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30 Day Writing Challenge - Day 14

Day #14: Finish a story or scene with the line “Nothing ever felt easier to say.”

Suddenly, it all made sense. And not in a good way.

It was a bitterly cold night in January when she showed up on my doorstep, shivering in her tattered coat, a threadbare scarf wound haphazardly around her face. A howling wind sent swirls of snow around her feet, which I noticed were bare. Without a word I tugged her inside and shut the door firmly, insulating us from winter’s icy breath. She was my sister, after all, and I was bound by family duty to at least hear her out.

“What are you doing here?” I demanded.

She wiped the back of a gloveless hand across her eyes and peeled away the scarf. The skin beneath was chapped from exposure, the redness barely masking the ugly purple of the bruises. I felt my own cheeks heat with anger. I suddenly wanted to punch something. Or someone.

“I need your help,” she replied.

That I could plainly see. Why she had turned to me was the bigger issue. Our childhood had been less than idyllic and as adults we had rarely communicated. We each sought refuge on opposite coasts after the brutal events that left us orphaned and silently blamed each other for the misery that our lives had become. The fact that she now stood in my living room expecting me to play the hero was beyond me. It also meant that whatever kind of trouble she was in, it was big.

I eyed her skeptically, my well of brotherly love at an all-time low, while she blinked back tears. “What happened?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t really remember much. But I’m almost positive he’s dead.” She unbuttoned her coat, revealing the blood-splattered clothing underneath.

I took an involuntary step backward, as if she were a snake about to strike. I stood there, hemming and hawing, weighing the pros and cons until I thought my head would explode from the stress. The rightness and wrongness of the situation should have been crystal clear and yet I found myself mired in morality and legality. In the end, the time and energy spent deliberating and arguing with myself was all for naught; of course I would help her. "I have to agree with you there,” I said sardonically.

She smiled at that, then said, “I’m finally free.” Nothing ever felt easier to say.

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