I often wonder about lights in the sky, if there’s something else than stars, planets and a map of black nothingness. Here’s my #Fridayflash spilling a hair over 1k – enjoy:)
The first time you came into my room at night, you stood at the foot of my bed, motionless, clutching yourself. “They’re coming for me. You have to help me hide. And lie. But you can’t let them know you’re lying!” Dark night, the blue moon cast a shadow on your features, hiding your eyes. Opened or closed, I never knew.
That following morning, Mom found you crammed between the washer and dryer in the basement. You denied sleepwalking, all those horrid nightmares, your screams waking the whole house at least once a week. But Dad wouldn’t allow this kind of talk, he didn’t believe in psychiatrists either.
You were obviously going through something big – big enough to wake your little brother at night, subconsciously. Then you began to change, your stupid friends wouldn’t come around anymore, you began locking yourself in your room and staying in on the weekends. Mom noticed, but Dad wouldn’t hear about it, thinking it was a phase that would go away. It didn’t, but you did.
It took them eight months to find something, and it was nothing. A shoe in the woods at the edge of town, by the foothill where you used to read before supper on long summer evenings.
Dad changed his after work gin and tonic from less tonic to straight up. Mom pretended she didn’t see, but she was the one buying the groceries.
We had to talk about this, if not for you, for those you left behind. “She isn’t coming back, is she?’’ I asked Mom when Dad was out, wrecking the woods to find you. As if you’d materialize safe and sound, and he’d bring you where you belonged. Our Dad, our hero.
“Don’t ever say that.’’ She stopped scrubbing the invisible spots on the kitchen counter and turned to me with dead eyes: someone had taken you and it was too late. “Christopher, go do your homework. I’ll take care of this mess.’’
She’d been cleaning that kitchen for hours, no mess left to scrub.
You’d been gone for eleven months, two weeks and five hours. Mom still hoped, Dad still drank, and I thought I’d never see you again. Forgetting was our new family motto, although no one ever spoke it out loud. But not me, I wouldn’t forget you.
‘’To Jenny,’’ I raised my glass of milk for your birthday, and everything went silent for a second. I don’t even know why I said it, I guess I felt you.
The lights flickered, the entire house buzzed for a good three seconds. And this weird noise, like we were about to blow up. Then, a black out.
Mom and Dad checked the fuse box, but I stayed at the kitchen table, finishing my macaroni and cheese. I guess it’d be hard for Mom to stop cooking what you asked for year after year.
Our parents ran around the house as if we lived in nuclear times, under attack from invisible forces. Maybe they felt you, too, and wanted to get away as fast as possible—because if we felt you in the room but you really weren’t there, it meant we’d lost you forever.
That night, I heard something strange. I went to the window, and in the sky, a star shined brighter than the others. It turned a paler shade of blue, pink, and yellow. The colors of a rainbow, on your birthday, from you to me.
“Jenny…” I prayed and wished you’d hear me.
The star turned into a million of them, a piece of the sky detached itself from the endless map, and a pyramid of lights danced. The sky fell that night, beautiful and frightening.
I never mentioned it, but every other night, one of the stars glittered more than the others. Sometimes, when I got lucky, it turned pink. Your favorite color.
The policemen came once, shoulders low and faces grave. They had bad news, they didn’t have time to step inside, refused coffee and cake. Mom and Dad stood side by side, waiting. Did they find your body? Had you gone from missing to dead?
The case was to remain open for five years, but the searches were non-conclusive. They offered counseling schedules and a package. Great, they’d brought a present. More like a bomb, in our house.
They left one minute after that. Dad stayed downstairs and Mom went to their bedroom’s en-suite. She got into the shower, her sobs louder than the water. I stayed in my room, waiting for someone to tell me it was a joke, that you were okay, just a runaway in a cool city, waiting for me to join you.
Two years, three months, eleven hours, that’s how long it took you to get me. I’d changed schools and had a piercing, but none of it mattered that much.
“Christopher.” Clear with every syllable, waking me in the middle of the night, like you used to. “Christopher.” Every hair on my body stood on end. “Look into the sky.” Your voice, Jenny.
The summer wind gusted and lashed the trees lining the street. I opened the window, letting in the hot air, my curtains shifting, their shadows eating my walls. The A/C went out with the power in our house.
I shook from head to toe, but couldn’t look away, couldn’t ask the voice to stop. I felt you; I sensed you close to me. And you repeated for me to: “Look into the sky, Christopher.”
The stars moved, changed, soft blue, pink, yellow, twisting and turning, making me lose all perspective. Massive as it came down, and silent, like a summer storm: a spaceship.
‘’I’m scared.’’ Barely a whisper, but you heard me. You always did.
‘’Don’t be. We’ll be together.’’ And then, as if I doubted the voice wasn’t yours, ‘’Journeys may end and nights might fall, but Brother, you will always be loved.’’
‘’And through the hardship of rain and the sorrow of dreams, you will always remain Sister mine.’’ I’ve remembered these words ever since you first read them to me at bedtime, back when I was a kid and you were my world.
I’d never be alone again, Jenny, because I joined you. The stars became my home, and I turned them blue just for you.