13.0 The Best We Can

by Matt P.

BEGIN CHAPTER 13: Following Nightmares

Sunday wasn’t hard for Siobhan and Antigone, primarily because it resembled a sleep-over. Lacey and Monica spent the day over and they played video games with Ryan, did homework, and Antigone even got them all to try Yoga. Then, since there was no one there to stop them, they stayed up until 3 am and pretty much all fell asleep on the couch.

Monday was harder. It was apparent that even with their terrible bedtime neither of of the sisters had slept well, and they dragged through the day. By the time they got home and checked in with Tania they wanted to do little more than sit on the couch and stare at the television. Ryan puttered about int he kitchen, and as the sun dropped below the horizon they were surprised as he brought them each a bowl of Ramen noodles with a poached egg floating on them. Ryan took his own bowl and moved over to his favorite recliner and began to wolf it down.

Siobhan stared at the noodles for a long moment, before looking up to her brother with a little bit of a smirk. “We’re all that bad, huh?”

Ryan shrugged a little bit, slurping noodles aggressively. Siobhan knew he would have the noodles cleared in a couple of minutes, regardless of how boiling hot it still was; they had joked when they were moving in to the house that they wouldn’t need the garbage disposal, because they had Ryan. Both girls ate a little bit more sedately, and neither seemed surprised when their brother finished first.

“They’ll be fine,” Ryan said with soft reassurance as he walked by them to go back to his room. He stopped to put a hand on each of their shoulders on the way out. Siobhan began to tuck in to the noodles with a little more enthusiasm after he left, looking up to meet Antigone’s eyes for a moment.

Antigone broke eye contact first, looking to the door as if expecting Walter to walk in right then, and make a joke about his timing. When he didn’t, she sighed and looked back down to the steaming food. “I hope he’s right.”

“From his lips to God’s ears,” Siobhan prayed softly before she began to eat again.

**** ****

She could hear pounding, but she didn’t know where it was coming from. Muffled voices cried out to her, and she knew that they needed her to do something. It was important, and she knew on some level that if she didn’t do it she would be very upset. She stumbled through darkness, and knew that she was climbing down stairs, if she just knew where she was or where she was going.

“Open…” she heard the voices say, as if she was getting closer. Her feet hit a flat surface instead of another stair and she stumbled at the sudden change. A few scrambling steps to try to keep her balance and she found a wall, which steadied herself on. It felt like it was bricks, and even the feeling of it was familiar. Her fingertips traced one of the bricks for a moment while she tried to figure out why it was familiar.

The pounding became more insistent and more distinct, and she was able to figure out more of where it was. Moving carefully and using her hands on the wall to guide her, she found her way to the door. She could feel it vibrating with the pounding on the other side, dust falling off it on to her skin. Her fingertips moved across the wood, feeling the faded paint and the age of the door. It was maddening, she knew this, and it was vitally important that she do something about it.

Her hands moved to try to find the handle, as the shouting on the other side of the door became screams of terror instead. Her hand shook but she found the handle…

Both girls shuddered, gasping and waking up suddenly. Once again they had stayed up late and fallen asleep on the couch. They looked at each other in the darkness of the family room and reached out to squeeze one another’s hand.

“I think something is going to happen tomorrow,” Antigone whispered.

“I know,” Siobhan responded. “My heart is still racing. What do we do?”

Antigone was quiet for a long moment, although Siobhan knew she hadn’t gone back to sleep from her breathing and the pressure of their hands squeezing one another. “I don’t know. The best we can?”

Siobhan nodded. “The best we can.”