I grabbed Jonnie by the back of his pajamas and hauled him back in through the window. “What are you doing?” I demanded in my meanest big-sister voice.
Jonnie looked up at me with those big brown eyes, sort of like he was a puppy I’d just whipped and he couldn’t figure out why.
I still had a hold of his pajamas and shook him hard, furious that he didn’t seem even a tiny bit scared to be scuttling around on the shingles in the middle of the night. Sure we went out on the roof sometimes, like on fourth of july to watch the fireworks, but that was with mom and dad up there with us, and mom doing plenty of telling us to sit still and quit moving around and stay away from the edge.
“Get back in bed,” I said, and let him go. He sulked off, and I shut the dormer window, locked it, and stacked a few books on the window sill in case he got any ideas. Then I sat down in the big orange chair and waited for Mom and Dad to get home.
I woke up with a breeze on my face.
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I ran to the open window and looked out. “Jonnie!” I shouted, this time I didn’t care if I woke anybody else up. I checked the roof and didn’t see him. For a split second I teetered, hanging on to the window sill, wondering if I should check his bed, or if I should look for him lying dead on the ground.
I ran downstairs and out the front door, circling the house, gasping, ever moment sure I’d find my brother in a heap on the grass. I’d got all the way around and was just deciding I should have checked his bed when I happened to look up at the dormer window.
Jonnie was there, but he wasn’t standing on the roof. He was hovering over it. Hovering. Flying. He looked like he was trying to get back in through the window quick as he could.
But the moment I saw him, he fell.
It was like a string had been cut, and he tumbled to the roof and rolled down. I screamed and ran forward to catch him. His body slammed into my arms, and we crashed to the ground.
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