Siblings: Flash Fiction



She gropes for attention while he dies in the other room. It’s a slow, lingering death, which makes her groping for attention all the more unbearable. But when she hasn’t had it for so long, you can sympathize. She’s frustrated with him for not being present, though she knows he can’t. She can rationalize all the ways she distances herself from him because she knows what’s coming. He can barely tell what’s up and down anyway.

She snores forcefully at night just to see if she can wake him up, but she can’t.  

She’s known him as long as she’s been alive. Five years older, he was there first. He was there to greet her when she came home, excited, though a little confused. He might not have been ready for a sibling, but she never knew it with the way he doted on her. Like any good older brother, he showed her how to dig for treasure in the sandbox, burrow in the warmest spot on the bed, and look up for squirrels hiding in pine branches. 

She won’t know what to do without him for a while. She’ll look for him just in case he decides to come back. She’ll sit on the couch and sigh, finding herself uncomfortable with the quiet. She’ll start to occupy the time with her favorite things—long walks in the park, naps in the sun, lean cuts of red meat—until he fades into little more than a warm memory.

Now that it’s come to this. She peeks around the door-frame and watches him sleep like he’ll never get enough rest. She can’t help but think of her own death nearing all too soon. She may be a dog, but she’s not incapable of mourning, if not for him then at least for herself.

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