Ihold my breath in the dark and wait.
Every night is the same.
And every night I find a way to escape.
If not physically, then mentally.
I have a safe place I fall into and there I can hide away from the monsters of this world. Or at least the monsters inmyworld.
Shadows cling to the dark corners of my room. I watch the bleakness.
I lay under my covers, trembling from what I know is coming. Terror inches up my spine slowly stealing my ability to move. But not yet. I still have time. I think. My eyes dash to the clock on my night table. It’s barely nine. The help hasn’t gone home yet. The steel clamp keeping my lungs from working loosens. They can’t leave until the last of the dinner plates have been washed and stored away.
I lay in the middle of the bed. Just beyond the large windows, an Autumn storm rolls over Seattle. Wind whips around the edge of the build causing an eerie howl to bleed through the steel and glass.
But nothing masks the sound of his footfalls pounding against the polished marble outside my door. For every step he takes, I move a foot in the opposite direction.
They pause and so does my heart.
“No,” I hoarsely beg the darkness. I grip my blankets tightly until I can’t feel my fingers. Never in my fourteen years have I wished for someone to die, but for once I would love my prayers to be answered.
I know it won’t always be like this, but for now, I have to survive. Imustsurvive. I can’t leave my mom alone with him. She was wrong to marry the demon after my father died. Good looks only go so far, but she didn’t bother to look deeper than skin level. He promised her the world after she lost hers. And now I’m the price of her gullibility.
There’s a small lamp in the corner of the room. The tiny lightbulb swallows some of the darkness but I’m nowhere near close enough to be touched by the shimmering gold.
While my father was alive, I never feared the darkness, but now I can’t stand being in a room where it clings to everything. The closet, the space beneath my bed, and every corner. The door I’m never allowed to close. If I defy his orders the wrath of my stepfather is unbearable.
But I did once and went as far as to lock it one night. My mother was in the hospital the next day after falling down the stairs.
I never closed nor locked the door again after that and my mother never tripped down the stairs.
All I have to do is survive a little longer. For her. Then I can get us both out of here.
My door creaks on the hinges and my hand flies to my phone under the covers. Why I don't know. There’s no one to call. No brother, no uncles. No family. No friends who will dash to my rescue. And the police? What a freaking joke. They won’t believe a child over the man who slips them blood money under the table.
I tried that too. Once. I learned the hard way not everyone in uniform cares about right or wrong when money is involved.
The only person who can possibly help fight back the demon is passed out in her room from “happy cocktails” as my mother likes to call them. She’ll wake sometime in the morning blurry-eyed and unaware of the nightmares I live through so she doesn’t have to. It’s the same every night.
The door inches open little by little and my voice suddenly fails me. Who is there to hear my screams anyway? I open my mouth to force air into my frozen lungs. Sliding farther up the headboard I turn myself into a tight ball.
The creaks stop a moment and the gaping darkness on the other side of the door holds the demons I fear the most. He will be oiling the hinges soon. He usually does every third week of the month.
Has it already been that long?
I scoot back on the bed until my back hits the headboard and drag the covers over my legs as a shield. It never works, but I have to try.