author's note: This short story is supposed to form the script of a kinetic visual novel.

The Rise and Fall of Gemini
三島和希
Kazuki Mishima

I remember being fascinated by a habit he had of drawing – high-quality doodles, I guess. I would see angels and repentant demons and arcane symbols. There were laughing children and gently smiling mothers, too.

I met his mother when I showed interest in a sketch he was making as he sat on his front porch. He was pointing out the elements of his work when she came out with popsicles. It was a summer of love and flowers, and the bright blossoms of the mother's blouse hinted at the innocent vitality of their real counterparts in the garden surrounding us.

He made jokes, and I dared to laugh at them. Following a silence, I even found courage to make my own. He laughed in the tones of a cool forest of the night, and I knew that I had found a friend in the heat of the summer.

I once had a photograph, though it has since disappeared into the chasm between memories, of a group of smiling, running children. Behind them are our figures, the outlines of two children standing on the ground, looking at the sky, and asking each other what separated these spheres.

We parted ways at one point; we left the old neighborhood for separate horizons, but in college we were pulled together again. We met the government men – they were all angry men in those days – and were introduced to the sky captains – the space-men.

We entered the program together, and met a whole host of people who had looked at our sky and asked our questions. Working with them brought us fresh life. Still, the two of us valued our work together most highly of all.

The first vessel for two brought us – the first team – through the sky and into the darkness just beyond the edge. We opened a door, and he thrust himself forward, tethered to our shared capsule by a shining rope. He seemed to me then an independent celestial body, a free satellite orbiting our planet, alone. I was intensely aware that I was alone in my capsule, and that he had become unknowable with the transcendent wisdom imbued in him by his exposure to the vacuum.

He would not return when he was expected to end his solitary mission. He remained outside our man-made world until I urgently told him "It's time!" When he did return, however, everything was the same as it had been at our launch; we were co-conspirators in a great philosophical scheme.

One night at home I dreamt that we were again in our vessel in space, and again he thrust himself into the great nothingness, but this time, as the sight of our singular planet transfixed him, he said "I have to leave."

"What?" I cried, but despite all my protestations he tore the umbilical cord and left me a lone twin as he receded slowly, until he was finally beyond sight.

The next day, we were testing the new one-man vessel and I, his assigned guardian by request, guided him through mechanical procedures. Suddenly, there was silence between us. My instruments had failed, and looking into the vessel I could see flames. The door would not open.

I sit above the planet now in a similar vessel. I turn off the radio so I need no longer hear the pleas for me to return to the surface. I see constellations that remind me of those stars he told me were twins because they were close together. It does not console me to know that these stars are truly separated by incomprehensible distance.