It started with so many of them.
So many people.
So many free people…
How? How did life become absolutely nothing but mindless souls that were trapped in human bodies? When did the moon become a villain? When did the people of the world become so blind?
So blind to the hidden messages…
Zero lied on her bed staring up at her smooth roof. She held her hands behind her head and clicked her tooth over and over again. Truly, she had no reason to stay awake, to be up this late at night. Normally she’d be fast asleep, but for some reason… tonight she couldn’t fall into her dreams.
The sound of a very loud notification played in her room making her excitedly turn to her phone. She hoped that someone would be awake like her, and she hoped they would talk to her.
Slowly the smile on her face faded as she stared at the unknown number. She frowned and began to read the message.
Don’t look at the moon.
It read. Zero stared at the message confused and turned her phone off. A loud sigh left her mouth as she turned back and stared at the roof once again.
The message didn’t run through her mind as she began to hum. Honestly, she believed that it was a random number just trying to scare her. She began to bob her head side to side as she thrummed to the unfamiliar tune.
Suddenly the sounds of buzzing and notifications began to fill in her room. Confused and intrigued Zero turned to her phone and grabbed it. She turned it on and stared at all of the numbers and contacts. All of them saying the same thing, beckoning her to look at the moon.
Just a glimpse. Some of the messages said while others told her that it was the most magnificent thing in the world. There were emails, news reports, apps, even voice memo’s. Everyone was telling her to look at the moon.
It was an odd request, especially since the message before had told her not to, but still she stood from her bed and stared at her curtains. If everyone else was staring at it she figured nothing was wrong.
Beautiful. One of the messages said, another read unbelievable.
Interested in what everyone was talking about, Zero moved her hands up to the curtains. Slowly she ripped the black curtains apart and looked up at the sky. Unexpectedly two hands touched Zero’s eyes and covered them.
Zero screamed loudly not knowing who’s hands they were. Her hands thrusted up to the hands over her face and she backed away hoping to hit a wall. Luckily she did making the hands move from her face. Zero grabbed a book from off of her dresser and threw the book at the unknown person.
She frantically searched for an item and snatched it. Not knowing what it was she drilled it at the person and dashed for the door. Her hands sweated making it harder to twist the knob and she ran down the hallway.
She breathed heavily and looked around the dark, empty hallway. She needed a weapon, a door, some way outside. She pushed her arms forward and backward but felt a hand wrap around her waist. Another loud shriek left her mouth.
Her body began to be dragged back. More sweat rolled down her head and she began to kick her feet. She tried to hit the persons gut with her elbow making a loud grunt leave their mouth.
“Stop struggling! I’m trying to help you!” The person said and continued to pull her back.
They kicked the door to the kitchen making it swing back. Zero was forced into the room and the person dragged a chair. They frantically searched for something in a dresser leaving Zero much room to hit them.
She lifted her hand but the person turned back and slapped her face. Stunned, Zero stumbled back. The person forced her to sit in the chair and began to tie duct tap around her.
Zero screamed again trying to attract attention to where she was. The person turned to the light switch and flicked it on revealing his face.
He had a lot of sweat on his face and he panted loudly trying to catch his breath as well. He pointed at Zero.
“What part of don’t look at the moon didn’t you understand?” He asked.
Zero breathed loudly as she looked at him.
“Who the hell are you?” She asked.
The boy stopped breathing as he stared at her. His face was filled with the realization of knowing that she didn’t know who he was.
“Mom!” Zero called out “Dad!”
“Your parents aren’t here. In fact everyone you know isn’t here anymore.” The unknown boy said and placed the duct tape on the table.
Zero jumped on the chair and tried to rip her hands free. She screamed again and looked around the room. Her eyes landed on the knives that were on the kitchen counter. Quickly they began to dart between the boy and the counter. Zero opened her mouth again making the boy put duct tape on her mouth and slam the roll down.
Zero allowed muffled words to leave her mouth, knowing that her throat was starting to throb. She shook in the chair making it fall over and her head hit the hard ground. Zero screamed in pain and squeezed her eyes shut. A loud ringing noise played in her ears.
“Shit.” The boy said and began to help her sit up right. He touched her head and opened her eye lids to stare at her eyes. “Keep them open.” He ordered.
Zero blinked making her head pulse more. Another loud groan escaped her mouth and mindlessly she closed her eyes again.
“I said keep them open!” The boy yelled. He opened her eye lids again and grabbed a cup. He filled the cup with water and began to go through the dressers. “Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.” He muttered as he frantically searched. “Keep them open!” He called back.
Water welled up in Zero’s eyes as she felt them start to sting. A single tear of pain rolled down her cheek and unable to keep them open anymore she closed her eyes.
