Captivating Luna

Captivating Luna

By S. L. Brown

The wind whips through my small town across from the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. The whistling of the gust usually keeps me at ease at this time of night but not tonight. Tonight is different and I am sure my life will never be the same no matter how cliché that sounds. As the rain pounds the glass and the wind continues to sing its unobstructed melody, in my green light, I am left to recount how I got here.

This little town of Port Orchard is quaint and fairly quiet compared to the big cities. There isn’t much to do on a Friday night, which, I did not mention it was. Yes, Friday night in a small-town USA where hitting the bowling alley to bowl or a local bar to drink is the night’s highlight. To be honest, I spend most Friday nights at home relaxing, crushing candies on the Internet. By the end of this day my ho-hum Friday will be nothing near ho-hum.

As I drove the dark streets heading home my phone lights up with an incoming call. “Oh man!” I see the face of my pretty and sassy friend Marie. The phone rings again as I debate if I should answer or not. Marie always gets me into something. Not always bad but always something. She is a wild soul who ensures everyone has a good time. Another ring and I make my choice to click the Answer button. The conversation starts off as usual.

“Hola, my spicy Chicana,” I say.

“MMM, hola my caramel Papi. Como este?” she giggles back.

“Bien, bien! Alright, you know that’s it for Spanish for me. What’s up, love?”

Marie tells me about this wild masquerade party she was invited to and wanted to know if I want to go. Marie always gets her way but I still protest.

“I’m almost home and you know you always get us in trouble with your crazy ass.”

“Papi, did you hear me say masquerade?” Of course I did. I start thinking about all the ladies who might be there in sexy outfits and mask. Marie knows me well as she quips, “Yes, there will be lots of sexy women!” Damn her. She does it every time to me. I protest again, “You don’t know me like that but alright I am in.” My ho-hum Friday could very well be much more thanks to Marie. I end with, “Love you my spicy Chica.” To which she replies, “You better or I’ll cut you. Love you more, Papi!” I hit the End button, continuing homeward with a new mission on my mind. Women, mask, drinks and dancing? Yes, please!

I get home and get showered, shaved and looking good. As I leave Marie texts me saying she’ll meet me at the party. I’m annoyed by this turn initially but in true Marie fashion she hits me with, “You may need to give someone a ride home and I don’t want to cramp your style stud.” She sent me the address and said she would meet me there in about an hour. I jumped in the car, flicked on the wipers, cranked up the radio and headed out following phone’s directions. The night’s potential was getting better and better.

The map said it would take me 15 minutes to get to the house. My mask rides shotgun in the passenger seat. I look good in my black pants, blue button up shirt and black shoes. I feel good and the evening mood is feeling more optimistic. Let’s see what happens tonight.

As the lights of the city start to fade, I find the strategically placed streetlights of the paved roads to be calming. The bright glow fading slowly down as I move forward gives way to brightening lights of the next light. The rhythm is mesmerizing. The voice on my GPS interrupts my deep reflection of the roadway’s lighting system as she commands, “Turn left in one-quarter mile onto Mystery Road!” Hmm, Mystery Road is a funny name for a road, I thought to myself. I turn and then the voice says. “Turn right in 600 feet.” “Yes, Ma’am!” I replied as the road approached. Turning right and further into the country I went.

The dark, bumpy and, a-little-bit-scary-if-I-am-being-honest-with-myself road was quiet. I decrease my speed while wondering if a bear, a lion or a winged hell demon will jump out at anytime and murder me. As the thought passed, I realized I spend a lot of time thinking of how bad something could be. Not tonight! Tonight, I’ll be positive, full of curiosity and see where the night takes me. I veer left one more time. The trees open to this big farmhouse surrounded by giant wooden gates. I push the keypad at the gate. The ringing echoes through the woods. Otherwise it is deathly quiet. A girl’s voice excitedly chimes in over the speaker, “Welcome, Loyce. We have been expecting you. Come on in!” The gates glide open granting me access to this secluded place.

