Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts: it looked impossible; with your warm hands; trusted; my sister from_______; a hidden passage; use your words; I attract mosquitos like ambivalent men; quick; exciting; but you don’t understand how much I cried; wild things; on the cusp; rapture; apology accepted, trust denied
My sister Marina came home from Neptune last week, just for a short visit. I hadn’t seen her in close to two decades because it takes seven years to get there and 7 years to get back, and she spent five years in the colony with her colleagues and mates, doing research and establishing an Earthly presence.
I was so looking forward to seeing her, but she greeting me with a sneer. “Apology accepted,” she announced as I leaned in to hug her. “But trust denied.”
Rebuffed, I stepped back in shock. “What are you talking about?”
She rolled her eyes. “You don’t understand how much I cried,” she whimpered, her voice cracking.
My father gripped my arm to caution me. “Tell us about Neptune,” he said pleasantly to steer the conversation in a more hopeful direction.
“It’s beautiful,” she gushed. “The water there is magical. Fuchsia pink in the morning, turquoise green in the afternoon. I can sit on the sandy shore at dusk watching the stars twinkle in the sky above, reflecting in black water below, completely at peace.”
Everyone in the room nodded and smiled at the serene vision she described. “The best part,” she continued, “is there are no mosquitos there. Here on Earth I used to attract mosquitos like ambivalent men!” Her fellow colonists vigorously agreed, shouting and gesturing, animated and agitated. Family members who had gathered for the homecoming cast sideway glances at each other, worried over this sudden uproar.
An admiral took quick action, moving to the front of the room. “We are grateful for your service, alpha team. You have brought us to the cusp of fascinating discoveries.” She spoke in a slow, even calming monotone. “Let us sing our Planet Anthem, and adjourn for this evening.”
“Wait,” my sister interrupted, a little too loud. “You think you can greet us here with your warm hands, using your soothing words, but you have no idea the wild things we have seen, the wild things we have become.” She paused, her eyes manic, her teeth bared in a parody of a grin.
But the admiral seemed child-like and trusting. She extended a hand to Marina, but it seemed impossible. I was scared for both of them. The other colonists were moving forward slowly as if by design. I grasped my father’s hand.
Still the admiral spoke gently. “We welcome you home,” she said touching Marina’s shoulder. “We want you to stay here with us now.”
But my sister jerked away from her with a harsh laugh. “We’ve found a hidden passage. You can’t stop us.”
Indeed the room began to glow, the walls began to shake. I pressed my eyes shut tight as I felt my feet lifting from the floor. It seemed like the Rapture, but I knew we weren’t heading to heaven.
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash