The First Batling by Emily Clemmons

Long ago, okay, or maybe not so long ago lies a small town called Moonlight. On the surface, it appears like any other sort of town with a general store, a gas station, a mayor’s office, oh and don’t forget the church. A quaint little town. In the center of this town, however, is a beautiful lake, shining like a sapphire lost at sea or a sea of endless stars. Perfectly harmless during the day, but at night, well I guess you just have to find out from the residents here. Come join us in the Moonlight podcast as we dive into what m .

“Cut!” a woman in her 40s stood up and waved at the camera crew. “Evaki, you were only supposed to report what was happening around Luner High today, not this,” the woman sighed. She had that vast sigh that could move mountains. Her black hair was always tied up in a high ponytail, smelled of cedar, and she  s.

“Look, Evaki, there is nothing in the town to look into. We are just a normal town with a lake in the center, nothing special about that. I know you want to be a reporter, so start reporting on the football team. Brian scored the last touchdown yesterday afternoon.

“Screw Brian,” Evaki had finally spoke. If she was going to be a reporter, she was going to have to defend the truth, even if it would cost her the education she so desperately worked for. “There is something odd about this town Mrs.  Evaki paused for a brief second and gave air quotes, “Or sorry highly discouraged, and not to even mention the weird curfew that has been placed over the last few months.” The lady sighed once more putting her hands in a prayer position and shook her head.  The air emulated a fog of frustration. The woman could feel the chocolate turning into a puddle of mud. The clock only said noon, not even time for lunch. The woman sighed like a child forced to do homework and attempted to rely on the sweet manner that preschool teachers had. 

“Look Evaki, we all know there are more wolves now and music attracts their attention. You know that. People go missing because we as a civilization are too stupid to run away from vicious animals like a wolf,” the woman gave a light-hearted half-chuckle. Evaki was not going to step down, not unless… A Cheshire, Grinch-like smile radiated from the woman’s cheeks. “I would hate to tell your mother about your theories again especially when you have come so far in those scholarships of yours.   Look, let’s try again and maybe we cou-”

“Don’t mention my scholarship or my mom again. Understood?” Evaki fidgeted with her hands. No, she wouldn’t be a disappointment again. She wasn’t going to be a hurricane again. She wasn’t…” Evaki snapped out of her thoughts. The woman was laughing at her, smirking like a cat who had captured its prey. She was the prey.

“Struck a cord, haven’t I?” The woman roared with laughter. Even a clown couldn’t top this. “Now how about we try again, shall we?” The woman with the black hair, sitting on a throne of spitefulness, gestured to the camera crew, clearly embarrassed by the woman. If that woman didn’t have pockets, they would’ve joined the girl.

“No,” Evaki simply stated. She grabbed her purple backpack with glittering stars on it and a small bat keychain on its zipper. “I’m done”. She walked out the door hearing the protests behind her. She knew that her mother would get a call sooner or later about her daughter’s ‘erratic behavior’ and she knew her mother would just sit in the rocking chair without hardly saying a word. She would be disappointed. “Disappointment”. Evaki wouldn’t go home tonight. “It would be too much to bear,” she thought “Too much to see her tears, especially after I was offered a full-ride scholarship. Why did she keep screwing up? Was she really that obsessed with these creatures? The creatures that roamed on a full moon who danced to these enchanted melodies luring young girls in with their song? A siren in the most basic sense, but looking at the records, the creatures have been here for a millennia. The howls at night, the wolves that had never been here until six months ago, and music became banned when just last year there was a celebration of the moon and its glory. What was even the truth? Was this just all in her head and life had always been this way? 6:00 curfew and music being “highly discouraged” in public and private areas of the town. Why couldn’t she be obedient? Evaki’s face turned red and she was burning up. She touched her eyelids “Crap,” she said. They were tears.

Evaki pushed the creaky wooden door open to the women’s restroom. “Hello!” she shouted. She was safe. Safe for now. Evaki walked toward the pristine white sink and the oval-shaped mirror and sunk her hand into the abyss. The abyss was so nice, cool, and wet and free. Free from disappointment, free from being crazy, free to just be her, and she was enough. I wonder if this is what baptism felt like Evaki wondered it would be nice to know. She gave a large sigh and patted her face with a rough paper towel. She caught herself in front of her reflection. She had forgotten those compliments that people have told her over the year.  She had a tendency to forget unless she was crying or at peace looking at a stupid mirror. Nat had told her once that Evaki had lush candy apple locks, with waves from the ocean, black eyes like coal from the deepest cavern, and a smile that could make even the most depressed smile. All accompanied by a black leather jacket falling apart and a necklace with a silver “E” on it. I bet she was just trying to get an A on that poetry assignment. Too bad I don’t smile much anymore. Another large sigh came from Evaki. She knew she would have to walk out and face the world eventually, just not today.