A small crescent appeared in front of her face. She was somehow in a dark room and things seemed so…fake. Zero felt the boy open her eyes again.
“OPEN! KEEP.THEM.OPEN! One thing! All you have to do is one thing!” He yelled in her face.
Zero began to talk making more muffled words go out in the air. Angrily she spit on the duct tape making it less sticky and blew it off of her mouth with her breath.
“I’m sorry, I’ve just been up all day off of zero sleep and just got done running away from a creepy boy in my house so sorry if I’m a little tired!” Zero yelled back.
“Drink this.” The boy held the cup up to her lips.
“You think I’m going to drink something from you?” Zero asked in disbelief.
The boy angrily sighed and forced her mouth open. He poured the drink into her mouth making her swallow. Zero gagged as she tried to drink the large proportion of liquid in her mouth. The boy put the cup down on the counter and pulled a very large jar. He quickly tried to open the jar and ripped the lid off of it.
“Spit.” He held the jar under her mouth.
Zero looked down at the jar and wrinkled her nose. She spit into it and watched the boy close the jar. He placed it on the counter and then sighed frustratedly.
“Hi my name is Onyx.” He said and turned to look at her “I’m not a murderer, or kidnapper, or some crazy guy who you thought was a demon because you had a dream about him, believe me someone actually thought that, but I’m here to help you.”
“Demon? Help me?” Zero asked trying to comprehend what he was saying.
Onyx paced around the room and touched his chest clearly trying to catch his breath and explain. Zero began to shake once again and tried to rip her hands out of the duct tape. She bit her bottom lip and struggled to get free. Onyx turned to look at her making her stop.
“How do I say this without making me sound crazy?” He asked more to himself then her “The moon, is like, I don’t know taking over people’s minds and stuff. I don’t know all the details. Dame would know… but we can’t go to see her now.” Onyx began to talk to himself.
Zero raised an eyebrow of suspicion as she stared at him and then once again tried to get free.
“Hey! No! Don’t do that.” Onyx began to wrap more duct tape around her.
“Not to be rude or anything, Onyx… but you sound insane.” Zero said as she stared at him.
“I know I sound insane, because I thought that Dame sounded insane when she told me, but trust me I’m not insane. The power that the moon holds against us is real.” Onyx told her.
Zero continued to stare at him with a face filled with disbelief making Onyx groan and plop down in a chair that was by the table. He slammed his head on the table clearly trying to think.
Suddenly Onyx sat up as if having an idea and looked over at Zero.
“What if I showed you? Then would you believe me?” He asked.
“Showed me what?”
“Everyone you know, how much the moon has taken over them. Every stranger you’ve ever walked by. Would you believe me if I showed you?”
Slowly, hesitantly Zero shook her head not really knowing what she was agreeing to. She just wanted to get out of there, away from him. Anything to get away from the boy who was ranting about how the moon was taking over everyone.
Onyx stood and grabbed a knife. He moved the knife to the tape around Zero and began to cut it. Zero could feel her arms slowly starting to become released from the tight tape that was wrapped around her.
Zero began to breathe a little heavier as her eyes darted around the room. She searched for an exit, a way out. Anyway out. Her right arm was released making her inhale deeply and blink a few times. She once again began to look around the room looking for a weapon that could be used against him. As Onyx got down to the middle of the duct tape he stopped and pointed the tip of his knife at Zero.
“Don’t try to run.” He said making Zero slowly place her butt back down on the chair.
Onyx held the knife out for a little longer then cut the last part off leaving Zero free. Her heart rate picked up as she began to think of any way to get away from him.
“I’m not going to hurt you” Onyx said “unless you make me.”
He forced her to stand up and began to make her walk. Zero followed and stared at the back door that Onyx was leading her to. She could easily run out and go down a street, knock on doors and ask for help. Onyx stopped walking and dragged her back. He wrapped the knife around her neck and gripped onto her wrist with his other hand.
“You can’t run out. Don’t be too loud. And whatever you do, don’t look at the sky.” He whispered to her.
Don’t look at the sky.
The words pierced through her skin as if it held some sort of importance. His voice was raspier when he said it as if he wasn’t supposed to tell her those words.
“As much as you want to scream don’t. Whisper, whisper so lowly that even I can’t hear you. Don’t try to talk to anyone there, not even your family because they aren’t your family now.” He continued to whisper.
His words floated into the air keeping itself high above their heads. Zero listened closely, he seemed suddenly more serious, more cautious. He gripped tighter to her wrist making a small grunt in pain leave her mouth.
“Don’t move from me or else you’ll be putting yourself in great danger.” Onyx warned “and don’t, ever, under any circumstance, look up. Not even if I tell you to. Not even if the people out there tell you how beautiful it is. Don’t. Look. Up.”
