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Something was clogging up the vacuum and whatever it was, his uncle would have their heads. All of them, regardless of age or actual guilt. Levi looked around at the mess of toys strewn about the floor and sulked. Nothing was going to save them. Not Faye’s fast talking, not Ethan’s tears, and definitely not the excuse that only their parents could discipline them.

“I got it!” Faye jumped up from the couch. “Well? Aren’t any of you going to ask me how brilliant I am? This is to get you all out of trouble.”

“That’s not right!” Ethan pouted.

Levi sighed as the rest chimed in.

“Who made you Queen?” Zachariah shouted.

“Yeah!” Geneva seconded as her brother, Henry, shot up. “You were supposed to watch us. This is your fault!”

“Hey! This whole thing is Louis’ fault. He’s the one that dumped us!” Faye’s mouth quickly snapped shut but it was too late to take it back.

A silence came over them as the gravity of it sunk in.

“Louis snuck out?” Levi thought his small voice betrayed him, but it was Henry’s. “That means we’re not in trouble.” Henry exchanged a grin with Geneva.

Levi looked back at the toys and then the vacuum. Lewis was the moral older cousin. The responsible one. Zachariah was tainted thanks to his sister, but Louis was supposed to be the good one. If he snuck out, then what did that mean for them? Levi couldn’t shake the question despite the shouting, high-fiving, and laughing around him. Where his cousins saw a way out, he saw sure punishment from their uncle’s frustration alone. Their uncle didn’t talk much but Levi was sure that was what made their uncle’s stern looks so intimidating.


Levi shook his head to get rid of the chill just thinking about their uncle’s glair gave him and looked up to find everybody staring at him. “Y-yes?”

“You’re not in trouble.” Faye assured him before she beamed. “Besides, I haven’t told you all my brilliant plan.”

“What’s that? Cry until they forget?”

“Ha” she rolled her eyes at her brother. “Zach, I said brilliant plan not natural skill.”

“There’s a difference for you?”

Faye ignored her brother and focused on the vacuum. “We’re going to demantle it.”

“You mean dismantle it.”

“Louis!” Levi smiled at their savior.

Meanwhile Faye had crossed her arms in full pout. “It’s obvious you knew what I meant.”

Louis smiled back at Levi, tousling Levi’s hair as he passed on his way to inspect the vacuum. The thing stopped working the moment it made a strained grinding noise. Levi thought it was one of the small blocks but like with everything else, none of them could agree on what caused the problem, only that there was one.

“It’s just a string. It’s a long string but…Levi?”

“Yes?” He perked up and scooted to the edge of his seat.

“Can you get the striped case out of the bathroom? It’s under the counter, to the right, in front of the mouthwash.”

Levi nodded. He didn’t visit often but he did know how enough about the house to know where the bathroom was. And he knew plenty about searching for things thanks to the tag-along missions his parents brought him on. They were smaller than his mom’s. He knew that much from eavesdropping on his parents, but he was sure the ones he went on were a lot more fun. His always included creatures his cousins could only read about while he got to see and sometimes talk to when his parents weren’t looking.

Opening the cabinet, he spotted the case with a sigh of relief. Whatever Louis needed the case for would keep them out of trouble. The vacuum would be fixed and nobody but them would know about it being broken in the first place. Nobody would be in trouble. Nobody’s parents had to know. And the best part was, he’d still get to go with his parents on their next mission.

© 2016 Maura D.

Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts