“Do you ever wish you were someone else?”
Beneath the shade of an ancient tree next to a large estate lake sat two children. One; a young girl with soft features, her raven hair spilling down and almost brushing her sibling’s cheeks. In her lap lay her older brother’s head, his eyes half shut against the light flickering through the rustling leaves above. The sister hums, continuing to play with her sibling’s curly locks, so different from her own. She pauses, counting the seconds, even though they both know what her answer will be, neither will give up the illusion of the question being difficult.
“Yes.” She breathes, meeting her beloved brother’s full gaze. He hums, closing his eyes once more. Both were glad he’d chosen not to call her lie.
He hadn’t before. Had not and would not entertain the idea that his sister — his beautiful and powerful and so unlike him sister — would ever answer otherwise.
(It was just as well they stuck to their script in their youth. Because one day, in the future, she would answer differently, and trigger events that would have been much worse had they done so as children.
Much worse than being haunted by your siblings supernatural ghost.
Worse than being hunted down, unable to linger, to live, to fall in love and make glorious human mistakes.
But that day was not today.)
So, they cling to their broken semblance of normalcy, of sickening sweet humanity and innocence that only children and empty-headed individuals seem to possess. The sister resumes playing with her siblings dark curls, smiling softly, her brother immediately mimicking the gesture even though his eyes are still shut.
“Good. Me neither.” He answers, voice barely above a whisper. The sister hums again, fingers twisting around dark locks as her own eyes fall shut, face twitching as the wind rustles her hair, ticking her button nose.
“Good.” She echoes, opening her eyes once more, turning to stare out across the lake. Choosing, for the moment, to ignore the house looming behind. She shivers, but goosebumps do not rise, because it is not the weather that has chilled her.
She turns back to her brother, and finds him peering up at her, brown furrowed, his own hands curling around her smaller ones, and warmth blooms in her chest. The shadow dissipates, for the moment, under the light of his smile.
(She’d miss that smile in the future. When her brother is older, broken and worn down by the world he’d never really been apart of. That had never and would never accept him.
A world that now promised his gruesome death. A death she would be forced to watch, as she watched his slow descent.)
“I love you.” she blurts, wishing the monotone bothered her. Hoping it doesn’t bother her brother. She does love him, truly, but as the days drag on, as she is dragged deeper into the dark of their families history, she wonders for how much longer that will matter. Power rings in her veins, but it is not the kind she can tame, can touch and come away whole. A part of her wishes that fact bothered her.
“I love you too, sis.” He says, calling her out from her downward spiral. She smiles back, and releases his curls, smoothing down the places her had pulled, and slipping her fingers against his.
The future would be terrible, but today, they are children, whole and happy in the light. Free, if only for a fleeting moment from that terrible house, a shadow that would loom above them for the rest of their lives.
(This is a companion piece to Echoes In His Head and Echoes On The Wind)