Improbable Story

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She thought she was home until the second moon appeared.

She thought she was home, because everything looked exactly as she remembered it: the path to the front door of her cottage home, guarded by tall hollyhocks and delphiniums, the moss on the stone by the pond, the scent of the rain. For sure she thought she was home and she didn’t give the night a single thought until that second moon appeared.

“Mom,” she ran all the way to her mother’s bedroom, screaming off the top of her lungs, “mom, mom, come quick! Mother!!”
Her mother rushed to her aid and met her half way down the corridor, stumbling and filled with dread that something horrible might have happened to her child, and she got really upset when she learned it was nothing but a disturbing display of foolishness.

“Of course there are two moons, Cherie, go back to bed!”

“But mom…” she insisted.

“Enough! I should have listened to your uncle, you really like to stir up drama,” her mother mumbled from the corridor on her way back to her room. “What were you doing outside, anyway? It’s the middle of the night!”

“But…” Cherie protested softly, mostly to herself now that her mother was already out of sight.

She went back outside to see the moons, and yes, there were still two. She watched them all night, in awe, until the sun peeked over the horizon and the blush of dawn caressed the familiar contours of the roof and cast a rosy glow on the tops of the sugar maples.

“Get ready for school, Cherie, the bus will be here any moment. Did you eat your breakfast?”

Cherie nodded, even though she hadn’t eaten a single bite. Who on earth could eat under such circumstances? She went to the kitchen to grab a banana for later and, by force of habit, slid her fingers over the markings on the door post, the ones her mother carved every few months, to track her growth.

“Go, dear! You’re going to be late,” mom nudged her gently. “I think I can hear the bus, oh, no, never mind, that’s Harvey’s truck. I swear the century will change before he gets rid of that rust bucket. How long has he had it, twenty, twenty five years?”

“Mother,” Cherie started reluctantly, “you know how I asked you last night about the moons?”

“Yes, what about them?” her mother asked absentmindedly, careful not to burn herself as she put the bread pudding in the hot oven.

“What are they called?”

“Castor and Pollux, of course! Cherie, what is this nonsense?” she asked annoyed.

“But mom, how come I never knew Earth had two moons?”

“Earth? What is that?”