Heroes and White Ceilings
A short by
Alexandra Harris lay on her bed. Her waist lengh, black hair draped over blankets that flowed off the bed like water onto the floor. She stared at the ceiling. Had there been a picture you might think she was absorbed in its beauty, however, there was no picture. Her dark eyes seemed to examine every inch of the blank and expressionless ceiling. Nothing in the room seemed to move except the gentle rise and fall of Alexandra's breathing. She breathed a deep sigh, shifting the hair that lay across her face. She sat up, it was nearly dusk outside and a pinkish glow lit up her completely white room.
The door opened, her mother walked in, "You should unpack your stuff." She said calmly.
"Why bother?" Alexandra asked, "We're just going to run away in two weeks, anyway." Her mother heard the words, but she didn't respond to them in any way. She shut the door. Alexandra rolled off the bed and landed amongst boxes full of all her possessions and memories. She stood up and walked to the dresser. She hated those memories, for leaving her behind. She stared at her reflection, gazing deep into her own dark eyes. She remembered where she got those eyes. Her heart considered crying, but her eyes couldn't take that again. Instead she drew back a fist and punched the image of herself. The mirror shattered.
The door opened again, this time it was a short ten-year-old image of Alexandra. Sarah looked up at her sister. Her eyes were dark too, they were large, innocent eyes of a child, but they had a sadness that was so deep, and not meant for her. "Alex," she said, her eyes gazing at her sister, "are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine now. I just miss dad." Alex said kindly, she gazed down at the many reflections of her self and her little sister, "Let's get out of this lonely house." Sarah nodded. Alex picked up her keys and walked to the window. She opened it and climbed through, then reached back to help Sarah through. They crossed the lawn rippling in the slight wind. The shade of a tree covered their path as they reached a black pick-up truck. The image of pink clouds reflected in the windows and just barely on the dusty hood.
Alex opened the driver's door and stepped in reaching across the passenger seat to pull on the little tab unlocking the passenger door. Sarah climbed inside. The radio came on along with the rest of the car. They drove off in the direction of Alex's closest friend's house. "Why did mom take us away, if we were just going to come back?" asked Sarah, speaking over the voice of the radio announcer. Alex turned off the radio, silencing the end of the radio announcer's comment.
"Mom doesn't know what she wants, so she tried to 'leave it all behind', but some holes can't be filled or forgotten."
"Oh." said Sarah her eyes filling with tears she brushed them away stubbornly "Where are we going?"
"We are going to go pick up Abby. You remember Abby?"
They pulled into the driveway of a damp, derelict little house. Silence filled the cab and they waited for several minutes. Alex rolled down the window adjusting the side mirror as a girl came around the back of the house. She was short, and freckled with white blond pigtails. She wore a red T-shirt with blue jeans, which made Alex, Sarah and the whole rest of the car seem like a black and white picture. Sarah climbed into the back as Abby opened the door and sat down. Abby spun around and in her chair and winked "Good morning Charles!" Sarah giggled. Alex smiled. Abby had enough cheerfulness to resurrect an entire cemetery and lead them in a Conga line. "Well, where we going?" asked Abby enthusiastically.
"I thought food would be nice." Said Alex.
"Yes Alex, but where do you plan to get this food?"
Alex smiled, Abby and Sarah where the only people she would smile for, the only people she knew would never desert her.
They pulled out of the driveway. Sarah could feel the wind on her face and was suddenly reminded of her father. She wondered why he would leave her and Alex. Why would he go? But she knew in her heart what Alex refused to believe. She smiled for him out the window, as Alex took an on ramp to the freeway, now they could see the sunset over the hills. "What do you think of sunsets, Sarah?" Abby asked.
"If I could choose the last thing I saw before I died, it would be a sunset." Again Alex smiled not just because it was a sweet thing to say, but also because she knew Sarah really meant it.
A car from the lane next to them slowly drifted into their lane, "Alex..." suddenly the car stopped, Alex swerved; the font of the truck hit a side guard and the truck flipped. The truck slid upside down, down a grassy hill. It came to a sudden stop as it hit a great oak tree on the passenger side.
Both Abby and Alex were knocked out from blows to the head, but Sarah still stirred. She struggled against her seatbelt till it released her; she rolled over and opened the back window. She climbed through it landing in a squat under the bed of the truck. It hung over her like some mockery of a child's fort. She rolled through the triangular opening made from the tilt of the truck laying on it's back. She could see that the passenger door was blocked. She opened the driver's door, unbuckling her sister, she hoisted her out. This however was no easy task; at ten years old she could barely lift her 120-pound sister. She lay her down on the grass and headed off to retrieve Abby. This was more difficult, she unfastened Abby's seatbelt and crushed the airbag to make more room, she reached under Abby's arms and pulled, but Abby's shoe had been crushed under the dashboard. Sarah un-tied her shoe and coaxed her foot out from the cramped space. Once again taking up her stance, feet braced against the driver's seat she pulled, this time she was successful. She dragged Abby out and lay her down next to Alex.
She then felt a considerable dizziness, she lay down next to her sister, tucked under one arm like a child's teddy bear. She looked up at the sky and saw the sun sink behind the hills and all went black.
Alex opened her eyes, she blinked. Not another white ceiling, she couldn't stand it, she turned her head. Abby sat in a chair next to her, her left foot was bandaged and she had two bandaids holding a painful looking cut together but she still managed a smile. Alex's mother walked into the room with a doctor, he spoke of Sarah but Alex couldn't understand what was said.
Alex had to spend the night in the hospital. Worry of her little sister haunted her mind all night; she finally drifted into an uneasy sleep. When she awoke light filed her eyes, they slowly adjusted and she saw the face of her sister. Sarah smiled "Good morning Charles."