“We have been expecting you.” I drive down the dirt driveway to the rear of the house. I start to wonder about that statement. How could they have been expecting me? I’ve never been here before and, as far as I know, Marie is not here yet. I finally see life as I wrap around the back of the old Victorian country house. I pull up next to a barn or stable where other cars are parked. As I park a stunning young woman stands in the road waving at me. I assume it’s the girl from the intercom. I park and she greets me with a big hug. To say she was a bit cheery, forward and, well like I said, stunning, would be an understatement. I try to play it cool but stumble right past cool to horrible pick up line guy saying, “Wow, you are as pretty as the moon!” Even now I am embarrassed for myself having uttered those words but that is not important now. She laughs confirming that my line was horrible, but I am cute and it’s okay. Awkward failure aside, I said to her, “You know my name but I don’t know yours.” Her name was Luna and I laughed at the irony of my horrible pick up line and her namesake. We head towards the rear of the property.

Luna’s long curly black hair seems to float behind her as we walk. Her petite yet curvy frame glides along the path as if she is floating. She is stunning! The most amazing thing about Luna is her dark brown deep-as-the-night forest eyes that captivate me so much I don’t notice her carnival mask. I could get lost in those eyes. I’m sure of it. She says, “Put your mask on, stud.” Which I do. Her mask is black and red lace and hides, what I assume, are stunning features. Although the thought crosses my mind that she could also be a disfigured alien behind it. Wouldn’t that be a shock to my system? Being the optimist, I lean back to the side of stunning because, frankly, disfigured alien seemed a little too likely way out here where no one can hear me scream. I will choose stunning. With my mask on, Luna says I look like the Batman symbol. I respond, “I’m going for a Mr. Grey from 50-shades kind of mysterious sexy look without all the money though. Is there a broke version of Mr. Grey? Maybe Mr. Brown?” Her laugh tickles me, as it is both full of simple joy and mischievousness. I wonder how great this night will be especially if Luna is included in the outcome. Time will tell, that is for sure.

As Luna and I walk farther and deeper into the back of the property I feel like we are Hansel and Gretel ominously heading to the witch’s house. Should I lay out breadcrumbs, I think to myself. Again, my imagination is getting the best of me, yet I still follow this vision of beauty. Every 20 steps lanterns with flames light the way. We make small talk the further we disappear into the trees. Finally, we come to another opening where my reaction makes Luna smirk at me.

A giant outdoor tent stands at the center of a big open field. It would rival any big top tent at any world-class circus event. As we enter, the tent is in full swing with music, games and even rides like merry-go-round, bumper cars, too. The Latin music blares throughout the tent and people are dancing everywhere. The only lights in the place are from games, lanterns and strobes. It is festive and my sexy dance moves are begging to get out. It seems I am not the only one as Luna saunters me towards that back area where the darkened dance floor is located.

The people are all shapes and sizes. Walking through the tent it feels like being in Brazil in the crowded party streets of the Samba nation. Men and women are in all various styles of clothing “optional” states. To my surprise the only mandatory article of clothing is the facial covering from simple eye mask to partial mask and partial face paint to full-face mask. Bodies are dripping sweat, smiling, laughing, dancing, touching and, yes, even kissing and a few unmentionable acts. It is definitely a party in the woods. Luna hands me a drink as we enter the darkened dance section.

Inside, the floor is packed as people spin, step, rock, touch and groove to the blaring music. I’m amazed at not only the dancing but the amount of people on the floor. It is nightclub- worthy that is for sure. “I don’t suppose you Salsa dance, Loyce?” Luna asks. I roll my shoulders and neck, smile, wink at her and laugh. “Oh, I don’t know if I can do this very well” I sheepishly say to her. As she begins to speak again I grab her hand and take her on the dance floor. We make our way through the crowd and find our space. I am smiling and looking around as the next song comes on. Is that Marie walking out by the DJ booth with some guy? As I look quizzically at the girl trying to see if it is Marie the song changes from Salsa to a Bachata song. Luna says, “This is my favorite style.” I instantly forget about the girl in the distance and reply, “Well let me see if I can get this down then.” What Luna doesn’t know is that Bachata is also my favorite style of Salsa dancing. As they say in the movies, “It is on!”

I pull Luna close to me. My right hand grabs her left hand, my left hand wraps her waist and her left-hand rest on my chest. As the Bachata rhythm bangs through the system Luna and I start getting a groove going. We three-step and spin, turn, glide and make dancing-style Latin love on the dance floor. We simply melt into each other like great dancers do. I feel like I have danced with her all my life. As with any song, I waited for the break down to bring her closer to me. Our bodies melted into each other as sweat started to moisten our clothes. The heat of us is intoxicating. I am lost in the moment. She leans in closer to my ear and says, “You have an amazing energy and aura.” I smile then say, “That’s how sexy works you know!” Before she comments again, I spin us around. She digs her nails into my back ever so slightly as I read her lips, “You are so tasty!” Who doesn’t like to be tasty? With this woman in my arms time meant nothing and I had no care in the world.

