bMovie/b: Pan's Labyrinth
bStory Title/b: The Moon and the Sun
bCharacter/Relationships/b: Ofelia, Carmen
Ofelia – no, Princess Moanna – looked up at the ceiling of her bedroom. Like the rest of the world she now inhabited, it held its own glow. Here, they did not need sunlight. She was still adjusting to a world without war, where people lived forever, where no-one ever got sick, where believing in faeries was a sign of sanity.
She loved this kingdom. Her kingdom.
Life was not worry-free, she had responsibilities. Lessons in history, magic, geography and medicine. Because one-day her father would rest and she would rule her people. As her father so often told her, she had long ago mastered kindness, but a ruler was also just, and needed the wisdom to choose between the two.
The princess didn't fight her lessons, like she had once fought the Captain's dictatorship over her life. She enjoyed them. Like all things in the underworld, they passed with the ease and sweetness of honey. What time she had outside of lessons was spent strolling through the gardens. The green of the leaves ranged from pastel to emerald, the flowers that graced almost every surface were vibrantly coloured, crimson to aqua. Every day they were different, and she treasured every one of them. At night, the smells would fill her room through open windows, though the garden was several hundred feet below, and the aromas of jasmine and roses, which would have fought for dominance in the world above, mixed and made every breath of air sweet.
With the fragrances of so many flowers invading her room, as her mother was laying her to sleep, she asked the question. "Mamma," she began, no longer afraid of being inquisitive as she had been in the world above, "who's is the room next to mine."
Her mother smiled gently at her, silver locks framing her face as her as it shone. "'To whom does the room next to mine belong.'" She corrected, before answering her daughter's question. "It is your sister's room." She sat back, awaiting the flood of questions that would follow.
"Where is she?" Ofelia, still sore at being deprived of the chance to know her brother, wished to know all she could of her sister.
"She is in the world above, where she belongs." Seeing her daughter preparing more questions in her mind, she decided to explain it all herself. "You sister is your twin, and your opposite." She raised a hand to tuck a lock of dark hair behind Ofelia's ear. "Her hair is blonde to the point that it is blinding. Her skin tan from spending her life in the sun. You were born by the moon, your sister by the sun." She caressed the pale skin of her daughter's cheek, which Ofelia had long ago learnt would not darken despite hours outside.
"Why is she there? Did she run away like me?" Ofelia pictured it in her mind's eye, the two of them distracting their guardians and running for the labyrinth.
"She belongs in the world above. You followed her there when she left." She gave another soft smile, but this one was sad, speaking of the many years she had lost her daughter. "Your sister is who she is. This world does not need sunlight, it has its own gentle glow. It has the moon." She looked to her daughter, willing her to understand. "It has you."
"And my sister?"
"The world above idoes/i need sunlight. Sunlight is strong, if not taken seriously, it burns. It is harsh and cruel, and your sister can be harsh and cruel. But she brings life to that world. If there were no world above, then we would not be a world below."
Ofelia sat for a while, thinking of all her mother had said, sorting it into the complex dynamics of a world she was just now coming to understand. Her mother patiently sat with her. And with the passage of time so different in a world without the sun or stars to call attention to the beginning of day and night, they sat together silently for ages, and barely any time at all.
"Will I ever see her again?" Ofelia queried. She recalled fleeting glimpses of the girl her mother had described in her memory, but she wished for so much more.
Her mother turned away from her, going through the rest of their routine for the night: closing the window, blowing out candles, tucking her into bed. As s left the room, she paused at the door and looked at Ofelia curled up in her bed. "Do you ever see the sun and the moon together?" She asked, before leaving the room without an answer. Ofelia looked up at her ceiling, and smiled at beautiful scene painted there.
Two little girls, so different, so similar, laughed together in the twilight. With the moon and the sun watching over them.