the far corner of the ceiling, opposite her bed. In that same corner was the only door to the room, which looked to be made of heavy, reinforced metal with a long, narrow, rectangular window, fitted with thick glass.

Margot caught her breath while realizing her surroundings.

She was wearing only a hospital gown under the bed’s plain white sheets. She slowed her breathing down and turned to the side, letting her legs hang off the bed. There were several bandages on her face, neck, arms, and legs.

After the first few moments, she looked around a bit more and just sighed. Margot wished she could have gone back into the nightmare she just arose from, just to keep reliving the last time she got to spend a day hanging out with Jackson.

She seemed to be more disappointed rather than afraid. This wasn’t her first trip to this place – ‘the eye doctor’s office,’ as she had grown accustomed to calling it.

“I know you’re listening. And watching.” Margot said. “Why don’t you let yourself in and stop being such a creep?”

The camera in the corner of the room fed a live stream of Margot’s room to a large, wall-mounted monitor in what looked like some kind of war room or command center.

Several people in blue, grey, and black camouflage military uniforms with call center headsets on sat at computer stations with 2-3 monitors each. Satellite imagery of the Jinn City metropolitan area was on display at one of the workstations; another had each screen with a different network news channel on display, covering a breaking news story described as “DEADLY GAS STATION EXPLOSION IN COVEN COUNTY.”

Another large screen in the brightly lit command center had videos from 16 different surveillance cameras displayed on a 4 x 4 grid. The footage appeared to be from a mix of cameras near either Rondspoken Park or the Shell Gas Station. Each video on the grid showed a glimpse of Margot – hitting tennis balls, making Carlos levitate, walking toward the tennis courts. etc.

A tall, burly, bald white man in a black suit stood in the center of the room, slowly sipping on a small, disposable cup of coffee – it was the classic blue and white Greek coffee cup with “WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU” displayed in gold letters.

A thin, tall, middle aged black woman in a grey suit with greying, shoulder length locs walked over to the man and calmly stood by his side, her eyes also fixed on the main surveillance monitor showing Margot in real time.

“She’s right, you know,” she said to the man.

He sighed. “I apologize. I tried reaching out to her again as you had asked -“

“Save it. Go in there and figure this out. Now,” the woman in the grey suit said, firmly.

“Captain, with all due respect, you know she’s not going to like wha-“

“Agent Banks, this is an order, not a discussion. You made this mess. Your team, or what’s left of them, made it even worse, and now you will clean things up. Present Ms. Posseduto with her options. We’re running out of time.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Agent Banks said, without a hint of emotion.

“Yes, who?” the Captain replied, eyebrows raised.

Agent Banks quickly cleared his throat.

“Yes, Captain Baptiste.”

“One more thing,” Captain Baptiste asked, “Did you bring me one of those, too?” she asked, quickly glancing at Agent Banks’ cup of coffee.

“Of course, Captain, one second, please,” Agent Banks walked over to his workstation. There was a single cup of coffee in the same kind of blue, disposable cup under a heat lamp. A post it on his desk was pasted next to the heat lamp that read in black sharpie – “FOR CAPTAIN BAPTISTE – DO NOT TOUCH!!”

Agent Banks brought the cup of coffee over to the Captain. She opened the disposable lid and took a sip. Agent Banks wiped the sweat from his brow as discreetly as he could.

Why thank you, Agent Banks,” Captain Baptiste said, smirking. “You do know how to make the perfect cup of coffee.”

“Thank you, Cap-“

“It’s the only reason I haven’t killed you yet,” Captain Baptiste cut him off with a nonchalant death threat and chuckled a bit to herself.

She took another sip. Agent Banks was about to walk away when she cleared her throat.

“Look at me, Agent Banks,” she ordered.

The Captain’s eyes met Agent Banks’. She blinked once; her eyes turned fully black.

A sudden, cold breeze swept through the command center. The entire room felt the sudden chill come from where Banks and Baptiste were standing and acted accordingly. A wave of fear had washed over the room. No one dared to look in Captain Baptiste’s direction.

Get the job done,” a harsh growl of a voice filled Agent Banks’ mind. The voice harmonized with Captain Baptiste’s regular voice as she spoke the same words to him out loud. “You know why I am in charge here. We are on a mission, and I’ve been more than generous with your failures. I will not ask you again.”

She blinked again, and her eyes returned to their usual elegant greyish blue hue.

“Are we clear?” She asked, no longer in his head.

“Y-yes, Captain Baptiste. Loud and clear,” Banks replied like a new recruit responding to a drill sergeant.

“I’ll buzz you in now. Let’s go,” the Captain said.

Agent Banks nodded, put on a sleek pair of sunglasses from his suit’s inner pocket, and left the command center.


The loud, industrial noise emitted from the door of Margot’s room. Her head turned quickly. Agent Banks stepped inside and cut to the chase.

“We’re running out of options for you, Ms. Posseduto,” Agent Banks said. “I know you’re not exactly happy to see me.”

Margot instantly recognized these words as the last thing she heard Jackson say in her dream. Hearing them again from Agent Banks hit a nerve.

“You think I’m not happy to see you? I’m thrilled,” she responded, “All of these ‘treatments’ have worked great so far, haven’t they?”

“A new medication will be available shortly.” Agent Banks stated plainly.

“If I could look at the moon right now I’d do it just so I can snap your fucking neck,” Margot said in a vicious monotone.

Agent Banks continued, “You will be in our custody until further notice-“

Margot interjected “And while I’m here I’m going to do what I can to make your life a living hell. Just returning the favor.”

Banks went on, as if reading from a script, “You will have no contact with anyone while in our custody, and will be on strict surveillance if or when you are released. We have a few options I will explain now on how to move forward, you must choose one based on-”

“Eat a dick,” Margot said, flatly.

“Ms. Posseduto, I hope you understand the seriousness-“


Margot jumped off the hospital bed and flipped the mattress over in Agent Banks’ direction.

“You think I don’t ‘understand the SERIOUSNESS’?! It’s been four fucking years now! I just KILLED dozens of people, including my BEST FRIEND because of this stupid disease or whatever you want to call it -“

“Please, calm down-”

Get control of the situation,” Captain Baptiste telepathed to Agent Banks, “Or should I step in for you?”

“Oh yeah, I should just CALM DOWN, not a BIG FUCKING DEAL at all, huh?”

“No, that’s not necessary,” Agent Banks said out loud, in response to Captain Baptiste.

“They said this stupid fucking program would help! They said ‘tHe BeSt aNd BrIgHtEsT’ were going to figure this out! Another medication?! For real?!” Margot had had enough.

I think you need to take a break,” Captain Baptiste telepathed to Agent Banks. “I’ll take it from here.”

“She cannot be reasoned with, Captain!” Agent Banks blurted out.

Margot’s face scrunched in confusion.

“Are you wearing a wire, dude?! Who are you talking to?!” Margot asked.

“Captain, please reconsider!” Agent Banks pleaded, as his head began to twitch involuntary.

“Ohh my god what the fuck is happening. . . can I speak to your manager, Agent Jackass?”

She’ll be right out,” Captain Baptiste responded in a demonic voice, through a possessed Agent Banks. His body levitated a few inches above the floor.

Margot’s jaw dropped.

Agent Banks flew full speed into the industrial strength door.

Margot started screaming.

Agent Banks flew violently into the reinforced door over and over for about 10 seconds.

“STOP IT!” Margot yelled in distress.

His body stayed pressed up against the steel door for a moment, while his mangled, trembling right hand reached for the door handle.

Oops,” Agent Banks said, via Captain Baptiste’s possessed, raspy growl.

Agent Banks’ suspended, battered body pushed the door open and fell forward with a heavy thud, leaving one foot lodged between the door and it’s frame.

Captain Baptiste walked in, stepping over Agent Banks. She nudged his foot out of the way of the door, and let it close behind her.

“Who are you?! What the hell was that?!”

“I’m the Captain,” she replied, coolly.

“I didn’t do that to him. That wasn’t me, I swear!” said Margot. “It happens when I look at the moon, I don’t even know-“

“Relax, baby, I know you didn’t do this,” Captain Baptiste grinned. “I did.”

Moon Shot – Part 2

A brisk, foggy morning followed.

