Blame the Wind

Blame the Wind (January 2019, Round 1, Day 3)

“I’m gonna dance, I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna fight, I’m gonna BRING!” 

Rachel covered her ears and made herself smaller on the couch, her expression shooting daggers at her older brother. “That’s not even a song, Jacob. Shut UP!”

“I’m gonna DANCE, I’m gonna SING, I’m gonna FI-”

:”URGH!” Rachel lobbed a pillow towards Jacob who ducked out of the way. She saw, in a flash, where the pillow was headed and scrambled off the couch as it made contact with the heavy crystal vase instead of her brother’s head as intended. Both children were out of the room before the crash and the yells that followed.

From her hiding spot, Rachel heard her father bellow “I do NOT want to find anything broken” from behind his office door and heard her mother’s hurried footsteps skittering into the empty living room. She knew she should be in there, taking the blame  (the “responsibility,” her father would say as he pulled his belt off . While she hid with her eyes squeezed shut, she willed her mother to be successfull in clearing the carnage before her father came to check. If the evidence was gone he wouldn’t notice the missing vase and would believe her mother’s lies that “it was nothing but the wind.” If she wasn’t fast enough, though…

Rachel spent a lot of time hiding. She found secret spots everywhere she went and kept them to herself. Jacob had spots, too. Finding and using them was automatic now – she hardly ever got disciplined anymore. Her mother wasn’t good at hiding, or had been hit too many times to remember how. Rachel strained to hear what her mother was doing in the other room, to know if she’d cleaned up in time, to know if it was safe to come out.

Her father’s office door slid open with a menacing scrape that made the hairs on Rachel’s arms stand to attention. He didn’t like being interrupted – she’d learned that early. What he did inside his office was a mystery. She was sure it must have been something important and difficult for him to need so much protection from distractions. He walked down the hallway into the living room she and Jacob had vacated so quickly. Rachel heard her mother take a few steps back, her high heels clicking on the hard floor.

“What was the noise, Rebecca?” 

Rachel shuddered. He had his calm voice on, which was somehow worse than his angry voice.

“I don’t know, Joseph. It must have been the wind.”

Rachel crossed her fingers and squeezed her eyes even tighter. 

“The wind, huh? And it blew away the children, too?”

“It must have, Joseph. They’re nowhere to be found.”

Rachel heard her father chuckle and she let her eyes ease open and her fingers uncross. The wind would take the blame this time, not her mother, not Jacob, not herself. 

“I hope the wind is ready to keep things quiet down here while you and I head upstairs, Rebecca.”

Rachel heard both her parents leave the living room and mount the stairs. It would be safe to return to the living room once they were gone, and, given the sound of it, she and Jacob would have downstairs to themselves for a while.

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