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The Moonshine Heart

by Eule Grey

I wish I knew why I was born with the mark of a half-moon, but I was abandoned at the edge of a forest as a baby. Leading my forest army into war and fighting for my people is all that matters. I don’t need family and friends because I love my bow and arrow and I certainly don’t have time for relationships or sex.

At least, it’s how things used to be. Nothing has been the same ever since the pretty witch Marwa chased me until we fought. Now I can’t sleep without thinking about how she kissed me or the embarrassing way she played with my body. And I allowed her to do those things! I should be ashamed of myself, but I can’t stop thinking about her.

There’s more. The river and trees are dying and the moon had cracked into two. Everyone says the witches are to blame. How can the rift be healed? My people and Marwa’s have been enemies since time began. Is it too late to stop the rot?


I stared unflinchingly into the barrel of a rifle. Though my teeth chattered, I didn’t forget my status as the leader of an army. “Stand and fight!”

But Nora didn’t stand, or fight. My next-in-command bolted into the trees, leaving me alone with the armed woman we’d intended to rob. At least, we’d assumed the cloaked figure to be a woman, but as she leaped athletically from her horse a golden vapor emanated from her hands, as elusive as a memory. It danced and darted in and out of her cloak, never still. The instant it became solid, it shimmered and changed form. Clearly, the vapor was the result of magic, and the woman was no human at all but a witch disguised as a person.

Her disguise incensed me. Filthy witch. “Show yourself. Would you hide beneath cheap tricks?”


The thick fog continued to linger until she cleared it with a dismissive wave of her hand. “An interesting question. Would I? I mean, yeah, I might do.” She laughed. Her voice was smooth and yet complex, like layers of color stretched throughout forest trees, or the lingering aftertaste of wine.

Those few words initiated a ricochet reaction. A tingling sensation began in my stomach, a haunting essence like a nursery rhyme long forgotten and out of reach. I’d never experienced magic first-hand before but had been warned since childhood of the dangers of spells and potions. Long had my people been at war with the filth we termed ‘witch kind,’ being neither human nor beast, but a devilish mixture of the two.

However, I was no feinting princess, and nor was I easily scared. Actually, being confronted face-to-face by an enemy lent me confidence. It took but seconds before I was ready for a fight I expected to win.




My chances of success were better than average, being an experienced soldier trained in the art of combat. No human could match my skill or temerity, and I doubted a witch would be any different.

She appraised me coolly, allowing her foolish gaze to hover over my clenched fists and bow—a mistake I’d never have committed. I brazenly held her gaze and squared my shoulders by way of answer, making it clear I’d never grovel to one as lowly as her.

Her gaze went up and down my tense body, poised to spring into action. I ignored the unfamiliar warmth which spread throughout my limbs, dismissing it as yet another trick. “See something you like?”

She laughed. “Oh, yes. Very much. How pretty you’d look naked. All prim and proper! How I’d love to help you unwind.” She leaned forward. “I’d like to see you climax.”

I snarled at her filthy tongue and tried to ignore the barrage of images which entered my mind, the tightening of my chest, and the flush which disloyally heated my cheeks. “I’m way out of your league.”

Like most witches, she was dressed in a heavy cloak that didn’t disguise her creed—slender wrists dripped witchy jewelry, and a magical stone glinted from her neck.

She shook her mane of red, untamed hair. “Out of my league? Yes, you’re tall, but would you stand so properly once I’d undressed and kissed you, baby?” She puckered plump lips and then blew me a kiss. “Kissed all of you. Don’t be scared.”

My initial fright withered away into scorn which reinforced my status as leader of a forest army, albeit an insignificant battalion the queen had never heard of. “Shut up! I’m out of your league because you’re a witch. How dare you address me so—so—?”

Her gaze traversed my body again, while I fought to remain calm. “So? Yes, darling?”

Darling. My disloyal heart beat as fiercely as if I actually were naked, instead of dressed in a close-fitting uniform. My cheeks felt hot, and my brow sweaty. Suddenly I was aware of the abrasive cloth which rubbed my nipples. Something pulsed between my legs, which horrified me. The cringe-worthy physical symptoms made me question my own state of mind. Was I afraid? And if so, why should I be afraid of her?

I fell back on what I knew—guns, weapons, and facts. I supposed a witch could do harm by way of spells and incantations, but she’d probably never used a rifle and almost certainly didn’t even know where the trigger was. Unfortunately, her lack of skill didn’t make her less dangerous.

Fearing she’d shoot me accidentally I fluttered my lashes in the way my second-in-command did. “I’m sorry. Please let me go.” It hurt to grovel but there was no alternative. Strangely, begging for help from the witch felt disgustingly good, like swimming naked in a warm river in summer.

The witch sardonically raised an eyebrow. “Did you say please? Ask again.” The facial shift caused her expression to relax. She was extremely pretty, with laughing eyes and round cheeks peppered with freckles.

Despite not being interested in sex, an involuntary shudder rippled throughout my muscled body. I longed to tear off my clothes and bare all. Fuckery! Like all forest soldiers, I’d been warned about witches who led hapless soldiers into the swamps. Not I. She didn’t scare or interest me. Worse scenario: I expected her to shout insults before releasing me with a warning. Her kind wasn’t associated with weapon use. Instead, they caused trouble within our forests and laid traps for foolish travelers. Witches were as low as pesty insects—they swarmed, stole our lands and crops, and were generally distasteful creatures.

The witch’s eyelid twitched. Beneath her frosty exterior, I assumed she was terrified—my green forest garb spoke of strength, loyalty, and truth, whereas her stupid jewels gave her away for what she was—a trickster.

I grew bored of waiting for her to beg my forgiveness and placed my hands on my hips. Rather than begging, I assumed command. As the leader of the forest army, it was beneath me to allow a mere witch to take control or anyone else for that matter. “Release me now or you’ll regret it.”

Things went downhill fast. My plea disappeared like water off a duck’s-back. The golden mist surrounding the witch thickened and the environment around us froze. An insistent buzzing sound permeated the wind, autumn leaves scurried and the branches ahead swayed dangerously.

An unfamiliar sensation blossomed in my stomach; a mixture of hunger, excitement, fear, homesickness, and an uncontrollable, primal urge I couldn’t identify. My hands trembled and my brow grew sweaty. As an experienced soldier, I’d been trained to show no fear. Despite my best efforts, however, I couldn’t control my own body, though the reasons why weren’t clear—the witch posed no realistic threat. It was unlikely she’d risk open war by shooting, and her ‘magic’ was comprised of trinkets and lies.

Minutes ticked past. I’d fallen into a spell and was trapped like a fly in a spider’s web. Bizarrely, an image of a full moon wouldn’t leave my mind.

The witch held my gaze, staring through narrowed eyes the colors of leaves and forests, skies, and changing seasons. Her face froze and emptied as if her feelings and essence had landed elsewhere.


About the Author

Eule Grey, author, has travelled all over and settled, for now, in the UK. Her mind, however, is often in the clouds or away with the fairies. Some might call her fey. Eule loves books, pets, and happy endings. Adversely, she also enjoys reading a creepy horror story, though she isn’t very brave.