Girl hurried her brother into their mother’s dim bedroom contentedly. She saw that their mother was sleeping atop the covers of the bed.
“You’re not in trouble,” she said to her brother, again.
Then they passed the tall mirror, and Girl jerked to a stop in shock. She brought them back before the mirror and stared.
Girl turned and looked at her brother beside her. He was there. She was holding his hand. But in the mirror, there was only Girl, no one was beside her, and she was holding empty air. And she knew that no one could see her brother but her. Girl sat down abruptly where she was.
“Sis,” said her brother, frightened, and he sat down too.
“It’s alright,” she said.
There came a quick, quiet knocking at the bedroom door. Girl’s brother ran and hid behind the tall mirror.
“Sis?” said her uncle, and poked his head into the room. He saw that Girl’s mother was sleeping and then he saw Girl, sitting on the floor. He gestured for Girl to come out into the hallway.
“Come here, Girl,” he said.
In the hallway, Girl’s uncle bent down and said earnestly, “Don’t bother your mother, Girl. Let her sleep. Seriously. I’ve got to make some phone calls. It’s so early—please go back to bed. Don’t panic.”
Girl nodded uncertainly. “Yes, Uncle,” she said.
Girl watched her uncle leave, and then she went back into her mother’s bedroom. She tried not to look in the mirror and she tried not to look at her mother’s sleeping face.
“Come out,” she said.
“No, I don’t want to,” said her brother, and then he came out from behind the mirror. Girl put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes at him. Her brother squirmed under her gaze.
Girl took her brother to the special medicine chest and then she found a big spool of strong red ribbon. She measured out and snipped a length as tall as herself and she bound one end to her brother’s wrist and one end to her own wrist. And she put the spool in her pocket. But she could not convince her brother to give up his flashlight.
“It’s day,” she protested. “You don’t need it.”
“I like it. It’s my monster flashlight,” he explained, and Girl sighed.
Girl took her brother past the clear glass doors of the study. Her uncle had his back to them and he was talking on the phone. Girl saw that he was pulling on his hair as he talked.
At the front door, Girl took her brother’s hand in her own. She was frightened, but she was also determined.
“Where are we going, Sis?” her brother asked.
“On a journey. On a—a quest,” she said.
He looked at her. “An adventure?” she tried.
He thought about this. “Okay,” he said.
Girl reached for the handle and she opened the door.