Jad’s spine stung in the low wind from the burnfields in no light. Black sun on black sky, black hidden half-moon, the black air bending backward all that black year. Jad had held the torches at right angles for eight hours, and eight hours, several days now, waiting. He’d burned the celebration flares. The ash fields sucked the light and color from the burning. The stretched air ate the sound.
For weeks now the only word that would come out when Jad spoke was brother. “Brother, brother,” on and on. There was no one to say the word to, and so he said it on and on, into the ash, watching the far lip of the flat fields for any chip of movement, any blur. His twin was out there somewhere. His twin named like his name, if just off, one line in one letter tugged taut to change the middle sound. Jad’s brother Jod. Jod who had still not come back out of the ash there since last leaving. Jod with the birthmark underneath his tongue, which at birth had been the one thing that kept them separate, even in their mother’s eyes. Otherwise they were a matchless match, a replication. Mirrors mirroring their brother selves.
About the birthing Jad could still recall certain things—the suck of sound before the exit, the peeling of their two twin skins, the drawl—and then suddenly his mother’s fingers, scissors, the light inside that room. . . . Read More.