The light was fading fast as Andre walked the length of the jetty. Lake Emmitt had always been a favourite destination during the holidays, the clean, crisp air off the nearby mountains being filled with laughter and the splashing of children playing. As the sun continued to set, Andre tried to ignore the stares of the nearby parents, ushering their kids safely past the local lunatic. He didn’t blame them. There would have been a time he would have shied away from a grown man dressed such as himself, but Andre had learned some time prior that life was much shorter than expected, and one shouldn’t change one’s self to suit everyone else. Even still, it was always difficult to bear their judging looks.
But before long, with the sun settling itself to bed, the stares ceased to exist, and Andre began to smile. He quickly looked himself over once more, his gloved hands brushing at the fur on his suit.
“Relax man,” he said to himself, bouncing on his toes. “She’ll love it.”
One last bounce, and Andre settled himself at the jetty’s end, watching as the moon rose in a celestial changing of the guard. The evening air turned cold, and Andre pulled his hood further forward over his face, letting the woolly lining caress his cheek. A laughter from behind him made him spin and drop to his knees, arms outstretched wide.
“Lu-Lu!” Tears fell from within the large hood.
“You’re a bunny, Daddy.” The little girl giggled and ran at Andre. “That’s so silly.”
Andre looked down on the little girl’s face. Pale skin was framed by shoulder-length hair, the face peering from the dark curtain reminiscent of the moon shining in full above. He closed his arms around her, feeling her absence in both arms and heart. The girl smiled up at him.
“I’m searching, little Lu-Lu,” Andre said, blinking heavily and fixing a cheesy smile onto his forlorn face. “I thought this one was promising.” Accentuating the words, Andre drew a pendant of fur and bone from around his neck and threw it into the water. Witches. He had spoken to more than he cared to, all of whom promised they could help him get his daughter back—all of whom failed.
“Let’s play the one where I hide, and you have to find me.” Lu-Lu’s voice snapped him out of his anger. He would have a month before the next full-moon’s culmination; he would have a month to find a new way to hold his daughter again.
Laughing, Andrew began counting loudly. “… ready or not.”
“I don’t want to go,” complained Lu-Lu, as sunlight began to creep from behind the forest’s canopy.
“I don’t want you to go,” Andre copied. “But we’ve tried it, remember. It’s time for you to rest for a little bit. I’ll see you soon Luna-Bear.”
“Love you, Daddy,” Luna said, yawning and leaning in for an empty cuddle.
“Love you too.”
“See you tomorrow night?”
“Yep,” Andre said, hiding his pain from her. “Better run, kiddo.”
Luna smiled and skipped away. Andre watched her fade away, as he did every month. Next month. I’ll find a way to bring her back next month.
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