They say strange things happen when there is a blood moon. They say… But of course, I’m a sensible man; I don’t believe those things. Well, I didn’t believe them. Now I’m not so sure.
It all began twenty-three years ago.
“There’s a blood moon next week, did you know that Robert?”
My roommate Andre strolled out of his bedroom, his jacket slung over his shoulder. I scowled at him.
“Of course I know there’s a blood moon next week.”
“Right,” Andre clicked his tongue and winked at me. “I forgot, you’re doing your thesis on astrology.”
Andre laughed at me
“Same difference, nerd. You know they say weird stuff happens when there’s a blood moon, right?”
“Who says that?”
“I donno, people I suppose. They say it’s a bad omen, that it makes people crazy.”
“Well those who say that are morons. How could a lunar eclipse affect human psychology?”
Andre shrugged and swung open the door.
“I donno, man,” He said. “It’s just what they say. I’ll be back in the morning!”
I rolled my eyes and waved a half-hearted goodbye. That idiot Andre liked to tease me, calling my field of study astrology, rather than astronomy. As though someone sensible and intelligent such as I would study something as silly as astronomy! I shook my head at the very thought and took my instant ramen noodle soup into my bedroom. I had a long night of writing ahead of me and I couldn’t afford to be going out gallivanting like Andre.
I awoke suddenly, in my desk chair. My desk light was still on, but my computer monitor had gone black. The sky was dark outside my window. I must have fallen asleep while writing. I stood up groggily. My whole body ached. Served me right for falling asleep in my desk chair. I stumbled towards my bed, still half asleep but I felt my foot catch on something on the floor. I hit the ground before I even knew I was falling. I groaned and hauled myself into a sitting position, massaging my bruised elbow. That’s when I noticed it, the thing that had tripped me. It was my blazer. What was it doing on the ground I wondered vaguely. That’s when I realized that my blazer wasn’t the only thing on the ground: my entire room was strewn with my clothes. My dresser drawers were open and empty. Baffled, I staggered out of my room.
“Andre?” I cried.
My idiot of a roommate was sitting on the couch, a beer bottle in his hand. He grinned at me, clearly still drunk from his outing.
“Oh, you’re up already?” He slurred, “It’s barely what? Like 5 am right?”
He checked his wrist but was not wearing a watch. I threw my hands in the air in frustration. I was now fully awake and perfectly understood what had happened to my room: Andre had pranked me! And I was furious.
“Andre! What the heck is going on in my room? Why did you throw all my clothes on the ground? Is this your idea of a good practical joke? Because it’s not funny at all!”
Despite my last words, Andre started to laugh.
“Oh no that’s super funny. But I – I didn’t do it, man. You got the wrong guy.”
“Well if you didn’t do it, who did?” I was already sure it was Andre’s doing; all I wanted was a confession. An apology would be too much to hope for, I knew.
“Man, I promise, it wasn’t me! I donno who did it. Maybe it was you.”
“Why would I through my own clothes all over my room?”
Andre merely shrugged and replied: “They say strange things happen when there is a blood moon.”
I stormed out of the living room and back to my bedroom to clear up my clothes.
The next few days were uneventful enough that I almost forgot about Andre’s stupid prank and his nonsense about the blood moon. I worked on my thesis almost non-stop and got little sleep. It wasn’t until the night before the infamous blood moon that I was reminded of it all by a second incident. The evening began like most evenings with Andre strolling out of his bedroom with his coat slung over his shoulder, his hair tousled.
“You’re going out again?” I asked from the kitchen. I was hoping for another evening of peace to work on my thesis.
“Yeah, me and some buds are getting a drink.” He put on his shoes before adding, “You should join us.”
I doubted it was a serious invitation, more of a curtesy.
“Nah, not tonight. I have work to do.”
“Oh well, another time then.”
He opened the door but stopped on the threshold.
“Hey what about tomorrow? It’s the blood moon, remember? We’re all going down to the beach with some blankets and some beers to watch it. You wanna join?”
“Oh, uh,” I mumbled, “I have to do some observation of my own for my thesis, but since I’ll be on the beach too, I might join you guys after.”
“Sounds good!” With that, Andre was out the door and gone. I sighed and shook my head. Why had I agreed to join him and his friends on the beach? I didn’t want to hang out with those drunkards. I returned to my room and got to my writing. Once again, I awoke suddenly. This time, the light was off, and I was lying in bed. I didn’t remember going to bed, but these days I had so little sleep that I often forgot those sorts of details. I glanced at the window. The sky was pale grey. It must be very early. I wanted to go back to sleep, but something was bothering me. The remnants of a nightmare tickled the back of my mind. I sat up and yawned. I stood up, but immediately sat back down. Once again, my room was an utter disaster, but this time it wasn’t strewn with clothes, but with papers.
