A Game of Hide and Seek

A Game of Hide and Seek

Behind my house was a large field of dry grass and bushes.  My mother always hated it when my little brother and I played there because she was worried about us getting hurt, but she never really stopped us.

The grass was tall – up to my thigh in some places, and was perfect for playing hide-and-seek.  One of us would count to a hundred, and the other would run as far as he could and dive into the grass, laying perfectly still and listening to the rustle of the other’s footsteps as he searched.

We would play this for hours some days when it wasn’t too hot, and even at night when we could manage to get out. 

In the center of the field stood a large, dead tree, which was always where the person counting stood.  That day it was my little brother’s turn to count.  He rested his face against the trunk of the tree and counted backward from a hundred as I sprinted through the dry grass.

I could hear his voice in the twenties now and was preparing to hit the ground when my foot caught something and I was sent hurtling down toward the earth.  With a painful thud, I hit the dirt.  I went to cry out for my brother to stop the game, but as the dust from my fall cleared, I found that I could no longer speak.

Inches from my face, staring back at me with dried eyes, was the thin, pale face of my little brother.  The skin on his face was dry and taught and his teeth shone through thin lips like a grimace.  Flies buzzed in and out of his ears, nose, and eyes and I wanted to scream.  But what stopped me was the distant voice behind me, counting backwards from a hundred.

“Four!”

“Three!”

“Two!”

“One!”

“Ready or not, here I come!”

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