At a glance, the children were twins. Even at a second, or a third. It was not with one’s eyes that the truth could be seen; only with theirs. But we still knew. And they knew. And in no one’s eyes did it matter either way. They were simply Astin and Vega to us, the twins, the mysterious children who came to us one day, and left us just as suddenly.
When they arrived, we were called to the home. It was tradition to visit the family when a child was born. It was strange then, for us, to be called when there had been no prior sign of any infant, much less twins. Even more extraordinary was that we were greeted not with the usual gurgles and cries of a newborn, but two quiet children who appeared no more than three years old. Astin was slight and pale. His only darkness radiated in his deep eyes, dark like midnight, but far from wicked. Vega was softer than her brother, but held the same milky complexion. They didn’t speak throughout the entire visitation, just sat with their hands clasped together, watching. We loved them anyway, it must have been impossible not to. We never witnessed their speech, though their parents swore they were capable of it and conversed with the family regularly, but nevertheless, Vega and Astin charmed us all.
The woman who came to be known as the mother of the twins suffered mildy from a state of insomnia, and on such nights when sleep remained hidden from her wanting eyes, she would sit in her garden, watching the skies and the night all around her. On such a night was when she found Astin and Vega. “The little girl had been curled up fast asleep in my pansy bed!” She would often relay, laughing slightly at the girl's location. “I went to pick her up, and the moment she awoke and saw me, she shrieked and cried and wriggled, refusing to let me touch her until her brother appeared--it seemed to be out of nowhere, he must have been behind the juniper bushes, but as I was saying. When she was sure of his presence, she became calm and allowed herself to be carried indoors. The little boy followed, and I do believe he never once took his eyes off of me! Must have been afraid I was going to take away his sister.”
It came to be understood, or at least accepted, after speculation that the children were in some state of shock (judging by Vega’s behavior that first night), that they were simply different. It was apparent in the way they interacted with each other, and everyone else, and the look in their eyes; something that made Astin and Vega seem older than they appeared. When spoken to, they rarely responded, and would only look at each other knowingly, each smiling their secret smile; a look nearly everyone knew but only two could fully understand. When they did speak, it was near-whispered and said in rhymes or metaphors or philosophies that only sometimes held logic. To them, a song was felt, a painting smelled, an orange heard and a feeling seen. Their lives seemed almost veiled as they kept to themselves, rarely leaving their home, and one never without the other.
And then one day, they simply were not there.
Their parents amazed us with their calm state, if any of our children had suddenly disappeared in the night, we would have been griefstricken! But they kept their composure, just nodding and saying “It was time,” when we inquired about the “star twins” (for calling them “twins” never stopped, though we all knew it was false, and the way their bright eyes seemed to sparkle with hidden knowlege of some unknown subject; it was often said that they appeared to have fallen stars caught in them). And oh, how we missed them! One never realizes that even the most quiet and unobtrusive of children can leave a void so large until it happens.
I still catch glimpses of Astin and Vega on occasion, though it has been many years since their departure. I doubt that they ever fully left us. Sometimes on a late evening, when the sun sets just right and the moon rises at the perfect angle to cast a misty magic glow over the previous evening’s leftover rain; in the warm depths of summer when the crickets and the cicadas chant their symphonies to the heavens, you can hear Vega’s sweet face and Astin’s dark eyes, each glowing brighter than firefly lamps, and smell the soft whisper of their secret-smile and knowing glance.
comments/constructive criticism are welcomed.
comments like "wow you suck" are just annoying (at least give me a reason, k?).
x-posted to atw, creativegirls and writers_corner.