For the first time in almost two years he had a normal bed. There were sheets, two of them, and pillow cases that matched them. The comforter was down, rendering the extra blanket pleasant but unnecessary. The set-up here beat the hell out of RV bunk beds and the occasional appropriated couch cushion he’d been used to before.

He turned over, tangling the already twisted nest of bedding. Across the room and fast asleep his sister seemed to be taking the change alright. Though, she might just be better at faking it than he was, it was a possibility he’d not ruled out.

“Lore.” He said in her direction. She didn’t answer. “Loorrre.”

Nothing, either she was really asleep or simply refusing to be bothered. He sat up with a groan and extricated himself from the overwhelming amount of sheets. Tomorrow was going to be another haze of caffeine.

He dug around in his duffel bag pulling out the pack of cigarettes he’d managed to pull from an arbitrary pocket at the airport. As vices went, his find was pretty tame but he was facing down a third sleepless night. He needed something to do.

With an itch growing between his shoulder blades he padded over to the window, cigarettes and lighter in hand. Wearing only a thin tshirt and sweatpants he almost gasped when the wind hit him. Still he gritted his teeth and ducked through the second story window, crawling barefoot over the roof.

The cold wasn’t terrible once he found a decent perch. This far from any real civilization the stars were more than enough to see by. He was even able to shield a spark long enough to light one of the four cigarettes left in the box.

With the foul tasting smoke in his lungs and vantage point gained, he took the opportunity to look around. His uncle’s house was tucked deep in the forest, and it definitely had that slasher movie lodge vibe. But he’d found, with proper application of coffee and soda, it wasn’t that bad.

This place wasn’t going to be a problem. He was. After seventy two hours of doing nothing but sulk and attempt to be relatively well behaved, he was already cracking. He didn’t even like cigarettes, but this place just seemed…normal. It was driving him crazy.

He took a long drag, crossing his eyes to watch the orange embers. The only odd thing so far was how chill his uncle was. So far the two siblings hadn’t managed to faze their father’s brother and he was oh so curious what would finally do it. Smoking on the roof? The first time he or his sister slipped up and nicked something? He didn’t know what it would be, but he was sure it was going to happen.

The wind picked up again and he shivered. Going back inside wasn’t an option yet. His sister would eviscerate him if he got smoke anywhere near her clothes.

He stood up, biting the cigarette to keep his hands free. There might be better place to waste away the night. The roof was large and between the moonlight and the stars he had light to explore. That was until something, just as he moved to take a step, blotted out the night sky. He whipped his eyes upward.

It was gone. Every constellation was in place, but he swore, for a moment the stars had not been there. It was like the sky blinked.

He frowned and took a step back. When his barefoot crushed the cigarette box he realized his mistake. The plastic wrapped paper slipped beneath him, sending him backwards into a stumble. The lip of the roof caught his ankle and he was falling. For an agonizingly long second he contemplated how embarrassing falling off a roof was. Then he hit the ground.

His breath left his body as his vision popped with artificial stars. Then everything blinked out again.


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