Damien and I were sat on my bed, talking, when Aina came in. She had a battered, overflowing, blue notebook clutched in one hand.
"Cira?" her voice came out small and scared, making her seem a lot younger.
"Aina, its alright." I smiled warmly at her. "Come in."
"Mind giving us a minute?" I turned to Damien, who nodded, understanding.
"I'll be downstairs." He kissed the top of my head before he left us alone.
I pulled Aina onto my lap, like I used to when she was very small, and hugged her. "What's up little one?"
She silently handed me the notebook. After flicking through it a while, I felt sick to my stomach. Aina looked at me, worried and scared.
"I-is this Pho's?" I tried to keep my voice as level as possible, but anger and disgust were fighting against my self-control.
My sweet Aina, I will make her mine. She will be mine, forever.
The words, written by my little brother, had seared themselves into my memory. I knew they would haunt me.
Aina nodded in reply to my question, tears in her eyes.
"Where is he now, Aina?" I looked her in the eyes, trying to convey the importance of the question.
"In my bed." She replied in that same small voice.
"Aina, I want you to stay here. You can sleep in my bed tonight, okay?" I smiled at her. "Don't worry, I'll talk to Pho and we'll sort this out."
She nodded, a frown creasing her brow. I hugged her again. "Its going to be okay, Aina. I promise, I won't let him hurt you."
I waited with her until she was sleeping before going to Aina's room. Pho was waiting there, his eyes flashing in the dark.
"Where is she?!" He snarled, leaping at me. "Where is my Aina! "
He collided with me and we went back, into the wall. Under his weight, I was winded. Coughing, I pushed him back.
"She's not coming near you until you talk to me Pho! I'm your sister, I protected you both from all sorts, but this? What's going on?" I spoke desperately, but in the half-light from the landing, I saw my brother's face contort with fury.
"NO!" He bellowed, flying at me again. I stepped back and fell, this time out onto the landing. He sat on my chest, landing blows again and again on my face and head. Pinned as I was, I could do nothing to defend myself. As he hit me, he muttered under his breath.
"My Aina. You will not keep me from my Aina. My sweet Aina."
"I know about the notebook!" I choked out the revelation in a whisper. he froze.
"Pho, I know. I know about the notebook." My breathing was rapid and I tasted blood as he searched my face for a lie he was praying to find. When he saw it was the truth, his face went blank, totally devoid of emotion.
He got off me rapidly and I stood, my body protesting. I was aware of the stairs at my back but Pho was blocking any way I could move. I felt my heart rate increase a little.
His eyes were black in the light, presenting a terrifying parody of the laughing child I remembered as my little brother.
How has it come to this?
"Sorry, Cira." He said mockingly, before charging me a third time.
He pushed hard, shoving me off balance and backwards. As I fell, I watched him turn away, a smile on his face.
I collided hard with the steps as I fell. I hit the ground once at the bottom hard, before everything went black.