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Two Sisters, Different Hair

By Ted Janney All Rights Reserved ©

Children / Scifi

Blurb

Two sisters, same mother, same father, different hair. One likes to build machines. The other likes to grow plants. Can they remain friends?

Two Sisters, Different Hair

There were once two sisters. One had yellow hair, yellow like the dandelions that bloom every spring. The other had black hair, dark as the night when the electricity goes out. Two sisters, same mother, same father, different hair.

Kisha loved the feel of the earth under her fingernails. She loved to feel it between her fingers, crusty and pulling at her. She would run through the tunnels where the flowers still bloomed, making little hillocks in the free dirt.

Elle loved to lay on the roof at night and watch as the stars shone through the haze and smog. She loved to watch them twinkling, burning and blazing like fire engines in the sky. She dreamed of one day seeing them past all the noise and air and lights and people.

Two sisters, one mother, one father, different hair.

“Eat these apples!” Kisha said to Elle. “I grew them out of the brown dirt and the trickling water.”

“I built a machine!” said Elle. “I built it to clean the air so your plants don’t die!”

“Your machine makes noises,” said Kisha. “It vibrates the ground and disturbs the roots of my plants.”

“Your apples are good,” said Elle. “But I don’t like being down here in the old city, with the rusted beams and the dirty water. I want to go to the stars.”

“The stars are so far away,” said Kisha. “And nothing grows in space.”

“I will make it grow,” said Elle. “I will build a machine to make the plants grow in space.”

She went down to the junkyard, the scrappy junkyard full of jagged parts and twisted things.

“Be safe!” said Kisha, looking out from the end of the tunnel.

“I’ll just be among the wreckage!” said Elle. “I already found a generator!”

“The generator is rocking my plants,” said Kisha. “This is worse. Make it stop!”

“I’ve added some legs and some springs!” said Elle. “It doesn’t rattle and rock.”

“But it makes the air stink,” said Kisha. “Take it outside!”

Outside was where the stars were, and Elle sat on her rattling, stinky generator and looked at the stars far away.

“I will go to them,” she said.

Two sisters, same mother, same father, different hair.

Years passed. Elle’s machines got bigger. They were quieter and faster and better. They could make things and break things and mold things and throw things. They could fly and swim and one could even think.

Kisha’s plants got bigger. They made more apples, they made potatoes and radishes. They fed people, and gave people shade, and made water clean where it had once been oily and green.

“Machines are powerful,” Elle said, as she added a thruster. “They can lift things up to the stars.”

“Don’t forget the Earth,” said Kisha. “It has withstood years of hurtling through space. And we have plants.”

But Elle was in love with fire and her heart was set on the stars. Her rocket didn’t work that first time, or the five times after, but when she was a woman she was looking down at the city where she was born. Next to her control panel was a single lily, Kisha’s last gift.

Space is made for machines. In space, you move with fire and you land with fans. You sleep on pipes. And when Elle was hungry, her machines made her food.

She mined asteroids and found rare gems.

She built factories and sold more machines.

She sold moons.

And everywhere she went, she left a small lily behind.

“To remind us of home,” she would say.

And she was rich, rich in machines and factories and moons and gems. Men wanted her. Women wanted to be her. But she was lonely, out among the machines and the stones and the adoring fans. No one knew her, knew the roots of her deep in her soul. No one stood before the storm and gave her shelter. She missed Earth. She missed Kisha.

Two sisters, same mother, same father, different hair.

Kisha had been planting trees. She planted them in gardens and tunnels and fields. She planted on buildings and under bridges. She planted them where cars were parked and where stoplights needed to go. She built great big holes in the desert and waited for the rain to fill them up with water. She rimmed the lakes with trees. The world was green now, not oily and dark.

People called her the Earth Healer. The scars of the wars had passed away. The clouds of smoke were gone. The whole world was covered in green and water sprang from the Earth. People said Kisha was rich, but only because the Earth was rich. People said she was wise.

“I know how to grow trees,” she said. “Nothing more and nothing less.”

But her work wasn’t done. Her trees were wooden and stubborn. The people were adoring and obliging. But no one made her move and dream and run. No one pulled her out to see the stars. No one dreamed of leaving Earth and changing the world under her feet. She was lonely.

Two sisters, same mother, same father. Different hair.

Elle landed in a ball of fire, twisting among the trees.

Kisha ran up to the topmost rung of the tree towers.

Some say they hugged and some say they just nodded. Everyone agrees they didn’t have to say anything, although they did anyway.

“I missed these trees,” she said.

“What an astounding machine!” she said.

Two sisters, same mother, same father. But their hair is the color of silver now.

Two sisters, same mother, same father. Different hair.

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