by Cassandra de Alba
A bunch of kids lived there and they kept it in the attic. At parties they would lead you up the sagging back staircase a few at a time and let you touch it, how at other houses people would fade off to the attic in threes and fours to split sheets of acid or hit homemade bongs that nearly grazed the low ceilings.
The moon sat in the center of the attic, surrounded by frameless futon mattresses and discarded shoes. The only window was left flung open so the kids could scramble up planks to the top of the roof, to drink beer and stare at a sky with only stars.
The moon was always glowing in a way that made you think it gave off heat, but it was cool to the touch, and dusty. Someone had plastered a sticker for their folk-punk band right over the Sea of Tranquility, claiming the territory for Fat Bandit and the Pie Rats like Neil and Buzz's nylon flag.
No one who hadn't been to the house seemed to notice that the moon was gone. It wasn't on the news, or in any of the papers, and all the famous astronomers stayed silent on the subject. The Weather Channel still represented every clear night with a graphic that made the moon look like a musket ball, hard and shiny. But once you'd been up to the attic and seen the moon, you'd find that you couldn't see it anywhere else.
The kids were cagey about how the moon got there. None of them liked the question and would look at the asker with new, narrowed eyes. No one who'd been around the house for very long asked that question. The way the kids told it the moon just showed up, like one of the strangers sleeping on the couches downstairs, always assumed to be someone else's friend.
During the day, at first, most of them forgot about the moon, preferring to pass a joint around the hard concrete of the backyard or split whiskey fifths on the porch, one of them always playing a guitar—sometimes more than one, power chords and finger picking filtering from different rooms. The house was a misstep away from being a squat—impossible to tell who lived there and who was just visiting, how the lights stayed on, how the moon ended up in the attic, perfectly balanced and still, like a ballet dancer holding her breath.
Cassandra de Alba's work can be found in Ilk, Neon, Illuminati Girl Gang, and taped to the wall above her desk. She lives in Somerville, MA and blogs at outsidewarmafghans.tumblr.com.