Prompt: Blood

EEEEVIIIIIL ;o; Why can’t you people just let my characters be happy??

Oh, who am I kidding, they were always meant to be like this ;w;

This is another insight to an otherwise unseen character in my main story. Not an excerpt, just a sneak peek into the tortured past of my OC.

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

16. Blood

“Come on, slowpoke!” Zepheera hissed over her shoulder. “You almost caught me that time!”

“Sissy-y-y!” whined Kernel as he ran after his big sister, whose name was too complex for the four-year-old to pronounce.

Zepheera simply giggled and carried on jogging through the underbelly of the house. She and her brother played this chasing game almost every time they snuck out of their little home in the walls. And every time Kernel would claim that Zepheera had the unfair
advantage, being much older than him at the age of eleven. But she knew that being able to run well was an important skill for a growing borrower to develop, so she insisted upon the game.

She did, however, try to make it easier for him until he got big enough to be able to contest with her. She ran slower so he could catch her, as well as to give him a fair chance at running away from her. She would dodge and weave around the piles of brick and sawdust left over from when the building was made to improve his motor skills and reflexes.

He’ll be a great borrower someday, she’d think at the end of their games. And I’ll have helped.

A cry of distress behind Zepheera made her skid to a stop and whirl around. Kernel had tripped and fallen hard on the dirty concrete, and his shoulders shook with stifled sobs. Even he, who had been babied by their mother, knew how important it was to keep as quiet as possible, no matter what.

Zepheera rushed to his side and helped him sit up. He had dust all in his strawberry-blond mop, and his buttery eyes shone with tears. His right forearm had been scraped from the elbow to halfway up, seemingly from a sharp rock. Crimson blood stood out starkly against the boy’s fair skin.

Kernel whimpered when Zepheera tried to wipe the blood away without so much as a blink. Her heart hurt when it heard his pain.

“It’s okay, Kern,” she whispered reassuringly, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “It’s only a scrape.”

“S-s-stings,” Kernel sniffled burying his face in his sister’s shirt.

Zepheera wrapped a comforting arm around Kernel’s shoulders, but it took her a minute to figure out why he was so upset. Could it really be that this was his first time getting hurt? Looking back, i wasn’t that impossible. Their mother had made certain that Kernel was safe inside their home. Zepheera supposed that now was as good a time as any to
teach her little brother how to handle pain.

“Well, it won’t for long,” she promised. “Know why?”

Kernel shook his head no.

Zepheera covered the scrape with her hand, eliciting a wince from the boy. “Because in a few seconds, it’ll be gone.”

The boy’s eyes grew large at his sister’s confident assertion. “R-really?”

“You bet,” Zepheera gave him her biggest smile. “Ready? One…two…three!”

The sight of the intact scrape wiped the smile from Zepheera’s face and the wonder from Kernel’s. His shoulders started shaking again, and Zepheera hugged him tighter.

“I-it’s okay,” she insisted. Why didn’t it work? “That’s…that’s normal. I promise.”

Is it just me?

All her life, Zepheera’s wounds would always disappear. Bruises faded within hours, if they ever formed at all, and cuts and scrapes like this were easy-peasy. No one had ever explained to her that that was out of the ordinary. She’d never seen her uncle get hurt, nor her mother, but her mother had certainly seen her heal.

Her mother had been the cause of all her pain in the past.

But for now, Zepheera had to push that aside and get help for her brother.

“C’mon, Kernel,” she cooed, lifting him into her arms as she stood. “Let’s go find Uncle Boston. He’ll know what to do.”

She felt his head shake no against her shoulder. “M-mummy… I want mummy,” he moaned pitifully.

Zepheera let out a long sigh. She’d hoped to delay confronting her mother and stepfather about this for as long as possible. But she couldn’t find it in her heart to say no to Kernel, so she started home.

For a moment, she thought about what she might say to her mother about what happened. ‘It was an accident’, ‘I should have been watching him’; but she quickly realized that it didn’t matter what she said. Nothing would alleviate whatever punishment their mother chose for her. Ever since Kernel had been born, Zepheera’s mother had never laid a hand on her in anger. But now Zepheera was responsible for her baby boy being hurt.

She wondered if, for the first time in three years, she would see blood tonight.

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