Kasey Schuler – “The Moon Only Comes out at Night”

Shayla wasn’t used to talking to people. She didn’t like to, therefore she did everything she could to avoid it. She sat in the library at lunch, the best place. The place where you weren’t allowed to talk.  She avoided people in the hallway as much as possible, not that anyone wanted to talk to her. No one knew her. Well, that was because no one wanted to. She purposefully wore clothes that would repel her fellow humans: the same red sweater and  jeans every day, and she messily pulled her tangled hair back with a braid, as well as her face bore no makeup. If you look nice, then people want to talk to you. You don’t- and they don’t. If you haven’t gotten the picture already; Shayla is shy. So when, Chris Trenton came up to her at her locker, you could tell in addition to being surprised, she was also incredibly uncomfortable.

“Hey.” Chris said, leaning against the lockers that were next to her open one.

She responded looking at him apprehensively. “H-hi.”

“You know, I bet under whatever that is,” He used his hand to gesture at her whole body. “You might have a chance at being pretty attractive” He smirked.

In addition to now being offended and embarrassed, she was also confused. She more often got this kind of thing from Jen and occasionally some of her ‘friends’. However, as if on cue, she heard sniggers from behind Chris. She leaned around the side of him and saw just what she’d expected. She then looked back at Chris, rolled her eyes and went back to depositing her book in her locker. She would rather just stay quiet and ignore him rather than tell him off.

“Awww- what? It was a compliment.” He was laughing now.

She quietly shut her locker and started to walk away. Still able to hear the words spoken behind her.

“Geez, no one can take a joke nowadays.”

“Just leave her alone Chris. Can you just for once not be a complete jerk?”

She stopped and turned to see Lucas James coming on the scene. He was the typical white knight of the school, linebacker on the football team, incredibly attractive, and yet somehow still single. He met eyes with her as her head was still turned watching him call out his fellow teammate. She turned back very quickly and continued walking.

****

Celeste looked up from Esoteric Lake. She technically wasn’t supposed to be here, not until she finished her training. But she was only a week away from the end of the term and all she wanted to do was help people, especially this Shayla girl because she was just truly enraged for her. So she was shy, that doesn’t mean that people have the right to mess with her. She had to convince the headmistress to let her take this assignment. That wasn’t going to be a piece of cake though, Celeste had a reputation for disaster. Not that she ever meant to cause it, it just seemed to follow her wherever she went. Like when she tried to give the cafeteria food a little kick and actually ended up covering the room and everyone in it, in mashed potatoes.

She flew into the headmistress’ office, the room she knew all too well. Being often sent here by ticked off or enraged professors during her last four years of training, she was well accustomed to the scent of the room. It was somewhat of a mixture between shame and oppression, with just a touch of lilac. Nevertheless she flew into the room and hovered in front of the desk hat was enchanted to stop whomever should come up to it from speaking until they were spoken to. Celeste had never been very good at this, and she had a strange feeling that the desk was enchanted just so the headmistress could deal with her, for the enchantment had not been placed before she came to this school. However, Celeste hovered in front… waiting.

“Name and reason for interrupting me.” Said headmistress Privet, not bothering to look up from what she was working on.

“Miss Privet, I know of a girl in need of my help and if i could just-”

The crusty old woman held up her hand for silence and looked up at the highly talkative fairy from behind her half moon glasses.

“Miss Moon, if you wish to help somebody you either wait till your graduation from this school, or you should have taken better interest in being on the honor roll.”

“Oh but Miss Privet I need three more credits to graduate and this would be the best way to-”

“No.” She interjected firmly “Now please leave Miss Moon”

“Okay.” She turned and started to fly away. “But just think the sooner I get those three credits the sooner I graduated and you never have to see me again. But if I don’t get those credits then you are going to be stuck with me for another year.” She added very quickly as she turned around after changing her mind about giving up.

It was a very long and awkward pause between them, but Celeste could tell that she was considering it.

Finally she said, “You have three days. But you must stay hidden and follow protocol. If you complete the intended task then you may graduate, if you don’t then I’m afraid you’ll have to come back here.”

“Yes!! I won’t fail, I promise!” And with that she flew out of the office, not giving the headmistress a second to change her mind.

******

It was Friday, which in Shayla’s opinion was the best day, because she could go home after and not have to socialize for two whole days. Plus everyone always had plans for that night so everyone was buzzing about them all day so no one even bothered to talk to or mess with her.

Now there’s one period left in the day and Shayla is in the girls locker room, changing for PE . She hated the girls locker room, it was where everyone was the most vulnerable and everyone had the opportunity to get made fun of or make fun of someone else, which usually happened. However today Shayla was the first one in the locker room, therefore she decided she would change before anyone else got there and avoid the usual harassment.

So she is now halfway through changing, she has changed into her school supplied athletic shorts and t-shirt and is about to grab her shoes when-

“Pssssttttt!”

She turned around trying to locate the shrill, but definitely clear noise.

“Psssssttttt! Over here!”

