This is an entry for the Review Game's Writing Challenge Contest. The prompt:
"Writing comes more easily if you have something to say."
quote by Sholem Asch
Eric sat chewing on his pencil. He couldn't have told you why; he wasn't writing anything. Rather, he was typing something, or attempting to. Attempting to write, chew, and remember at the same time.
The computer lit his face with a soft blue glow. It was the only source of light in the room, and contrasted to the darkness of the rest of the room it was painfully bright. The opened document on the screen was still blank. Eric put the pencil down, deciding that multi-tasking wasn't getting him very far.
"What're you doing?" A head propped itself on Eric's shoulder.
"Thinking," mumbled Eric, too focused to respond to his little sister, Andrea.
"About what?" she asked, taking her head off Eric's shoulder and leaning towards the computer screen.
"It's a journal," Eric explained, deciding quick responses would kill Andrea's curiosity faster than a full explanation. He wished he hadn't left the door to his room open. A physical wall between rooms might've kept his sister's nose away.
"Like on Livejournal or something?" she asked.
"Not exactly," Eric replied, finally turning to acknowledge his sister. At ten years old, she had outgrown her My Little Princess pajamas, condemning them as baby clothes. She sported her Pokemon outfit now, complete with a logo-brandishing T-shirt and pokeball decorated shorts. She had even put on her Pikachu design slippers, complete with ears and lightening bolt tails.
"Why're you typing it at three o'clock in the morning?" Andrea pulled a chair over.
Eric, thinking she was getting too comfortable, replied, "I'll forget if I wait until morning."
"Forget what?" asked Andrea.
"My dream." Eric had expected the question, so he had his answer ready.
"You're writing about your dreams?" Andrea said, raising an eyebrow.
Eric, tired of answering her never ending questions, didn't bother to explain that it wasn't the dream he wanted to capture, it was the whimsical, fantastical feeling of it he'd been inspired to write about.
"Lame," said Andrea. Eric sighed, shaking his head; he hadn't expected her to understand. Nevertheless, it was somewhat degrading for a fifteen-year-old to be called lame by his Pikachu-ear-slipper-sporting sister.
"Go back to bed, Andrea," Eric said, defeated.
"You have to come to my room first," Andrea said, hopping out of her chair.
"Why do I have to come to your room first?" Eric asked dryly, not making any move to get up.
"It's really cool, you have to see. I'm not all done yet, but still, it looks neat as it is and you can help me finish and—"
"I'll go see it in the morning, Andrea." Eric rubbed his forehead, aware of how tired he was. Too many late nights…
"But it only looks cool at night," Andrea whined.
"Not now," Eric said, "I'm trying to remember."
"Whatever," mumbled Andrea, walking out of the room, the door squeaking as she closed it.
"Eric," came a whisper and a tap on his shoulder. Startled out of half-sleep, head propped in his hands over his keyboard, Eric opened his eyes to pitch darkness. Squinting at the darkness, he shook the mouse, waking the computer. Blinking, he covered his eyes with his arm to shield them from the beam of light.
"Ouch," Andrea said, her voice still low.
"What do you want?" Eric was tired of this.
"I finished it." Andrea's voice was still a whisper, but she was excited now. Eric groaned, not sure how to respond. He glanced at the document he had left open. It read:
Great. So he had remembered, only to fall asleep and forget.
"Come on, Eric, you have to see it!" Andrea was nearly jumping up and down now. Eric gave up.
"All right," he said.
Andrea strutted him through the hallway to her room, guiding him around a half-finished puzzle and a knocked-over chessboard. Eric was glad she was guiding him. Everything looked gray in the corridor with only the faint moonlight from a window at the other end of the hall for light.
They entered her room, closing the door behind them. Andrea led Eric more carefully now, probably because her room was full of sharp objects waiting to be stepped on.
"Sit," Andrea commanded, pulling Eric's arm down. He complied and sat cross-legged on the floor.
"Voila!" Andrea's voice cut through the silence of the house. She emphasized her statement by switching on a flashlight and shining it in Eric's face, bringing out a yelp of surprise.
"Are you ready?" she asked, grinning at her brother, who was still blinking away black spots. Without waiting for an answer, Andrea flipped a switch.
Christmas lights snaked around the room, illuminating the nooks and crannies with a gentle glow. Sheets and blankets hung over Eric's head tied to bedposts and drawers. They loomed over the siblings like a forest canopy. A mixture of necklaces, soccer medals, and ornaments swung from the faux sky, rotating and reflecting the light like crystals. Stuffed animals sat in a disfigured pile in the middle of Andrea's decorated room, and crayon drawings from earlier years were taped to makeshift cardboard and furniture that served as walls, making for a unique type of wallpaper.
"What is this?" asked Eric, mouth open in wonder, scanning the room.
"Told you it was cool," said Andrea, sticking out her tongue.
"But what is it?" repeated Eric.
"I don't know." Andrea shrugged. "But I made it. The stuffed animals are my bed." She scooted over to her animal bed and lay on it with a sigh, about as content as a cat with cream. Eric yawned and pulled a giant white stuffed horse out of the pile, resting his head on it. This wasn't a bad place for a nap, he decided.
"This could be a pirate's hideout, you know," Andrea said, her voice low. "They could come here to store their magical treasure of shining gold."
Eric, almost asleep in dim, warm room, grunted to let her know he was listening.
"And you know what?" Andrea said, her voice taunting, "They come back every full moon, and when they find intruders they wake them and challenge them to sword fights because they have to fight fair in their own hideout, but they always win because they're master swordsmen, anyway, so the intruders end up—"
"Not now," Eric said, turning his head away from his sister, "I'm trying to sleep."
"Fine, then," Andrea said, "This is really a ninja assassin hideout, and they'll just kill you in your sleep." When that didn't provoke a response, Andrea fell silent.
"Hey, Eric?" she asked after a while, her voice soft.
"What?" Eric said, sounding far away.
"You think this place is cool, right?" she asked.
"Yeah," Eric whispered after a short pause, "it's pretty cool."
"Cooler than your dream from before?"
Eric still didn't remember that dream.
"It's better than that stupid dream," he muttered.
"Good," replied Andrea. With nothing more to say, they drifted to sleep.
Eric dreamed of Christmas lights and Pikachu slippers.