Lea’s little sister had spent nine tenths of her life with her head tilted back, sedately keeping a watch on the stars. Lea never thought much off it, until the stars started watching back.
“Who do you think the eyes belong to?” The question broke the conversation and silence stretched over the popping campfire. All of Lea’s friends looked over at the younger girl, sixteen to their fresh adulthood.
“What?” One of them asked with an unsure laugh. The rest looked to Lea for explanation. Lea sighed and looked up at the sky. A spiked border of tree tops circled the dark in her vision. The stars were pinpricks, bright this far from the city. “I don’t see any eyes.”
Lea’s little sister paused her vigil long enough to fix Lea with a sad look. “You can’t see them?”
Lea shook her head, at a loss. She’d be angry tomorrow, when her friends giggled and whispered about Lea bringing a weird family member to their camping trip. But now everyone was quiet as the younger girl leaned her head back and resumed her watch, a small frown between her brows.
The oddity of it broke the night’s momentum. People stood, speaking of how long it would take to break camp and the morning not far off. They jostled into respective tents, quiet whispers eventually fading to stillness.
Her sister, now bundled within a magenta sleeping bag, gazed up through the mesh of the tent’s top. Her eyes looked liquid as they locked on the heavens.
The stars were really bright, Lea thought. Alone in the tent, humoring her little sister wasn’t going bring reprisals from her friends. Lea swallowed, now very awake. “Who do you think the eyes belong to?”
Lea heard the slither of her sister’s braid as the younger girl shook her head. “I don’t know. But they’re watching us.”
The statement was too ridiculous to refute with platitudes or mockery. Lea just nodded, ignoring the wriggle of unease the words caused. Beneath the impossibly wide sky Lea suddenly didn’t find it so absurd that something’s eyes had opened up above them.
“Goodnight.” Her sister said but didn’t turn over or make any move to sleep.
Lea slowed her breathing as if she could escape the sky’s notice in the quiet. She didn’t close her eyes, unwilling to turn her watch away from the stars. “Goodnight.” Lea whispered.