“Survival of the Chosen, 6”

by Brianna G. Harte

“Whatcha thinking?”

Drew’s exhausted eyes locked onto mine. I turned away, staring at the mud walls. “It’s nothing to worry ‘bout, man.”

Dad sighed. “Please, son, don’t go being rash. Okay?”

“No promises.”

“Tristen Elliot!”

I flinched. The name resonated through the walls.

“Okay, okay. I’ll be careful.” I could swear my voice shook.

“Where are you going?” he asked as my steps pounded against the creaky, wooden stairs.

“To see Mom,” I huffed.

“I wanna go too!”

“Hush now, Drew. You only just came to. Give it a little bit.”

“Tristen!” he complained. “Help me.”

At which point I had already reached the top of the stairs. Slowly, the hinges opened, so slow that their cry for grease dragged on and on. Each second, the floor was undergoing inspection by my eyes. Time slowed down as I gradually tiptoed to the bedroom upstairs.

Stress melted off my shoulders as Mom’s weak, smiling face appear. A thick quilt covered most of her body, giving color to her ever-paling body. At the very top was her name, amateurly embroidered into five squares of white fabric. Like the quilts on our beds, hers gained a square every once in a while, as a reward or something else. Each square was supposed to symbolize progress. I wished she had cast hers aside. Progress had nothing but hurt her so far. The scars on her forearms and back problems were proof.

And yet, the dimples on her face still appeared when she saw me.

My own must have shown as I cried and hugged her, thanking her for holding on.

“My dearest.” Love radiated from her heart, making the air feel warm. “It’s going to be alright,” she whispered in my ear.

“I know,” I murmured. “Drew and I made sure of it.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, pulling away.

“We’re making the snow fall and leaves come.” It was all I had to say. Her eyes grew wide.

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

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