The Scary Night

“Mum, were you a gardener?” You kicked your legs back and forth, never able to sit still, even while you leaned on the table. Your fingers felt the familiar grooves of your table, including the gash created during the vegetable incident. Mum wasn’t happy; however, you never had much to do with vegetables besides eating them.

“Why ask, Moonbeam?” Mum smiled as the setting sun made her blonde hair almost golden. You envy her hair. Mum told you to be proud of your blondy-white hair, saying hair like the moon made you precious and special. You knew better. It just meant kids kicked you in the shin since they're all poopy heads.

You blushed at the nickname, one she never says in public. “Well, when I went to the well, I saw Maz.” Your fists clenched in anger. The Priestess said to forgive, but Maz was so mean! She always made fun of you and made the other girls not like you. “She said her momma said you used to be a farmer before you worked at the shrine.” You looked at the ground and mumbled, “Then, people laughed.”

“A farmer?” You could almost hear her eyebrow rise from how confused she was.

“Yeah!” You nodded super fast. “You never said you did vegetable things before that, especially digging.”

Your mother set two bowls of cabbage stew on the table. “My parents were merchants, so I never farmed, even though we grow flowers for the temple here.” She pointed her finger in the air and said in a silly, grumpy tone, “There’s a big difference between gardening and farming, your acolyte.”

You giggled. “Was that why Maz got red like a tomato when I said her momma was a farmer too? Cuz, um, their family grows the special herbs? Everyone laughed even more when I said that.”

“Even the adults?”

“Yup!” Mum’s shoulders lowered, and she grimaced. “Did I say something wrong? I… I’m sorry.”

She shook her head. “What, exactly did you two say?”

“Well, Maz yelled, ‘Guess what Mother said! She said your mom was a hoe!’ So, I said, ‘Your momma’s a hoe too!’”

Mum sighed. “You remember when I told you about staying away from Grandpa?”


“Well, Grandpa was angry because… I couldn’t have kids.”

“But you had me!”

“I did.” She ran her hand through your hair. “But Grandpa got angry because no one wanted to marry a woman who couldn’t have kids. That’s why you have no daddy. So, I was fourteen when he decided to make me a…” She scratched her head. “Do you know those ladies who live in the naughty building?”

“The nice ladies who scare away my bullies?”

“Yeah, those ladies. I used to work there, and mean people call them hoes. The proper term is prostitute, but you can also call them harlots if it’s easier for you to say.”

“Okay! Why’d you stop working though?”

“I prayed every night for a little girl.” She smiled. “I would say, ‘Please gods, any one, please give me a little girl for me to love.’ Then, one day, the moon covered the sun when I was praying, and I saw a man among men suddenly in front of me. He said, ‘I'll make you the mother of a moonbeam.’ The next morning, I asked a healer mage if I had a child, and he said I did.” You gasped, never having known this story; however, you always knew Mum loved you so much. “Since I already had a working relationship with the high priest, I transferred to being a flower girl.”

“Is that why you call me Moonbeam?”

“It is. Now, eat your soup before it goes cold, then we can play hide and seek. Okay?”

“Uh-huh!” You ate the soup as fast as you could because hide and seek was the best game ever. You and Mum would take turns being the seeker. You’d always find Mum because she said you were super smart, and she could never find you since she said you were super sneaky.

You loved Mum and wanted to be with her forever.