by Brianna G. Harte
I reached the roof as he started to fall. Not jump, fall. Pulling myself onto the top, my ears listened for his scream. Not a sound was released from his lips.
The edge of the roof lay in the path of his fall. My body acted without my mind. I pushed off with all my might, leaping through the air. With arms stretched out, I crashed into my brother, pushing him away into the snow. Mid-air, I turned around, letting him fall onto me. The mark our bodies made upon impact could not go unnoticed. It was longer than our house itself. Nevermind that. I sat up, concern flooding my system. Immediately, I picked up my brother gingerly, walking quickly to the back door. I rushed him to where the fire blazed. A couple logs lay on the hearth. Another joined the pile. In the light, I thanked the heavens. Only scrapes ruined his hands. Sure, his coat was torn here and there, but he was alive.
The heart aching in my chest gradually relaxed. While I carefully removed his coat, my eyes fell upon his closed eyes, willing them to open. Slow breaths curled up from his mouth. It was as though he were peacefully sleeping. And yet, the winds picked up just beyond the maple wood walls. If they could be so powerful, the house would rattle and the windows burst.
Our father walked through the door with his steel toe boots covered in snow and woodchips. Even the tweed jacket they required him to wear and maintain had traces of wood sticking out. My eyes lay upon him, but he neither noticed me nor Drew. The day’s work must have taken a lot out of him for his typical eye for change to not see us. Only when he approached the fireplace to warm his hard hands did his eyes widen.
“What happened here?” he whispered, horrified.
I glanced down at Drew and pursed my lips. “Drew was falling from a tree and missed it, but he was so high up that he was knocked unconscious.”
“You know and I know that that is not the whole truth,” Dad said as he crouched down. His eyes locked with mine. The hazel irises and bold pupils were startlingly steady.
I scanned the windows, not doubting for a minute that people watched us as they did the entire community. “Basement.”
We all knew that we would be on the list if anything peculiar was heard or seen that had anything to do with us.
In a gradual, delicate motion, Dad lifted Drew up into his arms and made way for the oak wood door near the kitchen.
Copyright © 2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.