Analise was the youngest of her sisters. She never knew what that made her: the foolish one? The naïve one? The one with the heart of gold?
Beth was the eldest, and no one questioned what she was: the wise one. The protector. The one who kept the others safe.
Somewhere in the middle lay June and Lila – the risky one and the reader. But it was Analise and Beth’s world; all four girls knew that. Beth was the sun, Analise was the moon – one intense and strong, the other cool and mysterious. Sixteen and thirteen, with minor stars in-between.
The sun watched over the moon, slipped away when she needed freedom to shine, slipped back in, overpowering, when the moon grew weak.
The sun, the scoffing sun, extinguished the lights of the stars but she only covered the moon, biding her time.
No one knew what went wrong on that cool September night, the night that fireflies filled the air like so many stars; the night that, the next morning, everyone in town would swear they had a sense of foreboding, of danger, but no one really did. The night before everyone felt guilty.
The sun, dear Beth, laughed at June and made her cry. She called Lila names and waved away her concern. “Don’t be silly,” she’d said, “Analise is old enough; don’t be stupid,” she scoffed. But she felt nervous as Analise tip-toed out of the house that night; she watched her little sister walk to the harbor until she was a little spot of dark shadow against the indigo sky. “Have fun!” Beth called, “Be careful” (an afterthought). The sun slid away and the moon beamed sweetly, on her own for the first time.
The next morning was hot and bright; to look at the sky was to scorch your eyes, and to step on the pavement was to melt the soles of your shoes.
One of the sisters was dead, the town was whispering, they found her late last night, raped and strangled by the water.
“And I had a bad feeling last night, isn’t that odd?” the women lied in hushed tones.
“Where was her mother?” a few people whispered.
“Where was Beth?” the sisters cried.
That day seemed to last forever: it lingered on so long that people said, reverently, the night might never come again. The sun would burn forever and the moon was dead and gone.
Written for my Writing Club’s writing prompt: “scoffing sun” and “a minute of failure”