He dodged behind a wide tree and flattened his back against it, clutching the strange knife tightly in his hand. It pulsed gently with a uniformed rhythm as if a heart thudded beneath the bone exterior and it seemed to generate an unnatural warmth.
Is the damned thing alive? he thought.
He fought the instinct to drop the knife on the ground, though every fiber of his being beseeched him to do so. The smell of death suddenly intruded on his internal struggle. Moon willed himself to peer around his hiding place. In the dawning glow of the sun he could clearly see what had been stalking him.
Something that was once a large man of more than six feet came hulking gracelessly out of the tall grass. It stood slumped as if fighting to keep its balance. The tattered remains of its clothing was that typically worn by a man of Dutch heritage. The fabric hung ill-fittingly on its physique. All color had been drained from its skin, giving the thing a pale hue that matched the hilt of the bone knife. Its eyes were milky white and dull – its ominous gaze stared directly at him.
Grabbed by a strength born of horror and desperation, Moon struggled to scale the tree, his feet barely finding purchase as he climbed and he had to rely mostly on the muscles of his arms. The creature pounded toward him. Moon doubled his efforts, using the bone knife as a makeshift anchor.
If the crew saw me now, they’d laugh and taunt me ‘til my dying day, he ruminated.
The extremities of a putrefied hand that looked more like talons than human fingers swept past Moon’s foot, catching his boots. He heaved himself up a thick limb, narrowly being pulled back down. The boot was pried loose and plummeted to the ground. He stared down to see the creature staring back up with that milky gaze, its fingers opening and closing reflexively like it was waiting for Moon to fall into its waiting outstretched arms.
Who are you?
I’m Moon. I was once a slave.
And now, you’re a thief.
Beats being a slave.
But I prefer the title of “relic hunter.”
What types of relics do you steal hunt?
Forgotten ones; once thought of as only myths and legends.
How do you find such legendary artifacts?
Anything can be found, if you know where to look, and have the guts to go searching into dark and deadly places.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
A man should be quick thinking, fast moving and money making.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Power. I learned, long ago, that women possess more power than men, which is why men have always sought to control them; to possess them.
That’s an interesting perspective.
I’m an interesting guy.
Yes, you are. One of the most interesting things about you is your name. Is Moon a nickname?
No, it’s my name.
Your mama named you ‘Moon’?
Watch what you say about my mother!
The young son of the white man who enslaved me kept referring to me as “Moon.” I don’t know why. After I escaped, I didn’t bother to change it because I no longer remembered my birth name.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My mother. She is still enslaved.
There is another Moon I have read of who is also a relic hunter. His name is Taurus Moon. Do you think you are related?
I know we are. Taurus is one of my descendants.
How do you know? You divined it through one of your artifacts?
Nope; I googled it.
Wait…Google didn’t exist in the 1600s!
Were you alive during the 1600s?
Then how can you be sure?
That’s what I thought. Next question!
Um…okay. Who are your favorite writers?
I enjoy the writing of another one of my descendants. D.K. Gaston. He wrote about one of my adventures. That’s the story you can find in the Rococoa anthology.
Have you read the Rococoa anthology?
Yes. I have it on my Kindle and ordered a paperback from the publisher’s website.
Wait…Kindle? Website? In the 1600s?! How?
You already know.
Wow, so…um…what is your motto?
Say ‘what’ again! I dare you!
But…that’s Samuel L. Jackson’s line from Pulp Fiction.
Yes, I know. I love that movie!
But you’re from the 1600s! How?…Never mind.