They sure can be a pain... (Rising to the Challenge! entry)
|Lance was a towheaded boy of twelve. He was slight, as he hadn't hit any kind of growth spurt yet. He put his face in the pillow and finally let some tears flow. It was something the rest of the world wasn't going to see. After a bit, he rolled on to his back, because as upset as he was, there was no way there wouldn't be payback. His sister, Gail, who was four years older, had started her junior year as Lance graduated to junior high. Instead of helping, or even just saying nothing, she had announced her little brother's arrival. That led to a horrific first week, where his presence was noted by many upperclassmen. It wasn't so much bullying, more like general harassment. All Lance had wanted was to blend in and not be noticed, but his sister had killed that plan. He looked at the clock, and he knew it was time.
The mission required stealth, and the boy quietly slipped out of his bed. He carefully slid the shoebox containing his new ally out from under the bed. In the soft moonlight coming through the old single pane window, he lifted the lid to peek at the pink gecko. The little lizard scrabbled around in the box, and Lance headed softly down the hall, avoiding squeaky boards as much as possible. When he got to his sisters door, he slowly turned the knob, and opened it to look inside. He was an intelligent kid, and had oiled the hinges on the old solid wood door. The old house they inhabited had door locks that used a skeleton key, which had probably disappeared decades ago, so no interior doors were ever locked. Her soft snore told him she was fast asleep, so he dropped to his belly and crawled toward her bed, sliding the box ahead of him. The covers at the foot of the bed were untucked, and Lance slipped the lid off the shoebox and removed the gecko. He slipped it under her sheets, slid the box out of sight under the bed, and scrambled quietly towards the door. He'd just managed to get it shut when he heard the first of several high pitched shrieks that would normally make the blood run cold. But as much as he tried to stifle it, Lance chuckled.
Gail howled, "I hear you out there, you little twit!"
She was out of the bed, and threw open her door just as her little brother had closed his. But, just as her door didn't lock, neither would his protect him. She walked in just as he was feigning sleep on the bed. She marched over and he was having the most difficult trouble of suppressing laughter.
"Yeah, you might fool Mom with that," She said loudly. "But I know you're awake! Time to take you medicine."
She pounced about the time he was fluttering his eyelids pretending to come awake. "Gail! What are you doing?!"
"Kicking your butt!" She replied while slapping at him. "Do you know what that feels like?!"
"Stop! " He started fighting back, "Go back to bed!"
Their father entered the picture, weapon in hand, and quickly lowered it when he saw the scene. His wife pulled up behind him, but the stopped her, saying he wanted to see how it would play out. Their fifty year old parent, still whipcord tough, passed the weapon to his wife to put back in the safe. He leaned against the door jamb with his arms crossed while they fought to a draw.
"Are y'all done?" He asked.
"He put a..." The old man held up a hand and she stopped.
"I don't care a whit what went on, but you both woke us up. You'll be lucky if I don't whup you both. Gail, get to bed." His words sent her off.
"Dad, You know if I..." Lance started, but stopped at the gaze he got.
The older man studied his son. "I'm no fool boy. It'd be wise not to wake us agin'"
He left, closing the door behind him. The boy smiled to himself, but wisely didn't laugh. His plan of revenge had worked almost as planned. But more, he now knew his big sister wasn't so big anymore, and he could hold his own. Just as he was about to nod off, another scream pierced the air, only this time, it was from the master bedroom.
"Uh oh," Lance thought.