Nellie sobbed into his shoulder. Patrick hugged her tightly, his pulse still racing as he sat on the dark play structure with his sister in his lap. “It’s okay, Nells. It’s okay. I’m here. It’s okay.” He repeated the words for seconds, minutes, hours — he didn’t know how long — until they both caught their breath.
“T-t-tell me a story?” Nellie pleaded, teeth chattering. Her brother took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Patrick was lying in bed staring up at his ceiling when he realized the rain had stopped. The sun had already set, cloaking the house in dusky twilight. He stood up and cautiously emerged from his room. He had to eat sometime, and he’d better make sure Nellie had eaten, too. He crept downstairs, praying to the god he hadn’t believed in since his mother died that his father would be somewhere, anywhere else.
When Patrick woke, he was alone. His room was dim, but the clock read 11 am. Saturday. He dragged himself out of bed with a groan and walked over to the window. His frown deepened as he looked outside. Rainy and dark. He hated the rain almost as much as he hated the weekend.