A Vineyard Burned on the Moon

The vineyard on the moon was burning.

Flames lapped at frozen grapes; twists of orange danced in the airless dark. The Vintner screamed, but there in the void came no sound. He watched helplessly as his last harvest—that of the driest wines, preferred drink of heavenly oligarchs—evaporated to dust along the shore of an empty sea. He fell toward Earth to save it, his family adrift and fleeing the desolation, but too late. He was far too late.

            The Vintner flew to NASA, forced his way into their chambers. He begged of the scientists who stared at him in disbelief, grabbing the hem of their white coats in entreaty: “Please, my crop is ash. My people wither with poverty and thirst. Please, you must save us!”

            "What is the meaning of this?" They cried.

            The Vintner ran to their telescopes, pointing once towards the full, glorious moon. "Look! Look to the moon. It is my home. Look, can't you see it burning?"

            "Fire? In space? What is the meaning of this?"

            "My crops," The Vintner tried to calm himself. He had to make them realize. Of anyone, surely they could see. "The grapes. They smolder and catch fire. Soon they will be nothing, But still there is hope. Hope for my wine and for my kind. Please, can't you see?"

            He looked, and he could see the small trail of smoke from his home the moon. If only they would look, they would realize…

            …But they merely dismissed this clearly mad man.

            They scoffed at his claims. “Wine?” They chuckled, “On the moon? Seeded in what soil? Fed by what air? Peddle this nonsense elsewhere.”

            And they turned their back on him, not even willing to give his claim a chance at truth.

            He wept, and every time he closed his eyes, behind his lids he saw the fires continue to roar. He saw his loved ones, lost in space. They were dying… dying… dead. Their faces fixed in his memory, grim but not judgmental. They forgave his failure, and with their absolution, he felt himself ever more damned.

            And with his loss, he went truly mad.

            Soon he took to the streets, muttering and indigent. He wandered, lost in his hopelessness. He moaned, repeatedly: “Will no one help? Does no one care for their moon? Will no one help? My, my family needs…”

            His voice broke as he remembered his grief and he spoke no more. Until his clarity lapsed into the fog of madness, and again and again he called.

            "Will no one help? Does no one care for their moon…"

A passer-by clinked some change in his cup.

On Earth's sole satellite, on the edge of a sea of dust, where once trickled chrome ambrosia there now smoldered ash, crumbling a gray. And only the madman, the mad, lonely man, knew what loss there was to mourn.

Alas, the vineyard on the moon had burnt.