Jorge Serrano Sierra hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has a degree in Digital Cinematography and loves to explore his culture and share his experiences through his writing. His time is divided between watching movies, writing stories, and spending time with his family.
Shouting came from downstairs and the stench of whiskey claims the entirety of the house. Twelve-year-old Oscar’s attention turns to the door as his younger sisters, Eli and Cookie, freeze where they are. “Do we hide again?” Eli asks. Oscar gets up and takes Cookie. Eli runs to her bed. “Cookie, Eli, remember,” he says, “don’t come out unless I say so.” He hides Cookie and Eli under their bed. “Ozzie, can you hand me Mr. Snuffles?” Cookie asks. Oscar grabs the teddy bear from the floor and hands it to Cookie. Cookie grabs it and hugs it. Oscar stands and tiptoes to the door as the shouting match downstairs continues. He opens the door and peeks outside. Plates are being thrown. Promises are being broken. Footsteps approach. The children’s mother hustles up the stairs and Oscar opens the door completely to let her in. She comes in the bedroom with her hair unkempt and a red imprint of a hand on her cheek. She takes Eli and Cookie out from under the bed and carries Cookie in her arms. “Oscar, get the go bags,” the mother says. “Eli, with me.” Oscar runs to the room closet and digs through it. He finds two medium sized bags and carries them. The mother turns to Oscar. “We go to the car,” she says, “and we don’t come back.” “Mommy, what about my—” Cookie says. “Cookie, we have to go,” the mother interrupts. The four of them make their way down the creaky, old stairs and dash for the door. The father continues yelling by himself. The whiskey odor more prominent downstairs. On the way out the door, Oscar sees their father shouting and gulping from the whiskey bottle. “Oscar, take your sisters to the car,” she orders. The mother puts Cookie down and Cookie grabs Oscar’s hand. The three children run to the car parked in front. The mother goes back inside and grabs the car keys on the kitchen counter. The father grabs the mother and proceeds with his drunk bickering. Oscar, Eli, and Cookie wait outside with the bags. “Oz, what about our books?” Eli asks. “What about Mr. Snuffles?” Cookie asks. Oscar looks inside and sees their mother and father arguing through the window. He runs inside to get it. Encumbered by the whiskey air and the unceasing yelling, he rushes to his bedroom. He grabs Mr. Snuffles from under the bed and two books from the desk. He goes down the stairs, out the house, and to his sisters. “Mr. Snuffles,” Cookie exclaims as she hugs her teddy bear. “Thank you, Oz,” Eli says. Oscar kisses Eli on top of her head. The mother and father exit the house. She throws the car keys to Oscar who catches them. He opens the family wagon and puts the bags inside. He puts his sisters in the worn backseat. He sits in the passenger’s seat and waits for his mother. The father grabs her by the arm, and she wrestles out of his grip. “No more,” the mother says. The father grabs her again and slaps her across the face causing her to fall down. Oscar flinches. “Momma,” Eli and Cookie yell simultaneously, slamming the back-door window repeatedly. Oscar sees a nearly empty bottle of Johnnie Walker at his feet and grabs it. The mother drags herself away from the father, staining her pastel yellow dress. The father staggers toward her as Oscar walks up to him, whiskey bottle shaking in his hand. Oscar slams the bottle across his father’s face. His father falls along with the bottle. Oscar helps his mother stand and walk to the car. Cookie, Eli, Oscar, and their mother drive away. The mother looks at Oscar, who is staring out the window. She grabs and holds his hand, gaining his attention. She smiles through the pain and so does he.