I slipped in and out of the crowd in front of the breakfast cart, the morning filling with the usual bustle and noise. The slight pitter-patter of rain accompanies it.
“Hey, Michayla! How are you this lovely morning?”
“I’m fine,” I said, nodding to the vendor. I continued my stroll down the street, looking for something, I don’t know quite know what. My brother. That may be it. Or maybe I was restless. Market Day had been a special day for me, until my brother got run over. He didn’t make it and we’re all still grieving. I could still hear his small voice, crying out for me, “Kayla! Kayla, help!” And how I didn’t do a thing. How I was too far away. And how my older brother, who had been right next to him the entire time, hadn’t done a thing. Tears pricked at my eyes at the familiar memory. Unable to contain myself any longer, I rushed to a dark corner and huddled there, letting the tears fall. I had let myself believe it was my brother, Dyson’s fault. But it was mine. If I hadn’t left Dyson to look after Ben all by him--
“Michayla! What are you doing?” My head bolted upright. Standing behind me was Devi, the village hot-shot.
“What now, Devi?” I groaned.
“That is no way to speak to your better, Michayla Anderson. You’d better learn some respect,” he said, ticked.
“Respect? For you? Impossible,” I snorted, standing and wiping my eyes. He shook his head and walked away, muttering about girls and what terrible respecters they are. I rolled my eyes. Then I sat against the wall and sighed. I closed my eyes and breathed in, then out. Most people call this inhaling, then exhaling. But I call it… the antidote for grief. But sometimes, like then, it gives me flashbacks.
I was jogging through the fruit vendors stalls, looking for star fruit, the new thing. But as I poked my head into the stall on my left, I heard a far-off cry : “Kayla! Kayla, help! Help me!” It was Ben. I whirled out of the stall and raced toward where the voice came from. As I neared, I saw a small huddle, a small circle. Oh, no, oh, no, oh no no no nooooo, I thought, pushing people aside in my haste to get to the center of the circle. As I stumbled through, I saw Ben’s broken little body, Dyson hunched over him, sobbing.
“Dyson! Ben!” I screamed, dropping to my knees beside them. Dyson looked up at me with tear- filled eyes. I didn’t need words. I saw his expression. Ben was dead. And it was all my fault. I bent over his figure, crying softly. A tear landed on his dirty little cheek, washing a little of the blood away.
The flashback ended as abruptly as it had come. I stood and brushed myself off, hoping I looked haughty and not like a girl who had been crushed by a devastating memory. Which I was. I went home without getting anything.
“Michayla! Where’s the food?” my mother demanded. I walked past her into the house. I ran down the stairs to my room, where I kept all my pictures of Ben. I sat down heavily on my straw bed, taking my favorite picture of him in my shaking hands. It was when he had been planting in the garden with Mother and he had just planted a flower seed and he looked at my camera with such joy and happiness it made me collapse into my pillow, closing my eyes and letting the tears slide down my face.
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