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Rockin' the Clock - Full Moon Shadows #1

Tick, tock, tick, tock... the grandfather clock in the hallway marked the passage of time as Zoe stared at her bedroom ceiling. The plastic luminous stars stared back at her lying on her bed, one leg crossed over the other, hands behind her head. She was daydreaming, lost in the twilight between the glowing stars in the kind of dreamy space outsiders feel compelled to interrupt so they don't have to check for a pulse later. Oh, this was a moon child alright... and the man on the moon was nowhere to be seen.

It had been one of those typical days at school where everyone shuffles around like zombies, preying on anyone who shows signs of intelligence. Being one of the smarter kids in her class, Zoe was always trying to keep a low profile, purposefully dumbing things down to avoid taking too much snark from the zombos. Right now she was decompressing. Being a kid in the year 2020 is no joke and having helicopter parents makes you just want to deploy your parachute before you've even disembarked the plane. Technology-induced alienation, scoring high marks to get into the right stratosphere of society... it just seemed a bit much for a 16-year-old girl. Luckily for Zoe, she wasn't a zombie or a parachutist.

While a bit precocious and known to stick it to the man, her default status was to radiate kindness. She was the sweetest girl anyone had ever met. Not treacle-sweet mind you, but still filled with sugar and spice... all the nice-ish things. While a moon beam, she had her shadows. One shadow she would have loved to see again was her father's - falling over her as he pushed her on the swings or giving shade to droplets of ice-cream melting on baked beach sand.

Towering over her, he was her protector and she had inherited his sense of humour. While the warm memories lingered, she was starting to forget what he looked like. Looking between the luminous stars, she tried to capture glimpses of his face. They had family photos, but the cold two-dimensional impression wasn't enough for Zoe, who was trying to keep him alive beyond his appearance.

Blinking twice to let her mom know that she was alive and to alleviate her now dusty eyeballs, she sat upright. Crossing her legs, she returned to the family photo album. "I miss him too, you know", said Mom. Zoe's mom, known as "Mom" was laid back... maybe too laid back. Often barefoot, adorned by a fluffy pink gown with an even fluffier unicorn decal, she was more of a best friend than a typical mother. Sure, the household got by... there was always food in the fridge... and the red letter bills got paid, but it seemed as though she'd either watched The Big Lebowski one too many times or had adjusted to taking it easy.

"I see you've changed your hair colour again... hun?", she said with some certainty, trying to act as though she knew for sure. "Yep, some of the zombos have started to say I'm a walking mood ring...", she smirked trying to hide the fact that she liked dad joke level humour. "Well, I've got some outstanding transcription to do, so I'll see you in the morning my love bug.", Mom half-whispered as she pecked Zoe's forehead before vanishing into the light.

Inside Zoe knew the schoolyard chirp was actually much closer to the truth than she would have liked to admit. Her father may have disappeared almost a decade ago to the day, but the uncertainty and pangs of rejection still echoed, forcing her deeper into her burrow. With daddy rabbit out of the picture, it was just her, her mom and Dimple, who was now also bolt upright and gazing at her from her stuffed toy collection.

A scatter cushion cat who was more scatter than cushion, he was her fiery ginger companion, even if he preferred the nocturnal lifestyle. His sagging primordial pouch was a bit of a sore point after he'd been restricted to indoor living for a season but he was an expert when it came to cuddles.

Since the tick-tock was relentless, time had passed and the stars were now glowing more brightly along with Dimple's eyes, which were now alongside the bed and gleaming with intent. A quick bunny hop and he was ensconced next to Zoe, who was only too glad to have her purring portable hot water bottle in the steadily darkening room. She wasn't afraid of the dark, but the looming shadows during a full moon kept her wondering, and waiting...