Because of the Moon by Rachael Dunlop
It’s not an adventure, the boy hissed.
Tsk, the girl said. She grubbed under the bushes, plucking snails from the undersides of parasol-wide leaves and dropping them in her bucket. Blue plastic bucket, painted with a picture of a smiling boy, red shorts pulled up over his milk-fat belly, ripples of white behind him.
That’s the waves, her mother had told her.
She’d frowned. What are waves?
The ocean, her mother said, comes in waves.
Because of the moon.
Everything was because of the moon now. The moon was too big, too dark, too close. The boy, who was older than her, used older-than-her words, like meteor and collision.
It’s an adventure if we might die but we don’t, the girl said.
A slice of yellow along the horizon, the sky above it bluing up like a bruise.
Snails for breakfast, the girl said. You didn’t let the fire go out, did you?
The boy puffed up his chest. Course not, he said.
It’s an adventure, she said, because there’s no more grown-ups.
We could be grown-ups, he said, giving her that look because he was older than her and thought about these things.
She kicked him on the shin. Dirty boy, she said.
The snails were escaping, hauling themselves over the lip of the bucket. The boy rubbed his leg, grinning. She’d have to kick him higher next time.
Let’s go, she said. It’s all an adventure, until we die. And we’re not going to die today.