by Rebekah Postupak
“Sleep is a marvelous thing.”
He stood over her still form, smiling a tender little smile that was all too rare these days, his voice low and gentle. She was a teen now—fourteen, in fact, full of all the rage and arrogance and comedy that mark girls her age. But now, with shadows tugging at the corners of the room and her frayed comforter with its cheery ducks tucked beneath her arms, she might have passed for nine or ten. She looked peaceful. Happy, even.
In my hand lay a long to-do list for both of us. It could wait. Wrapping my arm around his, I stood next to him in the half-darkness, another silent watcher.
In a few minutes they would come to take our daughter away. They would cover her pale, peaceful, warrior face with professional-grade pity and leave us alone with an empty room and her spent fury.
But for now, smiling, weeping, we stood together silently and watched her, as though she only slept.
169 words, written for the flash contest #FinishThatThought, beginning with the mandatory opening sentence and incorporating the judge’s challenge element of ducks.