It was like a high- pitched whisper, and she thought she was crazy for hearing voices when no one else was in the room except- there it was. A small moving piece of light by the vanity means next to the showers. She looked apprehensively around, not sure what she was looking for, and then moved forward, toward the piece of light. She gasped when she came closer upon the brightness and it turned out to bee this tiny human, the size of glue stick, with equally small delicate looking wings on her back.

“Took you long enough.” she squeaked looking exasperated.

“Wha- how- who… who are you?” Shayla sputtered out.

“Well, I’m the help you need… duh. My name’s Celeste, well actually it’s Celestial Moon, but I’ve always hated how long it was. Anyway, you, are Shayla Katherine Morgan and I’m here to help you.”

“Help me with what?” She asked, still very confused with this entire situation, and also partially terrified that someone was going to walk in and see thee already insane girl talk to the counter top corner.

“My goodness you don’t even know? Look, here’s the deal, your an amazing girl with so much potential, and yes I know that for a fact so don’t disregard what I’m saying. Yet, what do you do with all of your potential and talent, you throw it away and just mope around hoping nobody notices or talks to you. And I am here to help be a more confident you, if you’ll let me because you do have to sign this.” She snapped her tiny finger and out appeared a human sized parchment with a dotted line and a quill and ink bottle, all somehow magically floating in the air.

“Look, Celeste was it? I’m flattered, but I really don’t think-”

“What are you doing?” Interrupted an incredibly unfortunately timed voice from behind her.

She whipped around, not before grabbing thee parchment and ink from out of mid-air.

“Great- now they’re really gonna think I’m a freak.” She thought.

“Oh, my bad. Do I need to leave you and your imaginary friend alone? Sorry for interrupting I know that was terribly rude of me.” Jen laughed and the second she did all of her cronies standing behind her did as well.

Shayla quickly grabbed her backpack, stuffed thee magical parchment in it and dashed out of the locker room. She quickly ducked into an empty classroom and then took out the parchment. She started to read it, and the more she read the more she was considering letting this random fairy help, that it’s if this wasn’t all a hallucination and she actually did see a fairy back there.

“Alright look, Celeste.” She spoke into the empty classroom, still highly confident that the supposed fairy was listening. And then pop, out of nowhere the familiar being fluttered into mid air. “If I sign this, you can help me get Jen out of my life? Because  truth be told, I’m sick of her I just can’t seem to ever speak when she’s around me.”

“Not exactly Shayla, I can help you become who you want to be on the inside, which means you can get rid of her yourself. But I can put a temporary jinx on her if that eases your mind.”

She chuckled, still thinking about Jen and her idiotic boyfriend and how they tormented her. She wanted them gone, she had stayed quite and ignored them for so long now and enough was enough. So she got out the parchment, the ink, and the quill, and was dipping thee quill in the ink when she froze.

“Wait a minute, what’s in this for you? What, do you win some sort of fairy lottery?”

“Why does anything have to be in it for me? Can’t I just want to help you?”

Shayla looked at her incredulously. “Ok, fine! I need to help you, because if I don’t help someone, A: everyone will think I’m a joke. And B: I need the credits to graduate”

“… fair enough” Shayla said. And then finally made that fateful sign on the dotted line.

*****

The couple days went by rather painfully. Shayla was trying multiple new things, all of which made her very uncomfortable. But Celeste was there the entire way, which was both encouraging and exasperating to Shayla. It was nice to have someone telling her that she was doing great when trying to be chatty with the guy of whom was taking her coffee order. However, it wasn’t so nice when she tried to step in with magic, and made the hot drink spill and burn the poor barista. Or when she tried to help show Shayla how to apply eyeliner by levitating the pencil and ended it ended up drawing all over her face. So, while Shayla was grateful for her help, it was clear that Celeste was clearly still very new at this.

By the end of the weekend however, Shayla looked like a completely different person, even if she may not have entirely got that whole talking thing down. Celeste showed her the basics of makeup (with the help of YouTube), showing her what was overkill and how she didn’t want to look desperate for attention. Not to mention, she traded out her every day red sweater, with something actually flattering (and that didn’t need washed) and was nice to look at. So, on Monday she walked into school feeling more like an accurate representation of herself and yet, still not really wanting much attention. But, if people ignoring her was what she wanted that was not going to happen, because to those who have only seen her in her every day braid and baggy jeans, she looked like a supermodel in the soft pink v-neck and curled hair.

So when Shayla wakes into her first period literature class, she was stared at all the way down to her usual seat in the back of the classroom.

“What are you doing sitting in the back?” Celeste whispered from her pencil pouch she had been carrying around, not wanting to squish her new friend. “There is a seat right in the front corner.”

“That’s Jen’s seat.” She whispered back “I go over there I’m dead meat.”

“I thought you wanted to stick up to her. If you want my advice, go over there and if she starts to yell at you about it, yell back.”

Shayla considered it for a long moment and then took a very deep breath. She got up, grabbed her stuff and walked up her isle, towards the front seat. Just as she set her back pack down and made to sit, she heard…

“What do you think your doing? Who the hell are you?!”

Shayla looked up and saw Jen standing now in front of her and practically fuming. But once she made eye contact with Shayla, she looked her up and down.

