The twins stood at the top of the steps staring down at the shadow dancing on the dirt walls of the old house’s basement. Whispers of various voices danced up to their ears, but neither of the redheads could make out a single word.
“Dad’s the only one down there,” Irina said.
Ezra nodded in agreement.
“Who’s he talking to then?” she wondered.
Her brother shrugged his shoulders.
The twins gripped one another’s hands, trying to keep calm and quiet while they waited for a sign, something that said it was okay to go down to their father.
Finally, they heard their father’s voice, clear as day. “They’re too young. I can’t leave them to handle this.”
The voices replied, again, in an unintelligible language.
“No. No, I can’t,” their father said. “I… I need to be here… for them.”
Irina turned to her brother. “He’s talking about us, isn’t he?”
Ezra noticed the tears in his sister’s eyes. Despite his own pain, he stayed quiet to keep her from crying. He squeezed her hand to let her know everything would be okay.
“Tonight? Can’t I have one more day with them?” their father begged.
The voices sounded agitated.
“They need to know their roles. If you’re going to thrust this duty upon them, I need to tell them the truth. I’m not leaving them to weather this alone without some information.”
“Leave?” Irina cried.
Their father poked his head up the stairs to see his two precious children staring down at him with tears and worry in their eyes. His face became soft and welcoming as he crawled up the steps toward them. “What are you two doing up so late?”
“We heard the voices,” Ezra admitted, staring up at his father with determination.
“Always the blunt one,” his father said with a sad smile. He bent down to one knee and looked at them both with serious eyes. “I have to leave, my darling children. I have to leave tonight.”
“Why?” Irina said.
“It’s a long story,” their father said. “I will tell you what I can.” With his hand on their shoulders, their father ushered them away from the basement toward their bedrooms.
“Remember the story of Pandora and her box?”