Phillip watched as the sky darkened under his fingertips. It wasn’t a particularly terrible colour, but it was drenched in melancholy. Light navy would have been the words to describe it, with an ice-blue crescent moon that had suddenly popped up into the sky one minute when Phillip had closed his eyes. The sky lightened to orange at the bottom, as the light pollution from the large town nearby in the distance swelled. It wasn’t exactly the childhood picture that Phillip remembered, but still just as beautiful…if beauty still existed.
Phillip reached out of the large attic window and swished his hand around in the still air; it had a silky feeling that tingled all the way up to his elbow. Although the window was, in no way, big enough for anyone to climb out, Phillip was tempted to imagine that it would be nice just to jump and let all his problems disappear as he flew down to the earth, like a sparrow.
A hand on his shoulder made Phillip jump. He turned, angry, and ready to give a little more than just a good talking to whichever one of them had followed him, when he saw Peter cower back in alarm.
“I’m sorry, Phillip, but I wanted to see if you were alright…”
Peter was the youngest of the brothers, and barely an adult. He had been a youth when Phillip and Aidelle announced their engagement, and Phillip knew that he was behind them all the way. Recruited into the army at the tender age of fifteen, Peter had never agreed with the other brothers’ ideas that Phillip should join their line of work (Peter had repressed his own creative streak at an early age, but it still burned bright in his heart), but the eldest had cajoled him into joining their ranks. Therefore, Peter’s heart lay in conjunction with Phillip’s.
Phillip let the anger that had shot up inside of him die down, before he looked at the boy curiously.
“I’m sorry, Peter. I thought you might have been father…or worse: Ryan.”
“I thought they didn’t really appreciate this place like we do?”
“Yes, me neither. But, you never know, one might have followed me up.”
“In order to convince you that you’re wrong? It’s not fair.”
“You’re lucky that you’re never fallen in love, Peter.”
“No, and that’s not fair, either. It’s not your fault. It proves that you have a heart…unlike Ryan.”
“Don’t say that. He may be as cold as the night today, but Ryan is still our brother.”
“It makes no difference to the way he treats us. My opinion (and I don’t care what they say) is that you had every right to stay with the lovely Aidelle.”
Peter put a hand up to his brother’s shoulder.
“Let’s just forget about it, okay?”
Phillip shook her head and sighed. All the pain was swarming to his eyes as tears of the storm brewed.
“I can’t. It doesn’t… I know it seems silly, but the matter doesn’t seem resolved. When I went to the ruin of my house- what would have been my house- I saw some strange things.”
And Phillip recounted to him the objects that were amongst the wreckage. Peter, being a boy with sense and a strong extra-worldly mind, listened with care to his brother, nodding and absorbing the facts like the smart scholar he had been. When Phillip finished and stared into the night, his brother was still nodding and finally spoke:
”Can I see what’s left of the house?”
Phillip jumped, frowning.
“Peter, it’s the middle of the night!”
“Even better…” The young man’s eyes twinkled.
Phillip gestured for him to stand at the window.
“You’re surely not suggesting that we take a late taxi across the little scrubland and investigate my old house in the middle of night, all without telling our parents…?”
The men looked at each other, curious childish excitement swimming behind their eyes.