Author of Dark Fiction
Flash Fiction: Moon Boy
This is an exploratory short story that I might turn into a novel. What do you think?
I made my way back to my room. Barely. My head pounded and my blood felt like it was about to spurt from my veins. Though I was able to take the stairs two at a time up to my dorm room, my body felt like it had been hijacked by aliens.
Just as I hit the mattress in hopes of having a good rest and letting my blood pressure settle, Mason slammed into the room. Bull in a china shop was an understatement when it came to him.
“Gawd, Mason! Can you hold it down? I have a headache.”
True to his tyrannical form, he got right into my face and yelled, “What did you say?”
“I said, could you please shut the fuck up and stop slamming things around?”
“Well, sure. If you put it that way.”
One thing you could say about Mason. Even though he was a loud, obnoxious big bruiser, he knew when to back down.
“Thank you.” I pulled a sleep mask from my nightstand and put it over my eyes. I wished I had one of those cool ones you stick in the refrigerator.
“Hey, Julian,” Mason said in a volume that nearly shook me off the bed.
I pulled up my sleep mask. “For God’s sake, what?”
“You’re not going to die or nothing, are you?”
“No. Just leave me alone, please?”
“I’m going out. Bye.” He slammed the door behind him.
I got some ice out of the ancient refrigerator in the hallway, and put it in a washcloth to place on my head. This building was air-conditioned. Why did I feel so hot?
I must have drifted off to sleep. When I woke, moonlight was streaming in through my window. It had a calming yet exciting effect on me. I needed to go out into the night and feel the cool breeze.
I hurried down the stairs and walked out toward the student green. Rumsey Hall was a well-cared for school. Golf-course-like grass was edged with neat rows of impatiens, and marigolds and roses. The extensive rose garden called to me. With its rows and rows of fragrant flowers, it was one of my favorite places on campus.
There walking toward me was Zoe. Tall, with straight black hair just below chin-length, she had an indie vibe. She wore strange clothes from the Himalayas and was always working for activist causes. Zoe was the coolest girl I knew.
When it seemed like she would walk right past me, I said, “Zoe.”
She stopped and thought for a minute. “Julian. How’s your paper on the social conditions in Batswana coming?”
I’d used that paper as an excuse to talk with her, because I knew she was an expert. “Wonderful. I got an A, thanks to your help.”
“Awesome. Were you just walking back to the Onion?”
That was our student restaurant. “Yeah, as a matter of fact.”
“Want to walk together?”
“Sure.” As I said that, I felt massive changes going on inside of me, like there were bubbles in my blood. I thought of a scuba diver getting the bends. Now, impressing Zoe was less of a concern for me than dying. I stopped to get my bearings.
“Are you okay?” She turned to me and put a cool hand on my forearm.
“No. I think I need to get to the infirmary.”
“Let me go with you.”
Even though it was my dream for her to go with me anywhere, I had to say no. “No. I think I’ll be all right. Let me go back to my room.”
“Julian, no. You look really weird, like maybe you’re having a stroke or something.”
I tried to fain normalcy, even when I felt like my body was going to blow apart at any moment. “You know what? I’m feeling better. I’m going to go up to my room.”
“Okay, but do me a favor and text me later to let me know you’re all right.” She scribbled her number on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
“Thanks, Zoe. I will.” I headed off.
“Isn’t your dorm in that direction?” She pointed the other way.
“Yeah. I’m just…going to get some water.”
She shrugged. “Okay.”
Now it really felt like my brain was going to blow apart. I rushed past the rose garden into a wooded area and dropped down to my knees. I pressed my hands against my head to keep it from popping off. All of my sinews moved and rumbled. I felt myself compressing, like I was growing smaller. How could that be?
Obviously I was losing my mind while, hallucinating as my body died. I’d never felt such pain in my life. I curled up into a fetal position and would have welcomed death, rather than the horrible agony that split my body.
Then just like that, it was over. The full moon shone through the trees. I looked at my hand. It was smaller and smoother than I was used to. My waist felt smaller. I had an odd swelling in my chest area. I looked down at my body.
Oh my God!
I was a girl!