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Her curly blonde hair was carelessly thrown into a ponytail, bouncing side to side with each skip she took. Looking down, his smile lines deepened at the sight of her. She slipped her small hand into her brother’s much larger one as they walked.
“How was your day squirt?” He inquired, as he watched the sky darken, turning from a cloudless blue to a stormy gray. The little girl skipped ahead of her brother, then turned around with a huge grin.
“The fire truck came today and we got to go on it and see the firefighters! I liked their uniforms!”
They walked up the cement driveway of their mediocre suburban home. The house was painted light brown with patches of yellow, peeling paint in certain areas. The girl smiled and pointed at the yellow splotch underneath the windowsill.
“AH! Remember when we painted those? It was last summer, right? And Mom was having one of those days, and we all painted! It was so fun!” The girl laughed, and skipped up the gray cement driveway. Unlike his sister, he gazed darkly at the streaks. “I remember,” he muttered under his breath, he then slowly followed the footsteps of his sister.
Inside the girl was already playing with her dolls, brushing their long, brown hair methodically. The brother threw his backpack on the worn out couch and turned on the TV, while glancing outside again. The sky was becoming dark and ominous , and with a worried frown he flipped to the news channel.
Her brother quickly got up, and ran up the wooden stairs, each creaking with his steps. Running to the second door he opened it, and peered into his little sister’s room.
“Come on. We have to go downstairs.”
Her brother said with forced calm, picking up his sister and running with her down the steps. He sat them both under the doorway. BOOM! A flash of brightest white illuminated the sister and brother’s faces, showing the girl staring up at her brother, his arm protectively around her. The room was black. The lightening was like a camera flash, preserving a memory of the girl leaning into her brother, fright plastered across her face. The cabinets began to rattle as the dishes started to crash to the ground. The painting on the wall fell to the floor so suddenly it was like a puppet’s string had been cut. The chairs crashed to the floor and the table fell onto them. The girl’s scream was piercing as her brother shoved the table to the side. He still held onto her. He bent over the little girl, taking the brunt of the falling pieces of ceiling and rubble, as the sky came visible from the top of the house. The shaking stopped. He glanced at his sister, and saw the silent tears were sliding down her cheeks.
“W-what happened?” The girl whispered, holding her now dusty ponytail. She slowly slid her hand back into her brothers.
“You know what it was. It was an earthquake.” Her brother answered, as he sluggishly stood up and opened the door. His eyes saw cars turned over lying in the street; roofs caved in, rubble and dust everywhere. He took a deep breath and turned around.
The little girl stared at the destruction outside. “What are we going to do?”
He sighed and cracked his knuckles. “There’s no electricity. And we don’t have much food; I was going to get it later today. We need water though. I guess I’ll go get some really quickly, ok? Don’t worry; I’ll be back before you know it.” He knelt down as he said this, taking both her hands in his.
The sister’s startled gray eyes looked into her brother’s warm brown ones.
He walked out the door, but turned back and smiled at his small little sister, twirling her dusty blonde ponytail around her finger.
She stayed under the doorway, watching the front door for when he would come bounding back in. The cabinet rattled. The dishes fell. The chairs knocked her off her feet. She silently cried, waiting for that protective arm to be around her once more.