By Tiana Kennell

(Originally published in Dec. 2016 in The Shreveport Times)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Girl on the Moon is a fictional holiday series about an extraordinary woman and five people whose lives she touched and changed, set in Shreveport and Bossier City. It originally published in 2016. This is the first installment in the six-part series, written by Tiana Kennell)


Dec. 30, 2016

Richard Montgomery, 7:30 a.m. 

The invitation was clear —

“A meeting under the moon

11:30 p.m. December 31

Texas Street Bridge (eastbound)”

Still, Richard Montgomery was puzzled.

The invitation had been delivered by messenger — a tall, thin man or boy with a gaunt face half covered by a black hat that veiled his dark eyes in shadow. Richard, several months from hitting 40, remembered being just such a punk. The kid was maybe 18, probably working his first job.

Richard had been headed out to his work as the financial manager and co-founder of the successful tech business that he and a college fraternity brother began almost a decade ago.

“Who sent this?” Richard called out before the messenger could walk off the front stoop of the Springlake neighborhood home. “Is this a joke? A scam?”

The boy stared long into Richard’s eyes. He shook his head thoughtfully, then climbed onto his bike.

Richard turned over the invitation, made of black, heavy paper on which words appeared in white, embossed type.


There was only one. He hadn’t seen her in years.

“Elena Sanchez…” Richard choked out. His voice echoed through the large, empty house. The invitation slipped from his fingers and fluttered to the hardwood floor.

Serena Maxwell, 9:15 a.m.

Serena Maxwell was in the Noel Memorial Library at LSUS when the messenger handed her the invitation. How had the kid known she’d be tucked amid the stacks? she wondered. He’d known her on sight.

Serena was about 5-foot-5, with a curvy size 12 that she kept draped in loose fabrics. Most days, she wore little to no makeup, and she pulled her straight, black hair into a ponytail. She thought of herself as pretty, but simple.

Peculiar, she thought. But not as odd as the contents of the black, glossy envelope. The paper inside was matte black, and the text was machine-printed in white.

“A meeting under the moon

11:30 p.m. December 31

Texas Street Bridge (eastbound)”

The invitation was formal, as for a wedding. But something about it struck Serena as morbid.

“Hey! What is this about?” she yelled after the boy. At age 33, she had more than decade on him, at least. The thought of the time she’d wasted since she was his age depressed her.

The messenger looked back, unsmiling. “I only deliver the messages,” he said. “I was told I’d find you here.”

“Who would know I’d be here —” she said before stopping abruptly. She reached out a hand to brace herself on the closest shelf.

She flipped over the invitation and saw the letters swirled in ink.


Sam Fulton, 10 a.m.

Sam Fulton balled up a fist to lash out at the boy who was the latest to deliver what he was sure would be bad news. The boy stood, unmoved, outside the motel room, one hand stretching the envelope out to him. A black hat partially hid the messenger’s face, and a black jacket hung loosely from his thin frame.

Sam wasn’t big, but he had a strong build and was equal to the boy’s height, about 5-foot-11. He squared his shoulders, ready for a fight.

“What are you bringing me now?!” Sam shouted. “What more can she take from me? What more can she do?! Tell her she can’t have any more and I’ll die fighting her before I let her win! I won’t be pushed into a corner!”

“Mr. Fulton, read the message,” the boy-messenger said, eyeing Sam disapprovingly. It was mid-morning, and Sam stood in the shabby room, unshaven and clad in baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt. A laptop sat on a corner table with a lamp. Papers lay strewn across the table and floor.

Sam snatched the envelope. He tore it open.

“A meeting under the moon

11:30 p.m. December 31

Texas Street Bridge (eastbound)”

“What’s this all about?” Sam asked.

Without speaking, the messenger handed Sam another item — a movie, “The Wedding in the Woods,” on DVD. The graphic on the poorly designed cover was of a bride standing in a wedding dress. A demon was crawling out of her chest.

Sam laughed loudly.

“Thanks, kid,” he said, taking the DVD and shutting the door.

He flipped over the invitation and saw the swirl of printing.


Could she give the message any more clearly? Sam thought, still laughing. He pressed speed dial on his cell phone. The line went straight to voicemail. It was the third time in two days it’d done that. He left another voicemail.

“I’ve got your message. I don’t know what you’re up to, but I’ll be there, doll,” Sam said.

Outside of the door, the messenger felt for the envelope left in his satchel — the last left to deliver.


Natasha Radner, 3 p.m.

Natasha Radner sat on the ledge atop the vacant four-story, brick Calanthean Temple towering over downtown Shreveport’s Texas Street, her feet dangling in space. The 16-year-old took another swig from the flask that she had stolen from a college student earlier in the day.

She rearranged herself, lying flat on the ledge and looking into the gray winter sky. The roof of this historic building was her favorite place for escape. This part of town held a lot of history, and she liked to imagine the parties held here in the glory days of the 1920s.

She had the looks of a star, she thought, standing 5-foot-9, with a lean yet curvy body, caramel skin and dark brown, naturally curly hair framing her face. She often danced across the roof imagining she was decorated in feathers and jewels while headlining another tour stop.

Rain was coming in with a cold front. A chill brought her back to today, where none of her fantasy past was true.

Still reclining, Natasha watched the clouds roll in as music blared in her earbuds. Then, abruptly, a hand appeared above her.

She yelped, then grabbed both sides of the ledge to steady herself.

“Geez! What’s wrong with you?!” she yelled at the boy, now standing several feet away holding a black envelope.

“I called your name,” he said, shrugging. “You didn’t answer.”

“I had my earbuds in, you doof,” she said.

“I got your attention,” he said, shrugging again. He handed her the envelope.

“What’s this?” she asked.

She didn’t trust him, but whom did she trust anymore? She shifted away from the ledge to put more distance between her and the drop. She opened the envelope while watching him warily.

“A meeting under the moon

11:30 p.m. December 31

Texas Street Bridge (eastbound)”

“Who sent this?” she asked again.

The messenger stared at her. She felt his eyes taking her in.

“Who would know to find me here?” she demanded.

“It was tough. Took hours to look in the places I was told you may be,” the messenger said. “I finally saw you walking down Texas, and by the time I caught up up to you, you’d broken through the door. How’d you pick the lock downstairs?”

“It’s a skill someone taught me long ago,” she said, then repeating: “So who sent this?”

Then, looking to the black card in her hand, she read the message again.

“Who’s E.S.?” she asked.

“I’m sure you can figure it out,” he said. “Everybody else did.”