“There. It is happening now.”
The eldest spoke softly. We sat at opposite ends of the old man’s corpse, watching in silence with a patience I’d forgotten. I looked at her momentarily, and when I looked at the corpse again I was staring at a woman, her long, dark hair draped across her entire body. She was lying still. But she was breathing.
“Do you recognize her now?” The words barely passed through my sister’s lips.
I knelt in front of the woman and parted her hair, revealing her face. There was a deep familiarity that sang in me. “Is she?”
My sister nodded almost imperceptibly, too overwhelmed to do anything but stare into her face.
Finally, she turned to the cliff and spoke. “It will be some time until our mother awakens. If I am correct, the bodies of our sisters will be carried to us by the waves. Their floating corpses will carpet the surface of the sea. Come. Let us keep watch.”
We stood at the edge of the cliff, looking out, the wind picking up.
“Will we recognize them?” I asked.
“Perhaps at first. Before they are reborn. Before the change.”
I gave her a look and she nodded.
“We are all to begin our next life as brothers, together.”
The sea whipped and clapped below us. I stayed focused on the horizon, still and stable in the gathering maelstrom, digesting her words.
“You hunted and killed him because he murdered our sisters. And yet they will be reborn.”
At this she looked up at me, seeing me for the first time, allowing me to see her for the first time, acknowledging our kinship.
“I killed him because I miss our mother.”
In the distance, I could see vague shapes collecting at the horizon and moving towards us. Whether they were dozens of corpses or a giant mass I could not tell. As the gathering forms came closer I looked to the eldest, the blood from her self-inflicted wound pooling at our feet. She was judging the distance to the sea, scanning the water hugging the cliff for rocks. I followed her lead, knowing what we would have to do once our mother awoke. I wondered softly what it was to die, how it felt to be reborn. Behind my sister I heard our mother stirring. I turned to meet her, to see her for the first time, to tell her the stories she had told me a lifetime ago, to introduce her to her newborn sons.