“Well, look who it is. Guess someone finally looked in the mirror, what’d you do bump into mommy’s makeup this morning and finally decide to look like the rest of us?” Now the entire class was intrigued, all of them listening in.

Shayla looked back at Jen, now terrified. “Well- I- uh…” Of course a comeback wasn’t coming to her now, when she needed one.

“I- uh- um.” Jen said, imitating her stuttering, “Look why don’t you just do what you normally do and stay quite. I don’t care, just do it ot out of my seat.”

Shayla, now mortified, started to grab her backpack, and then suddenly she stopped.

“You know what Jen, there are no assigned seats in this class. So why don’t this time you stay quiet, and you sit in the back.” She said a little more strongly than she thought was possible.

Jen, now a little taken aback started to counter with, “What so you think that just because you look like us now you can-  buuuuurrrrrppppp.” Suddenly Jen had just let out the most loud, long, and disgusting burp ever known to come from an adolescents mouth. She covered her mouth with her hand and then came another belch, now muffled but that really didn’t make that much of an improvement. The whole class was starting to laugh, she was now the one looking mortified. Just as another one started to come she ran out of the classroom, still being followed by laughing students, one of which, she had to admit, was Shayla. She looked down at her pencil bag and saw Celeste give her a thumbs up with one tiny hand while her wand was still twinkling in the other.

“Thank God you said something, so sick of her and Chris treating everyone else like trash. That was pretty impressive by the way.” She heard from behind her.

She turned to see Lucas James sitting in the seat directly behind her, “Ha, thanks” she smiled as he said it and turned back around. “Oh my God” she mouthed to her pencil pouch where Celeste gave her an equally excited head nod.

******

Shayla walked her way home from her very exhausting, but very enjoyable day.Within an hour, her story of talking back to Jen and then her running out of class on a burping fit got around the entire school, making people want to talk to her in every period and sit with her at lunch. Which, once again, was nice, she just hadn’t gotten a break all day. So she enjoyed the one on one conversation she was having with Celeste as she flew by her walking on the spacious rode, not far from the school that led back to home.

“Oh my gosh, that was such a good spell! Congratulations on it working!”

“Thanks! But hey, you got the ball rolling.You just totally put her in her place, and believe me she needed it.”

They both were laughing when they turned the corner, but the laughter camouflaged itself along with Celeste when they caught sight of what was waiting for them once they had turned the corner. Jen and Chris were both stood in the middle of the sidewalk, looking foreboding.

“Who were you talking to?” Asked Chris, once he saw that she was alone.

“Herself, who else? She does it a lot.” Jen commented

“What do you guys want, or are you just blocking the sidewalk for fun?” Shayla countered. She was certainly feeling more spunky today, even though the logical side of her brain was screaming at her to just shut up for they were alone on an empty street.

“Wow. She has gotten a big head. So what then, huh? You spend one day with the rest of the world and then decide your better than the rest of us?” Jen was practically red, and clearly pissed off.

“Jen no one has said they’re better than you, you put that into your own head; as you do most things alright. I have never been out to hurt you and yet you or your minion boyfriend here have always felt the need to go of your way to make my life miserable. I’m sorry that I’m now taking it back.” Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Her brain told her.

“Oh, look who’s a smart-ass now.” Chris felt the need to pipe in.

“That’s it! You little-” however her last word was cut off as she grabbed Shayla by the shoulders and pushed her up against the electrical post. Shayla tried to squirm out of her grip but Jen was weirdly strong.

“Baby you still got that knife?” She asked Chris who was looming behind her.

Shayla squirmed more, now the fear had been kicked up about a thousand notches.

“Let go!” She yelled, as Chris was pulling out his pocket knife.

“Fight me. Oh right, you can’t can you?” She smiled with a malicious intent upon her face. The blade had been handed to Jen and she flipped it out dramatically when-

“What the hell do you think your doing?!” Jen was shoved off of Shayla by none other than Lucas James.

“My God, you two are messed up! Were you seriously going to cut her just for telling you off? Get out of here before I tell someone what you two were doing that made Shayla scream!”

They took off like scared little dogs.

“Are you ok? He turned toward her, an entirely different tone in his voice. Truth be told she was still a bit shaken leaning against the post, but she nodded. Lucas didn’t believe her considering her eyes were still wide. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.” He hovered by her as she unstably walked back to his black truck that he must have stopped there in the middle of the rode when he saw what was happening.

He drove her back home and by then she had regained her control of breathing and calmed down enough that she got just a couple butterflies when it came to her full realization that she was getting a ride with Lucas James.

They pulled up to her house and she unbuckled her seatbelt.

“Thanks.” She said looking in front of her.

“It was no problem. I can’t believe they’d do that still.”

“No, really. Thanks for everything. For defending me at school last week, for talking to me in class when no one else would, and for what just happened” She looked at him now.

“You deserve it, trust me.” He leaned a bit closer.

“Heh, well I don’t know about that, I didn’t exactly make it easier on myself back there. I could have just shut my-” and then she was cut off by the most wonderful sensation she had ever felt.

So Celeste wiggled her way out of the backpack on the floor of the car she’d been hiding in. And flew off, knowing her work was done.

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