“Are you all ready for bed?”
Rin, a small girl, slightly rounded and bright eyed, is looking out of her window into the backyard. The moonlight streams and glistens over the bladed grass, turning the world into a silvery white sea. Rin watches the floor shimmer in the light, ignoring the calls from her father.
“Rin?” He enters the doorway, his shadow stretches across the floor for a meter or two before the moonlight cuts off his head, leaving his black outline half-formed. “Rin, you’ve got school tomorrow. You should be in bed?”
Rin turns towards her father, trying hard to pull her gaze away from the garden.
“But, I am in bed.” She looks down at her pyjamas and tugs on them a little.
“No, like.” Her father sits down on her bed. Rin pivots around, sitting next to her father, her feet hanging in midair. Her father hugs her shoulders. “You need to be tucked into bed properly. It’s already ten and you’ll be tired tomorrow if you don’t get a good nights sleep.”
Rin shrugs, her lower lip even curls a little.
“But, I want to watch the outside for a little longer. Mei said that it’s Soot night, and if you look closely enough you’ll see them in the forest, giving out wishes.”
“Haha.” Father scoops her up and shuffles her into bed, tucking the edges of Rin’s duvet around her body. “Come on, kid, you’ll just have to talk to Mei tomorrow.”
“But the wishes.” Rin says petulantly.
“I’ve got a few spare for you.” He taps the end of her nose with a finger. “Before you go to sleep just say your wish.”
“And it’ll really work?” Rin yawns.
“Of course.” Her father pats the bed. “Com’ on now, It’s way past your bed time. You know we decided on eight. Eight year olds get to stay up until eight.”
Father touches her cheek.
“And remember that wish.”
“Okay.” She closes her eyes and Father kisses her on the top of her head.
Father stands from the bed and closes the curtains.
He stands in the doorway for a second before slowly closing the door, “Night.”
Rin looks around her dark room, listening to the hallway and Father’s steps as he walks away from the bedroom. She pulls up her duvet and lifts herself up from her bed. She looks around in the half-light, half-expecting Father to open the door to check on her again.
She loves this anticipation.
The stilling air presses on her clothes, almost holding her in space.
She opens the curtains a little so the light of the moon cuts the room in two, leaving stars of dust floating in the spaces its created. She listens for the door, nothing, back at the window’s silvery light, then across her room, nothing: her bookshelves and bears growing in the autumn moonlight.
She pokes head through the space in the curtains and watches the world, picking up on the small light scattering on the empty fields and on all of the dying flowers, and all of the sandwiched trees. She squints a little, looking at the movement of a small creature at the edge of the woods. It stops and turns to look towards her. It hesitates for a second before waving.
Rin quickly tucks her head back into her room, pausing for a second before crawling back into bed: her eyes wide, listening to see if her father will come past. Nothing. She exhales slightly, thinking about her wish.
“I wish I had my brother back,” she whispers.