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The Sun and The Moon
Once upon a time, there lived two sisters in a valley between lands, where the horizons of dawn and dusk kissed and embraced for eternity. Every day they would walk home from plucking daisies and roses in their small Garden of Eden, greeting their smiling mother in the soft light of the aurora shining outside. The eldest daughter, Semine, with hair like liquid gold and eyes glowing with the essence of amber, was a small thing who blessed all things that graced her fingertips. With a laugh like the babbling river and a smile as bright as the gates of Heaven, she was adored by everyone. The youngest, however, was one who was prone to falling into the dark chasm of her heart that plagued her. With hair as brown as fresh dirt, eyes green like the sneering serpent and a smile laced with dark shadows, Newell was the least favored, and the most feared in their small village of cupped innocence.
One day, when the eldest daughter was fifteen years of age, a strapping young man strode into the village with a small bundle of woven cloth clasped to his shoulders. Semine, who was in the market just as the young man walked in, was observing the bright fruit offered in the gleaming wooden stands. Smiling at the vendor, she slipped the fruit in her small bag after giving the salesman her coins. Turning, she began to walk back to her small cottage of sweet memories, where her mother was expecting her arrival. The young man, having emerged from the shop that he had just went into, tapped upon Semine’s shoulder and introduced himself.
“Hello,” he said.
Semine smiled that smile and said back, “Hello.”
He grinned and reached out his hand. “My name is Jerrico, and I am an adventurer. I’m new in town, and I was wondering if you could show me around?”
Semine thought about his offer. This man, with hair like ebony and eyes like the cocoa seeds; should he be trusted? His eyes looked honest enough, she thought, and he appeared to be a kind young man. Semine looked in the direction of her house, then back upon him, and nodded her head, taking her soft hand in his as they strolled into the aurora light together.
From that time on, Jerrico and Semine were inseparable. He showed her the ways of the world outside of her sheltered life, demonstrating to her the beauty of the earth that revolved slowly beneath her feet as she walked to and from home. Every morning, they met up in the same spot at the lapping beach, embraced, and walked down the purple sand, fingers entwined, in a land where the sky remained in the permanent appearance of delicate pink and orange swirls. They climbed the surrounding trees that reminded her so much of him and sat for hours upon the longest and widest branch, talking about their hopes and the stars that glittered in the mingling of the dusk and dawn and how they could be read like the lifelines of one’s palm. Only when Newell, Semine’s sulking sister, walked upon the two and alerted them the of the time did Semine awake from her dream, kiss her Jerrico upon his cheek and prance away in a blissful daze.
“Oh, Newell! How sweet is my groom to be?” Semine sighed as she and her sister walked back to their cottage.
Newell peered upon her sister’s lethargic smile and snorted. Instead she replied with, “Semine, why have you stopped picking flowers with me like we used to?”
Semine halted and looked upon her sister then. “Newell, I have never stopped plucking flowers with you,” she cupped her sister’s face and stroked her cheek. “I simply found a new kind love that forces me to divert my attention so I spend less time on certain activities. But, one day, I assure you my sister, you will find that love as well.”
Newell gently removed her sister’s impossibly soft hand from her face and continued walking in silence. Semine knew that the time spent was not what she meant at all, Newell thought, on the contrary. It was him, all him. What an ignorant human being. She watched as Semine skipped into the glowing cottage, oblivious to everything that was coming to shatter her small, glass world. Before stepping in the house, Newell bunched her skirts up in her fists. How could she be so unaware of what she craved? How could she be so selfish? Semine had only ever been given what it was that she desired, and what about Newell? Nothing but work, hard work that made her hands calloused and lumpy and dark compared to the soft ivory that her sister’s dove-like hands possessed as skin. She boiled with anger. Newell could care less if her sister plucked flowers with her; to be honest, her sister was just a stupid nuisance that was too innocent for Newell’s mature thoughts. She turned and began walking into the trees that lined their cheery lawn. How could Jerrico manage to spend endless hours with her, her of all people? What was so special about her anyway? Newell thought about Semine then, of her delicate curves, her high cheek bones and golden hair, of her beauty compared to Newell’s rather plain box-like figure and matted brown hair. It seemed as if all the gods had poured their souls into the body of Semine, and had given her the left overs when she was born. Newell shook her head attempting to dislodge the seed of hate that was blooming within her chest. Still, the anger brewed with her, as she walked toward her cottage and opened the door, a lurking monster waiting for its time to strike.
