We are delighted to post a brand new short story written by Reem Al Mutawa for our Siblings theme titled Peaceful war. We hope that you enjoy it
In slow motion, and in absolute dismay, i watched as my favorite white flowery hairpin fell down my hair to the ground. But, with every fiber in my body, I resisted the urge to stop and pick it up, because i can’t stop now, i have to keep running! The heavy pounding of my feet on the dirty green ground sends jolts of pain to my legs making them even more shakier than they already are. I’m so deliciously scared I can feel my heart’s frantic beating in my ears. There is no time, I have to find a place to hide or I’m dead toast.
Ok, i have to calm down and think. Thinking however will require me to stop; even if nerves killed me. So, I stopped running for a moment, my breath coming out in quick loud bursts I’m sure the dead can hear. Swiftly I surveyed my surrounding until my eyes found a thick brush of bushes near a tall tree. I darted inside between the leaves barely registering the red sting on my left cheek. I squatted down feeling sweat pouring down my back and temples all the while placing my shaky hands on my mouth to keep any sound from coming out. She can’t find me here, i’m safe. The nervous waiting of the unknown makes me jumpy, which in turn makes me want to pee. The fact that I -yes, sneakily- drank her share of chocolate milk today made it worse. what? don’t look at me like that, she stole my share of ice cream last week!
The sound of approaching footsteps snapped me out of my reverie and with vicious vengeance my heart resumed its painful beating. But as the sound of the steps faded away, my body relaxed a fraction and I resisted the need to exhale in relief. So you can imagine my horror when a hand grabbed my shoulder and two kinds of loud shouts echoed and pierced the still air. One exclaiming in victory a “gotcha!”, the other one is me squealing delightfully a shrill scream with squeezed shut eyes.
I scrambled out the bushes and with a frowny annoyed face I glared at my big sister. The mix of excited nervous fear dissipated and got replaced by annoyed astonishment. I don’t understand how she always win the hide and seek game.
“how did you find me!” I demanded by petulantly stomping the ground with my feet.
“i won’t tell you the secrets of my supreme intelligence” she said that with no small amount of smugness on her voice and face; which makes me even more irritated.
I grudgingly admit that she IS indeed intelligent, not that i’ll say that out loud. We are only 2 years apart, yet her school grades are always exceedingly high. Her teachers always comment on her brilliant intellect; something i can’t say MY teachers does. They always seem to find a flaw in my grades. The look on my parent’s face glow with pride when they hear the compliments directed to my sister. I’m only 10 years old, i still have ample time to inspire that pride on there faces though.
I shouldn’t find her glaring at me like that so cute, but I do and I can’t help but grin; which am sure must be antagonizes her to no end. Finding her is always easy, her tracks are practically all over the place, she might as well wear a target red sign on her back. One obvious sign was her favorite hairpin -the one she absolutely refuse to let me wear- which I found cushioned by the grass not far from where she hid. Then, the closer I got the louder I could heard the faint rustles of the bushes’s leaves; and since we don’t have any small pet animals -say a small rabbit I begged my parents to buy me to no avail- in our garden it was either my innocent little sister or a stray cat.
The chances of it being her were very high since I knew her restless nature will take over. She is very energetic and loud, the kind of loud that pleasantly attracts attention. Its so easy to get a reaction out of her and i’m sure its the main reason to why friends flock all around her. I have always admired that about her, and it pleases me to see her immensely happy. But despite her lively nature, she developed a love for the softest of instruments. The contrast between her and the piano’s serenity is a heady mixture.
I have always suspected that she is my parent’s favorite; because I never knew anyone else other than her to invoke such laughter and adoration on their faces. And i’m proud to say that i have never ever felt jealous because of that…..ok fine! you got me! I admit it, I feel a little bit of jealousy. My way of overcoming it is by irking her, and oh how I love her irked face exactly the way I see it right now.
Ever since she emerged from her hiding spot, she had been in a disheveled state. Her hair is in tangled mess, covered by a handful of leaves. Her yellow dress is wrinkled to the point where I pity the iron that is going to straighten it. I’m not surprised to see her barefoot and covered in dirt because she had always ignored wearing her shoes. I noticed the small scratch on her cheek and just as I was about to take her inside to clean her up, a loud gasp startled the both of us. I turned around and found my mother standing in that stance of hers, the one that screamed ‘you are in trouble’.
“which one of you destroyed my raspberry bushes?!” she demanded.
We froze in silence and I saw Leila fidgeting on her feet, and immediately recognized her distress. As much as i love irritating her it disheartens me seeing her sad or discomforted. So, I mentally convinced myself that Ilook as untidy as her and can easily take the blame.
“I’m sorry mom, I should have known better than to hide inside it” I said in a pretend remorseful way, my eyes looking down the ground.
A couple of seconds passed in silence before my mom finally sighed and resignedly said:
“get inside and clean up, dinner will be served soon”
We hurried inside before my mother changes her mind and decided to punish us after all.
Just before we separated each heading to her own room I was engulfed by a quick hug and a whispered “thank you” in my ears. We smiled at each other, both happy at the sudden halt of our peaceful war.
Author: Reem Al Mutawa