Wind Town 2.2

             They helped him up and guided him to the couch. Matt followed their directions numbly. His body was still shaking, and his mind was whirling like a children’s toy. The image of the pinwheel popped into his head, and he flinched. The sudden shudder was too much for his tired knees, and he fell onto the couch with a dull thud. Sarah curled up next to him. Her thin shoulder pressed against his side, but he didn’t protest.
            Their parents stood uncertainly in the center of the room. Dad ran his hands through his hair and then rubbed them against his legs, as if he couldn’t quite make them still. He started to put them through his hair again, but Mom reached out and caught one, linking their fingers together. She leaned her face against his shoulder and sighed. When his dad stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head, Matt’s insides began to feel tense and shaky. Even when the house shook from the wind, Mom and Dad hadn’t looked like that. They weren’t supposed to look like that.
            “They’re too young. They shouldn’t have to deal with this.”
            The murmur was so soft that Matt wasn’t sure he’d really heard it until his dad whispered, “We don’t have any choice.”
            The shoulder pressed against him trembled, making Matt turn. Sarah gazed up at him with eyes so big he thought they would swallow her face.
            “Is the wind bad?” she whispered, clutching his sleeve.
            He stared down at her, not knowing how to answer. A sigh turned them back to their parents. They were stepping away from each other. Matt thought they would pull the armchairs up to the couch and could only gape when his mom sat facing them on the coffee table. His dad followed suit.
            “We’re not supposed to sit on the coffee table!” He and Sarah blurted together. Their parents blinked and then smiled a little. Some of the tension left Matt’s insides.
            “Just this once,” his mom said, and her smile faded. Dad laid his hand over hers. She looked down at their joined hand as if not sure where to start. Matt couldn’t wait any more.
            “How come no one else can talk to the wind?” he blurted.
            They frowned, and his dad stared up at the ceiling like the answer was up there somehow.
            “That’s not exactly true,” his dad said finally. “Everyone used to be able to talk to it and understand it. All of our people did, anyway.”
            “Our people…?” Matt gaped.
            “Humans, Matthew,” his mother sighed with exasperation. “We’re still human.”

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