Sage sat on the floor of his room. His parents hadn’t bothered to replace the light in his ceiling and the room was only lit by his lamp on the bedside table. He had long grown bored of the cowboys on horseback, racing around the shade, and had wished for something cooler. A lava-lamp maybe. Likewise, his stupid comforter, in that baby-blue color, made him embarrassed any time a friend came over to play. Luckily that wasn’t often.
Usually he went to their house.
As if to remind him why, a noise echoed from downstairs:
I said, I’ve had a long day and I don’t want to talk about it George! You can make your own damn dinner tonight.
His parent’s door slammed.
Sage swooshed his Lego starship through the air. Sitting on his knees with a pile of the bricks, the bane of any late-night, bathroom-walker’s existence, sprawling in front of him like the remains of a desolate city.
“SccchhhhhiiiiiiiWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOSHSSHSHSHSHSHSH,” The ship raced through the air. “Captain! We’ve been hit! I don’t think we’re going to make it! But captain, pull up….AAAuuuuggghhhhh!!!!!” Sage’s hand brought his toy crashing into the debris spread in front of him.
Babe! Open this fucking door!
The banging noise from downstairs carried through the floor and into the world of the blocky-featured figurines now wandering the debris field, maneuvered by Sage’s god-like will. The banging, Sage decided, was the sound of a massive, alien engine, powering a manufacturing plant on the surface of this planet.
C’mon! I mean it. Your day’s been long. You always say that. Why can’t you grow up!
Suddenly there was a gentle knock that came from his door. George was still yelling so he knew it couldn’t be his mom or her boyfriend.
Opening the door, he found his sister, standing there in her bright blue onesie and holding her green blanket. The onesie matched his stupid comforter. The tear tracks on her cheeks matched the color of George’s face when he yelled like this.
The sound of the door bursting open below them caused fresh tears to leave their marks on his sister’s cheeks.
“Yeah, you can sleep in my room tonight.”
Silently, his sister slid past him and crawled under the wrinkled baby-blue comforter. He avoided the bricks as he followed her. One misstep and the corner of one of those things would cause him to crash and burn like his valiant explorer’s starship. He bravely navigated the mine-field. Each step was measured, precise. He’d only made about four steps or so, but the power of his imagination carried him across galaxies. The distant crashes from downstairs were the interstellar explosions and the noises of a black hole as he passed by at beyond light-speed.
In another two steps, but an eternity in his mind’s escape-pod, he reached the bed where his sister’s eyes peered at him. They only just cleared the comforter where she had pulled the sheets up around her.
Our mission is to rescue the hostages on this planet. Get in, get out. Quick as we can.
Sage joined his sister under that comforter. He would never find out where her mind went that night, the tears continuing their silent journey across her cheeks. But in his mind, brave explores faced the forces of tyranny to rescue those in need. Sure, they broke down doors too. But when they did, the tears of the people behind the doors stopped. They didn’t start when Sage came to the door.
Together he and his sister lay in their sanctuary. They lay beneath that safe blue comforter, and let their minds carry them somewhere else. Wherever they went they were protected by their imagination. And they were safe here, now, hidden under that comforter with the door locked.
Sage reached up and switched off the lamp. The cowboys disappeared into darkness with the rest of the room, as if they had ridden into the sunset.
This post comes from a prompt in the 30 days of writing challenge.