"Are you alright, Emma? You look like you're getting sick."
Emma burst into another brief fit of coughing. When it ended, she cleared her throat and looked up at her older sister, Jennifer. "I'm fine, Jenni. It's probably just a little cold, that's all. I'll get over it in a day or two. I always do." Emma rubbed her mitten-covered hands over her arms in an attempt to keep warm. She could see her breath in the air. She hated the cold, but she always did love it when her breathing became visible. It was like little puffs of smoke coming out of a dragon's mouth. She smiled to herself.
Jennifer glared at her. "You know I hate it when you call me that. Jenni sounds like a little girl's name. It's belittling. If you can't say my whole name, at least call me Jenn. It's more...refined."
Emma rolled her eyes. "If you say so, Jennifer. Anyways, can we go home now? I'm freezing."
"Fine. Let's go." Jennifer picked up some of the wood she had been gathering and started toward home. "Well, are you gonna help me or what?" she called over her shoulder.
"Er...right. Coming!" shouted Emma as she scrambled to catch up with her sister.
They rushed home as quickly as they could. As soon as they got there, they dumped their cargo into the lumber bin right outside the door and hurried inside.
Emma and Jennifer started to shed their heavy winter shells of clothing. "Phew! It's freezing out there, Mamma. I hope it isn't this cold tomorrow for the parade!"
"Me too, sweetheart!", called their mother from the kitchen. "I made you both some hot chocolate to warm you up." They could hear her heels clacking against the floor as she walked toward them. They shared a private smile. Their mother was a classy woman, and she always dressed the part.
When the clacking stopped, Emma and Jenn both looked up from what they were doing to greet their mother. Jenn paused midway through unzipping her coat. Emma still held her slightly damp hat in her now bare hand.
Their mother had a strange look on her face. "What is it, M-" But she was cut off by her mother's horrified scream as she dropped the tray carrying the mugs of hot chocolate to the ground, shattering them. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing.
Jenn rushed to her side. "Mamma, what's wrong? I can't understand you..." She trailed off as she realized that her mother was pointing at something. Slowly, Jenn turned in that direction.
Then she saw what had upset her mother so. When she did, it took all of her willpower to keep from crying herself.
Emma stood by the door, hat still in hand, frozen to the spot by her mother's reaction. And there, above her head, was The Blue Light.