After dancing a few more songs we leave the dance area and head to the rear of the tent where the food is located. The smells of food fill the area as we pass booths with seasoned chicken and beef sizzling in hot pans and vats of grease. The smells of the meat are drool-worthy and remind me of walking through the carnivals as a kid. Along with the meats cooking there are also booths with drinks as well as giant bags of junk food and assortments of gut busting creations if one would dare try like Ghost Pepper Ice Cream. I point to it and shake my head emphatically no. Luna laughs at me but agrees with it being a “No” for her too. She then suggests we get some “Out of this World” cotton candy from a few booths up from where we are. Can I really resist “Out of this World” cotton candy? No, no I cannot. “Lets go” I say. Onward we go. Then I remember Maria and wonder if the girl I saw was in fact her having a good time.

As we walk to the booth I pull out my phone to check on Marie. Damn! I didn’t have a signal at all. Luna looked at me and reminded me that we were deep in the woods for a reason, “No phone signals!” she said. “In fact, even your camera won’t work in here.” I don’t believe her, so I switch my phone to camera mode. The screen brightens up and I turned it to Luna. Her sultry eyes pierced my screen as I professionally snap a photo of her. My phone does nothing as I hit the button. I hit the button again. Nothing. One more time and still nothing. Through my screen I see Luna’s amazing smile. Her lips mouth what I can hear, “I told you so, now come on!” I’m perplexed at why the camera doesn’t work but my thought is cut short as Luna grabs my hand and says, “Come on!” Forget the camera, I think to myself and follow along. I’ll find Marie later if she is here. I switch my phone off and we head for the cotton candy. I’m pretty sure I’d follow this woman to the depths of hell if she asked me to. Thankfully, I only have to watch her hips sway towards the cotton candy booth. The struggle is real, I think to myself.

The people coming and going are festive. The drinks are cold and the mood is fire hot. I have been hugged, kissed, had my butt smacked and danced with by a dozen people just walking the few hundred feet from the dancing area to the cotton candy stand. Luna laughs at me and my growth from initial shock to just letting go and having fun with it all. Yes, it is a good day. If Marie is here I know she is enjoying this crowd. They are right up her fun-loving alley. As I think about it with all these people in mask she could be standing right next to me and I might not even notice. That is definitely a game she would play too. She could also still be home or hung up somewhere. With her anything is possible. Deep down I think she is already here having a great time and I am sure our paths will cross before the night is over. Heck, she would have to come just to give me crap about Luna and me. Yes, I’ll see her before the night’s over indeed.

As I let go of the Marie thought a different one crosses my mind. There are a lot of people at this place but, if memory serves me correct, there weren’t a lot of cars out where I parked. I ask Luna where are all the cars are. She says, “This is a traveling carnival. Most of the people are not from around here.” She continued to tell me that it happens once a year in a different town deep in the woods. It was a very selective group that comes and the invitations for new faces is specifically chosen by the elders of the group. No one talks of the carnival and by this time tomorrow there will be no trace it was here. Here I am with a perplexed look on my face because it seems very cloak and dagger-like. Mystery Road indeed, I think to myself as I lock eyes with Luna staring at me.

Luna asks me what I was thinking about and I respond, “I’m selective huh?” Hmmm, now I am feeling a bit fancy since I was “selected.” I ask, “What is the criteria for the select group?” She grabs my hand pulls me close and kisses me so deeply that my knees almost buckle. I’m high like one of those damsels in a 1960’s romance film where the hero finally kisses her. As our kiss breaks, she whispers in my ear, “I think it’s because you are so tasty!” I give her this much she has a sick sense of humor. Add another check mark on her perfect girl list that I just started making. She bites my ear a little, pulls away from me, winks, smiles and pulls me onward to the cotton candy. I can still taste her on my lips. Select group? Out of town? I think to myself, Loyce, shut up with all the questions and enjoy the ride with this woman. All you need to do is follow her! And with that, I follow with a happy red face and a desire to finish that kiss she started.