A scruffy, tired-looking young man parked his dark blue Prius behind an old, beat up Shell gas station. It was nestled off the side of a lonely road between Jinn City and Rondspoken Park.

He unlocked the front door of the gas station’s small, dusty convenience store and let himself in.


The familiar digital bell sound chimed as the front door opened forward. He put on an aged nametag underneath the cash register that read ‘Carlos – Member since 2018’.

He clocked in on an analog punch card machine that was likely twice his age. He turned on the laptop screen-sized TV at the corner of the cashier’s counter, along with the lights.

The familiar sound of NBC’s morning news filled the background from the TV’s faint, half broken internal speakers. The TV was a boxy, small HD screen that looked at least a decade old, with a few small sections of dead pixels and a digital antenna attached. NBC was the only free channel that had decent reception.

He began brewing the day’s first batch of coffee while listening to the news from a distance.

“The body of a young man was found this morning by the baseball fields in Rondspoken Park. The man was identified as 22 year old Orlando Jackson of Jinn City. He was pronounced dead at the scene, with apparent blunt force trauma wounds to the head.

Coven County Police discovered the body while responding to several calls from nearby residents after dozens of tennis balls had reportedly been hit from the park’s baseball fields, landing on their property . . .”

Carlos loved the smell of coffee in the morning. He poured a cup of extra-thick black coffee into a large to go cup and wrapped his hands around it, letting his digits recover from the sharp, cold winds of the early October morning.

Carlos sat back in the creaky rolling chair behind the counter. He didn’t mind the early morning gig – it was a great time to catch up on his latest manga, or games on his Switch.

He gazed peacefully toward the rising sun, past the weathered roof over the gas pumps. He found it ironic that the ‘S’ in ‘Shell’ was the only letter that didn’t light up anymore.

“I told ’em smokin’ all that reefer was bad news!” said an older woman, distraught, sobbing on TV. The caption underneath read Maria Jackson, Mother of Victim.

“This is the third homicide investigation in Coven County since the beginning of October, all involving young adults as victims. Police are urging the public to come forward with any information regarding this tragedy via the Call Our Police Departments, Give Anonymous Facts national tip hotline, at 1-888-COPDGAF.”

Carlos let out a weak sigh, followed by a much stronger yawn. He sipped on his cup of coffee, indifferent to the cryptic local news as well as the rest of the world around him. He began nodding out in the rolling chair behind the counter.

Carlos was startled awake, finding himself in a completely different place. The chair where he once sat on was now an old, warped bench, between two baseball fields.

He knew where he was – the same area of Rondspoken Park where that murder took place, the one that was just on the news. It was the early evening; the moon shined brightly opposite the setting sun.

There was no one else within sight. Carlos felt his pockets for his phone, keys, and wallet, but found nothing. He felt as if he was gliding more than walking as he he looked around, trying to make sense of his new surroundings.


He heard a faint sound toward the tennis courts nearby – it was a digital door chime, similar to the one on the door to the gas station’s convenience store.

Carlos moved toward the sound at a speed quicker than normal walking or running speed – almost as if he was fast forwarding his surroundings to get to where he wanted to go.


The door chime rang again. Carlos found himself in front of a pair of automatic, floor-to- ceiling glass doors leading into a building. Above the doors read the words Rondspoken Park Tennis Center.

He moved forward into the building’s lobby, a small, but well-kept foyer with marble floors, a trophy case on the left, a vacant reception desk, and a hallway on the right that led further into the building.

Carlos heard the faintest hint of a young woman’s voice coming from down the hallway. He began to move toward wherever the voice was coming from. He found himself suddenly in a janitor’s closet. He moved further toward the voice, and in an instant found himself in the men’s locker room. Carlos was shocked at his newfound ability to go through the building’s walls.

“Helloooo?!” He heard the voice again, louder and clearer, and was able to make a beeline toward it, defying physics along the way.

“Anybody!?” the young woman’s voice called out again. Carlos found himself in an entirely empty row of tennis courts, except for a young woman who was hyperventilating and holding a black baseball bat.

“Stop!” She said, toward his direction.

“Can you see me?” Carlos said, somehow speaking without moving his mouth.

“Get out of my fucking head!” the young woman yelled.

