War

Four

            I remember the day Gia's gift was discover vividly because it was the day my gift was discovered as well. If you can call it a gift. It was her fourth birthday. Our fourth birthday. We are twins, you see, but different as night and day. But it wasn't always like that. We were once far more alike. Until that day. The day our magic rose from the depths of our beings and the fates bestowed us with twin gifts.

            Gia spun around, her softly curling golden locks splaying out around her. The sun glinted off her tan golden skin. Twin spots of pink deepened to a rose as she played and laughed, surrounded by our friends and family come to celebrate out birthday. I played and laughed wither her. We linked hands and spun round and round until we collapsed in a giggling heap, my black hair stark against her golden, my pale skin against her brown. She took my face in her chubby little hands and kissed my nose and we grinned at each other.

            Twins. Best friends. Sunshine and Moonlight. I loved her very much and she loved me. But she loves everyone. Her heart is so vast and large I believe she could love anyone and everyone. She radiates a sort of glowing, golden warmth that makes everyone want to be around her, including me.

"Gia! Morgain! Dinner!" our mother called, smiling at us from the doorway.

            We got up to go inside our house but I noticed something. I felt it. I must have been the first stirrings of my gift, but I didn't know it then. I walked over to the base of the large tree that stood in front of our house. I crouched down. I was a baby bird, old enough to grow feathers but not yet old enough to fly. And it was dying. I must have fallen out of it's nest.  I could see it tiny chest rising and falling in rapid sucsession. I was oddly fascinated by it.

"What is it, Moonlight?" Gia asked me, using the nickname that only she was permitted to use. She came over to crouch beside me.

"Oh, Sunshine, look at the poor thing. It's dying. Oh, don't let it die, Gia!" I lamented to my sister, tears slipping down my pale cheeks. By then several people had come to see what was holding us up. Suddenly the tiny creature stopped breathing.  Gia stared at the little fledgling solemnly. I felt something change in her, I felt power gathering within her. Slowly, she reached out and touched the still form with light fingertips. The fledgling glow faintly with a golden yellow light and then it stood up and chirped. Gia smiled. The rest of us gawked at her.

"Sweet, merciful Mother…Gia, child, what did you do?" asked our mother's sister. Gia tore her eyes away from the little bird and looked at our aunt.

"I dunno. I just couldn't let him die." She looked at me and smiled. I threw my arms around her neck and hugged her tight.

"Thank you, Sunshine," I whispered to her.

            The whole town seemed to know within seconds: Little Gia had the gift and a powerful one. The power to give life. Later that day, I asked my sister what it felt like, how she had done it.

"I'm not sure. I just felt something in my chest, like it was ready to pop and I just opened it up."

I marveled at my sister. I had always thought she was the most wonderful person in the world. Now I had proof. Some of the others in the town shied away from her but most just carried on the same, if not loving her better for it. I adored her just the same. She was still my Sunshine.

            The next day, my sister, our mother and I were returning from our trip to the well. I sensed something again. I turned and saw a cat. It had be bitten my something- perhaps a dog- and both it's hind legs were broken. It drug itself along pitifully with its forepaws, still very much alive. I felt a pressure in my chest, just as Gia had said. Without thinking, I opened it up and, eyes closed tight, extended my hand to the cat. I felt a sudden Whoosh!  and feeling like something was being sucked into me. I felt a small, feline presence pass through me and then on to something beyond me. I opened my eyes and was horrified. I saw a withered form of a cat before me, it's eyes wide open and staring, the thin, sickly hide hanging off its bones. It twitched once violently and then was still. I stared at it, unable to move, petrified by fear and shame and bitter, bitter sadness.

"Morgain…" my mother breathed. "What have you done?"

"Mamma…" I reached for her but she instinctively flinched away. Tears were streaming down my face, paler than usual.

"Mamma, I just wanted to help, Mamma. Like Gia." But my mother wouldn't listen she turned and ran, terrified of her own daughter.

            My four year old mind could not fully comprehend what had just happened but I knew that I was frightened and lonely and desperately sad and Mamma- my main source of strength and love- had abandoned me. I did not have Gia's gift- the power to give life and heal. No. I had the other side of that gift. I had the power of Death. I felt bewildered and hysterical. Two small arms encircle me and urged me to get up. Gia  led me away from the dead cat's body, that cat I had killed. She sat me down and held me as I sobbed hysterically.

"Sshh. It's ok. Everything's gonna be okay, Moonlight." She soothed

"But I killed it, Sunshine, I killed it! I just wanted to help. I didn't want it to die. I just wanted to help like you did!"

"I know, Moonlight, I know. Nobody's gotta know. It'll be a secret. Nobody'll ever know."

I sobbed and sobbed, held in my twin's arms. Who could love me after they knew what I had done- after they knew what I could do? Gia. Sweet, sweet Gia never left me. She was all had left.