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Moonlit Shadows

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Chapter 1: The First Story Has Ended
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The tale of Coraline Jones became the tale of Madoline, Not Madeline. Madoline Stone.

Penned by writer Wyborn Lovat with a Cthulhu adventurer vibe. Madoline and the Mad Cat.

Their adventure was chronicled even though his role was small. He didn’t mind.

His great aunt Jessica Fletcher who lived across the country in Cabot Cove, Maine was a great help and inspiration. She wrote him long letters, and even gifted him an authentic typewriter with a sleek stylish black color.

He loved it.

It took two summers, and dozens of revisions, but he sent the Purple Palace Adventure completed to his aunt, who helped him publish it.

14 year old Wyborn Lovat felt accomplished. He had a strange Cat, a sister in Coraline, and a fun otherworldly adventure.

Life was great… but then. Strange things started happening again.

Coraline struggled with shadows that followed her, and emotions that overwhelmed her, and he felt powerless to help her once again.

He devoted all of his energy into chronicling what was happening to her. Like any good explorer would chronicle a journey into the unknown. For all he wrote and all that he did, he couldn’t shake the feeling that things were about to get much worse for the both of them, before they got better.

LIke all curious people who are in tune with the world and its strange workings.. He was right.

 

Waking up, he realized right away that it was late. The Cat sat heavy on his chest, the rumbling pur was what brought him awake.

Feeling an oddness in the air, juxtaposed to The Cat himself. He had taken to wandering, it had been a month since he saw The Cat last.

The Cat was prone to wandering, so Wybie didn’t mind. He pet

The Cat had a heaviness to him, a was free with his comfort, and incessant with his nudging and puring… Which was wrong. He knew that something was wrong. After a year of oddness and struggles he felt a horrifying slim slither in his gut.

Wyborn ran, The Cat displaced without a care as he ripped covers off.

Tripping out the heavily postered door, heart hammering down the corridor, his first thought was Coraline, something got her… He stopped.

The smiling notes of Louis Armstrong didn’t carry from the porch swing. The smell of peach tea didn’t linger from the kitchen. The house was cast in shadows, the shades all still drawn and it was empty, quiet, lifeless.

Grandma…

He set the phone back into its cradle, and stared at her closed door at the end of the corridor. It was dark.

The Cat rubbed against his legs, and he startled, taking in a breath not realizing he had been holding his breath. He smelt it, that mysterious hint of death.

The phone rang.

Startling him again… He knew who it would be. Not hesitating to answer, “Is she gone?” he asked. Knowing she knew these things now.

“I’m sorry Wybie. I saw her this morning… She is gone.” Coraline Jones spoke softly.

“Was it good or bad?” He asked afraid to know the answer.

Sometimes the spirits Coraline saw were good, bad, angry, sad, and all of the above. Drawn to her like a moth to a flame as she helped their energy pass on to the next plane.

It seemed to be a growing consequence of her adventure into the other mothers domain. They had been investigating this through the last year.

“Good, she actually helped me… more than I helped her. She was a great lady, Whybie. I am coming over. She told me her death was no excuse for you to not take care of yourself. She told me to make you drink your orange juice.”

Wybie laughed a sob. “What am I going to do?”

Coraline took on his Grandmother’s tone in voice “You listen to me Wyborn… Walk into that kitchen and drink your juice young man. Park yourself on that porch step and wait for your lovely friend. You will handle this one step at a time.”

“Thanks grandma for everything, I will miss you.”

“Of Course you will, and so will I but our time is over son. You will get through this, enjoy your adventures and don’t let me hear of you not taking care of yourself.” Coraline’s voice was watery and distinctly different when it returned “She is leaving now, she is so proud of you Wybie. She said she was sorry for jumping in, but you know how stubborn she can be.”

Wyborn just made a noise not trusting himself to talk, but still mumbled gravelly. “Thank you Coraline, I got to say goodbye…”

“I will be there in five minutes. Don’t forget the juice, she won’t leave until you drink it…”

Numbly he nodded, and hung up the phone.

He seemed to blink, and found himself on the porch step watching the sunrise with The Cat purring in his lap and a cold glass of orange juice in his hand. Coraline biking up the winding hill to his house.

He eyed the juice critically.

He would drink this, but if he never did would she never leave? Would she stay? Could she come back?

The Cat hissed and pressed his claws into his lap. His blue eyes somehow carried disappointment.

“Sorry.” He said, correctly assuming The Cat knew his thoughts and it was forgiven, as he returned to purring.

Smelling peaches on the breeze and knowing it for what it was. It was time.

Eyes burning, tears tracking his cheeks, throat a constricted knot, he drank the juice until the smell of peaches faded away and he was left with an empty cup.
Coraline gasping and red faced threw her bike down and ran up the compressed gravel drive. Pummeling into him painfully and he cried, he cried and things were going to change. It felt horrifying.

“She’s gone, she told me so much… but she is gone and she left. She is happy, and her sister helped her. It was a good one Wybie I promise. She desperately wanted him to believe it.

Wybie did believe it.