Midnight Hour

My mind wanders as I stare out at the constellations on the top deck of The Midnight Hour.

“Leina.” I spin around, half expecting a ghost to be whispering my name through the cool breeze. My mom stands at the edge of the deck beckoning me to go downstairs to my room. Her cool, light brown eyes watch over me closely as I pretend to ignore her. Never once does she use the world sleep. My family doesn’t believe the night ends day, and bedtime has never been an issue for their only daughter. She trusts me to know when my body needs to rest and plans the rest of my day around it, only on nights like this one does she actually care what time my body falls asleep. The calendar has already been laid out for tomorrow. 

I turn to look at my mom. Xandra Morrigan has always been gorgeous, dark black hair, soft tan skin, and curvy hips, as well as being the perfect owner and manager of the large ship I call my home. My mom has never told me where the ship came from or how it came to be hers, though I never viewed it as my place to ask.

“Magdalena,” my mom says, her smile faltering into a slight frown as I rise from my leaning position on the fence guarding the drop into the ocean. I roll my eyes, kissing her cheek before running down the stairs to go to bed. My parents are planning on hosting a masquerade tomorrow, to celebrate my father’s 51st birthday. Even though it is well past midnight, the crew of The Midnight Hour will be preparing and decorating the ship the entire day right up until we dock at Celestia Cove tomorrow evening. We have just over 100 staff with us at the moment, their sleeping quarters are located on the second level of the ship, only above the cargo area, and next to the kitchen. They are usually only with us for a month or so to earn a little extra before returning to their normal residences, though some use their appointment as a free method of travel to get to a particular destination to see relatives, or spend vacation. The third level of the ship is our ballrooms and dining areas. Our small family area is located in the back of this floor, with my parents’ grand master suite right next store. This is where my family and I spend most of our time. Other guest rooms and guest access is on the fourth floor with the main deck right above. 

The outside of our ship is largely uninteresting, with metal covering most of the outside and concrete holding up the decks. No one knows how the ship can support this giant concrete flooring, though no one questions it since this is the way it’s always been. Our ship seems quite large compared to other ships we pass. Our ship is currently around 650 square feet, with additions happening around every 5-10 years. I have had two renovations in my lifetime. Our current capacity is around 1,500 guests depending on the amount of staff staying with us at the moment. This usually allows us to entertain every adult in the island or coastal town we have decided to dock at for the festivities.

The halls are deserted as I make my way through the ship. My room is currently located at the back end in one of our smaller guest rooms, so I can stay away from current festivities, and so I have easy access to both my dress and changing rooms. Fatigue overtakes my body, though not my mind, as I stumble my way through the halls, tripping over my own feet as I run. Despite what I may look like, bloodshot eyes, rumpled hair, ragged fingernails that I am scolded on for chewing everyday, I don’t feel the slightest bit tired because I know I need to do one more thing before climbing into bed. 

Once I reach my door, I creep into my room and flick on the lights. My room illuminates with a pale, white glow dancing off of the sandy-colored walls. My bed sits in the middle of the room right up against the wall to the left of me as I walk in. Its bright, blue-colored bedsheets stand out as virtually the only color besides the starlight casting my light blue rug into what reminds me of Marena’s city lights, my favorite island off of the mainland. As I spin around to face my closet, I catch my reflection in the mirror which hangs over my brown, wooden dresser. I always liked the way I looked at night better, my gray, green-gray eyes are squinted into slits from minimal light, making me feel powerful and deceptive. My short-cut black hair hangs over my eyes jaggedly, wavering as the fan above my head attempts to push it out of my now black-looking eyes. The rest of my face I rarely notice in the frenzy of various maids trying to match dresses with my already complex complexion. I have bright rosy cheeks that stand out against my harsh olive skin tone, with a long, tipped-up, pointy nose to finish. I grin wickedly at the thought of the maids trying to dress me tomorrow now that I have cut off most of my wild hair with a sharp butcher’s knife. I have always preferred the look of shorter hair and I thought it would require less maintenance when either climbing or getting ready for a party. My pointy lips fade into a smirk as I turn to look at my dress selections for the rest of the night.

“White, black, blue, purple,” I mutter the colors of each dress I look at that is currently in my closet. “Red,” I say at last. “That’s what I want.”

The night is cold and windy, though during the summer, the stars that shine off of The Midnight Hour look as brilliant as ever reflected in the midnight blue water below. I find sneaking out onto the lower deck off the side of the kitchen is a good way to calm my anxious spirits before going to bed. Red, I think again as I watch my flowy silk red dress sail over the water, allowing the rest of my body to breathe in the night sky. Red goes well with midnight blue. I laugh as my fingers brush the edge of the water, illuminated only by the moon and the stars. The lower deck is my favorite one to sneak out onto because of its lack of a railing. This gives me the ability to literally hang onto the handrails and allow my feet to dangle above the starlit waters. I yell as loud as I can muster into the wind whipping my face, telling it to carry me away.

“Take me to the place of wind and weeping willows.” I choke my powerful calls into a delicate whisper. “To the places where stars are places I can visit and the moon is the light I use to read and write.” I pause, gasping as though I have said too much, and maybe I have.

Magic has always been a part of this greater world that I have never gotten the chance to be a part of, wishing it were there. I have always known I have it, and it runs through me like a sheepdog would herd its cattle. I feel it now, boiling under my skin, caressing my head and my body until I can’t feel anything else. The wind starts to gush around me, making my hair fly out from my neck. This is my magic, who I am. This is it, I think. I know the wind will carry me to somewhere I want to be, somewhere, where I can live my life. And, it does.

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