We finally reach the cotton candy booth where Luna walks up to the 70-ish year old lady with her back to us and gives her big hug. The old lady does not react until Luna said, “Nani, I brought a tasty treat for you!” She looks back at me with a devilish smile. I laugh at her absurdity to continue the “tasty” joke but it’s cute and she seems tickled by it. Plus, the word tasty gets the old lady’s attention as she whips around and smiles a big jovial smile at me. She confirms Luna’s statement of me being a tasty young man as she mutters, “Indeed he will do. He will do.” To my shock she grabs my butt and gives it a squeeze. At this point I am not sure to be flattered or scared. I do know this would be a really odd threesome if it continues this way. Lucky for me the old lady laughs a hearty joyful laugh and says she is messing with me. I’m pretty sure they both could feel my sigh of relief.

She introduced herself as La’Star the Maker who also happens to be Luna’s grandmother. “What an interesting name you have,” I said. She told me every generation of her family has names from the sky. Apparently, her people felt as if they were one with space. “Even from it, you might say!” she said.

Now I understand why your name is Luna. Luna corrected me a bit and said, “Actually, it’s Luna the Provider.” What an intriguing little family I have met, I thought. The joker in me couldn’t help but make the connection and I smartly says, “I guess you provide the baker with the goods, huh?” La’Star patted me on the butt and said, “That is where you come in, tasty!” As she winks, we all laugh.

Behind La’Star is an old-time carnival booth. It reminds me of the ones the snake oil salesmen in the old movies would pull into new towns in. The only exception is the side facing me is what looked like a window, but I couldn’t see in it. Above the window is a sign that read, “Tastiest and Unique Cotton Candy... Out of this WOOOOORLD Flavor!” On the front edge is a cutout that I assumed the cotton candy comes out of. Right next to that, where La’Star was standing, are a few knobs, levers and controls. Lastly, it is surrounded by red and blue lights evenly spaced. It was nothing spectacular, yet Luna insists we come here.

“OK, Nani.” I tell Loyce he needs to have some of your “Out of this World” cotton candy. Instantly, La’Star clicks on the machine and it starts to hum and rumble. Behind what appeared to be a window I could faintly see green tinted lights and, what appears to be giant mixing bowls, rise up to something and start to spin the candy. The window is probably a one-way mirror since I cannot really see inside. Seems like a corny carnival effect I’d see in an old-time horror flick. I wonder what is really behind that window and why is it so ominous. I laugh to myself as I think, “There goes my mind again!” After a few seconds a cone comes out of the opening and a cotton candy is spun onto it. In a flash, I have it in my hand. I pull off a piece and put it in my mouth. WOAH! This should be its own food group. The usual sweetness is there but there was an after note of maple bacon and some type of Spanish spice. Was that bacon I taste? I’m confounded by what I am eating here but I love it.

The cotton candy melts away in my mouth as it mixes with my saliva. The after note of bacon accentuates the sweet sugar of the cotton candy. Then there is that Spanish spice that seemed so familiar, but I am unable to put a finger on it. Whatever it is, it is amazing. Both La’Star and Luna are smiling at me as I ravage this, hmmmm, from the heavens concoction. I cannot help but rave to them that this is the best thing I have eaten in a long time. La’Star sticks out her chest and says, “Why thank you, dear. I’ve been doing it for like some 100 years.” She continues that she cannot take full credit because what really makes her cotton candy “Out of this World” is the local fresh ingredients that add unique flavors to an old time classic. “Well, it is great.” I say as I continue eating. Luna says I can see it later but now we need to dance more. With that we bid La’Star farewell. “See you later, tasty!” she says with a smile.

Now I have to admit I forgot about Marie. Luna had my full attention now. This night will be one for the ages, I think, as we make it back to the dance floor. I finish my cotton candy as we continue flirting with each other. My fingers are sticky from the candy. Luna grabs my hand and slowly licks each one clean. SCORE! Yes, this is going to be a great night. I try to play it cool looking at her, but I feel like I am channeling Steve Urkel bursting in the door asking “Did I do that?” No matter, it is going to be a great night!

