Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’.
Someone was calling my name in the distance, I could hear them over the sounds of the waves and the rocking of the little boat.
I opened my eyes and stretched, my body stiff from leaning over. Looking around in a daze, I realised I’d fallen asleep! Luckily though the sea had carried me ashore and the little boat was wedged on the beach. Checking my watch, I saw it was now close to two in the morning.
‘Susy!’ a voice yelled.
It was my older sister, Aura! I looked madly about and thought I saw a blob of flickering light, coming over to me. I looked at the electrical lantern balanced at the head of the boat. It was letting off a good amount of light still. I picked it up and climbed out of the boat.
‘Over here, Aura!’ I yelled and waved the lantern.
‘Susy! she shouted back, ‘are you okay?’
‘Yes,’ I hollered.
I ran along the shore to met her. The surf splashed up against my boat and the wet sand slide underneath me. We almost collided as we were both closer then we thought. Laughing, Aura hugged me tightly, her lantern hitting my back, her wild blonde hair tickling my face.
‘We were worried!’ she gushed, ‘We thought you’d got lost! Father and mother have gone to the cove and to the rocky pools. They thought the tide might have carried you there.’
‘No,’ I replied, I was close enough to shore. I didn’t realise the time.’
Aura let me go and we walked over to the boat.
‘Did you get it?’ she asked, excitement bubbling in her voice.
I nodded and answered, ‘yes and some more things too.’
We hurried over and I grabbed the hiking bag to show her.
Aura grabbed my hand before I could start pulling things out, ‘wait,’ she said.
I looked at her, her face glowing in the lantern lit.
‘We should find father and mother, they are so worried.’
‘Fine,’ I said and flipped the hiking bag closed again.
I heaved it onto my back then we both pulled the boat up the beach. As we neared the low stone wall, two moving lights appeared and we heard running footsteps. Aura, held out her hand and we both stopped. Ducking into the shadows of the wall, we hide our lanterns behind us and waited to see who was coming.
Heavy feet hit the sand, followed by softer ones and the swishing of cloaks. I saw in the gloom, two lanterns holding magical balls of blue and green dancing lights. So, it could only be…
‘Mother! Father!’ Aura cried and she rushed over to them, ‘I found her! Susy! She’s fine!’
I stepped from the wall’s shelter and hurried over. My mother hugged me, repeatedly saying my name, asking if I was okay and that I had worried them all.
‘What happened?’ my father finally cut in.
‘Nothing…I…It was just so nice out there and I caught some stars too. I didn’t know the time had gone,’ I replied.
I couldn’t tell them I had fallen asleep, it’d be awhile before they let me out again by myself.
‘I got The Moon Reflection Essence!’ I cried and struggled to take my hiking bag off to show them all.
My mother stopped me, her hands pulling the straps back on, ‘later,’ she said.
Father collected the boat, heaving it up and and carrying it back. We walked off the beach, breaking the quietness with a little conversation. A sandy path let back to the village. Ours was the first house on the little cliff that looked out over the sea. As we got closer, I saw that all the windows had lights shinning out of them, so it seemed like a beacon. There was a tail of smoke coming out of the small chimney too.
Arriving, we took our boots off then Mother hurried me into the living room, where the fire dully burnt. She threw some more logs on then began helping me out of my damp clothes. In the background, I heard father lowering the boat against the house and coming in with my sister. They joined us and started to get dry too.
Standing in my under dress, I emptied my hiking bag and removed all the jars. Mother inspected them as I did so, nodding and muttering her approval. Lastly, I handed in the biggest jar and watched her face closely.
The Moon Reflection Essence glowed brightly in the living room, casting a pool of light around mother. Her smile grew as she turned the jar to see the light from the reflection of the moon from all sides.
‘It’s perfect,’ she said, proudly.
‘At a girl, Susy,’ father spoke.
‘Wow, it’s so bright!’ Aura awed.
‘Well done,’ mother added and drew me into a hug.
A wave of sleep hit me and I rubbed my eyes as I rested against her shoulder. The warm of the fire, the safety of home and the tiredness of my trip building together.
I agreed with a yawn.
Once in bed, I could see the moonlight dancing on top of the waves before me. I could feel myself drifting away, those waves carrying me out to sea.
‘You’re going to make a great witch, Susy,’ Aura’s voice said.
‘Huh-huh,’ I uttered.
‘We both will do…One day. Next time will you show me how you get the moon essence?’
‘Sure,’ I muttered then let the dream sea carry me away.