Cover by Laura Pelick

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June 2007

June 2007 - Sun

Gallery

Columns

  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Going Green for Art Show Season
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Yet More Dealing with Art Directors
  • Behind the Art:
    Your Workspace and Work Habits
  • Myths and Symbols:
    Creator and Destroyer
  • EMG News:
    June News

    Features

  • So You Want to Take Commissions
  • Painting Sunspot - A Watercolor Tutorial

    Fiction

  • Fiction: The Sun, The Moon, and The Nothing
  • Fiction: Coaxing the Sun
  • Fiction: Globally Dim, or Sultry Afternoon in the Dome
  • Fiction: In The Light of Einstein
  • Comic: Selling to the Sun

    Reviews

  • Book: Sunshine by Robin McKinley


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  • Coaxing the Sun
    by Shannon Wolff

    "Come on, if you don't come out the whole world will be dark forever." I pleaded and lifted the sport-themed dust ruffle on the bed.

    "I don't care." Huffed a little boy's voice from under the bed. "If I come out the Purple Man will get me."

    "There's no such thing as the Purple Man, your brother just made that up to scare you."

    "There is to such a thing." He insisted in a mumble.

    "No there isn't."

    "Yes there is."

    "Is not."

    "Is too."

    Realizing this was going nowhere, I growled under my breath as I let the dust ruffle fall back into place and sat back on my knees, thinking once more on the absurdity of the situation.

    Until a few hours ago I was just a normal teenage girl who happened to be good at coaxing her younger siblings out into the open. My little brother especially likes to hide in small dark places, like cabinets, under beds, in closets, you get the idea. Personally, I think he was a house cat in another life, but that's beside the point.

    Anyway, my nice little normal world came crashing down when the sun disappeared. I'm not kidding, the sun actually vanished from sight and plunged the world into darkness. It was like someone flipped a giant light switch or something.

    Now, it just so happens I was home alone when the sun disappeared. I'd just gotten off the phone with my mom telling her everything was fine at home, just dark, when I heard a loud bang from inside my bedroom closet. Naturally I assumed something pretty mundane was going on, like my cat viciously attacking my dirty socks or something like that, and went to check it out, fully expecting to chase kitty out of my closet.

    And that's where my nice little normal life ran out of normal.

    A brilliant light spilled out of my closet, way too much for the light to just be on, I had to shield my eyes against it as I walked over to check things out. As I picked my way through the dirty clothes and whatnot littering my bedroom floor, I'm not exactly what you'd call a tidy person, the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen stepped out of the closet and the light dimmed to something a little more manageable.

    She explained to me that she was a celestial being, what ancient peoples would have called a goddess, and that she needed my help. I'm still a little fuzzy on all the details, but she went on to tell me how she was the mother goddess type and her son was...well...the sun and her older son, the night, had frightened his little brother so badly he refused to come out from under his bed.

    Here's where I fit in. Apparently sunny boy is almost impossible to get out from under his bed when his brother frightens him like this. According to the mother goddess type the last time this happened the dinosaurs had gone extinct by the time she managed to get him out. So this time she wants me to try. Guess I'm not just good at coaxing kids out in to the open, I'm like supernaturally good. Kind of like a really lame super power or something. But once again I'm getting off topic.

    Anyway, it basically fell to me to save the world from eternal darkness, and yes, I know that sounds like something from a cartoon show. All I have to do is coax one little kid out from under his bed and the world is safe once more. Plus it's not like the mother goddess there was giving me much of a choice, I've read enough mythology to know bad things happen to mortals who refused a deity's summons. Which pretty much brings us back to where you came in.

    "The runt's still not coming out, hu?" Smirked the older son, the night, from the doorway.

    "And you're not helping." I grumbled and got to my feet, temporarily forgetting the whole celestial being thing. "This is all your fault you know. Now get down there and tell your brother there is no such thing as the Purple Man."

    "But if I did that then we couldn't continued our little chat, and I wouldn't want to deny you the experience."

    "Good grief, get a hobby. How about collecting dust?"

    "You know, you're kind of cute when you're angry." He continued obliviously and wiggled his eyebrows at me. "Maybe If I scare the pest a little more you'll be cuter still."

