Drew was amongst the stars. This is how it felt, as he lay half asleep, unable to keep his waning eyelids open and yet unwilling to allow them to close.
As a child, he used to stare out the garret window of the children’s home, onto the icy lake by the two giant cedar trees in the garden. The children were not permitted to walk in the orphanage park, but often, he would sneak out the sash-window and descend the wrought iron downpipe and wander around the lake, especially when the moons were full.
Old folk used to tell of the days when only one moon orbited Elthenia and how, back then, summers were long and abundant with life. How the spring sky glowed maroon in the evening and crimson at dawn. How the onset of autumn turned the leaves copper and gold and how winter stayed but a few weeks.
Drew dismissed these enchanted memories as fairy tales. He, and the brethren of his age group, had only ever known long, cold, winters. It was said the turning of the weather had coincided with the arrival of the Galleon Moon, as the elders called it, an evil ghost ship navigated by the Lawcundali.
Only now, as he lay stranded on that very ghost ship of a moon, did he begin to believe those old fairy tales.
Just as he was about to fall into the escape of sleep, Drew noticed one of the hooded figures rising towards him. It was one of those very fiends reaching out its clawed hand, plucking red poppies from the cliff edge, and it was heading towards Drew and the still sleeping Calsynthia.
The monster made a horrible clicking sound as it (Drew supposed), breathed — if that is what these creatures did. Drew could think of no other reason for this sound, and neither in his terror could he move.
The fiend grew taller despite already being greater in height than those giant Cedar trees back in the grounds of the orphanage.
He thought about waking Calsynthia, but where would they run to? The climb to this height had taken over half hour; to climb down, together — as they would have to be to remain invisible — would take them far longer. And the Lawcundali could move fast if they so desired — Drew had seen this for himself.