• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

Close Your Eyes

Victoria and I huddle beneath the bed. I always climb down from the top bunk when we hear the first rumble, but usually, we huddle on her bed, hanging a blanket from the railing as protection. It doesn’t buffer the sound, but it helps us feel like we’re anywhere else.

Tonight it’s too loud. I hugged her head to my chest but it didn’t help. “Shh,” I whispered, rocking her slightly. “Pipe down or they’ll hear you.” They never bothered us on these nights, probably forgot we existed, but I didn’t want to risk it. They were already so angry; perhaps a crying child could be the thing that made them snap.

Victoria’s sobs turned to loud hiccups, so I pushed our toy bins out of the way and ushered her beneath the bed, then pulled the baskets in behind us. If we stayed quiet, no one would ever know we were here. The bed was high enough from the ground that we could comfortably lie on our backs and stare up at the bed slats.

“Close your eyes,” I told Victoria after her hiccups subsided. “What do you see?”

“It’s black,” she replied, as stubborn as ever.

“That’s not what I see. Here, try again. Close your eyes but look around with me. Take a deep breath—do you smell the meadow? I think I see cows in the distance, chewing on the tall grass. Oh, do you hear that?”

“It’s… birds!” Victoria whispers, and I can hear a hint of smile in her voice.

“Yes, so many birds. I can hear them calling to each other, their wings flapping as they fly from place to place. Maybe one will come join us here on the log.”

“I’d like that,” Victoria murmurs, voice heavy with sleep.


Close Your Eyes

I describe the natural beauty around us, far from any buildings, as if I’m telling her a bedtime story. Once I hear her soft snores, I tilt my head upward and take in the vivid beauty of the double rainbow—an arch for each of us.