The mechanical bird outside Yaba’s window clicked its gears. The gears were concealed behind the bird’s small metal throat. Something within the bird was stuck, jammed and causing the poor tinkering creature to twitch its mechanical neck uncontrollably. Yaba watched the bird. She sighed before bringing the mug of already-too-cold coffee she had been cradling up to her lips. She aligned her right thumb with the small groove beside the mug’s handle and pressed into the thumbprint reader and waited for her coffee to reheat itself.

Yaba wished she hadn’t agreed to move with her cousin Iman. In a few hours, she would have to say goodbye to her mechanical birds, and self heating mugs, and the jolly hologram puppies that wagged their little tails whenever someone searched her name on google-amazon. She would have to say goodbye to all the quaint trinkets that made her living bearable.

At first, Yaba didn’t believe all the hype about the moon’s water. Of course, she still ran her drinking water through a culligan-hydro filter, but she did that before the news reels. Iman on the other hand was terrified. The other day, Iman teleported herself into Yaba’s kitchen, barged in really, unannounced and cradling two jugs of purified earth water in her hands. Wide-eyed and like a frantic mother bear or angry dove. Iman slapped Yaba’s coffee mug out of her hands.

“What the heck Iman, what has gotten into you?”

“Did you watch the news reel?” Iman was hyperventilating. Yaba grabbed a clean towel from her cupboard. She set the towel settings to auto-clean and released the towel onto the floor.

“Yeah, so what about it?”

“What do you mean, what about it? Yaba, people are growing gills.”

Yaba didn’t have the heart to remind her cousin it wasn’t just gills. Wings, horns, one man even grew a tail. The whole ordeal felt like a hoax at first. Until once, while locking away her hoverboard to enjoy the greenery, Yaba saw a scaly woman drag her screaming dorsal finned toddler away from a mini-aircraft selling frozen sweet earth creams. Yaba didn’t think the mutations were that big of a deal and anyhow, it’s not like they affected everyone. Children, pregnant women, old people, and folks with chronic illnesses were more susceptible to whatever it was in the moon’s water that triggered the mutating genes. Yaba was none of those things.

Still, her cousin Iman was persistent that day. Something about Yaba being her only living earth family left in this universe, the guilt of it and Iman’s petrified eyes, got to Yaba. She agreed to move with Iman to Mars. Yaba had only been to Mars once and she hated every hour of it. The cakey red soil. The neon prehistoric earth-vegas style lights. The cheesy platitudes that flared into the sky on their independence day. She had a friend who once described the cuisine there as a cross between salt and delusion. Yaba hated Mars, but she knew Iman couldn’t survive more than a few days without her.

Begrudgingly, Yaba agreed. For Iman’s own benefit, Yaba withheld what she had seen shimmering, poking out like a tress of hair from beneath Iman’s pastel hijab. Ocean blue and teal feathers growing along her cousin’s hairline. Under Yaba’s solar lamp, the feathers glimmered, like a peacock. Yaba would go along with Iman’s ruse for a while. She would pack up her things, pretend not to sip her moon-water coffee and go to Mars for a few miserable weeks until her flustered cousin gave up denial and finally accepted her changing body.

The morning was still new. In a few hours Iman would teleport herself into Yaba’s kitchen, once again unannounced and frantic and grabbing Yaba’s suitcase. Yaba took a sip of her perfectly heated coffee. For now, she would enjoy her small piece of the moon. Yaba grabbed the mechanical bird from outside her window. Don’t worry, Yaba whispered into the little bird. She unjammed its gears and waited, giddily, for its small mechanical song to begin.