“No,” I whispered. “no, no, no…”
Even in the darkness, even without looking at them carefully, I knew what these papers were. They were the pages of my many notebooks. The notebooks containing all my celestial observations, all my thesis notes. I stood up again, only to fall to my knees amidst the torn pages of my notebooks. Almost sobbing, I gathered the nearest pages into my hands and stared at them, wondering if I could somehow piece my work back together. But the pages were not only torn from their bindings, they were also covered in red scribbles. For the most part, the red scrawls were undecipherable, but on one page I found the unmistakable shape of a crescent moon and below it the word BLOOD in capital letters. Horrified, I threw the paper to the ground. I ran to Andre’s room and pounded on his door. I didn’t care how early it was; I was livid. When he didn’t answer, I barged in and yanked the blankets from his bed.
“Andre!” I shouted, “This time you went too far!”
Andre tugged on his blankets and moaned sleepily.
“It’s like 6 am… why are you awake?”
“My notebooks, Andre? My clothes were one thing! But my notebooks… It’s too far!”
“Wh-what are you talking about, Robert?”
Seething, I grabbed Andre’s arm and dragged him out of his bed and into my room to show him the mess he had made.
“This is what I’m talking about,” I shouted. “This… this prank, Andre! This it too far! This was my life’s work! It’s not funny!”
This time, Andre did not laugh. Instead, he looked at me with something almost like fear in his eyes.
“L-look man,” he said shakily, “I swear I didn’t do this. I’d never tear up your books, I promise.”
“If you didn’t do it, who did?”
Andre simply shook his head and murmured: “They say strange things happen when there is a blood moon.”
By the next evening, I had cleared up my room and mostly put my notebooks back together. I was still seething however and was therefore glad that Andre didn’t talk to me before leaving the apartment. I packed my largest telescope in a long cylindrical bag and slung it over my shoulder. I left our place and headed for the beach, not two blocks away. By the time I got there, many groups of young people had set up camp along the beach. I picked a mostly secluded spot and laid down my blanket. Then I set up my telescope. I heard laughter and singing from the group of people nearest to me, even though they were too far for me to make out more than their silhouettes. I recognized Andre’s voice among them. Great, I thought, somehow the nearest group of people included the one person I really did not want to see tonight. For the rest of the night, I did my best to ignore Andre and his rowdy friends as they lit a camp fire, played music and drank heartily. I sat on my blanket, clutching my notebook, waiting for the upcoming eclipse. At last, I saw the reddish light of the blood moon. I grabbed my telescope and focused on the low hanging, scarlet orb. It was mesmerizing and brilliant, and I could hardly tear my eyes away to jot down the details of my observation.
I don’t know at what point it happened, but I must have fallen asleep there, because I awoke to find myself still on the beach. Except I wasn’t alone. Andre was lying next to me. I figured he must have come over to talk to me, but found me asleep and decided to join me. But something felt off. Strange.
“Hey, Andre,” I whispered. “What are you doing here?”
But Andre didn’t wake. Or even move.
I moved closer and kicked him gently with my foot. Still no movement. I was getting a little nervous now that he may have passed out from all the alcohol he had no doubt consumed. I kicked him a little harder, then reached down and shook him violently. I pulled my hands away suddenly when I noticed the blood in his hair.
“Andre! Come on Andre, get up now. This is not funny! I don’t know if this is a prank again or what, but you’d better get up now.”
All the while, I was trying to figure out where the blood had come from. Was it even real blood? I found my telescope in the sand. The lens was broken. Had Andre done that? I lifted it from the ground and saw the deep red stains on the end. More blood. Now Andre was a prankster by nature, but this was by far his most elaborate scheme.
“Andre!” I cried brandishing the bloodied telescope at him. “Get up now! If this is a prank, you’ve gone too far again. So please get up.” In the crimson light of the lunar eclipse, my hands looked as red as the blood in Andre’s hair.
They say strange things happen when there is a blood moon. Now I don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is that Andre did not get up. I know that by the time they found his body on that beach, I was somewhere far away. I know that I needn’t have worried about my torn notebooks because I abandoned my thesis anyway. And I know that every time there is a blood moon, I lock myself into my bedroom, with the curtains drawn. Just in case.
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