Whenever her mother needed a fresh bucket of water, Karmina always volunteered to get it. For starters, it got her out of whatever chore she was muddling through. Often times one of her brothers would finish her chore for her before she returned. But more importantly, she loved to see the array.
Mother told her to stay away from there; just go to the river and come right back. The array belonged to the old world—the dead world—and disturbing the dead brings about the ghosts. But Karmina wasn’t afraid of ghosts. She wanted to wake them, to see them, to ask them so many wonderful questions. How did you build those beautiful machines? And what did they do? Mother says you could hear the stars. What did they say? Is that where you went: to the stars?
Karmina climbed into the giant bowl of one of the array antennas and danced in the rainwater collected there. She jumped and splashed and giggled, but the ghosts were sleeping very deeply. The sun was getting sleepy too, and the fluffy clouds turned pink like a flying field of hydrangeas. She wanted to stay, just a little longer, but she’d be in for it if she wasn’t home before dark. She filled her two buckets, lowered them to the ground with a loop of rope, and then climbed down from the dish.
She attached the buckets to her shoulder pole and made to stand when she heard a noise behind her. She whipped her neck around but found nothing. Nature moves, she reminded herself; nothing frightening there. She picked up her water and began to walk when again she heard a noise. It came from just around the base of the antenna. Carefully, she crept around its circumference until she arrived back where she started. Nothing. She was being silly. Her brothers would have laughed at her. Finally, she turned to leave, and she was face to face with a strange creature with shining clothes and a shining face—a visitor from the old world. A ghost!
Karmina’s feet were faster than her brain, and she was home again in no time at all. But she’d left her water buckets somewhere far behind her. She felt so foolish and her cheeks and ears grew hot. She would have to make up a story for mother. But she would not go back to the array again.