By Leighton Tanaka, TIWP Student
The smell of dinner awaiting Nico half finished tempted her. But she restrained herself under the accusing gaze of her sister, Winter. She scowled but obeyed, knowing full well what it meant to start early. The table sat empty but set, waiting for the overflowing portions of her mothers food. But her mother was not there yet, she had simply untied her apron and left. The soup simmered but the clock kept ticking, the insufferable sounds of their broken clock continued with no conversation to distract them from it.
Two chairs remained empty, they waited for a long time.
Nico’s legs swung in time with the seconds ticking by, she gripped the bottom of her fraying chair and waited. Winter simply looked down at her lap, completely still, occasionally eyeing the clock.
Finally, Winter spoke up, “Go knock on mom’s door, see if she’s going to come back.”
Nico jumped out of her seat, anxious for some action. She saluted at Winter and ran down the hallway. She didn’t realize the hallway was so dark until she had reached her mom’s room. Her back prickled, it felt like the walls were watching her and waiting to drag her away. But she puffed out her chest and opened the door.
Peering into the bedroom, Nico searched.
An empty house greeted her along with her mothers vacant smile. She hesitantly stepped forward towards her mothers figure, “That was a really bad hiding place…” she huffed, crossing her arms.
Her mother only smiled and gazed at her with glassy eyes.
“Winter wants to know if you’re coming back,” She loudly announced, hanging on the doorframe.
Her mom slowly shook her head, and turned away.
So Nico returned to the dinner table, informing Winter of their mom’s decision. So Winter served them, and they sat in silence, listening to the clock tick.
When Winter went to check on their mom, she was sleeping peacefully in bed with her clothes on.
. . .
Red and blue flashed around them, everything was so loud and so quiet at the same time. Nico held tightly to her sister’s hand. Time stood still, the house sat empty, as if a bomb had gone off but spared the furniture. The house felt lived in, but was abandoned. Their chairs sat empty, the soup sat on the stove, and yet the clock kept ticking.
Suddenly Nico was alone, lost in the sea of life. She drowned in the water. It was cold, but warm. She wandered, wounded and just waiting to be devoured. Pinned to the ground by gravity. While her life used to orbit her mothers, her anchor was stolen. So she floated aimlessly, hoping her sister wouldn’t let go too.