That evening, as Newell slipped in their adjoined bed, she watched as Semine sat upon their vanity. Brushing her honey curls, she hummed a lullaby that Newell had never heard before, and jumped upon the bed, embracing Newell in a pinching hug.
“Oh, Newell! The greatest thing to have happened to me was Jerrico. My sweet Jerrico,” she stared upon the painted wall is if in a daze, a smile fliting across her lips. Newell untangled herself, and sat up, worried about the many things that crossed her mind concerning the look her sister was having.
She cleared her throat, “Well, I doubt that Mother approves of all the time that you spend with,” she hesitated on the name, “him. What about all the chores that you leave undone?”
Semine frowned gently. “But, I love him, my sister, and I intend on marrying him in the near future.”
Newell almost choked. How could that be? She felt as if the walls were closing on around her, as if the thorns of the painted roses on the walls of their room were stabbing at her throat.
Semine continued, “And I get my chores done in plenty time. Mother doesn’t seem to mind at all, and I rather—Newell, dearest, are you feeling ill?” Her sister’s concerned face floated within her fuzzy vision.
“I,” Newell forced her composure, “I am fine. Just tired. I should probably just sleep.” And with those brief words, she blew out her candle and tucked herself in. A couple seconds later, her sister did the same.
Had Newell heard correctly? That Semine was in love with Jerrico? Her Jerrico? She shook her head; well regardless, Semine would never make him happy the way Newell could. All she could think about was that day; the day in which she had first met Jerrico three years ago. He had walked graciously in the house, with Semine by his side, and bowed upon his first sight of Newell, who was in the kitchen pounding dough. He had smiled and kissed her hand, tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear, and introduced himself. From that day forward, every time he came, Newell was ready, determined to win his heart, for she felt that it was she who was destined to become his bride; not her dimwit of a sister. She will pay, Newell thought with a smile, the time will come soon when she will finally pay. These thoughts claimed her mind as she sunk deeper into the storm of hate that was her dreams.
Semine awoke the next morning and walked out to the living room, pulling out the supplies needed to make her morning tea. She thought about the way her sister had reacted to her plan for her future with Jerrico, as if it was a bad thing. Maybe Newell loves Jerrico, a small voice whispered in the crevices of her mind. Semine shook her head; absolutely not. Newell hardly knew Jerrico, and vise versa, how could that possibly be true? Furthermore, Newell would never hurt her own sister, a sister who had done nothing but been her shoulder to cry on through all her heartache…would she?
“Good morning, Semine,” Newell said, with a snake’s smile.
Semine jumped, dropping her glass that held her freshly made tea; it shattered into millions of small, glittering pieces. She placed her hand upon her heart, “You startled me! I did not think you were up at this hour.”
Newell shrugged her shoulders and walked to the cabinet. “I thought I’d get up early today. Here, let me make you a new batch of tea.”
Semine smiled and thanked her as she sat down upon the kitchen stool and peered out the window. She could not wait to see Jerrico and what adventures they were to have today. Newell sulked beside her and placed the cup delicately in front of Semine’s small hands.
“I bought this tea at the market from a special lady who was traveling from another village. She told me that these leaves, when made into a tea, would transform the drinker’s life into something…magical. So, I wanted you to have it,” said Newell.
Semine hugged her sister, “How kind of you.”
Newell only smiled broader and pushed the cup towards her, “Please, drink.”
And with that, Semine downed the entire cup before trotting away for the last time to the shoreline, still wrapped in the harrowing innocence that failed to save her.
Walking toward the sand dune that they had claimed their own, Semine had a smile on her face as she peered into the blended horizons. She watched as Jerrico emerged from the other direction, waving and grinning to her as they both made their way to their final destination. Semine waved back before slowing to a trudge and clutching her stomach. How it ached! Suddenly everything around her spun until she couldn’t see anything anymore, and she fell to her knees, the soft sand enveloping her in its grainy arms.
“Semine!” Jerrico screamed as he ran toward her. She began to cough uncontrollably and plunged face-first into the ground, groaning.
Jerrico lunged and grasped her head, resting it gently upon his lap. “Semine, my love, what’s the matter?”
