Ernest Wasn't Dumb

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
The moon was nice thought Ernest. Tomorrow it would be his job to kill that man and his family. That would not be nice, that would be anything but nice. But that was tomorrow. Right now, the moon, the moon was beautiful. It was an, what was it called, it was something special, he couldn’t remember, and that made him angry. He’d always been called dumb, he wasn’t dumb, he knew what things were - he just couldn’t remember their names.

An eclipse!

That’s what it was, a lunar eclipse! He said the word aloud, eclipse, he liked the sound of it. He said it fast and staccato eclipse, eclipse, eclipse and then he drew it out eeeccllippsee, and then he let it drip out of his mouth onto his boots and the hard dusty ground,


He wasn’t dumb, he’d remembered it. This was more than just a regular eclipse though, Joan and Addair had mentioned it earlier. What had they said? It was a- a red moon, a blood moon? Yes, that was right, a blood moon. He didn’t like that it was a blood moon, it reminded him of killing that man and his family. So he stopped looking at the moon.

They’d said that it was red because why? Because the red was the reflection of all the sun rises and the sunsets? Yes, that was it. He looked back at the moon, he was watching the beginnings and endings of many days. He felt better, it made him feel like there was more time between now and tomorrow’s job. He wanted to get up and walk down to the man and his family and tell them to look at the moon, they’d see so many more days and nights before tomorrow if they did.

He followed the shadows cast by the dim moon to where the family lived. A quiet knock on the door:

“Leave now.”

Ernest watched the family follow the shadows away. He sat back on the hill and watched the blood moon. Tomorrow he would be killed for what he'd done, but not before he enjoyed the beginnings and endings of many days. See? Ernest wasn't dumb.