Dan put her in a room. He stood in front of the closed door.
“I want you to pretend that there is a monster in this room. That monster is hurting your sister, he is hurting her. You have to get through this door to her to protect her. GO!!”
Adam ran double fast to the door and within Dan’s reach. He kicked Adam in the stomach and Adam slid backwards. His head hit the floor and he screamed out in pain.
“Do you think that is anything compared to the pain that she is going through right now? Get up!! GO!!”
Adam ran for the door and Father punched him in the chest. He dropped to the ground, unable to breathe. Father kicked Adam in the head.
I remember my vision trembling I remember the sound of Adam crying. I remember hearing Adam say “Please.” I remember thinking Adam was just a little boy. Adam was only five. I remember breaking free of Adam and pushing him back. I remember his relief that I was there, that I would keep him safe. I remember standing up and raising my gaze to Father.
“Why?” I asked.
“Someone is in there.” He pointed at the door behind him. “He is in there and he is hurting your sister right now. You have to get in there and save her. That is why I had you, so that you would protect her.”
I remember the look in his eye when I balled my hands up into fists. He looked scared for a second. Just a second. Like he had awoken something he could not contain. Then he smiled. The moment of fear was over. But he would look into my eyes again 13 years later. He would see that look in my eye and he would see me ball up my fists again. I remember that night, too. The fear did not go away that time. He still lives with it. He still sees the little boy balling his fists up to protect his big sister. He can’t get that image out of his mind.
Time after time I ran into to him that day, and time after time he kicked and punched me away. I remember the light coming from the windows began to fade from the warm yellow of sunlight to the angry red of sunset. I remember him standing in the gloom in front of that door, red light pooled around his feet. I remember being bathed in the red from the front windows.
“GO!!” Over and over again I would reset to zero, standing before him, fists balled, eyes filled with tears, muscles twitching and straining. Just to run at him again and again. Unstoppable at the age of five.
“I have got to save her!”
“I have got to get to her! She needs me!”
“Someone is hurting her!” These things cut into my mind. Carving a mantra over and again in my head. “Her” “Her” “Her” “Her” Always thoughts of her. “She is exposed.” “She is in danger.” “Save her!” The words formed scars in my mind always saying “Her.”
The last three days I have begun to feel her. I can sense that she is in trouble. I know she needs me. She needs her guardian. She is going through something and I am not there. I can’t be. She is unsafe for me to have in my life because she has a mantra carved in her head too, but it says “Me!” “Me!” over and over again. She thinks of him and how he made the entire world about her. She knows I have been trained to protect her. She knows where my place is. That makes her unhealthy to have in my life. She demands obedience from me. She demands that I stand beside her and take her enemies on where she can watch. So I have to stay away.
But she is out there right now! Right now she is calling to me. She needs me while I sit in a dark room and type about it. I could be out there beside her. Common sense tells me to stay here, take care of my family and see to my pregnant wife. But all my training, all my instincts scream at me to leave all of this behind and go to her.