The painter told them to smile. Of course, Jonathan could because she had protected him for all of his 4 years. The mouth can not reflect something the heart does not feel, so, she simply moved its corners and glared at him.
The nights were the worse. As he beat her in his drunkenness, she had to stifle her screams to avoid waking her precious brother. Her love for him grew with every strike. Plotting and planning do not come naturally to older sisters. “Aren’t we supposed to be running and playing like the other children I hear every day outside?”, she asked in case anyone was listening in the empty room.
One Tuesday morning, she got out of her bed and stealthily proceeded to gather their clothes. Figuring that if she took them to the tracks they would find someone to help them. Even if it was one of those bums that mommy always talked about, it had to be better than this. Surprisingly easy to wake him, he arose and obediently followed his sister out into the dawn. Were they finally safe now?
© Carol Campbell
Picture prompt from Jane Dougherty’s new Friday Flash Fiction Challenge.
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