I was huddled in the far corner of the second floor. The library had long been closed. The building's cat, owned by Pauline, padded towards me. He meowed softly, his eyes huge and green.
I stretched out a hand and allowed him to rub his head on my fingers.The name tag hanging from his collar was inscribed with the word 'Ink'. He was named so, obviously, for his dark, black coat. His rumbling purr filled the heavy silence that hung in the air like fog.
I hid in the library after hours for as long as I could. The watch on my wrist counted the seconds dilligently. Its face glowed dimly in the dark building.
Something creaked. Every muscle in my body tensed. Ink swung his head towards the sound, curious, but not afraid. A flashlight formed a bright circle on the wall opposite the stairs. My heart thudded in my chest, yearning to be free. I felt that at any moment it would burst from my ribcage.
I wasn't sure why I was afraid. I knew who it was. The unshaved face of my father appeared. He was dressed in red check pajama bottoms and a grubby t-shirt that hadn't seen the inside of a washing machine for quite some time.
I held Ink close to me, praying he wouldn't see me in the dark corner. The cat howled in protest, scratching my arms to get away.
Dad's face swung towards me at the sound. I whimpered and huddled into an even smaller form.
He came towards me, rage painted in his eyes like fire. It was all over. I had crossed a line and now I would pay the price. Little did I know that the price would be far greater than I had ever imagined. For the anger of gods and men.
"I don't understand!" I gasped as my father backhanded me across my face.
"Listen!" My mother screeched, her fingers digging into my shoulders like claws.
And so I listened. They recounted once more their plan for me. I was to be sent to Johnson's Asylum for Girls and Women. It was a hated place, filled with death and despair. There, they told me, there I could recieve 'help'.
The tears slid slowly down and landed on the backs of my hands which rested in my lap. I turned them over, watching the crystal drops slide to shimmer in my palms.
Bryon. The closest I had come to a friend in a long time. Gone now. Gone.
But wait! Hope took root in my heart and spread its golden wings.
I looked up at my father, "Can I go to the library tommorow, one last time?"
I didn't even feel it when he hit me again.