Rain braided a window pane, rivulets of molten glass painting a web of silver against a white sky. He sat with his legs curled beneath him by the fire, his older sister slumped on a kitchen chair across the room, her cheek resting on the scrubbed wooden surface, fingers absentmindedly stroking the many cuts and dents of time. He sighed, gazing longingly out the window. Not hoping for better weather- that sort of wishful thinking belonged to another generation- but rather of his phone. The parents were gone for the day, and his father had removed every single Apple gadget from the small house. Addie looked up.
'Wanna do something?'
'Dunno, you choose.'
'I don't know, what is there to do?'
'I don't know.'
And so they lapsed back into silent apathy, rain drumming and thoughts running. He stood, stretched, and traipsed into the living room, collapsing onto the soft rug by the television. They never really used it, what with all the streaming sites available nowadays, and he rifled curiously through the big box of DVDs. Lost in thought, he perused the collections for a good half an hour, crawling behind the set to the back of the cupboard, and jumped when his sister's voice echoed from right behind. He crawled back out, rubbing the crown of his head irritably. 'What?'
'I asked what you were doing,' she asked with a characteristic eye roll and cock of a penciled eyebrow.
'Well, what does it look like I'm doing?'
'Making a complete mess of things as usual,' she said with a smirk. He rolled his eyes.
'I'm looking at old DVDs. D'you know what these are?' He asked, holding up a brown paper package. She fell to her knees beside him, curiosity taking over and sarcasm momentarily forgotten. She grabbed the packet from him before he could protest and pulled out white DVDs, numbered by hand in black sharpie.
'Let's play them and see. It's not like we're snooping, they are in a public room after all...'
'You don't think Mum and Dad would mind?' He asked, a fluttery feeling in his stomach.
'Oh my god you are such a baby, geez,' she whined, giving him a wide-eyed, how-are-we-related sort of look.
'Just checking,' he muttered sulkily, but she had already turned away and popped them in the player, oblivious. The old television flickered for a few minutes as Addie fiddled with the remote, slapping away his hand when he grew impatient and tried to grab it. Finally an image surfaced. A small, dark-haired toddler wobbled on unsteady legs towards the camera, face split in a wide grin, chubby hands reaching out. His mother's voice called his sister's name softly, his father laughing affectionately in the background.
'It's me! Oh my god I'm so cute!' Addie gasped delightedly, gazing at the screen. 'How come we've never seen these? They're home videos, so cool.' They watched for another few minutes.
'When am I coming on?' He asked grumpily.
'You're not even born yet, I look three or something. Hang on,' she reached for the brown paper package and rifled through, finally pulling out a number 7. 'This'll have you in it I think,' she assured him, switching over the DVDs. the screen flickered for a few seconds before settling. His father's chequered shirt filled the screen before he stepped back, his face coming into focus. The camera was obviously propped up against something, maybe on a chair or low table, so that when his father straightened out he was only visible from the waist down. An small boy of around five sat on the carpet wheeling a red car, absorbed. He was poised between the soft roundness of the toddler years and gangling, semi-independent energy of a child. Addie frowned next to him, beginning to rise. 'No, if they're numbered right you should be younger in this one,' she frowned irritably and made to change it. He waved her down, eyes never leaving the screen, 'no, no, it's fine, I want to see anyway. I'm so cute! I look like little Theo,' he gushed, referring to their youngest cousin.
His father now crouched down beside him and took the little red car. The boy started crying. 'Shhhhhhhh, it's okay, shush now big boy,' whispered his father. He straightened out, slightly turned away from the camera and started unbuckling his leather belt. His trousers dropped the the ankles.
'Matt-' Addie said slowly, uncertainly.
His father walked slowly over to the little boy, knelt down, took a deep breath. Addie and Matt stared transfixed at the screen, as their father pulled off his boxers.
'Matt, I'm not sure-' his sister's voice was high, panicked, but too late. The spell broke along with a thread of other things in Matt's life, and they were both shouting, Addie scrambling to turn it off, a dry sob catching in her throat. They sat in silence, breathing hard, for several minutes. Finally they looked at each other. He couldn't read her expression, but guessed his own was much the same. They both jumped when the front door opened.
'Kids? How was a day without your gizmos? Get up to some good old-fashioned fun?' Their father's playful baritone echoed from the front hall, their mother's lighter footsteps following close behind.