“Not again! Not a-fucking-gain!” she hollered.

Carlos saw a black cloud-like substance surrounding the young woman.

She didn’t seem to notice Carlos or actually see the shadowy air that surrounded her. She began swinging the bat wildly, as if she were trying to defend herself from someone.

Carlos moved toward, and then into the dark cloud that seemed to be attacking the young woman.

He heard a faint array of whispers, in a language he didn’t understand. The cloud began thinning out as the stranger whispers grew louder.

You will regret thisssss . . . .” this was the last thing whispered by the strange voice, and the only thing Carlos actually understood.

The young woman gasped deeply.


Carlos was jolted awake by the sound of the gas station’s door chime, nearly falling out of his seat.

Still in the rolling chair behind the gas station’s cash register, Carlos looked around, startled.

He felt around his pockets for his keys, wallet, and phone, and had them all. He breathed a sigh of relief.

He looked at the time on the bottom right corner of the news on the old TV – 7:07 am.

He had only been asleep for about 15 minutes or so.

Carlos did a quick scan of the tiny convenience store and felt a bit uneasy. He found it odd that he was woken up by the doorbell chime. Throughout the four years he had worked at the Shell gas station, the little shop’s door chime had never rang on its own. It was a motion sensor doorbell – it only rang when someone came in.


It rang again, on its own.

Carlos felt a cold sweat begin to run down his neck. He looked down at the shelf below the cash register, making sure that the store’s old shotgun was still there, within arms reach.

He heard a faint whisper. It sounded just like the one in his dream. He slowly rose from his seat, with the store’s shotgun in hand.


The doorbell chime rang again.

Carlos screamed. Another doorbell chime without another person in sight. He quickly reached for the box of live rounds on the same shelf below the register – loading the double barreled vintage shotgun with two rounds. He hadn’t He hadn’t had a nightmare like that, nor handled a firearm with live rounds in years – not since the night of the unspeakable tragedy that shook Jinn City.


This time the chime was triggered by Carlos as he stepped outside, eyes wide, shotgun at the ready.

“Who’s there?!” His voice echoed into the dense fog and woods surrounding the gas station.

There was no answer, apart from the whistling winds that Coven County was known for.

He kept his head on a swivel, then took a moment to catch his breath.

His heartrate fell back into a normal rhythm after a minute or two.

Carlos let out a sigh of relief and went back inside.


He let himself back into the gas station’s convenience store, glad to hear the chime sound when he came back in.

A few uneventful hours went by. Carlos was used to the silence of the secluded gas station.

He stepped outside again toward the late morning, lighting a joint he had clipped in his car. He blew the smoke away toward the woods, away from the gas station.

Carlos leaned against his blue Prius, exhaling a mild indica into the dense fog, shaking off the nerves from a very weird early morning.

As he was walking back around to the front of the gas station he was surprised to see a customer waiting for him – a faded, black Camry, with old, orange-amber-colored headlights was parked at one of the gas pumps.

Carlos found it a bit strange that he didn’t hear a single sound of the car coming off of the road into the station; it was as if the car had appeared out of thin air.

A young woman stepped out of the driver’s seat – the same woman from his nightmare earlier in the day. She looked like she’d been through hell.

Carlos didn’t know what to say to her. Her hair was wild and unkempt. There was a mix of dirt and bloodstains on her clothes.

“A-Are you okay?” Carlos asked her, assuming she might need medical attention.

She locked her fully jet black eyes with his.

“I’m doing just just just just fine fine fine fine…” Carlos heard her say with an echo.

Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Din-

The doorbell chime went berserk.

The young woman’s head began tilting, twitching unnaturally, her eyes blinking faster than Carlos had ever seen.

Carlos felt himself stuck, unable to move at all. His vision and hearing began to fade.

Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Don

The doorbell chime was ringing non-stop, the front door waving back and forth, slamming violently into it’s frame. The lights inside the convenience store flickered in sync with how quickly the young woman’s eyes blinked.

You you you might might want want want want to to get get get that that that door door door door door door fixed fixed fi…..” Carlos heard the young woman’s voice echo with each word as her twitches and blinking intensified.

CRASH. The last thing Carlos heard was the muffled sound of glass shattering.

