Eva giggled while running after her older siblings.
“Tag! You’re it!” The young girl launched herself at her oldest brother, Brian, using him as a soft cushion for landing. He had the widest grin in the family, sky blue eyes, and dark hazelnut hair. Brian was two heads taller than her and the oldest of the five children. Cate who was 11 years older than three-year-old Eva stopped in her tracks, turning back to see what all the commotion was about. She was wearing an orange knitted sweater with an apple pie pasted in the middle of it. Her ponytail bounced in the wind along with her petite body, blowing some blonde strands in her face when making her way to the two-person sandwich. The autumn leaves crunched under her converse shoes while others followed the strong breeze. The trees swayed to the wind’s command and gracefully danced in the breeze as though they were in joyous celebration.
“Hey! Cate, mind if you give your older brother some help?” Brian extended his arm from under Eva’s miniature body. Immediately, Cate took his arm with the intent to help her brother up. Instead, she was added to the two-person sandwich when Brian tugged her chubby hand towards him. Elise and Cole who were older than Eva and Cate, but younger than Brian, were inseparable twins. They peered around the large, burnt umber oak trunk to giggle softly at the humorous sight. Both had bright, red, frizzy hair and a toothy grin. Elise dragged Cate off Eva and Brian and they thanked her profusely, for they now heaved a sigh of relief. After which, Cole took Eva and Cate’s hands, and Elise, Brian’s. Without wasting a moment, the twins dragged their siblings into the forest near the creek where they believed all the most magical things happened.
Brian splashed Cate with some creek water without any mercy, and before everyone knew it, each one of them were drenched from head to toe in the midst of an intended water fight.
“Look at you children! You’re growing up so fast, and thank you, Brian, Cate, Elise, and Cole for including your little sister.” Daffeny beamed with pride looking at how fast her kids had grown up. Wearing a colorful turkey apron and having her luscious black hair tight in a messy bun, Daffeny was just being herself. Being a little plump, she was still the jolliest person people had ever met.
All the children shared smiles with each other while shivering in the cold. This was a usual routine for them to go out and play near the creek when daylight breaks. Although Eva’s siblings were much older than her, she would enjoy playing with them as much as they did. Nothing could stop the bond the children had with each other. They lived on a busy street as they were part of a very wealthy family who owned 12 acres of land and numerous quantities of gold bars, too many to count.
People from all over the world would travel through Chesterton, Indiana to take a glance at the magnificent three-storey house atop the greenest hill. They would be mesmerized at the politeness and caring affection of the siblings especially the littlest one. However, when years passed by, each of Eva’s siblings grew older. In fact their playing time became shorter and shorter until it completely disappeared. They had better things to go after and a bigger life out there awaiting them in the great big world. With new opportunities opening up for them, they had very occupied lives which went in many different directions. By eighteen years of age, all of Eva’s older brothers and sisters had gotten jobs, leaving her alone with her parents in the household until a tragic accident occurred and everything spun like a blur.
One minute nine-year-old Eva was sitting in her father’s lap giggling while he tickled her little stomach, the next she was dressed in a formal black dress, seated sorrowfully on a bench attending his funeral. There had been upsides to the funeral though, because that was the first time in two years Eva had seen her siblings.
“Hey little sis, how’s everything going?” Brian said grimly. He was twenty-five by now and had a stable job with a loving family by his side. Eva sniffled in reply running up to her oldest brother before giving him a hug with all the strength she could muster.
“Hey!” A much older Cate walked in hand with an unknown stranger towards them with Cole and Elise. They each took time to comfort Eva in their arms. Finally, she felt at home once more.
“Mum and everyone, come meet my boyfriend Matt,” Cate said gesturing towards a charismatic British man standing beside her. Matt wrapped his arm around Cate’s waist tightly with the other extended to Daffeny. Daffeny took it with all the happiness she had at that very moment.
“How about we go home after this,” Cole whispered in Eva’s ear, he looked at his mother with a sympathetic expression. He was the last one to hug Eva who nodded her chubby head in agreement.
“Hi Mum,” Cole greeted, then picked Eva up and the family headed to the six-seater car. While Eva sat with her mother and siblings, the siblings’ partners would have to sit in a limo driven by the family butler, Curtis.
No one said a single word throughout the journey back to the mansion.
When the older siblings opened the door to their childhood home memories both good and bad came rushing back to them.
“Wow,” 22-year-old Elise stepped in. The musty smell and old furniture chair which was her father’s favourite left her wishing she had come back earlier.
“Can we play?” Eva asked once everybody had gotten inside the house. The others turned around and Brian, Elise, Cole, and Cate beamed. Eva didn’t have to ask twice. They turned to their boyfriends and girlfriends then rushed out into the frosty air of Winter.
Elise took Eva and Cate’s hands, while Cole took Brian’s hands and rushed to their own creek. Brian was surprised it hadn’t dried up by now.
Eva wanted it to be just like the good old days where she and her siblings would run around like maniacs and had a hell of a good time. The little one splashed water on Brian, causing him to flinch.
“Hey Eva, let’s not splash, we don’t want to get wet,” Brian said in the most understanding way he could. Everyone nodded in agreement with Brian who fixed and brushed off some water residue from his suit. Eva’s heart was dejected at first but soon enlightened when she thought of another game they could all play without getting wet.
Before Eva could suggest Tag, Old Daffeny shouted out that dinner was served. With hungry and rumbling tummies, the older siblings quickly rushed towards the house.
“Com’ on Eva! It’s dinner time!” Elise turned around, looking after Eva, but soon followed Cole, known for his gigantic stomach, because her’s had reminded her that it too needed food.
“Oh boy! Mother cooks the greatest dinners!” Brian picked up his pace and jogged past Eva unaware of the little body he had pushed.
Brian’s body came towards Eva like a boulder to the end of a slope. She fell on all fours and into the dirt which mudded her favorite black gown. Brian and the others were long gone by now and Eva had no one to lift her off the ground and brush her off. Instead, Eva stayed on all fours as a single tear escaped from her right eye. Her glasses were lying a couple feet in front of Ava, the lenses cracked and the frame damaged. No one had come back for her and that’s when she came to the realisation.