The Sweather

Nico was pretty sure his grandmother was a witch. After she gave him a quilt for Christmas last year, she started appearing in his dreams. “How are you, dear?” She’d ask. “I’m just checking in on you. Did you brush your teeth? How did your day go?”

Once, when he was really sick, his grandmother just knew without any one calling her. She brought over some medicine that tasted terrible. It was black and smelly and slimey and oozy. He was certain he’d throw it all up right away, but she insisted he drink it. He felt better before he put the cup down. It was amazing.

However, the biggest proof that his grandmother wasn’t normal was the sweather she gave him for his birthday last month. “A sweater?” Nico asked when he’d opened it.

“Of course not, dear,” grandmother said. “It’s a sweather. You’ll see.”

And he did. The sweather predicted the weather better than any weatherman. It was light with short sleeves on good days, but it changed when the weather wasn’t as nice. Some days it was thicker with long sleeves. Other days he came downstairs and the sweater part was on the inside of a waterproof jacket, lining it with wooly warmth that always smelled like sunshine.

The sweather never got dirty. It always matched what he was wearing. One day, it even saved his life. He came downstairs that morning and ate breakfast as usual, then drew a picture of the cat.   When it was time to go to school, he went to find his sweather. It was inside-out.

The sweather had never been inside-out before. What did it mean? “Mom, come look,” Nico said. “My sweather is inside out. Does it mean I won’t need it at all? Should I leave it at home?”

“I don’t know,” Nico’s mom said. “Let’s call your grandmother.” But grandmother didn’t answer the phone.

“Maybe it means there will be bad weather,” Nico said. “Can I have a ride to school?” Normally Nico and his mom walked to school together. Nico’s mom said the exercise was good for him.

Today, she looked at the sweather and her eyebrows were all wrinkled up together. “That might be best,” she said.   “Why don’t you draw another picture of the cat and we can send it to grandmother.”

“She likes my drawings,” Nico said. “I’ll give the first picture to my teacher.   I think she likes cats.”

While Nico was drawing the cat, there was a roaring, rushing sound outside the house. Nico’s mom ran into the kitchen and pulled him under the table with her. “Is it a monster?” Nico asked. “It sounds like a dragon.”

“I don’t know,” Nico’s mom said. The lights went out and then the house shook, just a little, when the roaring got louder. Then it went away. They waited in the dark a little bit longer, but nothing happened. They could hear sirens in the distance.

“Did the dragon set things on fire?” Nico asked.

His mother didn’t answer. She got out from under the table, and held out a hand. When he’d grabbed her hand, she pulled him up. “Where’s Fluffy?” Nico asked. “Fluffy!” He called, but the cat didn’t come. That wasn’t unusual, though. She never came when he called.

Nico’s mom led him to the front door. She opened it and they looked out. It looked like a giant had cut a swervy path through the neighborhood.   Trees and houses and telephone poles had all been tossed around and smashed.

“What happened?” Nico asked.

“I think it was a tornado,” Nico’s mom said. She took his sweather out of the closet by the door. It looked like a normal sweater.

“Today will be nice now,” Nico said.

“I think you should stay home, just in case,” Nico’s mom said. Nico didn’t mind.

“Mrow,” said Fluffy. She was under the couch.

“My sweather is amazing,” Nico said.

Nico’s mom smiled. “We should write your grandmother another thank you note,” she said.