Bzzzt. Evaki heard her phone buzz.  She was greeted by a home screen of a red background with black bats and a shiny message from Natalie. The message read.

“OMG, where the hell are you? Are you dead? Please don’t tell me Ms. G’s replacement made fun of you again. I told you we can’t trust that snake… look you better not be crying in the bathroom again. You’re too beautiful for that, E, and plus I have a major surprise that I will totally spoil if you don’t come to the lunch room in the next five minutes. Be there or else. Jk I love you bestie, just please hurry before the snake arrives. TTYL”

Natalie is completely unhinged, but Evaki will be her sister forever and always, just not by blood. Evaki smiled and replied back.

“Be there in a few” Lunch hour had hit and the cafeteria was in full swing. All the noises became one distinct loud voice of pure chaos. It was Hallow’s Eve, so of course the cafeteria would be filled with excitement. Who wouldn’t want to join in? Evaki burst the doors open and a whiff of pumpkin pie and chai latte overwhelmed her senses. She saw Natalie near the window, the pretty blonde with a bunch of jocks including Brian in his Blue letter jacket. All the football players had them and if they didn’t, well, it was not going to be the best day for them. Natalie wore her pink plaid dress and golden butterfly clip. Natalie reminded Evaki of the beauty of a spring shower and the dews gently touching the leaves. The glory of a rainbow. Nat was beautiful. Natalie saw Evaki and signaled her over. She may not be the smartest but in this town looks would go far.

“E!” she exclaimed “Come sit by us.” Evaki moved but refused to move any closer beyond the middle of the cafeteria. Natalie saw this and knew that she would have to make the jocks leave, again. “Alright fellas, this has been fun but a pretty girl like me has to have her social time. So shoo” She waved her hand and signaled the dogs to leave their master and they did, finding other pretty girls to latch onto. Brian stayed behind not wanting to get rid of his prize so easily. Natalie signaled her friend once more and Evaki was ready to listen. She sat right across from Natalie trying to avoid Brain at all costs.

“Hello Evaki, nice to join us. I’m Brain and thi-”

“Save it!” Evaki interrupted with a shout. “So Nat, what’s up? You said you had a surprise for me? Natalie grinned and laughed but not in a condescending way, but in a way when a kid gets caught in the act.

“E, you’re so adorable. Patience is a virtue young one.”

“I’m older than you,” Evaki remarked

“True. So what is one thing you really want to do before Halloween tomorrow?”

“Not be a disappointment?” Evaki shrugged with embarrassment.

“Other than that E” Evaki pondered this thought and suddenly it hit her.

“Nat we can’t. Comm’n we don’t even have the equipment and even if we did, I can’t bear the thought of hurting Mom again and…” Evaki was going down the spiral again.

“E” she stuck out her hand “It’s okay. I have everything covered. Breathe with me” Natalie held out her hand. “Would you like to do the candles” E shook her head.

“I’m okay,” she said, “I just had a bad day that’s all. How did you get the equipment?” Natalie smiled once again and gestured toward Brian.

“Thanks to him, we are doing this tonight,” she said. “8:15 sharp at the lake. Don’t be late.”

“Don’t be late, got it” Evaki stated. “Okay. Thank you, Brian.”

“No problem,” he stated “As long as I get to spend time with this ray of sunshine, I’m willing to buy you a yacht for this stupid conspiracy” Brian smirked. “Congratulations on the scholarship, by the way, I hope you take it. You deserve it. Anyway, see you ladies tonight” He smiled and walked off.


8:15.   The lake that was responsible for everything going on in this town. The lake that brought them. Evaki’s eyes gestured to the figures on the lake. White translucent figures that glowed in the moonlight, only apparent on a full moon. Human but not quite, but beautiful as they danced and played with the music. “This is it Evaki whispered. “I’m going to interview them and figure out what they did to this town, even though it’s just those dancers and us right now” Evaki was so close to the lake now she could feel its mist and smell the cold October air.

“Okay, E” Nat said “We’ve got you all set up, just be careful, okay, these creatures don’t look exactly friendly” E smiled. There just dancing in the moonlight, what’s wrong with that? Evaki thought. Brian pushed Evaki aside.

“You only have fifteen minutes before the hypothermia kicks in and then I’m going to ride in my boat to pick you up. All this equipment is water resistant but not waterproof so handle it with care. You got this.” Evaki grabbed the equipment and stood from the shore. She took a breath and stepped into the lake, but the lake supported her. She was walking on water! Strange, maybe this is all a dream. Evaki wanting to find answers, walked towards the figures. Moonlight dancers that’s what I should call them. Evaki shouted at the figures, saying her name and demanding answers. In a flash, a dancer hit with her Violin bow in the back of Evaki’s head. The moon became bright red and bats flew out into the lake, surrounding Evaki.

“Ow…” Evaki said. “What the heck was that for?”

“You want to know the truth, now you are part of it. Welcome to your new home, Batling.”