His vision went completely dark. He stood silently, almost as still as a statue. He shook subtly, as if a faint vibration ran through him.

You’re cute. What a shame.” Carlos heard nothing from the outside world, but had the young woman’s voice permeate his consciousness, like a thought planted into his mind.

LOOK AT ME!” the young woman commanded him, telepathically.

Suddenly, he could see again. He was kneeling in front her, still deaf and paralyzed.

She had a magic wand shaped vape in her mouth. She looked toward the sky. Her mouth began moving. The cryptic whispers from earlier that morning entered his mind.

The young woman’s eyes grew even darker. Small veins surrounding her eye sockets grew dark under her increasingly pale skin. The bags under her eyes turned a faint shade of red.

She took a long pull from the vape, leaned in close, and exhaled slowly, right into Carlos’ face.

You were almost her knight in shining armor . . . oh well . . .” another thought entered Carlos’ mind.

Her eyes looked as if they were bulging out of their sockets. The dark veins surrounding her eyes made it look like she had two huge spiders where her eyes should be.

She gazed into his unmoving eyes. She flicked her gaze downward for second. Carlos’ head immediately followed – his head turned immediately toward the ground.

You got a permit for this thing?” the young woman asked Carlos telepathically.

His head turned back up toward her again – she was holding the shotgun now with one hand and the magic wand vape in another.

She lifted the shotgun slowly with one outstretched arm, toward the sky. Carlos’ body moved with her arm, levitating into the air. His face remained parallel to the firearm, keeping the middle of his forehead parallel with the end of the dual barrels.

The shotgun cocked on its own.

The young woman took another pull of the vape and blew it upward toward him. Carlos’ vision was forced downward as he levitated above her, staring directly down the barrels of the shotgun.

“I told you that you would regret this . . . you should have stayed out of my way.”

Strong winds swirled around them. Carlos’ vision went blank again.



It was nearly sundown. Margot woke up with a violently deep breath.

She found herself laying on the pavement of a gas station, covered in dirt, gravel, and what looked like bloodstains all over her face, hands and clothes. She had no idea where she was, or how she got there – she last remembered calling and texting her best friend, Jackson, before completely blacking out.

She looked around and saw a complete disaster – broken glass everywhere, a shotgun a few feet away from her; she saw Jackson’s car, but no sign of him anywhere.

A dead man lay not too far from the shotgun, in a pool of blood; his face had been completely decimated.

She began bawling and screaming at the top of her lungs, completely in shock; she had promised herself the last time that this would never happen again.

After a moment or two, Margot heard her phone going off boisterously in Jackson’s car with an emergency alert. She lifted herself up and slowly limped over to the car, wiping dust and gravel off along the way.

She weakly opened the door to the driver’s seat and saw her phone in the center cupholder, vibrating and ringing vigorously with the emergency alert sound. There was a message on her phone – “ANSWER NOW” in all caps.

She touched the OK button on the alert, still breathing heavily, wiping tears and blood off of her face.

She knew the protocol already – once she pressed OK on the alert, her phone’s controls were disabled. A phone call started once she clicked the emergency alert away.

A calm, but authoritative man’s voice began speaking through her phone:

“You can’t keep doing this, Ms. Posseduto,” said the man on the phone, in a parental, matter-of-fact tone.

“It’s not on fucking purpose! You know I can’t stop it, you fucking jackass!”

“We’re sending a car for you now. Stay exactly where you are.” the man replied, just as calmly as before.

“FUHHHCK YOUUU!” Margot said with all of her might.

You know what will happen if you do not comply,” the man politely affirmed.

“GO TO FUCKING HELL!” Margot yelled into the phone, and then threw it straight into the ground. She saw the black baseball bat she had found the other day, laying in the backseat of Jackson’s car. She pulled it out of the car, gripped it with both hands, and pounded her phone into pieces in a fit of rage.

In the distance, she heard sirens and the hum of tires rolling down the road, growing closer and louder by the second. She was out of time.

The sun was nearly set. She looked downward toward the ground, pulling her tattered, bloody hoodie over her face. She threw herself into the driver’s seat of Jackson’s car and turned the keys, still left in the ignition from before.

