Theresa’s eyes rolled open to the crude oil night. A crescent sliver of her mother’s face was illuminated by the blue glow of electric light. Theresa knocked awake, becoming surgingly aware of the situation’s urgency. In the kitchen the sound of a shattering glass vibrated against the tile floor.
Theresa learned against the light wood cabinet examining her brother: drunk, again. This was a weekly ritual, expected and foreseeable as the tides of the moon. He slumped down into a dining chair, his head resting on his palm. This house had become a vacuum to his illness, a bell jar isolation where Theresa’s family could shelter him. Tonight, he pounded against the glass. He lifted his car keys, a cocked trigger.
The pine scent of gin wafted off his soaking shirt as he pushed past the two woman. Her mother collapsed on the couch, staring blankly into lamp light. Theresa’s feet moved swiftly and subconsciously as she chased her brother to the front lawn where he was wrestling with the car door.
“If you get in that car, I will call the police.”
He turned, his toggling eyes coming to rest on the kaleidoscoping image of his sister. He was silent, she could see her stale breath against the frost. Theresa sniffed and wiped her nose with her pajama sleeve. He smiled broadly, opened the door and turned over ignition.
Theresa stood barefoot on the lawn holding her phone stagnant.
Kiersen Elle Peach is a writer and teacher out of Sacramento, California. She spends her days writing, removing objects from her 2-year-old’s jaws, and wishing to be James Joyce. You can read more of her writing at K. Elle Peach