We won’t have to sleep here again

He was about to count the rounds in the revolver once more when his daughter spoke.

“Are we really leaving?” the tiny girl asked. He returned it beneath his yellowed pillow and lay listening to the hiss of the gas stove. The features of the squalid room hid in the murk beyond the glow.

“It’s time for bed,” he said a second time, and rolled up to his knees. He pushed a hand to the glass. The snow climbed higher than the windows months ago and drew away his warmth in moments. “Don’t you remember? We have to wait until the morning.” He lay back down beside the flame and tried to think of the last time they saw the sky. 

 “Can we leave the lamp on until I’m asleep?” 

 “Of course,” he kissed her forehead and turned the light down a little. In the gloom and the quiet he crept his hand beneath the cold of his pillow to grip the weapon’s handle. He closed his eyes and awaited the change in her breathing. She would fall asleep first. She always did.

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