    I couldn't believe it. He was flirting with me. The fate of the world hung in the balance and the creep was flirting with me. So now, not only had I been summoned by the mother goddess type, have to lure the sun out from under his bed, but now I have to fend off the unwanted attention of the night. Unbelievable.

    Mere mortals shouldn't have to deal with this kind of stress.

    "One of these days you're going to find yourself and be very disappointed." I sighed and started to close the door.

    "Aw, come on." The night protested as he held the door open. "You know it's my show out there until the twerp comes out. It's going to be one long night, we could catch a movie. Maybe go park under the stars."

    "Sound's nice, mind if I bring a date?" I scoffed and slammed the door in his face.

    "Okay, so I'll just call you some time." His voice came muffled through the door.

    I sighed and shook my head. One would think a celestial being who'd been around for ages would have better pick up lines than a socially inept teenager, even if he did, at the moment, have the appearance of one. Still pondering the question a faint snickering caught my ear. Turning around I spotted two golden eyes bent with laughter peering out from under the football-studded dust ruffle. Of course, they disappeared the moment he noticed me looking.

    "So you thought that was funny, did you?" I teased as I got down on my knees and looked under the ruffle.

    "It's always funny when girls turn my brother down." The little voice under the bed laughed and I caught a glint of gold.

    "And a lot of girls tell him to go cordless bungee jumping?"

    "All the time." The sun laughed, his golden eyes flashing in the dark.

    Well, good news on two fronts. The night was probably use to being rejected, therefore not likely to hold a grudge, and the sun likes a good laugh. I can work with this.

    "Hey, you like knock-knock jokes?" I called under the bed, a plan forming in my mind.

    "Love 'em."

    "Okay, knock-knock?"

    "Who's there?"

    "Lettuce."

    "Lettuce who?"

    "Let us in, it's cold out here."

    Yeah, I know it's a dumb joke. But the kid under the bed laughed so hard I saw his teeth flashing in the dark.

    "Another one." He demanded, his eyes and teeth now visible.

    "All right, why do vampires have so few friends?"

    "Why?"

    "Because they're such a pain in the neck."

    Laughter poured out from under the bed as I continued through every old joke I knew. Each time the sun laughed he came a little closer, inching his way to the outside world with every snicker, his fear of the night's imaginary monster forgotten. It wasn't long before he'd come out from under the bed and curled up on my lap.

    "Aw, come on, one more joke? Pleeeeeaaaaassssse?" He begged and threw his arms around my neck.

    "Okay, okay. Why do teddy bears wear fur coats?"

    "Um . . . I don't know, why?"

    "Well, they'd look silly without them."

    The kid laughed like it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard, kissed me on the cheek, and ran off, leaving the door open behind him. Presumably running off to shower the world with warmth and light once more.

    Yes, I'd just save the world with the power of laughter. I guess my super power wasn't so lame after all, wonder when I get the cape and tights. I could be Laughing Stock, strange visitor from the mortal world, crusading to bring humor to the humorless, mirth to the dull drum, ready to quash dread whenever it cast its dark and menacing shadow. Yes, tremble with laughter at the comic might of Laughing Stock!

    Okay, maybe I was getting a little carried away.

    "Well, I guess my work here is done." I sighed and got to my feet. "Now what?"

    "Now you can go home, to a world in proper order," came the singsong voice of the mother goddess type as she all but floated into the room. "Now the sun will shine again. Indeed, none will ever know it ever stopped and you can return to your proper place as well."

    "I guess that means I can't tell anyone I kind of saved the world, hu?"

    "You may tell anyone you wish, though I doubt they will believe you lured the sun out from under his bed."

    "Good point. So you'll just give me a lift home and that will be that?" I cleared my throat, suddenly realizing that night creep could possibly have access to my bedroom via the closet his mom showed up through.

    "Yes, and you did a marvelous job handling my son today. Both of them. Still there is one more task I must ask you about."

    "What?" I asked, my stomach suddenly knotting with dread.

    "Are you doing anything Friday night? I need a baby-sitter."

    ,

    Shannon Wolff was born in Alaska and grew up in a little town called North Pole. This fact has lead every one of her relatives not familiar with Alaska, and complete strangers, to ask if she knows Santa Claus. She now resides in Cartersville, Georgia and is having mixed results with informing her new neighbors about her previous residence.
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