Kevin was awoken by an ear-splitting crack of thunder, the sound reverberating through the rickety old house that was already struggling to support itself. The building shuddered and moaned as waves upon waves of deafening rain pelted the cracked screen door and boarded up windows. The ceiling beside him was dripping rain heavily, and a wide puddle had already formed on the dirty carpet. He sat up, running a hand through his greasy hair and yawning, the sound drowned out by the rain. He was used to waking up in the middle of the night. So often something would break; just a few weeks ago the old television that sat in their bedroom had fallen through the old, rotting table it sat on. That had woken him up. Sometimes the house would creak so loud Kevin was positive it was time for it to come down. But it hadn't yet, so the boy would just have to keep trusting it.
Kevin rubbed one of his eyes, turning his head and scanning the black room. A flash of lightning illuminated the place for a split second, allowing him to see his youngest brother, Thomas, awake on the floor, luckily safe from the puddle for now. He could only assume Dane, his eldest brother, was awake below him on the bottom bunk. His eyes flicked up, and he waited until another burst of lighting appeared. When it did, he eyed his mother, who lay passed out, three empty cans on the floor beside her. Who knows how much she alcohol had while she was out of the house. Nothing could wake her up, especially when she drank so heavily before coming home.
A forceful gust of cold wind pushed past the holes in the window boards and into the house, making Kevin shiver and pull the old quilt over his shoulders. The lighting took a break, and it was once again solidly pitch black in their house. He listened to the rain, eyes open, despite being unable to see anything in front of him.
Nights like these that kept him from sleep were the ones that made him pity himself the most. He was eighteen, he should be finishing school and focusing on finding a partner. Maybe getting a job, playing sports. Instead, he was sitting in some old bunk bed, listening to the wind howl and the house groan as it shook. He played with the corner of his blanket, humidity making his hair stick to the sides of his face. He hated it when it rained so much in the summer, because he normally liked rain. But there was no way he could sleep with the cold wind and hot humidity making his body feel sweaty and chilled at the same time. So he threw off his blanket and laid back down, eyes staring up at the void.
Maybe he should try a little harder to get a job. But how would he get to work? Walk a few miles to get to town in his filthy pants and torn up shirt? Beg people to let him scrape gum from the tables, since he never even finished freshman year before he was forced to move into an abandoned shit hole in the middle of the woods? Maybe he should sell drugs like Dane. Or become a prostitute like his mother. Anything for money, right?
Kevin knew he shouldn't think like that. He wanted to do something good. But how could he ever? He knew very well he had no qualifications, he smelled bad, he was dirty, and how long had it been since he brushed his teeth? His hair? Taken a shower? Had a friend? Nobody would hire him. He'd probably be homeless forever. A deep sigh escaped Kevin's lips. Really, he had no options. He wished he could go live at a homeless shelter. Then he'd be able to clean himself up. But the only one nearby was a women's only shelter. They were friendly there. They gave Dane granola bars everyday he went there, so they could all eat, but that wasn't enough to keep the three brothers healthy. At least their no good mother was healthy, right? At least she had love, (even if it was just sex), showered everyday, got paid decent money, and could drive through town without a care in the world. He wondered why she hadn't just taken her old car and driven off yet. Who knows.
He jumped slightly when another clap of thunder sounded, and as the next flash of lighting hit he looked down to see Thomas shivering. Kevin threw down his quilt, and Thomas took it and curled up, ready to attempt and fall asleep. Maybe it was possible. Who knows. Kevin turned his body, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes. Tomorrow would be a nice day. He liked the aftermath of rain- grey skies, dew on every plant, and the smell was so comforting. He'd bathe in the river, and try to learn how to catch fish with his bare hands. But that was only if tonight wasn't the night that the house chose to collapse. Who knows. Life was full of unexpected events.