Dead Calm

She grimaced while cracking her knuckles slowly, the loud pop from each making her jump slightly, though she knew it was coming each time.

The sound of her sister’s harsh voice broke her popping and jumping routine, the usually singsong voice hitting her ears like staccato snare snaps as she spoke.

‘You have to run the dishwasher twice to actually get anything clean, Donovan, how many times do I have to tell you that?’  her gorgeous snow white face reddened deeply as she drug her hands through her thick hair. ‘It’s like you never fucking listen, you do realize you are old enough to listen to me now without me repeating myself three times, right?’

Donovan gazed upward with a pinched expression and stood up slowly, saying all the while ‘Auntie Lorna was here, I didn’t think of it…’

‘You never think of shit like that, you just think of yourself’ she moaned.

She always got those ugly stress wrinkles under her eyes when she yelled at him. Maybe if Lorna was just bitchy about it for once and told her that she looked ugly when she was yelling at her son then she would stop. Probably not, though.

‘I think that we were outside when the load was up, sorry, my fault’, I say with as much unrestricted positivity as I can muster up. ‘We’ll finish those now!’

Donovan gave Lorna a sideways smirk and hopped up quickly, bounding to the dishwasher faster than she herself could stand up. 

As she walked over to join him, she heard her sister say from the laundry room in the back of the house that she was going out, that she would be back in a few.

Pack of cigarettes. That’s always what that meant when she said ‘out’, especially when she was single, especially after yelling at Donovan.

Her sister was stressed, that much she understood. Things weren’t exactly easy for her lately, with the whole letting-your-sister-move-in thing plus the whole bloody ordeal she had to endure the month before.

It had been two weeks exactly today, actually. She had been undergoing daily therapy sessions and she believed that they were helping, really. In only two weeks she had made significant progress, she thought that she may even pass as normal-ish again, now.

‘Can we watch a movie after we start these dishes, Aunt Lorna?’ Donovan said with his most irresistibly authentic 6-year-old voice.

She was about to say yes, yes, of course we can you cute little monkey, when she heard the familiar thud of the window upstairs falling shut quickly.

It sounded like the broken one in Donovan’s room, the one she used to use to sneak in and out of the house with in her more rebellious years. It didn’t lock, it never did, not even when they were kids. That damn window had caused more trouble in that household than the Cuban Missile Crisis did in the 60’s.

Donovan heard it also, glancing up at her with a fork in one hand, plastic cup in the other.

‘Must be the wind.’ Though she knew there was no wind, it was one of the nicest, calmest nights they’d had in months.

THUD.

That wasn’t the wind, that was clear as daylight the sound of a body hitting the floor.


 

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