A slow song came on the speakers and Luna pulled me close to her. My hands wrap her waist, our bodies move to the rhythm of the music. The lights around me get swirly. Everyone else seems to move faster than I am. Luna and I dance seductively. I was Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. The room continues to change not only from the visuals but from the feeling. My body is warm and cold. The sensations of touch intensify in me. It is like I’m floating. As we dance, Luna says it is time to go back and see the “Out of this World” cotton candy. Now it was great but I’m thinking of Luna and me. She whispers seductively to me, “It’s secluded!” With that, I let her lead me away happily.

Luna leads me through the dance floor towards the back where the DJ booth is located. I think my mind is playing tricks as it seems people and their masks are blending into each other. I try to focus with no luck. Each person we pass phases in and out like a bad signal on an old TV set. The oddest part was everyone seemed to stare at me watching me be led to the back. Maybe I am a little tipsier than I thought. My hand in Luna’s, we continue towards the back. The stares are intense. I can see smiles from some people while others are oblivious. My vision is hazy but also clear I can see the people staring but the others who aren’t are blurry. That was a strong drink, I think, as Luna pulls me further back. The DJ gives Luna a high-five and smiles at me. I play it cool and give him a head nod. He knows what we are off to do, I am sure. Behind the booth is the exit where Luna pulls me into the darkness. She turns and passionately kisses me. My head is spinning. No, the room is spinning. Everything is spinning except Luna who is smiling. I’m confused by it all now.

She stares at me intensely. Her smile looks different now. The room is still spinning. Her eyes look hungry, wanting, aggressive and completely foreign to what I had seen earlier. She is speaking but I can’t understand her words. The room is still spinning. My eyes are heavy and start to close. As they do I hear her words, “So tasty!” Suddenly, the room stops spinning as I start to lose consciousness. In my haze, I can feel my body moving. My eyes won’t open and the sounds are muted and garbled. I’m floating along. Actually, I’m being carried.

Everything is blurry as I am finally able to open my eyes. Through my haze I can see Luna and La’Star by the cotton candy stand. I try to speak but mouth is restrained. I try to move my body but it too is retrained. I try to yell but all I hear is the noise around me. I’m in a machine I believe. Just as I realize that, both Luna and La’Star stare right at me. My eyes widen as I realize that what I am looking through is a window. I’m not in just any machine I’m inside the “Out of this World” cotton candy booth.

La’Star pushed one of the buttons and the machine started to crank up. The green light is brighter inside the booth. I stare at Luna through the window. This time her eyes pierce me, and I am scared with what I see. Her smile is more jovial as she seems to know I am looking at her. She slowly licks her lips, an hour earlier I would have thought it seductive but now it is scary. My mind races trying to make heads or tails of it all. This is a night to remember, I think, as the inside of the machine brightens.

As I struggle against my restraints I realize that I can move my head. I turn my head to the left. Next to me is a giant metal mixer spinning a series of blades almost too fast for me to see. I can see the outline of something above the mixer as it rises upwards. I turn back towards the window where I see Luna holding a sign. As if she can tell I’m looking she turns to the window where I see the sign. It says, “Newer Tastier Out of This World Cotton Candy.” She smiles again and turns back around. “Tasty” is what they kept saying, I think. My mind is racing as a line forms in front of Luna. As I stare at the line the green light brightens. I look left again and notice the object above the mixer coming into focus. The mixer inches higher, making contact with the object. Outside La’Star starts getting cotton candy from the opening on the stand. The light climbs higher and I scream a deathly scream as I see hanging from the wall, Marie. The blades slice and cut into my friend but she doesn’t move. Tears run down my eyes as I realize my friend is being made into cotton candy. OH MY GOD! I realize that the maple bacon cotton candy with that familiar Spanish flavor was Marie. She has been in here the whole time. I rock frantically, trying to break my binds. I am powerless.

And here I am on a windy and rainy night in this place, in my green light. I said, I had to recount how I got here. I turn my head from Marie and see people outside eating up the “Out of this World” Cotton Candy. Marie-made cotton candy. I am helpless. Luna turns and points at the window while tapping her sign. La’Star hits a button and I hear clank, clank, clank of the mixer. I don’t want to look but I turn my head to see. The green light is brighter this time and Marie’s whole face is lit. I hear the mixer but it is not moving under Marie. My eyes widen when I realize it is under me. All I can think of is the last thing I ate was cotton candy made from Marie. Just as the mixer rises up to meet me, Marie opens her eyes. Both of our eyes cry as the mixer below her starts back up again. A night to remember, indeed.


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