Celestial Joe

Celestial Joe

A Story by H.M. Hearing

A short story about a very old man and his love of the moon.


Celestial Joe


A wizened old man shuffles slowly across the dusty old timbers of his home.  With each movement of his aching feet the floor moans in protest.  Step by agonizing step the man makes his way to a dry rotted door that barely swings on its hinges.

     It seems like a lifetime before the rotted door looms directly in front of him.  With a weary wrinkled hand, which shakes from age, he turns the oblong iron knob trying to free himself from the dreary confines of his dilapidated home. 

     For breathless moments the rotten door would not open, mocking him in his old age.  Anger consumed the old man.  His wrinkled face looked comic as he bared his teeth.  The layers of ancient flesh rose up creating a false sense of life, but in the middle of his mimicry of living his gaping maw lay void of any teeth.

     A guttural growl escapes his lips as he pulls the iron knob with all his might.  With a loud squelch and a whoosh the rotten door releases his grasp.  The man stumbles back crying out in fear.  If he fell it would be his end and that could not be.  The Moon, his lovely Luna, and her children, the stars, beckoned him.  Gaining his precarious balance he pushed his hunched failing body through the frame of the rotten door.  He barked in laughter at his victory over the mocking door as he passed.

     His hacking laugh was silenced as the night enveloped him.  The serene beauty emanating from the inky skies made his old heart thrum like a flittering hummingbird.  As many years as he has seen, nothing else made him feel more alive than the celestial sky that surrounded him.

     As much as he wanted to stand where he was and gaze at the glory of the night he could not.  His bones screamed for release from their agony.  Moans escaping his cracked lips the ancient man gave into his pain.  Endless time he stood there hunched, pain burning through his shriveled veins.  His body begged for him to sit, to release his ramshackle body from the crushing pressure of his feather-like weight.

     He shuffled on desperate to reach his wooden perch.  The gnarled old stump of a tree he had cut down long ago in his youth lay in the middle of a field that was perched high atop a beautiful outcropping.  The tree had blocked the most magnificent view, apart from the celestial night, that he had ever seen.

     His steps slow, the spindly sticks that were his legs shone ghost white against the glow of his beloved Luna.  Around his bony ankles and slipper covered feet the verdant grass felt feathery as he took each step.  The insistent breeze bent the grass and whipped the wispy strands of white hair that still clung to his pale head.

     Reaching the gnarled old stump he perched almost delicately into the wallow his backside had worn into the wood over the many years.  His ratty old bones popped and moaned as he settled into his perch.  Off to his right, over the edge of the cliff he sat upon the ocean spread out in all her glory.  The dark waves crashed into the black rocks below lending their roar to the symphony of the night.  With the chirps of the crickets the inky blackness was alive with music.

     He had no eyes for the splendor of the ocean.  His only desire was to look to the heavens where his beloved Luna and her many children resided.  Craning his sagging neck he turned his ancient eyes up to the beauty of the black.  There he saw her.  Luna, in her full glory, giving her shining radiance to the world below.

     Bushy stark white eyebrows arched over a shocking pair of eyes.  Bags hung heavy underneath his sagging eyelids.  Small little orbs of color peeked out of the abundance of flesh around his eyes.  Although small. The orbs glow a shocking blue.  No man this ancient should have such startling eyes.

     The glowing orbs pointing toward the celestial sky held an uncanny power.  Through the sea of wrinkles young eyes peered.  They were lively, kept young by the beauty of the moon he worshipped.

     He always loved her when she was full with child.  Soon another celestial being will be born to the heavens.  After she birthed her young her glorious glowing frame would shrink until the new cycle would begin.  One day of darkness that she spent with her lover to come back to Earth again impregnated with child.

     The old man envied the Sun who was Luna’s lover.  He loved her and had watched her every night for a forgotten number of years.  She was his only love, but he could never reach her.  It weighed heavy in his slowly thudding heart.

     A sigh escaped his lips and wafted toward the inky sky above.  His only wish was to be with his Luna.  Slouching on his perch to old man gave himself up to fate.  Tonight would be the last night he would be able to see his love.  Death was hanging over his shoulder blowing cold breath down his nightshirt.  A shiver crept up his spine from the touch of Death’s cold breath.

     The cold spread through the old man freezing his muscles and joints.  His blood slowed before stopping altogether from Death’s touch. Thud… Thud…  His heart died.  As his shocking blue eyes began to fade he looked one last time at his lovely Luna.  When the last ounce of life left him and he succumbed to Death’s whim he heard his love.

     Come to me Joe.

     At last… my love.

© 2013 H.M. Hearing

Author's Note

H.M. Hearing
Is the picture you see in your mind clear?

My Review

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Excellent. Highly visual in your description of the old man and his surroundings. A beautiful ending, both happy and sad. I enjoyed reading this.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The picture was very clear. I believe you also have some great descriptive abilities.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on June 13, 2013
Last Updated on June 13, 2013