The night was cool and dark, snow and slush covering the roadways in a slick mess. There were no stars out tonight, and the moon hid itself behind sheets of dark grey clouds. Inside, the room was dimly lit by the lamp that stood on the honey colored night stand. A dresser sat across the room by the wall, large, dark, and seemingly well made.
A thirty two inch flat screen sat on top of it, cords running behind it like black eels and feeding it electric currents to the small box, allowing pixels to turn into pictures and sound to flow forth. Then the only other real furniture left in the room was the two twin beds, sitting next to each other in solemn silence, with two boys on top of them, so similar that it was like looking into a mirror.
Sean and I had both had it rough that night. He had just gotten out of the shower when our new “guardian” got in his face. Kenny was a construction worker and fit all of those qualifications, strong, bulky, dumb, and a vile temper. He was tall, around six foot five and built like a tank, military cut dirty blonde hair, and yellow eyes that were always bloodshot and angry looking.
Apparently Sean had forgotten to take the trash out, which he very well might have, but nothing could have this monster of a man screaming in your face and beginning to shove you violently. I made it out of my room just in time to watch Kenny grab Sean by the wrist and point his finger in his face.
“Listen here, you live in my house, and you will do as I say you ungrateful fucking brat.” He snarled, his grip on Sean’s wrist to the point you could hear Sean wince every time he tried to move. “And you WILL do as I tell you to, or you will pay for it very dearly, understood?”
Sean nodded quickly, but Kenny still didn’t let go of his wrist, instead pulling him in closer and pressing his other hand over Sean’s throat and pushed him back against the door. Sean squirmed helplessly as I stood paralyzed in fear, Kenny was a sadist, one of the worst I’d ever seen. It’s like he fed off the misery and pain of other human beings…
I heard Sean gag as he struggled for air, desperately trying to kick and fight back, but Kenny was too strong for him. Finally I moved in, ignoring the fact that he would more than likely turn on me. I wasn’t going to let him touch my brother like that. I moved quickly, seizing his arm and using all of my weight to push the giant off of Sean, who fell to the floor coughing.
Kenny was dazed for a moment, but not for long. He retaliated by back handing me, his knuckles striking right across my cheek and nose, sending me stumbling back and open for the Fist that found its’ way into my stomach. I was about to crumble when he grabbed me by the hair, dragging me up so I could be eye level to him.
“You hit me again you stupid little punk,” He hissed, “And I’ll put you in the hospital for a couple months.” He glared at me some more before pulling me close to knee me in the stomach and send me flopping to the floor in a pained ball. I crumpled and felt woozy as he sent one final blow to my head with his foot.
With that, he left me a shaking mess on the floor. Sean coughed violently before pulling himself up and moving to put his arm around me and pick me up helping me find my way back to the room, where he laid me down on the bed.
“Are you okay Zach?” His voice was full of concern, looking me over and moving quickly to get tissues, wash cloths, painkillers, and Band-Aids for the areas that were bleeding. “You didn’t need to jump in, I would’ve been okay…” His voice trailed off as he stuffed a tissue in my bloody nose, wiping the crimson streams the made there way down the valleys of my face.
“It wouldn’t have changed anything if I didn’t,” I sighed softly, wincing as he gently touched a bruise on my stomach, “He would’ve found a reason to beat the shit out of me anyways… We both know that. If I can save you any pain you know I will.”
He nodded softly, getting up from his perch on the bed and throwing away the bloody tissues before laying down on his bed. Pulling his knees up and wrapping his hands around them to cradle his head, all without a word.
I knew the position he was in. It was one he tried to use to protect himself, from feeling fear, anger, anything. We were silent for several minutes until finally I got up, moving to turn out the overhead light.
Sean had been lost in thought but then looked up for a minute, breaking his concentration to see what I was doing for a moment, then returning back to whatever thoughts his mind had been wandering to. Minutes passed slowly as I closed my eyes and sat back, trying to get comfortable, but of course there was no place my body could find rest at.
Finally, I just sat up and watched out the window as the weather progressively got worse. The roads were beginning to become slick, the occasional car that drove by swiveled and swayed to stay on the road. Until finally a red Ford Mustang pulled into the drive way, it was our foster mother Carla, back from working.
She opened the door and then immediately slammed it shut, moving with grace and agility as she avoided slipping and walked into the house. She had been at work all day, some big wig at a major corporation; she was usually there until late at night and gone early in the morning.
She wasn’t as bad as Kenny, I’ll give her that, but then again she didn’t really have the weight on her to be. Instead she was usually icky sweet, full of sarcasm and mean remarks aimed at us in the guise of “friendly advice”. She was even worse when she was high on the cocaine, that’s when all the pressure of pretending to be nice to clients throughout the day finally crumbled and she became a true bitch. She and Kenny usually never talked since they hardly saw each other, but when they were together, it was always a cold silence.
I sighed softly, resting my hand on my head. Wondering why in the world horrible people like them were the ones that ended up with kids like me and my brother who needed someone who really cared…