"What are you doing up?" I asked.
"Romancing the raccoons out of the garage," she said. "One of them was an albino."
"Oh," I said.
Then I woke my sister. "What are you doing asleep?" I asked.
"I just went to sleep."
"You weren't asleep at eleven?"
"No," she said. "I was in bed. That doesn't mean I was asleep. I got up and ate dinner after that."
We dressed, which in this world means a change from a shirt and nothing to a different shirt, and shorts. We laced shoes that necessitated lacing, and neglected to lace those that did not.
"It's five am, right?" I didn't ask. "It's been almost twelve hours since sunset, and it's seventy-two. It's seventy-two."
We ran anyway.
We ran past houses, mostly darkened, and through spiderwebs and under streetlights that flickered off as we approached (as they always do). We ran to the elementary school, down a path that we've taken in the dark a hundred times and then some. It was always winter, frequently miserable, and never warm.
We stretched. We ran. We sprinted up a winding hill, past a ditch filled with eucalyptus hiding a darkened mosque that we couldn't see but knew was there. Masjid-e-Mohammedi.
There was a snake in the road, in front of a house with a cat. Shortly after the snake, we arrived home, with a rolling forward motion that didn't stop once we graced the doorstep. Newton.
"We saw a snake on the way back," I told my mother. She was lying in bed, not asleep. Perhaps she would get breakfast after this.
"What color was it?" she asked.
"White and black-striped."
"I guess. I think it was dead. It was lying in front of a cat. It's probably still there, if you wanted to look."
"That's okay," she said, and went back to her sudoku puzzle.
Seven minutes to sunrise.