Undercover


One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Boom.

Three miles, the storm was already three miles away and I could not wait for the end. I hid under the covers even though the air was getting stale, and I felt like I could not breathe in deep enough. Every intake too shallow, every exhale too warm. I struggle to suck in the last bit of oxygen from the small space.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Boom.

I have to escape, come up for air, but I cannot leave my sister under here alone. She would know if I left, even though she is fast asleep. Stroking her auburn hair I find comfort in the fact that I am not alone. Rain patters on the windows and the wind lets out the eerie howl. I feel her small body shiver as she sensed my unease.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Boom.

I let out the breath I did not even realise I was holding. The storm was finally moving. Tilting my head up, I opened a small hole to the world and sucked in the cool air from the room. I breathed in deep, feeling the chill hit my lungs. It made me want to escape. Not just this mound of covers but everything. I peered at the top of my sister’s head as she buried her face deeper into my side. Instant guilt flooded my desire to leave. To run. To live. How could I leave her?

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Boom.

“Watch your sister, Trilly. Be a good example Trilly. Why did you let her do that Trilly?” Words that banged like the thunder around me. I was only five when she came home and being a big sister was never part of my plan. As the oldest you are loved first. You give your parents first steps, first words, first hugs and you never expect to share the joy and adoration they provide. How can little minds wrap around the idea of sharing parents? They can’t, honestly, and the first interaction I had with my sister was bending her finger back until she cried. I just wanted to check if she was real.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Boom.

I do love my sister and care for her, but the pressure of not only living my life, but also caring for hers, was too much to handle. Before she came into my bed to hide tonight, I was laying there praying for an out. We were not a religious family, I don’t even know if God is real, but when you are at the end of your rope there are no options but to reach out and grasp something. I needed to breathe real air.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Boom.

Sliding out of bed, I tiptoed out the bedroom to the dark of the house. Standing alone in the living room I can feel the quiet movements of the settling walls. The house smelled stale from the humidity and my hands felt clammy and damp. I walked to the door of the balcony and turned the lock slowly, hearing the click bounce off the empty walls. At two in the morning, I hoped that the screech of the hinges would not alarm my parents, but they would be deep in Ambien slumber by now.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Boom.

Wind hits my face as I open the door and step out into the rainy night. I could see the lightening in the distance dancing in the depths of the clouds as I stood looking into the black of the forest remembering all that happened on this balcony. Litters of kittens (“Don’t let her touch those kittens Trilly.”), Christmas lights (“Don’t let her hang over the edge Trilly.”), popsicles and juice (Stop giving her all that sugar Trilly!”), all of it leading up to the point of no return. We were here when the doctor called. Symptoms, scans, diagnosis, surgery, terminal? She was only five, with her life just beginning and now it could all come to an end. So soon? She would sneak into my bed nightly and weep as I stroked her cheeks and let her tears soak my pjs.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Boom.

Everything begins and ends here on this balcony. Life and death are just random variables. I was only 16 and I was already wondering if I left to live my life, would her death be hanging in the balance? If I wanted to do more with my existence, would my joy be created by her fear? Her fear of being alone, fear of being mocked, ridiculed, hated. I was always there for her, always able to chase away the demons of the human population. But I needed bigger fish, the world was full of demons and I knew I would be able to stop them. I could almost smell the evil scent on their souls.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Seven Mississippi. Boom.

It was almost over. Once the storm was far enough away I could wisk my sister into her own bed and get the rest I needed. “Trilly?” her small voice spoke from behind me, “Are you okay?” I turned around to seem her small body in the frame of the dark doorway.  I went to my knees and opened my arms for her embrace.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Seven Mississippi. Boom.

She ran awkwardly into my arms and buried her head into my shoulder. “It’s so loud. Trilly it is dark out here. Can we go back inside?” I nodded as she lifted her head, putting us eye to eye. Her small hand reached out and wiped the tears I didn’t know I had shed from my cheeks.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Seven Mississippi. Eight Mississippi. Boom.

I picked her up and carried her through the doorway back to the empty living room. A light was on and I could see my mother standing in the kitchen watching me. I stopped to look at her as she took another pill and left me to care for my sister once more.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Six Mississippi. Seven Mississippi. Eight Mississippi. Nine Mississippi. Boom.

I laid my sister in my bed and bundled her up just the way she liked. Crawling in beside her, I pulled the covers up over our heads, only this time the air was clean and pure, unpolluted. I pulled my sister in close, feeling the chill from the night air pour off our chilled bodies.“Are you going to leave me Trilly?” the small voice spoke from my chest. “For a while,” I whispered into the blankets that shielded us from the storm, from fear, and from the monster that was never really under the bed.

She cried as I held her, and I bent her finger back to see how far it would go, just to know that she was real.

Boom.

Sarindre on EmailSarindre on GoogleSarindre on InstagramSarindre on PinterestSarindre on Twitter
Sarindre
I am a 29 year old from Pennsylvania. I am married to a wonderful husband and we have two children both named after super heroes! A girl who is 4 and a boy who is 1. Most of my time is spent working, being a mom, and gaming.