Dalwhinnie and Talisker were sitting on a long, heavy, grey-greenish boulder. From this position they could keep an eye on the road, the lake and the other children. The two moons were now high up the sky, slowly moving towards each other. Stars twinkled brightly around the moons across the blueish-black night. Talisker recognized some constellations, but they seemed to be in the wrong places, either upside down, or inside out, or straight backwards. He wondered if one of those stars was our sun. He gazed into the dark sky searching for a bright star and imagining it was the sun. For if that were the sun, then a millimeter beside it would be a small spot which would be Earth. And on that tiny mosquito dropping there would be a needlepoint called Darkmoor. And in that minuscule dot a pinch of light would shine. Tinier than an atom. That succinct beam of light would shine from his house. In that house, his mother was waiting for him. He sighed.
“How are we going to solve this war?” asked Dalwhinnie.
“I dont know.”
“I wish my mother was here. She’s a police officer. She would know what to do,” she waited a while and smiled, “Or my daddy. He works in a chemical plant. Sometimes he brings home sulphuric acid. That solves almost everything.”
Talisker laughed for a while, but then became silent. “My father is dead.”
“Nevermind.” Talisker stared in the distance, as if he was hoping his father would appear there. “My father worked in a lighting factory. They made light bulbs. But people don’t want light bulbs anymore, they all want led lights with a lot of colors and so. The factory had to close. My father was out of work. He got ill. In his head. Depressed.”
“What is that? Depressed?”
“That’s when you feel tired all the time. And a little sad. When you don’t feel like doing anything no more. As if nothing matters anymore.”
“That must be… sad.”
“It is. My mom and I tried to cheer him up, but we couldn’t. We travelled to Scotland. For a while he seemed to get better again. We walked a lot. He told stories about the history of Scotland again. The castles. The clans. Loch Ness... But one night, during a thunderstorm everything went wrong. The lightning struck and all the lights went out. It was as though the light in his head had faded with it. The next morning…,” Talisker’s breath got stuck in his throat, “The next morning he walked to the waterfall on the rock. Kilt Rock. He jumped, on the cliffs, into the sea.”
“That’s terrible!” Dalwhinnie put her hand to her mouth. She did not know what to say. She wanted to comfort Talisker. But girls of nine rarely know how to comfort boys of eleven struck with sadness over their dead father. “Do you miss him?”
“Every day. And even more since we’re here.” Dalwhinnie laid her hand on Talisker’s hand. “I know. We are here for each other.” Talker smiled. That little girl was much smarter and much more sensitive than everyone else. “Thank you.”
They looked together at the lake which now had a dark purple tint. The moons and the stars colored the waves indigo blue. From the lake, the fresh scent of pines seemed to blow through the forest, up the mountain. Dalwhinnie yawned.
“Are you tired?” Talisker asked. Dalwhinnie nodded. “It’s ok. Go to sleep. I’ll keep watch.”
“Really? I don’t want you ...” But before she could finish her sentence, she had put her head in Talisker’s lap and closed her eyes.
“Sweet dreams, Dalwhinnie,” Talisker whispered softly and laid his arm over her shoulder.