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With a crack of sunlight over the horizon shining over a lake splashing against the boulders on its edge, Simon Nightwalker sat on a bench a couple yards away, cast a shadow on his mansion behind him. Simon planted his face into the palms of his hand and his elbows into his thighs. Except for the insects crawling on his lawn and the leafless apple tree to his left, Simon remained alone in the cool autumn breeze until his backdoor creaked open.
Simon rubbed his swollen misty eyes with his hands and turned counterclockwise. He saw a girl three quarters his size walking toward the bench.
“Who was at the door Simon?”
Simon turned away from the girl as she sat down to his right.
“Did she say where Mom and Dad are?”
Simon turned back toward his little sister, who was quizzically staring at him.
“She did Holly.” Simon responded as he nodded his head.
Holly Nightwalker kept her expression and focus directed at Simon. Simon broke eye contact and stood up.
“It’s still too early to be up. Let’s go back to sleep.”
Simon began to turn to his left, but stopped as soon as he felt a grip on his right sleeve. As he turned his head, Simon saw his sister frowning but still staring straight at him.
Simon gave a short sigh and sat back down without looking away. He put his right hand on Holly’s right shoulder.
“Mom and Dad are dead Holly.”
Holly released her grip and allowed her arm to fall and she turned her head toward the ground.
“So we’re on our own now?”
Simon gripped his sister’s other shoulder with his left hand and turned her towards him. Holly redirected her attention from the ground to her brother and his misty eyes.
“We’re going to be okay. I promise.”
Holly nodded her head before her brother embraced her and held her tightly against his chest. Holly threw her arms around Simon’s lower back.
As Simon listened to his little sister cry and felt her shaking, he closed his eyes and focused on the wind whistling through the naked apple tree and the waves of the lake splashing against the shore. But as Holly’s sobbing ceased, the lake settled down and the air grew calm. As Simon separated from his sister and her head turned up, he put on a brave smile. Holly responded with her own smile as tears continued to trickle down her swollen face.