7:07 PM – The car radio’s digital read out displayed the time.

Several all-black SUVs began pulling in aggressively into the gas station. They surrounded her as she sat in Jackson’s car while blocking the only entrance and exit onto the only road out.

She heard car doors opening and closing. She had nowhere to run.

“Ya know what….” Margot said to herself. She quickly got back out of the car.

About a dozen men in tactical gear surrounded her, shouting orders:





Margot slowly got onto her knees and held up both hands parallel to her face.

The men moved in quickly, weapons drawn.

In the few seconds of freedom she had left, Margot twisted her hands around, showing her middle fingers to the men in tactical gear, turned her head straight up, and gazed directly at the full moon.

A wicked smile crept up on her face.

Her eyes turned fully black.

Moon Shot – Part 1

Jackson pulled up in his faded, black 2007 Toyota Camry into the park’s parking lot. The car’s faint amber headlights matched the hue of the streetlamps that lit the park’s pathways.

He slowly left the car with a sigh and started walking down their usual path.

He looked again at his latest iMessage:


Today 7:06 PM

Come to the park dude… I’m kinda freaking rn. I’ll explain when you get here.

The air was crisp; a cool, strong breeze whistled as it carried a few fallen leaves, breaking through the park’s solemn silence. The sun was on its way down.

He saw her in their usual spot – a patch of unkempt grass nestled between the two baseball diamonds’ high, rusted fences, with a few big rocks and decades old benches warped by the rain. To the west the sun was setting over a set of tennis courts with even higher, shinier, newly renovated steel fences. A blue, interwoven canvas almost completely blocked any lines of sight into the tennis courts.



Jackson and Margot greeted each other. Margot was looking down, tossing a tennis ball in one hand and holding a jet black aluminum baseball bat in the other.

Margot had her back turned to Jackson.

“I saw your text, broski.” Jackson said.


“Whatcha up to out here?”

“Batting practice,” Margot said.

“But you don’t even play baseball,” Jackson said.


The tennis ball went flying off of her bat into the dusk.

“I know.”

Jackson felt a troubling energy building within the space between them.


She carried on with her strange new hobby. Another tennis ball into the twilight abyss.

“Brought the pen?” Margot asked Jackson.

“Always?” Jackson was always stoned. He pulled out his dad’s old weed vape – a 5 inch long miniature replica of the Wizarding World’s Elder Wand.

They puff, puff, passed the vape back and forth for a few minutes. Jackson laid out like a starfish, staring straight up into the night. He enjoyed watching the clouds go by in the night sky, with another bright yellow tennis ball streaking upwards with each swing Margot took.

Jackson was doing his best to ‘hold space’ or whatever – a concept he tried to recall from his recent therapy sessions.

A few more minutes passed. They shared Jackson’s pen and carried on – Jackson laid in the grass, Margot kept hitting tennis balls wherever she felt like.

“It’s been an interesting day, I guess?” Jackson said, finding it oddly difficult to break the ice with his bestie.

“It was a good one,” another short reply.


“Impossible. It’s Monday, bro,” Jackson was like. “Mondays are wack, everyone knows that.”

“Any day can be a good day, jackass,” Margot was like.


Margot lobbed another ball a few feet upwards and sent it flying with an effortless swing.

“Nah. I mean, yeah any day can kinda be a good day, that’s what I’m saying, bro.” Jackson replied.

As he inhaled on his dad’s old weed pen he imagined a quick little story for each tennis ball that Margot hit into the brisk autumn sky.


This one is an escape pod to an exoplanet.


That one landed in a tree – the birds who live there are shocked. They’re treating it like humans treat UFOs. They sectioned it off from regular birds; they’re letting the Bird CIA deal with it.

“I feel like any day can be a good day but not every day is, though,” Jackson hypothesized.

“You can’t always be positive, or happy, or whatever.. so I feel like it depends,” He went on.


“I mean, yeah,” Margot conceded. “You’re still a jackass, though,”

“That’s fine,” Jackson mumbled indifferently as he released another plume of vapor into the air.

A smile crept up on Jackson’s face for the first time that night. Margot’s usual sass felt oddly reassuring.

“You’re chiefin,’ guy,” Margot said.

