Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Trick Is to Keep Breathing

Will stood over his toys, deciding on a big red ball. It was a normal sized ball for an adult but his little hands had to be placed strategically to avoid it slipping as he held it. His neatly trimmed nails had dirt under them from his previous adventures in the flower bed. Will had been digging for treasure and found a network of underground tunnels leading to what he could only assume was the magical kingdom of the dwarves. Finally noting that his clothes were getting ruined, he decided it would be best to pick a new adventure for now. He would be sure to return to the tunnels as soon as he could. 

He gripped the ball as best he could and walked carefully towards where he believed his parents last were. Perhaps he’d get lucky and they would join him. The thought made Will giddy and he started to skip down the hall towards the front room. 

A thumping sound and a muffled cry stuttered his movement. His little fingers slid across the surface and the ball shot forward into the front room. Feeling a bit horrified and curious, he crept forward. Once Will identified the cries were coming from his mother, he started to run, ready to face whatever danger presented. She was slumped beneath the window, which was broken. At once he was worried his ball damaged the house and caused all this panic. He frantically looked around for help.

His father knelt and grabbed the ball, blood on his hands. His eyes full of deep rage as he looked down at his son. The man stepped towards Will holding out the ball. As he got closer, Will side stepped towards his mother and reached forward to collect his ball. Instead, at the last moment, Will found the ball was pulled back and he was yanked into the air. Will squealed and his father screamed, popping the ball in his grasp. “Just like your mother…” He spat at the floor. “Breaking the rules. What do we do to people that break the rules Nai?” 

The commotion was pulling Nailo back to reality. Her vision was spotty and the world felt like it was spinning but…Wilhelm. He had Wilhelm. He had gone back to screaming at the small boy and it sounded miles away. The sound of a fist hitting Wilhelm’s face snapped her back fully. She scrambled to her feet and at her movement, he tossed the child at her. Disoriented, she stumbled and pulled Wilhelm close.

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