Anise looked up at the moon. It was like she was seeing it for the first time. There was something wondrous and powerful about it.
This was not the same moon she’d stared at from the back of her mother’s sedan during all those silent, midnight escapes. This one was new and filled with magic.
Anise looked down at her naked form, suddenly aware of how inferior she was before the moon goddess. She sank to her knees and bowed her head. The clearing in the woods was deadly silent for a spell before life exploded around her.
Everywhere there were the sounds of sweet, nocturnal life waking up from some long, cursed slumber. Anise smiled and raised her head.
Calmly, she met the gaze of a large cougaress. The cougaress winked and gently pushed the flat of her head to Anise’s brow. Anise stroked her fingers through the soft fur.
When the cougaress turned and stalked away, Anise rose fully. Feeling someone’s eyes on her back, she turned. At first, she didn’t realize what was different, but when the other woman spoke, she knew.
“Good evening, sister Anise.” She was the moon. No longer content to be strung up in the night’s sky, she came down to bless Anise.
Anise dropped to her knees, only rising when the moon gently gripped her chin and tilted it to meet her eyes.
“I want to thank you, sister Anise, for releasing me. I was stuck amid the stars for a thousand years. I watched you grow and change, never taking your eyes from me. I want to give you a gift.”
Anise opened her mouth to protest, but the moon put her gentle fingers to Anise’s lips.
“I bequeath to you all my celestial power, may you use it well.”
The moon put her hands on either side of Anise’s head and kissed her brow. A pearly white light passed from the moon to Anise who smiled.
When the moon let go, Anise was carried up into the heavens.
“And there you’ll stay for a thousand years.”