~~Nadia's Perspective~~

"Dakota!" I exclaimed, jumping up. I hadn't even seen the scars on his arms, but now, as I stared at my brother as he walked away, I could see how Dakota would use a blade as an outlet for his pain.

Dakota ignored me and continued to leave the room. His frame was slumped, as though the admittance of his self-harm had taken the life out of him. I ran over to him, tears flowing freely down my face. "Dakota!"

Dakota shook me off. "Shut up," he said, trying to wrench out of my arms.

"Dakota!" I said again, practically in hysterics. Why didn't I see this coming? I should've kept him safe! I could've done something, anything!

Rolling his eyes, Dakota walked away, leaving me watching him with a broken heart.

"Dakota," I finally said for the fourth and final time. It was all I seemed to be capable of saying at the moment.

I whirled around to face "Dad," who was watching the scene with incredulity on his face. "Dad, how can you let this happen? Your family is falling apart, and - " Here, I stopped. I couldn't lose it. I couldn't lose my temper. I had to be perfect.

Ever so seamlessly, I forced the distress from my face. For a moment, I stood there dumbly. Finally, muttering "I gotta go," I turned and went down to my room in the basement.

When I got downstairs, I slammed the door behind me and locked it. Falling down on my bed, I buried my face in my pillow and, at long last, allowed myself to sob. "I can't believe this is happening," I whispered over and over again. "God, where are You? Don't you care about my family? Don't you - "

I choked midsob as I felt God with me in the room. It was times like this that I could feel Him more than ever before.

Reaching over to my nightstand, I grabbed my Bible and held it to my chest.

"Oh, God," I whispered, tears streaming down from my eyes, "Oh, God, Oh, God...I need You."  I bowed my head over my Bible, clutching the Book as though it was a lifeline and I was out in the middle of a churning ocean.

In a way, I was.

My hair fell around my face, and my sobbing subsided slowly but surely.

God is with me. I tucked a fistful of hair behind my ear and sniffed. Oh, God, I need you...

I sat on my bed, sniffing as the tears ceased their flowing. After several minutes had passed, I was completely silent, an inexplicable peace filling my soul. My world was crashing down around me, but Someone bigger than me had control of it all.

I blew my nose and just sat there, eyes closed and lips moving in silent prayer.

The End

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