All by Myself – original flash fiction by Steven A. Vinson

All by Myself
by Steven A. Vinson
17 January 2012

He felt his way down the hallway in the darkness.  He was out of his room again but he would not wake up his parents.  The last time he woke them up, Dad told him he would be in big trouble the next time.
The accident that killed his brother last year also crippled Mom’s spirit.  Dad became more distant and drank more.
They lived in an old house with old house noises.  But this was a loud crash.  Why hadn’t Mom and Dad heard it?
He smacked his toe into a toy soldier and choked back a shriek.  The toy soldier flew down the hall and slammed into the door jamb.  He froze.  Rustling sounds from Mom and Dad’s room, then silence.  Just turning over.
He continued down the hall toward… what?  Evil or just mischief?
Step by step, floorboards creaking and popping, ever so carefully he felt his way down the hall.
He was so scared.  He wished he could go to Mom and Dad’s room. Jump in bed.  Under those warm, soft, comfortable covers.  Snugly and safe.
Not now.  Not like before.  It’d mean trouble.
Anyway, he had to check out his brother’s room.  He pressed ahead, terrified.  He finally reached the door.  Turned the knob.  The door opened with a groan and squeak.
Mom had left the room exactly as it was last year on that day.  Clothes on the floor.  Legos spread out around a half-finished robot.  Mom and Dad never came in here.  He was in here every night.  But tonight it felt different.
He stepped in and squinted through the darkness.  Nothing out of place.  The robot still half-finished.  He walked across the room to the open window.
The door closed.
“Who’s there?”
“Me.  Just like always.  What’d you expect.”
“You scared the crap out of me.  What was that noise?”
“I’m fading.  I have to go soon.”
“What? Why?”
“My time is almost up.”
“The loud crash…”
“They’ve come to take me back to…”
“Something like that.”
“Don’t go.  I can’t make it without you.  Without our talks.”
“You can have my Legos.”
“Why do you have to go?
“Look after Mom.  Comfort her.”
“Don’t.  Not yet.  Please.”
Loud crash again.  Closer.
“Good bye.  Hold on to your spirit.”
His brother stepped back, then vanished.  Really gone this time.
He sat down next to the Legos.  He would have to finish the robot by himself tonight.  And every night.

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