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Like an imposing army of giants or the columns of ancient Greece, colossal trees rose from the earth of the woods next to the brothers’s house. If you looked up, you could see an endless array of branches and vines that spiked from the trees like a spider's web.
A cool, crisp air brought in the strong fall scent of rain and burnt wood. As Aaron, age sixteen, and Geb, age thirteen, walked through the woods next to their house with their dog Alba, they heard the crunch of dry orange leaves beneath their feet. It was that time right after sunset when, if you looked well enough, you could see the stars start to come out.
“We gotta get back soon okay, Geb? I have a lot of work to do." said Aaron.
“But you ALWAYS have a lot of work to do... Why can’t you just relax and be happy?” said Geb.
Geb then started to sing Happy, to which Aaron said:
“Could you stop singing that? I already told you it annoys me.”
“Ugh. You're so depressing...why can’t you say something NICE for once?”
Aaron considered this for a second, then said:
“Okay fine, here’s something nice: you see the stars? If you look right there,” Aaron
pointed to the sky with his right arm. “You can see the constellation Gemini—“
Geb came to halt and, as he furrowed his brow, interrupted his brother:
“Shut up Aaron” he said, his attitude changing completely. Aaron looked surprised. Geb
continued: “All you care about is showing how smart you are! All you care about is getting into Harvard! You don’t even spend time with me anymore.”
Aaron froze for a second.
“You know what Geb, you’re just a spoiled little brat.” he said. “And you’re a — you’re a — f- f***ing IDIOT.” said Geb.
“Oh my god did you just swear? You’re not supposed to swear. You’re only twelve and—" “Thirteen!” interrupted Geb.
Aaron was about to respond, but, like a viper who just moments ago would release its
venom but had now retreated its fangs, a sudden realization sent a chill down his spine, and he held his tongue.
“Where’s Alba?” said Aaron.
Geb looked around confused.
They’d been so caught up arguing they’d forgotten about their dog.
Aaron and Geb looked around almost every tree and rock, and nothing of Alba. The sun
had set, and the stars grew stronger with each passing moment.
It was so dark you could barely see the silhouette of trees, and all the brothers had was
a flimsy flashlight whose light kept flickering. They'd lost count of how many times they’d called for Alba, and yet the only howls they’d heard were their own.
All of a sudden it was as if time had stopped and the stars had exploded.
A blinding white light so bright it burned the brothers’s eyes appeared.
Like a waterfall in the desert, Geb felt tears rush into his eyes in attempt to alleviate the
dryness caused by the light, which had now gone away.
However, no matter how many spots of light were etched into his pupil and Geb could
see anywhere he looked, the one thing he couldn’t see was Aaron.
Geb could now feel his heart pounding against his chest, and his breath quickened. His
hands shook from the terror.
“Aaron!” he shouted loudly, but not too loudly, because if there was anything in the
woods, it would hear him. “Oh man...” said Geb.
He looked everywhere for Aaron. When he climbed a tree to get a view of his surroundings, he realized he was lost. He climbed higher. Still lost.
He climbed so high and so fast a branch nearly snapped beneath his feet.
When he got down from the tree he saw it. It couldn’t be anything else.
Geb saw an animal, lying behind a tree. Blood stained the light brown fur on its skin.
Alba, he thought.
He felt a cold tear trickle down his cheeks.
He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but it seemed like days.
Where’s Aaron? he thought. Where’s my brother? What if he’s d— he interrupted his
thoughts, this he wasn’t allowed to think.
I promise I won’t sing songs that annoy you again... he thought.
Geb looked up to the night sky, and saw the stars through the branches of the trees.
Then he saw Gemini and another tear of ice fell down his cheek.
Now he wished he could hear Aaron speak about the constellations for hours. He
wanted to know the story of Gemini.
Then a warm yellow light like a ray of sun appeared behind his back. Geb turned.
It was just his dad with a flashlight.
“There you are buddy, I’ve been looking for you for hours.”
“Where's Aaron?” asked Geb.
“He's waiting for you back home like your mother.”
Geb let out a deep breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. A calm, soft wave of relief
washed over him, followed by a salty, harsh wave of nervousness that came when he saw a strike of lightning in the foggy distance.
So that’s what the light had been, lightning.
Aaron will think I was being a baby, he thought. He’ll think I’m stupid and spoiled cause I got scared and lost.
Geb and his dad walked back to their house.
Aaron was sitting in the front yard biting his nails and relentlessly ripping grass of the ground. But as soon as he saw Geb, a smile spread across his face like the sun spreading across the sky at dawn. Geb couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen Aaron smile like this.
Aaron ran towards Geb and hugged him tighter than ever before.
For a second the brothers thought they’d lost a part of themselves. But now they felt complete.
“Where's Alba, by the way?” asked Aaron.
“Alba?” Their father seemed confused. “What are you talking about? She’s been here for hours.”
Geb looked up at Gemini in awe, for now he understood.