Prompt – Write a story about something weird that happened on a full moon.
I remember it vividly. The first full moon of the fall. Or as the early settlers in West Texas used to call it, the Comanche Moon. That signaled a time for the Comanche warriors to raid white settlements killing, raping and capturing anyone they came across.
Nowadays, it is a peaceful moon. For the farmers, it is called a Harvest Moon as you can keep working the fields well into the night just by the glow of the moon. I was baling alfalfa for the unheard of ninth time this season. The barn was bursting with alfalfa bales to feed the horses around town. The weather had been perfect all summer long, raining at the right moments between cuttings.
I bale at night, so the humidity packs the alfalfa bales tighter as the baler behind my tractor gathered up the alfalfa. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk went the baler. A comforting rhythm during these long hours in the field. With the moon so bright, I turned off the lights of the tractor. Times like these are rare and to be treasured. A familiar swoosh went by my head as our barn owl hunted rabbits being flushed out by my tractor.
As I reached the end of the field and turned around to follow the next line of alfalfa, a strange thing happened. The barn owl, which I had only glimpsed before, landed on the front end of the tractor. It’s wingspan was at least six feet. But once perched on the tractor, the wings folded up so neatly, you would swear they were only a foot in length.
I couldn’t help but smile. No one would believe me, but that was okay, I knew in my heart I was witnessing something special. Half-way back toward the barn and the owl gracefully spread it’s wings and with a couple of flaps took off into the night. I settled back into the rhythm of driving the tractor on my lonely vigil up and down the field.
After making my regular turn by the barn, I headed off toward the far end of the field. Half-way there, I saw something weird. Maybe the moonlight was playing tricks on my eyes? Seemed there were men on horses at the far end. It could be the fenceposts causing this illusion, but the horses were very near each other. I must be getting tired and seeing things. Perhaps I should turn my lights back on.
I decided not too, as the sight of the horses mesmerized me. Nearing the end of the field, I saw that the men on the horses looked to be wearing Indian clothes. I pulled the throttle back on the tractor and shifted into neutral. I kept shaking my head and blinking my eyes furiously, but the weird sight didn’t go away. Am I losing my mind?
I reached down and cut the engine of the tractor. Silence fell. I could then hear the nickering and pawing of the ground by the horses. This was no illusion! This was real! The Indians as one lifted rifles and pointed them directly at me. I knew then the dreaded Comanche had come to kill me.
Resigned to my fate, I closed my eyes awaiting the blasting of bullets to tear into my body. Then my cell phone started ringing. I looked down and grabbed it from my front pocket and saw my wife was calling me. As I lifted it to my ear to answer, the Indians vanished.
“You okay? Why did you stop the tractor?”
“Um, I thought I saw something weird.”
“Like what? I’ve been watching you with the binoculars and I didn’t see anything.”
“It’s nothing, I must be tired. I only have about an hour of baling to do. I’ll be fine.”
To this day, I don’t know if the Indians were real or a figment of my imagination. Not wanting to find out for sure, I never ever baled alfalfa during a Harvest Moon for the rest of my life.