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A Final Day

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Eri looks up at the picture wall, the puzzle of portraits only interrupted by the staircase. He’s never met half of the people in the pictures, of course, but… he still feels their painted eyes on him.
He stuffs his hands into his pockets as he takes a breath, letting it out after a moment in a heavy sigh.
His mother’s second-born son, who will never amount to as much as his father.
She never said it to him directly, of course, but… his mother never was one for subtlety.
He could leave all of this, if he really wanted to. Just… pack a backpack and walk away. He’s an adult. His mother couldn’t stop him.
Orion might have a few things to say, though.
His eyes drift to where his brother’s sword rests against the stairs, the pommel resting between railing’s twisted rungs. It’s beautiful, with scrolling designs carved along the length of the blade, and it ends in a squared edge, rather than a point, which… Eri never fully understood, but he has to admit that it looks cool.
He’s got a bow, upstairs, although it’s not nearly as novel. It’s a compound recurve, painted black, and he’s been working on decorating it himself when he has the paints for it.
Each a gift for surviving to adulthood, or something.
It’s always something, with her. To make them “stronger.”
Leave the door to stick for twelve years. Ignore the hole in the floor. Sit at home alone for months before he’s even out of school so she can take Orion on some trip or another.
Eri rolls his shoulders, wincing a little as one of them pops, and makes his way upstairs with another sigh. He could stand here and stew all day, but he’s got shit to do.
Like a bag to pack, just in case.
It’s not like they’d notice, if he did go. Not for a few days, anyway… not if he left most of his things here.
If he’s lucky, he might be able to make it to the next town before Orion catches up with him.
Or he’ll make it to the kitchen and get his nose broken.
…Eri thinks he might just be willing to take that chance.

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