“OK Aaron Judge,” Jackson sat up and passed her the vape.

“Fuck that.” Margot was like in between tokes. “I’m a Mets fan.”

“Where’d you get all these tennis balls?” Jackson was like.


“I can fit into the hole in the fence behind the tennis courts,” Margot answered.

“Well, then.”

Margot kept turning away from Jackson. He still had barely seen her face. He did at one point, for a split second, and her eyes had a watery shine to them, as if she had either just finished crying or still was.

“What’s going on though? Like, you’re being kinda weird, even for you. No shade, but . . . “

A cold, windy silence filled the air around them.

Margot lobbed another tennis ball in the air.


Another ball, another swing. Another popup flew into the trees above a neighboring backyard.

“Wooooo! My aim has gotten SO much better!” she exclaimed.

Margot had a wicked smile after her last moon shot. Her honey brown eyes brightly glistened under the old amber streetlights.

“You good?” Jackson asked.

“Very! I mean c’mon, did you see that last one?! I’m a fuckin’ beast!

Margot’s voice broke a little with her last few words.

“You’re being like, really weird right now bro, I’m just kinda confused,” Jackson said.

“. . . and worried.”

“Ugh… bro are you even paying fucking attention!?” Margot snapped.

Jackson sighed. “Uh . . . yeah . . . I am,” Jackson rubbed the center of his forehead.

She threw up another tennis ball and swung at it with a passionate yell.


Another yellow orb torpedoed into one of the tallest trees in the park. A few leaves rained down from its highest branches.

“NICE!” Margot’s voice echoed as the ball stayed lodged in a huge tree in the distance.

Jackson sighed, sat up and kicked his voice up a notch. “Who’s chiefin’ now, bro? Can you at least pass my vape back . . .and lemme know what the fuck’s going on?”

His brow furrowed as he took a better look at Margot – she was visibly shaking. She slowly turned toward Jackson. She finally stopped trying to hide her face.

She was smiling wide, began breathing heavily, and began wiping tears away from her sunken eyes. She had several small, fresh cuts – still bleeding – on the left side of her face and lower lip. She had bruises and abrasions on her neck. She rested the bat on her right shoulder, keeping a firm grip on the handle with both hands.

“Dude. . . what happened to you?” Jackson asked in a slower, softer tone.

Margot’s bright, hazel eyes looked more illuminated than Jackson had ever seen. Time seemed to slow down as their eyes met. The whistling winds and Margot’s deep breaths grew louder while all other noise became inaudible. Her pupils were much wider than usual.

“Yo…. let me take you home. You’re really starting to freak me out out out out out . . . ” Jackson heard an echo to his own voice. Wide eyed, even wider-pupiled Margot stared him down with a menacing grin. She started blinking unnaturally fast while maintaining eye contact with him.

He kept pleading with her to come with her, but he could barely hear his own voice.

Margot’s nearly blacked out pupils were fixated on Jackson, eyes fluttering. Jackson was now unable to speak. He started to lose his balance and began sweating profusely. His vision began fading until it was nearly pitch black.

“I think I’ll stay out here for a little while, bro. Join me.” Margot’s last words sounded like a raspy, unnatural growl.

Jackson went further into a vegetative state with each time that Margot blinked. She pointed the bat at him, Babe Ruth style, and he instantly dropped to his knees.

Jackson’s eyes were covered with a dark grey callouses. He couldn’t move. It was as if something was holding him in place.

Margot slowly trotted over to him. She had the aluminum bat resting on her right shoulder and the Elder Wand vape in her left. She took an incredibly long pull from the vape and let out a frothy vapor cloud from her mouth and nose while looking up at the full moon.

She lined up the sweet spot of the bat to Jackson’s left temple, just barely touching the side of his head.

Margot began to whisper a barely audible incantation; her lips and tongue moving feverishly. Her eyes turned entirely black while repeating a soft, but intense chant in an indecipherable language.

She gasped suddenly, slowly exhaled, and returned her gaze down to the end of the bat, still touching the side of Jackson’s head. She bent her knees and crouched slightly into a batter’s stance, with perfect form. She cocked back, stepped forward, and belted out her hardest swing of the night.


(to be continued . . .)

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