Excerpt from MATEGUAS ISLAND: Chapter 80, “The Girls”
A flash of lightning lit up the sky illuminating the L-shaped room where Sophie and Terri slept. The light was so bright, it startled Sophie awake and she sat up rubbing her eyes. When she could finally focus she was surprised to see their room was suffused by a golden glow that lingered long after the lightning faded. As she gazed about the room in wonder, she saw her twin standing by the window that looked out to the backyard.
“Ter, what ya doin’?” she asked.
Terri turned her head, a bright smile on her face. “Soph, come see. It’s beautiful. It’s like a fairy world.”
Sophie got out of bed and joined her sister at the window. Her eyes widened in amazement when she saw what was happening outside. Scores of fireflies were dancing around one of the bushes in the yard, their light sparkling and shimmering in the wind and rain.
“It looks like Christmas,” said Sophie, her voice filled with awe.
“Yeah, Soph. See how they dance. And listen – I think they’re singing.”
Sophie pressed her face to the glass, straining to hear. “I don’t hear anything.”
“Close your eyes and really listen.”
Sophie did as her sister instructed. In a moment she nodded her head eagerly. “I hear it. I hear it. It’s like magic. It’s so pretty.”
The girls grinned in delight as they listened to the sweet melodic song of the fireflies.
“What language is it?” Sophie whispered. “I don’t understand it but I love it.”
“I don’t know. I’ve never heard anything like it before.”
They stood quietly listening and watching the spectacle taking place before them oblivious to the storm that was raging. But in an instant, their joy was cut short by a loud crack of thunder that shook the house. The room plunged into darkness as the golden glow was extinguished and the fireflies disappeared.
“Look,” whispered Sophie pointing her finger to the yard.
Terri gripped her sister’s hand tightly as she watched a shadowy figure streak across the lawn toward the woods. A flash of lightning lit up the sky, temporarily blinding the girls and when their sight returned, the figure was gone.
They stood transfixed, waiting to see what would happen next. Then a soft mournful sob, barely audible at first, pierced the silence. Stunned, Terri and Sophie hugged each other in fear as the sobs became more desperate. The wind began to howl and mournful cries echoed in the night. Tears streamed down Sophie’s cheeks as she recognized the voice that was now calling out her name.
“It sounds like Mommy, Ter! Is it Mommy? Please, is it Mommy?”
Terri leaned forward, her body rigid as she strained to recognize the voice calling to them. The sound was so familiar but not real, not like her mother. Yet, it was her. “Soph, it is Mommy. She sounds in so much pain. I think she’s hurt. We have to help her.”
Terri gripped her sister’s hand tightly. The cries were becoming more plaintive now as if the caller was losing hope.
“We have to wake Daddy. He’ll know what to do.”
Terri shook her head. “We can’t get Daddy, Soph. What if it’s his fault? What if he hurt her again? You heard them fighting. No, it’s up to us, Soph. We have to help her.”
The girls stood staring at each other for what seemed a lifetime, then Sophie nodded. “You’re right. Let’s go. We have to find Mommy. We have to save her.”
Terri took her sister’s hand and squeezed it. Together they tiptoed out of their room and down the stairs. They stopped briefly at the hall closet and put their slickers on over their nightclothes to try to stay dry and grabbed a flashlight. Then hand in hand, they opened the door and, without hesitation, went silently out into the storm.