Tonight was the night of the blue moon. The fourth full moon this season, when normally there were only three, and Jess was so not going to miss it. No matter what her mom had to say about it.
And she’d had quite a lot to say earlier that night.
“Jessamine Langtree, you have been running with that crowd of yours entirely too much! I won’t have it said that I’m raising some kind of ‘wild animal’, and have you talked about behind our backs! You will stay home tonight, if I have to lock you in your room and take the key!”
Mom had been on a royal rip all week, slamming cabinet doors and ranting about the state of Jess’ hair and makeup and clothes. Seemed like she couldn’t do anything right, lately, so she’d stopped even trying. Jess didn’t see the point of pretending to be something she wasn’t, and she definitely wasn’t her mother’s ideal daughter.
So, now she sat, alone and angry, in her bedroom. The door had, indeed, been locked behind her, and she could hear her mother pacing and muttering just outside her door, occasionally stopping to stomp her foot in frustration, or to bang her hand on Jess’ door for dramatic effect. Jess rolled her eyes as her mother went on and on about the “sort of heathens” that her daughter ran with. If only she really knew…
A faint scratching noise brought Jess’ attention swiftly to her window, and she saw her best friend, Miranda, at the window. Grinning like the Cheshire cat, her eyes aglow with mischief, she gestured for Jess to open the pane separating them and come outside. Jess smiled back, took one look at her bedroom door, and made up her mind.
“Fine – Mother, I know you’re mad and all, but could you keep it down now? I’m going to go to bed, and you’re keeping me awake.” Stifling a giggle, Jess knew that this would send her mom into a tizzy, but it would get her away from the door in the hallway, and off to her own room for the night.
And it worked. “Well! Good! I’ve had about enough of your attitude, anyway! I’m going to bed, and I better see you bright and early tomorrow. I don’t care if it is Saturday, you’re going to get up early and clean house with me. You live here, you’re going to help out with some of the housework, young lady!” Stomping off, Jess’ mom headed down the hall and could be heard to go into her own bedroom, not quite slamming the door, but absolutely shutting it… firmly, and with finality.
Quickly, Jess grabbed her light summer jacket from her chair and tiptoed to the window, sliding it as quietly as she could up the track. Miranda backed up and away from the second-floor window, maneuvering her way back into the handy tree that grew right next to Jess’ side of the house. There was a reason why Jess had picked the smallest bedroom when they’d moved in. That tree had been a very kind friend to her, allowing her up and down its branches, without letting her fall, for well over a year now. And Jess, in return, made sure to keep the tree well fed, fertilizing around the roots every year, and pruning away the dead branches. Her mom had always been puzzled as to why Jess took such pains with this one tree, and pretty much left the others in the yard to their fate, but Jess just told her that she didn’t want anything to happen to the tree, since it shaded her window on the hottest days of summer. Her mom had totally believed her, and let it go.
Jess was now, a silent ninja, as she snuck out onto the roof, and hopped into the tree’s branches. With plenty of practice at this, she’d gotten to the point where she knew just where to place her hands and feet, to get away quietly. Her mom had never known about any of her “escapes”, and she meant to keep it that way.
Shimmying down the tree, the girls didn’t speak, knowing that sound traveled better after dark, and her mom might be in her bedroom, but her window would be open to the night breeze. They were off like a shot, and once they reached the corner of her street, they burst into the laughter they’d both been holding in.
“Oh, wow, Jess! Your mom was a real whirling witch tonight, wasn’t she! I thought she was going to shackle you to your bed!” Miranda doubled over, laughing and out of breath.
“Yeah, well, let’s just get going, shall we? I don’t want to miss the moon tonight! This one’s special, and I have all the ritual stuff waiting at the clearing. We need to be ready at just the right time, or the spell we found won’t work!” Jess grabbed her friend’s arm and started tugging her down the street toward the woods. She’d been back and forth from the house to the woods every chance she’d gotten this week, getting things ready for this occasion. It was all set, and she was totally pumped for the ritual to go well. She’d put in so much hard work, she didn’t want it to go to waste.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Jess to become what she was truly meant to be, and she would have it. The blue moon was a time of change, which would… or could, at least, become permanent. And Jess was ready for change. She’d played human long enough. Looping her tail over her arm, she gripped Miranda’s arm tightly in her claws and started running, letting the smell of the night fill her nostrils.
Tonight was going to be epic, and no one would ever forget it. Tonight, the blue moon was going to change Jess’ life…. forever.
-Feb. 20, 2014