a piece of happiness
The perfect summer day had been a true heaven. The sky painted light blue with scattered white clouds. Trees with bright green leaves and a warm breeze that made the grass blades dance. It was days like these that made living in the countryside worth it. However the day quickly went to hell. The warm breeze was replaced with a strong and brutal wind. The sky went black and dark storm clouds gathered on the horizon, inching toward the series of trees and rolling hills.
A boy of nine made his way over one of these hills, running as fast as his legs would carry him. He had been enjoying the lovely day as evident by his choice of clothes; blue shorts, sandals and a yellow and orange T-shirt. The blonde haired, golden eyed boy was headed for the dirt road at the bottom of the hill, fenced in on either side by a poorly constructed wooden fence. The combination of his speed and the slope of the hill made stopping no longer an option as the reckless boy came toward the wooden fence at an incredible speed. So he threw his hands forward and slammed into the fence, wincing as the wind was knocked from his lungs.
He paused here, panting for breath, messy blonde bangs falling around his face. He then straightened and glanced over his shoulder, eyes searching the top of the hill. Another boy appeared from over the hill, also clad in summer clothes. He had short brown hair and dark brown eyes. Although he appeared to be the same height as his brother, he was actually a year younger.
The boy at the fence, Edward, made a face. "Hurry up, Al! Stop being slow! It's gonna rain!"
Ed turned back toward the fence and pulled himself over it, stumbling a bit as he landed on the other side.
"Brother, wait! Don't leave without me!" Al shouted, slowing down so that he could stop at the fence.
Ed crossed his arms over his chest and waited, tapping his foot impatiently. After some difficulty, Al managed to duck underneath the fence while keeping his arms cradled against his chest. The wind was really howling now and the clouds had completely covered the sky.
"Jeez, you're slow!" Ed sighed.
"It wasn't my fault!" Al protested.
"Then whose fault was it?" Ed demanded, turning to face him.
Al suddenly looked like he had been caught doing something he shouldn't be.
"Well... umm..." He glanced down at his arms.
Ed followed his brother's eyes and saw what had taken his brother so long to catch up. A tiny black and white kitten lay curled in Al's arms, shivering against the wind. It looked only a few weeks old. Ed's face grew angry.
"I-I couldn't just leave it there, Brother! It would be caught in this storm!"
"That's not our problem! Throw it back!"
Al glared, although his face wavered between anger and bursting into tears.
"You know what mom'll say," Ed sighed, trying to pursue Al to leave the animal behind. "So go throw it back where you found it and save her the trouble."
"That's cruel! I won't!"
"Argh! You idiot!"
A cool wet drop of water fell onto Ed's face. Then another and another. Ed briefly glanced up as it began to pour.
"I won't leave it, Brother!" Al insisted, hugging the kitten closer to protect it from the rain. It gave a weak mew of protest.
Ed was fed up. He pointed a finger at Al threateningly.
"FINE! Then you stay out here with it! I'll tell mom you got struck by lightning! And she'll be happy 'cause she always liked me more anyway!"
"You're a liar!"
"I hope you get eaten by rabid dogs!"
With that said, Ed whirled around and bolted down the path, feet slapping on the wet road that was quickly turning from dirt to mud. Ed didn't stop running until he saw a familiar shadow of a house through the rain with a familiar flickering light near the upstairs window.
A woman stood in front of the door, a pink umbrella resting on her shoulder. She was a slender woman, wearing a pink summer dress underneath a white apron. Her brown hair was tied into a messy ponytail that was slung over her right shoulder. Her dark green eyes showed concern as she peered into the rain. She was a beautiful woman in a way only a mother could be.
A blurred figure of yellow, orange and blue suddenly ran into her. She nearly fell backwards as the weight pressed against her legs and stomach, arms tightening around her waist. Trisha blinked several times before smiling, placing her free hand gently on her son's golden crown. She lifted the umbrella from her shoulder and held is so that both she and Ed were shielded from the rain.
"Edward, where is Al?" Trisha asked, voice calm and even, yet kind.
When there was no reply, she quickly figured out the situation. A small, exasperated sigh came from her lightly painted lips.
"Oh, I see. Did you two have a fight?"
Again, no answer, as she expected. She lifted her eyes and squinted through the rain. She searched the road, but there was no sign of her other son. A sudden crack of thunder caused them both to jump. Trisha smiled sheepishly to herself for her actions as Ed tightened his grip on her waist. Sighing, Trisha suddenly put on an over-dramatic look of concern on her face and sighed loudly.
