1 · Fish
When Martha was eight and Elisha was seven, they named their gods. As far as they understood, when people named things, they were no longer things. And just like the trees, the grass, the sky, the sun, the moon, and the stars, the fish who lived in the lake were too important to remain things.
“That one is Demeter,” Elisha said.
“You can’t choose that one. It’s already used,” Martha replied.
Elisha frowned. Always on the first time, she would choose something wrong and Martha had to correct her. Martha considered it her job, not like pulling weeds or sweeping the porch, but one she actually gained satisfaction from. Like a teacher.
“Stop. It has to be serious.”
“I am serious. Why can’t I pick that one?”
“Because it sounds like something a kid would say.”
“I am a kid. And so are you. Why don’t you pick a name?”
Martha always hated this part. It had happened so often it became ritual.
“Because we’re supposed to do this together.” She threw up her hands. “Okay, fine, that one can be Zoobledoyce.”
Elisha’s smile made her face look like a watermelon cut crookedly. She jabbed her finger at another catfish nipping at a seed floating on the water.
“And that one can be Smarly.”
“It’s my turn, and no, he can’t be Smarly. He looks more like–”
A cloud caught Martha’s attention. Clouds in and of themselves weren’t unusual. This time of year, they came often from the West, usually dark and full of rain. But when they came from the East, slithering over the mountains, whiter than mom’s company-only tablecloth, they were worth noticing.
“More like what?”
Martha heard the faint cry of Elisha’s voice, as if she were shouting at her from a mile away. She stood quickly and grabbed her sister’s hand.
“Come on, let’s go,” emerged from her lips, but the rest of her body remained frozen.
Elisha resisted. “What for? We’re not done!”
If Martha’s look had come armed with poison arrows, Elisha would have died on the spot. She yanked her sister’s arm again, lifting her off the ground.
“Ow! You’re hurting me!”
Elisha pinched Martha’s arm, but she refused to feel it. She pointed toward the mountains without saying a word. Elisha’s grip lessened and before Martha knew it, her sister was already ten feet ahead of her.
“Come on!” she yelled back. “What are you waiting for?”