Her coughing continued until blood looked her back in the eye as she pulled her hand away from her mouth. “I…” She knew the end was near, and yet she was cursed from ever speaking her last words. A tear fell from her eye as she looked into her lover’s worrisome eyes. How could this have happened? Their great love was ending so soon…
“Semine!” He shook her shoulders attempting to revive her from her hallucinated daze. “Please, hold on. You will be okay, let me take you to a doctor…”
Semine held her hand upon and grazed his cheek. She forced herself to stop coughing enough to spit out the words she was determined to speak before she passed.
“I love you, with all my soul…” He clasped her hand in his and cried as he leaned down and placed a kiss upon her lips. She breathed her last breath with a small smile upon her face, her glassed eyes peering toward the horizon.
When she was revived once more, Semine attempted to open her eyes to see where she was and what had happened. However, she had no eyes to open—just shafts of compromised vision stretching in all directions. Before her lay a large rusted sphere, then a milky orange one and finally a tiny blue object, like a tear among the many stars that were scattered around her body. She tried to take deep breaths and look within herself for answers on her situation. It seemed as if she was an eternal inferno, burning with an endless fire from the inside out, without limbs or any other form of humanity. She was nothing and everything at the same time as her vision was stretched across the planets that orbited in front of her endlessly, peering upon them as if her own children. Semine watched, with those dotted, yellow lines of light that she saw through, the Earth that she had called home for her 18 years of human life. She saw through the burning eye that now rose from the blended horizons of land and ocean and the pink and purple clouds, the people that were once hers, and who she once belonged to. And she saw through those visions each land spin away from her, only to return again within a number of hours.
This continued for a number of years. At first, Semine cried within herself, asking the gods as to why they had condemned her to such a misery. Eventually, her imaginary tears ceased to exist as she faded in and out of consciousness, continuing her task of pushing and pulling the orbital objects that surrounded her constantly. She learned from those glimpses of light that were her senses, her new acquired names and while each were pronounced different they all had the same meaning: the sun. She watched as those she knew grew up and old, watched her old body get carried from its place upon the beach, and a screaming, sobbing Jerrico fighting to grasp her hand for the last time. She attempted to graze his cheeks with her floating senses, to send him her message concerning her new existence somehow, while at her funeral, but it never worked. Semine watched as her sister, whom she thought had loved her so much, smile as she was placed into the dirt, then chase after Jerrico’s affection until the day she died, years later. Little by little, Semine faded away with loneliness in the vast cold pit that was her home, for she hadn’t fully let herself accept what she had become. Yet, she still manged to find some joy, after a while. As she spread her arms across the face of the Earth day after day, she watched each and every child born and raised them as if her own, and if they were the children she was supposed to have with Jerrico, and grazed their faces through every hard and soft time they went through until she watched each one of their fires’ get snuffed out by the water of death.
For 80 years, she watched Jerrico sit upon their spot at the beach shore, watch her rise upon the surface of the earth, and stay there, peering out into the horizon until night came. Then, and only then, would he leave to go home to his empty cottage, hopeless about her impossible return. And finally, the day came when Jerrico did not come to the shoreline, and watch her rise. And as Semine shed her glimpses into his bedroom, she saw that he had departed from the world, small and grey and folded, but still as sweet as she had remembered him. Semine waited five days for her spirit to detach itself from this gaseous ball that was her body, so she could join her love in the afterlife that she was promised since birth, but it never occurred. While she mourned his death, she continued to maintain her duties of birth, growth and death, as a distraction to her all-consuming disappointment and growing hate. On the sixth day, Semine continued with her endless chores, pushing and pulling and gazing, when she felt the aftershock wave of a block near her Earth. Peering with her glimpses, she stared in awe at the new formation of rock that was piecing together, one stone at a time, as it slowly began to orbit the Earth. His face began to form, allowing a cratered smile to reflect back to her in her endless glimpses of light. She shone brighter than ever, as she wrapped her energetic tentacles around him, giving him an eternal embrace. Jerrico shed his tears of joyous gravity, the drops falling toward the delicate surface of Earth as they maintained an unearthly silent conversation, expressing their love for each other, their hopes, and their joy. They continued their orbiting of one another, forever in their loving embrace, as their human children throughout told the story of how the Sun and the Moon came to be.