The bell rings above the bar. The lights are dimmed. Glasses clink as they are stacked together, and chairs begin to scrape under tables. A mutter of discontent from the clientele, as they down their drinks to the last dregs. “Last orders! time to drink up, ladies and gents!”
Slowly, they leave the pub, out into the chilly night air, following the amber glow of streetlamps like moths to candle-flames. All except one. A solitary figure, by the jukebox. A regular, who reads the paper over a drink until the doors are shut. He’s almost become part of the furniture, though nobody knows his name.
The landlord explains with a sigh to his new barman:
“He comes in most nights.”
He sits by the jukebox until the clock chimes eleven, when the landlord clears away his glass and tells him it’s time to go home. He stares silently with dark, night-owl eyes, and without a word rises from his seat. He looks old, but perhaps it’s just a trick of the light. His clothes are plain, grey and dusty. He walks toward the door, without offering a goodbye.
The landlord shivers, watching the figure of this strange pilgrim disappear into the night. Something about him just doesn’t feel right. A missing part to his whole, an absence that cannot be ignored. And yet, he knows nothing about the man. Nobody does.
No moon in this sky tonight. An inky expanse of nothing, stars choked out and blind. The unknowable man looks up into the night, and smiles. He raises both hands upward and begins to soar. A trail of starlight follows his ascent. He finds his place in the firmament; and now, in the once darkened sky, a full moon hangs brightly. The man in the moon has come home.
© The Somnambulist Society