She’s here. A new one. I watch through the door frame as she is introduced to the room across from me. She’s not alone.
Alone. I was. No. I had Dana. She still clings to me like she did that first day. The doorstep sticks to my feet. The cold. Incapacitating. Too much for Dana, my little sister. Big, round eyes nearly frozen open. The sky threatens to eat us alive.
The little girl is lost. Crying. Her parents, her mother I should say, hugs her. I have never seen eyes that haunted before. Only when they were plastered to my sister’s face. She’s asleep, and I know I should be. But I continue to stare through the crack, watching. Mom and Dad leave. Nathan kneels down next to her, speaks softly.
I am frigid. I rub my arms. Why am I cold?
I look around and the presence is gone. It knows when I question my solitude. Unnerved, I turn back to the door. Nathan is closing the door and I don’t see the girl anymore. I yawn. Maybe another day.
I saunter back to bed. Dana is curled up around her teddy bear. I climb in beside her and brush her hair away. Innocent. Why can’t we all be that innocent?
I turn over and face the wall. Dozing. Peace is close, so close…
The screaming begins.
I am rigid. I can’t move. Mother is coming. She’s coming to hurt Dana. I roll over and on top of her. Must protect her. She didn’t deserve it. I did it. It was my fault. It won’t happen again. But Mother doesn’t listen. The screaming continues. Glass shatters. Wood snaps. The walls cave in. The screaming… It never stops it is never-ending.
Why are you screaming?! YOU STUPID BRAT! What have you done?! Do you know how much pain you have caused me, you good for nothing piece of shit?!
Why are you screaming?! YOU STUPID BRAT! What have you done?! Do you know how much pain you have caused me, you good for nothing piece of shit?!Alex. She speaks. Dana. Alex, are you okay? I can’t respond. I’m shaking. Mother could still be here.
The screaming has stopped. It’s over. Dana Hugs me. It’s okay. I Love you. You can have Buster tonight.
Dana. She’s okay. Mother is gone. It’s all gone. It’s over with. We’re safe. The darkness is safe…
Months pass. I don’t speak to the new girl. I don’t have the nerve or the will. She doesn’t notice me. Not that I need the attention.
I watch through the door crack. Her parents have returned. The girl is lifeless. Dead inside. She doesn’t respond to the words that should have sliced her open. The words I wish I could hear. The tears that I wish were about me.
They walk away. Only then does she show any emotion and begins to bawl.
I envy her. We never got a goodbye. We don’t have anyone missing us. We don’t have anyone at all.