She pounds harder on the window. He ignores her, pretending not to hear. Whistling, he put his head back on the seat, casually staring up at the roof of the car. He starts kicking his legs playfully. Three more rapid thuds echo inside the car. She’s crying, coupled with high pitched screams that are muffled with all the windows up. Oh, I got her so good this time. He swings his head around to her and makes a funny face.
She points at the lock with wide eyes and a red furious face. He’d seen the look before but never quite like this. He likes that look, its exciting but there is something else about it that is even better. Something he can’t explain or understand yet.
Behind her, up at the house, their parents come out the front door of Nana and Poppy’s. His Dad looks hard at the car. His mother covers her mouth. They stare for another long second and then he leaps off the porch, stumbles forward momentarily but then finds his feet. Help and trouble are coming to them both across the big yard. He cowers away to the far side of the car.
It’s more than the trouble coming though, he’s disappointed. He wants it to last a little longer. He stares at his big sister some more, then glances back at his charging dad, and slowly slides farther down into the seat.
His dad is at the car now, patting his pockets frantically for his keys. He turns and yells something to his mom. His sister won’t get out of his way at the window. A big fist shatters the front passenger side window and his sister’s loud screams come wailing into the car. He’s so scared now he drops to the floorboard of the backseat.
She’s acting so crazy, yanking on the door, trying to get her crushed fingers out. She leans way back now; teeth clenched, and gives it another hard pull. He can’t take his eyes off of her struggling. Her hair is matted with sweat and hangs in her eyes. She puts her free hand on the window for leverage but then it slides off.
A big forearm curls in and around, fumbling for the back door knob. She’s still screaming, but his dad is silent, concentrating, arm stretched inside as far as it will reach. He can’t quite get to where the knob is on the old Dodge. His father’s fingers are straining to get there.
He starts to reach over to help but then stops, watching her just a little longer. A couple of more seconds of this is worth it. He realizes then that he’s only acting like he’s too scared to move.
It’s an accident he’s sure he’ll never forget. A terrible accident. He can hear his mother now. He’s just a child, only six years old. He was so scared he froze up. He silently rehearses what he’ll say too.
“Its okay son, don’t be scared now, just lift the knob for Dad.” His father is trying to smile at him through the window but he knows that smile, knows better.
His father’s deep voice changes.
“Bobby…DO IT NOW!”
Getting one last look at his sister’s tormented face and filing that away for later, he blinks big round eyes full of tears then reluctantly reaches for the door lock.
The door opens and he covers his tear streaked face in his hands. A piece of him feels that anguish. The other little boy knows that there is so much for him to look forward to now and so much time to enjoy it.
Jim J. Wilsky is a central Illinois native with a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling. He writes short stories in the genres of mainstream, suspense, crime, westerns, and historical fiction. His work has appeared, or has been recently accepted by A Twist Of Noir, Yellow Mama, Beat To A Pulp, All Due Respect, Darkest Before The Dawn, Powder Burn Flash, The Medulla Review, Plots With Guns, Mystercial-E, Midwest Literary Magazine and Boston Literary Magazine and others as well as several print publications. He is strengthened and somehow supported by an understanding wife and two beautiful daughters.
Jim J. Wilsky