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The Girl Who Never Was

By @chlobird357

Let me tell you about the last time I saw my brother. 

It was a quiet night and I’d fallen asleep on the couch, so Josh carried me to bed. I snuggled my face into his hoodie as he trekked up the stairs.  

After he laid me down and pulled the covers over me, he got up to leave. I grabbed onto his sleeve and tugged gently. Josh turned back around. 

“I don’t want to leave,” I whimpered. “Not like Dad did.” 

A look of sympathy crossed his face as he hugged me close to his chest and began stroking his fingers through my hair. It was so comforting that I soon felt myself falling asleep.  

 Before my eyelids closed, I heard him say something; something I still remember to this day.  

“Don’t worry, sis. I’ll always be with you.” 

I wish he could’ve kept that promise. 

I don’t remember how long I was asleep, but I do remember screaming. 

Josh screaming, “FIRE! Everyone, get out of the house!” 

We led our brothers and sister out into the backyard, and soon it was just Josh and I in the burning house. 

I was about to make a break for it. But then I heard moaning behind me. 

I turned to see my big brother on his knees, coughing his lungs out. 

Oh, right, I thought. His asthma: he must’ve inhaled some smoke. 

“Sis,” he managed to choke out, “Go, get out of here!” 

“I-I can’t just leave you here!” I cried, tears forming in my eyes. 

“YES, you can,” he replied, putting his hands on my shoulders. I began to cry harder. 

He wiped a tear away from my eye.  

“I’ll always be right here, whenever you need me,” he coughed, putting a hand on my chest. He gave a smile, the saddest smile I’ve ever seen. 

“NOW GO!” Josh shouted. Before I knew, he shoved me out of the house. I landed on the lawn just as our home exploded. 

With my brother inside.  

I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see Drew behind me, tears streaming down his cheeks. 

“Is Josh really gone?” 

I nodded; it felt so heartbreaking to explain to a 9-year-old that your brother is dead. 

Drew fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably. I leaned over and embraced him, whispering how sorry I was.  

Soon little Hayden, Luke, and Seraphina came in and joined the family hug. We all cried and held onto each other as if we were afraid to let go. 

We cried for the loss of our home, and for the loss of our brother. 

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