Day Two, Part Two
I wake to the sound of forced coughing. When my eyes fly open in terror to investigate the intrusion on my senses, I realize that the sound is coming from Kenzie. I register that I’d fallen asleep on my writing desk. Upon looking up, I perceive that my sister is asleep too, the Switch cradled in her arms. She’s curled up in my bed with the blankets strewn all around her. I tiptoe over to the girl, trying not to wake her or Lex-Creature, although if Lex-Creature was going to awaken it would be because of the coughing and not because of my whispers.
“Kenz?” I murmur softly. “You okay, baby?” When my sister doesn’t awaken, I shake her, my hands on her shoulders.
“Alia?” Her large eyes crack open, although she still looks drowsy. She squints, the bright light coming in from the window blinding her still-sleepy senses. “I’m hungry.”
“I know, sweetie.” I reach for the water glass that we’ve been using - luckily, I had one in my room before Lex-Creature attacked. It’s half-full and the water’s warm, but water is water. “Drink,” I command. “It’ll help with the hunger.” She slowly takes the offering and obliges, finishing off the glass. But once she’s finished, she looks up at me again.
“I want Momma,” she states.
❁. The one topic that I was trying to avoid. I fidget uncomfortably, trying to fashion a response that she will accept without bursting into tears. ❁ knows that’s what I want to do. But I can’t. Not in front of Kenzie. Not in front of my sister.
I rub Kenzie’s back, consoling her as she begins to cry, despite my best efforts to keep her happy. “Mommy can’t come now,” I tell her softly. “But it’s okay, I’m here. You’re okay.”
“Is Momma okay?”
Don’t want to think about that, don’t think about that Adalia...“Yeah, sweetie. She’s fine.”
All the lies I’ve been telling this girl are weighing down on me. ‘Lex will be fine,’ I had said. ‘Momma’s fine,’ I had said. What will I have to tell her next?
My stomach rumbles, and I am instantly brought out of my thoughts and back into the real world. The real world, where I am trapped in my bedroom alongside my little sister because of a crazed monster that just-so-happens to be my middle school best friend. What fun!
Escape. I have to find a way out of here. But first, I have to find a way out of my own mind. My anxiety is spiking and I can’t get a straight thought through, instead resorting to panicked words flying through my head. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, pulling out the methods my mom taught me for dealing with my panic attacks. But it doesn’t work. Nothing works. I reopen my eyes, and they lift slowly to look out the window.
I’m such an ❁.
“Kenz,” I whisper. Her head snaps up to look at me. Almost muscle memory, she saves and turns off the Switch, which I see is running out of battery. Oh well.
I lift a finger to my lips. Quiet. She nods and stands up, tediously untangling herself from the zillion blankets she slept entwined in. My sister comes to my side and takes my hand, and I smile lightly. But then I drop her sweaty palm, and get to work. First, I take two blankets and knot them together. Then another, and another, until all five (aka a zillion, I guess...) sheets are tightly tied together. It’s only a two-story drop, a fall might not be fatal, but I still want to be safe. We can’t run from Lex-Creatures with two broken legs, can we? I pull at the knots with all my might, and the blankets do not come unattached. Perfect. But if they snap or break, I’m suing. (Just kidding!)
I slide open the window, which was tightly jammed - it must’ve not been opened for a really long time. The sharp screech that comes from the glass leads to a shriek from behind the door. Ah, wonderful. Lex-Creature is back!
I throw the blanket-chain out the window, and the excess fabric coils on the ground two stories below me. The heavy winds pick up the chain, buffeting it. Would this be a bad time to say that I’m scared of heights? Just the thought of climbing a precariously-tied sheet down two stories makes knots in my stomach. Bang, bang, bang!! I’ll climb. Better than facing the monster outside. I frantically look around for something sturdy enough to hold my weight - Kenz’s won’t be a problem. But nothing in my room looks like it would stay put except the doorknob.
But the knob is such a huge risk. If the knob turns, the lock will come undone. And then there will be three stuck in this room. And how could I assure that when we are climbing, Lex-Creature won’t break in and undo the knot? Definitely, if the door opens, Lex-Creature will pounce.
I look at my nine-year-old sister who is trying to hide her tears.
I tie the blanket to the doorknob.
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