“I’m sorry.” Leony dug herself further into her sister’s hug, hoping that somehow the embrace would swallow her whole and never allow her outside of her sister’s comfort again.
“Sshhh, it’s fine, little one.” Annora, her big sister and best friend in the world, cradled her like she had always used to cradle her teddy bears many years ago. A life as simple as that seemed impossible for her to obtain now. And it was her fault. Completely her fault, and when Annora found out she’d be in trouble.
Leony knew she couldn’t make it on her own, out there. But what other choice was there, now? People like her didn’t belong in the colonies. Annora loved living here and loved the rules they all lived by.
She swallowed back her tears, trying to ignore her sister’s soothing melody. Annora could never know.
“Are you feeling better?” Still shaking, Leony nodded. It was a blessing her mother wasn’t alive to see this mess. If she had been she’d have thrown Leony around the room like her beloved teddy.
“Thank you.” Her voice was a mild stammer, but she couldn’t help that. Not while her lip was still sending unwanted ripples across her chin.
“Bullshit. Don’t lie to me, Leo. Tell me what happened.” Her lips shaking harder at the soft begging in Annora’s voice, her tears threatened to burn holes into her eyes. Of course Annora knew. They knew each other better than anyone, better than this colony, even. If anyone was able to see through her lies it was her.
Desperate to keep the truth hidden she shook her head, burying her eyes in her sister’s shoulder where she couldn’t see anything.
“Leony… Please. What could possibly be so bad you can’t tell me?”
She didn’t care that she was sobbing for everyone to hear. Not that there was anyone around, but the moment someone walked past their window – at three o’clock in the morning – they’d know. And they’d suspect her as soon as the evidence was found in the morning.
Leony held back bile as the thought of it made her feel sick and retch. How dare her refer to him as evidence? Was that really all he was to her?
It’d be nice to tell someone. Annora was her sister. If she couldn’t tell her, who could she tell?
More violently than before she shook her head. It was stupid to even think like that.
“Come here.” Sagged powerlessly against Annora, she let her sister reposition her until she faced her, her head leaning against the older girl’s shoulder as her arms wrapped around her comfortably. “Now, tell me what you’ve done.”
She swallowed. She knew she’d regret this by the time this day was over, but if she didn’t tell anyone the guilt would swallow her.
“I killed him, Ann. I killed our father.”
Annora’s soothing melody stopped, but she kept rocking her weak figure like nothing had happened. She was thinking, but didn’t want Leony to know.
“Please say something.” Finally the gentle movement stopped, too. With a soft nudge, Annora asked her to get up.
“Aren’t you mad?” It was impossible to read her voice. Annora’s face was blank, if a little rushed, as she gathered several family keepsakes and stuffed them into a travel bag.
She shook her head. “No. Yes.” Frustrated with her loss for words, she sighed. “I don’t know. He was a bad man, Leo, and the world is better off without him. But I can’t say I expected this from you. What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry.” All of her was numb.
“Here, take this. It’s still dark out, no one will see us.”
“What are we doing?” The bag Annora had thrown her was stuffed to the top with a blanket, some food, and some pictures of their mother and grandparents. She knew she had to leave, but it didn’t explain her sister’s bag.
“We’re leaving this place. Cone on, Leo, don’t just stand there!”
Because there was nothing else she could say or argue in her defence, she followed Annora outside and into the plains outside the colony.
She had been right. The day wasn’t over yet – hell, it wasn’t even morning yet! – and she already regretted telling Annora.
All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.
For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.