Damien was awakened by a slight tug on his checkered blanket. His hazel eyes slowly opened and he saw the silhouette of his kid sister Salinna in the darkness. Then a bright flash of white light illuminated the room. It stayed just long enough for him to see her innocent face draped in fear. Soon after the light vanished a loud crack of thunder followed and filled the room along with the sound of rain breaking on the roof above them.
Damien propped himself up with one elbow and reached to the lamp on his end table turning it on. Florescent light filled the room chasing away the shadows and making him squint as he looked at Salinna. She stood by his bed side her small, frail body trembling in her long pink nightgown that covered her as a stuffed bunny hung from her little hand.
“Is the storm scaring you?” He asked quietly with a sympathetic look on his face and drowsiness in his voice.
Salinna nodded and gripped the bunny’s hand as her long blonde hair fell into her face and her eyes swelled a bit with tears. Damien lifted the arm he wasn’t laying on, holding the blanket up and exposing his bare, pale chest and the dark blue sleep pants he wore; inviting Salinna to lay with him. Salinna crawled into the bed and cuddled up against him gripping the stuff toy to her. Damien covered her with the blanket and reached back to the lamp but paused for a moment when a portrait of him and his father in a smooth black frame caught his eye.
About two months ago Damien and Salinna’s father had pasted. His body was found on the outskirts of town in a vehicle, burned to death. His body was barely recognizable. The police told their family that he had merely been the victim of a gas leak in the car that caught fire. Since his fathers death Damien has had to be strong, and tried not to grieve. Salinna, always coming to him for comfort after a nightmare, or anything she may need that a parent would normally provide. But their mother, a depressed wreck, has stayed in her room crying and mumbling to herself. Every time Damien would see her she had the look of fear and sadness in her eyes. She would shift through old photos that were spread across the floor as she mumbled panicked words. He could never make out what she was saying.
Damien stared at the frame thinking about how things have changed since fathers’ death. With a sigh he turned off the light, the room going back into darkness as he laid back down on the bed, one arm around Salinna. He lay there staring up into the darkness listening to the rain beating the roof violently. He closed his eyes and pictured a time when their family was all together and happy, an outing to his and Salinna’s favorite ice cream shop. As the memory reeled in his mind he felt tears moving into his eyes and he closed them placing a hand over them trying to make them retreat. Slowly he started to drift back to sleep.