117 Days Until Clear Skies And the Uncertain End
Heia looked to Kori who sat under the night sky looking up. When Heia had woken up she had found the window unlatched, and Kori missing. Immediately Heia had known where to go. When the kids were younger, they had often gone to the top of their old home. Kori wassitting under the cool air and the sky with flushed cheeks and wide eyes.
“Kony nad Karla?” Heia asked as she sat next to her sister.
“Kony and Karla.” Kori answered. “I’ve been so far from them for so long I’m trying to remember them.”
Heia didn’t know what to say. The three had chosen it, despite never being apart from each other for this long. It seemed to be taking its toll on Kori. All the side glances she’d give Kony or the responses she expected from Karla, they never came. Heia wondered if Kori was stuck trying to figure out who she was supposed to be without them. The three had been inseparable their whole life and had chosen this moment to separate. Heia was not surprised it was starting to take its toll on Kori.
“They are okay.” Heia placed her hand on her sister’s shoulder.
“I never thought about what life would be without them. Because they were always there. Even in the Catastrophe or the Night of Destruction. They were there, with me. We were going to make it through together but now I can’t protect them.” Kori whispered. She did not curl up on herself. She did not cry. She said the words like they were a fact, even as it seemed to break her heart to say them.
Heia wrapped her arm around Kori. “I miss our family.”
“Do you think Uly would break radio silence again just so that I could talk to them?”
“Probably not.” Uly had put up a tighter communication block from where he was. He had alerted them all and then disappeared. Heia wondered if there were issues going on on their side. She tried not to think too much about it, as there was nothing she could do.
“We could capitalize on it though. Karla did solo an Aralax.” The Aralax fight had caused Heia to go into a fright, Trace and Robee to place bets, and Kori to shout at Karla for breaking form, even though she knew Karla was doing it on purpose. Evester’s voice over and lessons still rang in Heia’s head. It was all a show and on purpose, but it had been scary. Heia figured it was the point. Karla was small and most people wanted to protect her. By showing her take down an Aralax on her own through the steps and teachings Evester gave her, they were able to prove their concept. “It could be a separated siblings moment. Something cheesy and emotion pulling. You are terrible with it, but it’s okay because Layla cries like she has a river running through her instead of blood, and Karla is too cute.”
“We can ask.” Heia knew Kori just wanted to see Kony and Karla.
“When this is all over.” Kori finally stopped looking up. “When we are on the ships and going towards the home Uly finds us. And when we get to that home, and we have a house and everything. I don’t think I’ll know what to do.”
“Don’t worry about that yet. We still have to leave the planet.” Heia hugged her sister.
“We will.” Kori was certain about it. “But. I just don’t know Heia. This has been my entire life and I can’t remember what it is like to not have to fight to survive. I don’t. I don’t remembered what mom and dad look like anymore, and…” Her voice was cracking. “What if I don’t like the person I am when I don’t have to fight to survive?”
“You can change her.” Heia held her sister close. “People used to say that in face of tragedy and terror, the real person we are comes out. They are the same idiotic people who didn’t believe that the Catastrophe would ever come.”
“Do you believe it?”
“I believe that you are a teenager who isn’t sixteen yet.” Heia ws certain that who ever Kori was now, would not be the person she was at eighteen or twenty or twenty-six. Heia knew she was not the same person she was at sixteen. She had been shaped by it, molded in a way, but she was not defined by it. Kori had her whole life ahead of her. Heia was going to make sure her little sister had her whole life ahead of her.
“I will be soon!” Kori protested.
“You have your whole life to live. Mom used to tell Layla, when Layla said her life was over, that she had her whole life to live. She’d only seen a fraction of it, and if she didn’t like where it was going, she was the only one who could decide to grow and to change herself.” Heia thought of her mother, dark skin and stern eyes, a warm laugh, and sharp words. “No one knows who they are, not fully, and that’s why we have the possibility of change.”
“You’re sappy. It’s cold. Let’s go inside.” Kori peeled out of Heia’s arms. “I don’t need a life pep talk Heia. I just want to talk to them and I’m going to get Uly to let us.”