By Jennifer W.
It was nearing the end of one of those perfect, muggy days. The sun was sinking, and the last of the rays shot through gaps in the clouds, placing a glowing crown on the edge of the horizon. This would be the evening that changes everything. Sarah’s pitch rose to hope as she asked, “Robby, can we go to the swamp today?” She turned to her brother, whose lanky body took up the whole couch. “Please?” He didn’t look up from his book. “Ugh. No.” “Why not?” “I don’t feel like walking. Why don’t you run around Henry’s field?” Sarah looked through the window at the neighbor’s. He had a small irrigation ditch. It could be Plan B. The swamp, Plan A, was always buggier, but mom said she couldn’t there go alone until she was older, like Rob. It was so unfair. “You just want to get bitten by mosquitos, don’t you?” Rob asked. “Yeah.” Sarah spoke softly, smiling. “A mosquito bit Julie and her muscles doubled in size. Yesterday, at practice, she was so fast she beat George in the sprint.” “Well, not all mosquitos pass on advantages.” “They do! Cora’s aunt was bitten and all her back pain went away. And Susie’s sister, remember? A bunch of mosquitos attacked her and she won the lottery, the very next day. She got good luck.” Rob rolled his eyes. “There’s no proof mosquitos give you luck.” “But with Grandma, the doctor said so.” “He said she was lucky because a mosquito passed on the cure her to Lanub virus. Most carry nothing. They just bite and you itch.” Sarah considered Henry’s ditch, it was looking like her only option, that would mean she’d have to follow all the provisions. She went to the kitchen for her third banana that day. “I hear they like the smell of you when you eat bananas.” “What do you want anyway?” “I think, with a little luck, mom will come home.” Rob’s arms swung down, dropping the book on his chest. He frowned at the ceiling for a moment. In the past year it was clear, not all kids were so fortunate to see their parents return from the missions. “Fine, we’ll go, since you won’t let me read. Get your shoes.” Sarah ran to the front door and pulled on her shoes. Rob snuck into the kitchen. He glanced back, but didn’t see Sarah watching him as he grabbed a banana and ate it. Rob gazed out the window at the mist rising over the distant marsh.
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