"Oh my, what a terrible storm! Poor Alphonso, to be lost in such weather! Oh, I do hope nothing happens to him! I don't know what I'd do if he were injured!"
Trisha sighed again, however her face quickly turned into a look of surprise as the weight on her legs abruptly left and her hand rested on nothing. She glanced down in time to see Ed's retreating back disappear into the rain. She smiled lightly and dropped her umbrella back onto her shoulder.
Ed stopped where he had departed with his younger brother, panting. He glanced around, squinting through the downpour and pushing wet bangs from his eyes. Frowning angrily, he cupped his hands over his mouth.
"Al! Al! Where are you? Answer me! AL! You better not have gotten eaten!"
There was no reply. Only the rain and another crack of thunder that made Ed shiver. Using a word that most ten-year-olds shouldn't know, Ed took off down the path. He continued to shout for his brother, looking more and more desperate as the minutes pasted. Then he came to a screeching halt, nearly falling face first in the mud. His eyes had caught a hole in the side of a hill. A fox burrow that had been dug out. Ed hurried over and peered in.
Sure enough, he found Al curled up inside, kitten in his arms. Upon his entry, Al opened one eye to look at him. He glared and hid his face. Ed snorted and plopped himself beside him, wrapping his arms around himself.
"Aren't you cold?" Ed asked after a moment of silence.
"Mom didn't believe me. Guess you're her favorite."
Al cautiously peeked one eye out at his brother. "Mom doesn't have favorites..."
Ed stood, wiping his hands on the back of his shorts. "Maybe we can keep it."
Ed looked startled. He glanced over to see Al sitting up, cradling the motionless kitten in his arms. His eyes told Ed he had been crying and he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt. He shrugged it off, trying to pretend it didn't bother him.
"Things die," He said matter-of-factly.
"People aren't things..."
"Cat's aren't people."
"Yeah, but Winry's parents were..."
Ed frowned, instantly sad. He glanced back at Al, who was on the verge of tears. The golden eyed boy crouched beside him, reaching out to stroke the kitten's silky fur.
"Do you wanna bury it?"
Al barely nodded. Ed took the kitten in one hand and began to dig with the other, occasionally making a grunt of effort as he worked. Once the hole was big and deep enough, he sat the lifeless kitten into the hole and buried it. All the while Al watched, knees to his chest and arms folded on his knees. When the job was finished, Ed dusted off his hands and stood up, looking over at Al.
Al nodded. "Yeah..."
"Want me to carry you?"
Thus the scene Trisha saw before her. Edward trudging down the path, struggling through the rain with Al on his back. Both were muddy and soaked to the bone. She hurried them inside, giving them pajamas to change into after she dried them off. She then ushered them toward the fire with wool blankets and a cup of hot chocolate each.
Trisha sighed softly as she hung their clothes over the stove, making sure not to hang them too close. She glanced over her shoulder, greeted with the sight of her two sons in front of the fire, wrapped in their separate blankets. They still seemed, at least to her, angry with each other. Smiling a bit, Trisha wiped her damp hands onto her apron and walked over to them. She placed her hands on her hips, glancing between the two.
"Are you two still angry at each other?"
Neither of them replied and Trisha sighed softly. She sat down between them, bringing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs in mimic of their position. She continued to copy them, staring into the fire with the same blank stare. Ed and Al both glanced at her, before glancing at each other. Ed shrugged and Al turned back to the fire. The three sat there for a long time, listening to the rain pound the roof and the fire crackle as it burned. Occasionally Ed and Al would glance toward their mother, both growing worried as she didn't move. Finally, Ed could not longer stand it. He stood and lunged, throwing off the blanket and wrapping his arms around his mother's neck.
Trisha let out a startled cry that quickly turned into a laugh as she fell over, nearly squashing poor Al. She wrapped her arms around Ed and pulled him close, laughing.
"You can never sit still for more than three minutes, can you?" She chuckled.
Ed gave her a goofy grin before Al joined the pile, pouncing on his brother instead. Trisha laughed as the two went rolling away. She sat up on her knees, watching her two sons wrestle playfully, both laughing and teasing each other lightly. When they had tired themselves out, they both crawled toward their mother and feel asleep beside her.
Trisha smiled and placed her hands on their heads, both in her lap. She stayed there with them long after the last ember of the fire had flickered out.