Zero nodded her head. Onyx slowly moved to the door and lifted his hand from her wrist. He twisted the door knob and pushed it open making the wind blow against their skin.
Zero was trapped. Trapped between screaming at the top of her lungs, or listening to Onyx, because for some reason, now that the craziness in the room died down, now that his words played in her ears, she was starting to believe him.
Onyx held onto her wrist again and made her walk. He continued to hold the knife at her throat.
“Don’t look up.” He whispered to her.
Zero nodded her head and looked ahead. At first there was nothing. Nothing but the tired, mid-night, empty road then there was a sound. A sound so faint that Zero almost missed it.
Follow the whispers.
It said. What whispers? Zero thought, but Onyx snapped her out of her thoughts.
“Don’t listen to them.” He whispered “don’t look up,” he repeated “just keep walking.”
Zero continued to walk not sure if she trusted him. Not sure if that voice that faint voice was warning her of something. Zero didn’t know if she was mean’t to scream or if she would be faced with nothing like how it was at her house. She didn’t know if she should’ve looked at the moon like everyone told her to or if she should’ve listened to this stranger.
Her only instinct was to listen. To hope that one lonely person would walk out of their house and save her.
“Don’t look up.” He continued to whisper in her ear.
Shhh… do you hear that? The moon is whispering to you.
Zero heard the faint voice again. There was a sound, a sound that she truly could hear but it seemed more like wisps of wind. But it was off, the wisps were making a song. One that seemed familiar.
“Ignore it.” Onyx ordered. He stopped walking in the middle of the street and stood for a moment. “Close your eyes.”
“Close them?” Zero whispered.
“Yes close them.”
“But last time you told me not to close them.”
“Well how I mean close them!” Onyx whisper yelled.
“Why would I trust you?” Zero asked.
Onyx sighed frustrated.
“In case you forgot, I’m the one with the knife here.” He whispered.
Zero stopped for a moment and then closed her eyes. She felt Onyx grip tighter to her arm and pull her closer. He said one word that seemed to make everything change.
“Open them. Open them now. Hurry.” He said and shook Zero.
Zero opened her eyes quickly. In front of her there were people. People everywhere. Talking. Talking to her specifically.
Her mother spoke in a warm welcoming voice, her best friend Daisy smiled at her and pointed at the moon. A few strangers welcomingly waved at her and began to speak. Their voices overlapped, and their eyes. They’re pupils. They were smaller. Skinnier. They were darker.
“Don’t listen to them.” Onyx’s voice rose among the others “Don’t look up.”
Teachers, classmates, friends, strangers, parents, they all continued to speak over each other. All of them begging her to look up at the beautiful moon, the wonderful, unrealistic, bright shining moon. All of them telling her how perfect the moon shined in the clouds, how nice it would be if she looked up at it too. She was almost starting to believe them. To look up and see what they were talking about.
“Don’t look up.” Onyx repeated again and pulled her closer to him. “Focus on them. What’s different? Why aren’t they the same?”
Zero continued to watch them smile and talk. She watched them point up at the sky and excitedly talk like it was the best thing in the world to see.
“Zero. Answer me. What’s different about them?”
“How do you know my name?” Zero asked.
“Dame told me.” Onyx said “I’ll explain later. Just tell me what’s different. What do they all have in common?”
Zero felt her body get almost mesmerized by the people talking. By their voices. They were so jumbled together and yet almost all in unison. Onyx hit her leg with his hand making her almost fall.
“If it sounds like they’re all talking together focus on something else.” He told her.
Zero nodded her head and began to think about his question.
“Uh, their eyes are different, and they all keep trying to get me to look at the moon. And they don’t even notice that you have a knife at my throat.”
“Exactly. Would your normal friends and family do that?” Onyx asked.
Zero shook her head.
“Exactly.” Onyx stared at them. “Don’t look up.” He began to whisper to her again.
It was as if that phrase was forbidden. Like if anyone heard him say it something bad would happen. Onyx slowly began to make her back away, back towards her house, away from the people.
“Don’t say anything.” He whispered “don’t look up. And don’t close your eyes. Focus on something else. Anything other than those people.”
Focus on something else. It was easier said then done. The people were all saying her name, calling out to her, trying to grab her attention. It was almost impossible to look at anything else. Even if she wanted to all she would see was more people.
“Focus on the knife that’s on you. I could kill you,” he whispered “I’m going to kill you.”
Zero suddenly became rushed with fear. Kill? She didn’t want to die, though she didn’t know if she wanted to live either, not with what was happening, but she was still scared.
“Don’t look up.” Onyx continued to say.
Onyx continued to back away slowly as if trying not to drag so much attention to them. He whispered something so lowly, so quietly that Zero wasn’t even mean’t to hear it.
When the morning comes. They’ll kill us.