I listened as she made her way through the house, moving almost silently, the only thing to really be heard was the clicking of her high heels as they hit the floor. I looked over at Sean, who now seemed to be listening almost exclusively our Foster mother as she journeyed through the house. Finally she stopped, in what sounded like the living room, and I could hear her monotonous voice echoing through the halls, even though I couldn’t make out the words.
It continued, followed by Kenny’s voice raising and then hers rising higher, then dropping back down, I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I didn’t really need to, to be completely honest. Almost anytime they did talk they ended up fighting.
I heard a rustling from the bed across from me and I turned to see Sean walk over to the bed, scooting in next to me silently. He didn’t need to say a word. I knew what was happening, he just needed to feel somewhat safe, even if it was just for a little bit. Ever since we were little one of us would climb into bed with the other, just to know we weren’t completely alone.
“You alright?” I whispered, I knew that was a loaded question, but it was better than un-ending silence. He looked at me for a moment before pulling in a little bit closer, a tear shimmering down the side of his face.
“Zach, I’m sick of this…” He whispered softly, pausing to find the words, “I’m sick of being a punching bag for other people, and I’m sick of watching you suffer…” He paused again but the tears didn’t. Sean was never one to be overly emotional, he was never one to bawl his eyes out. He always seemed to keep things bottled in and only ever shed a few tears…
“I know Sean.” I tried to be solemn, and sound reassuring but I couldn’t. I was always trying to be stronger than I actually was, but I couldn’t hide the fear and doubt in my voice. I turned away, trying to hide my eyes from him, so I could seem the ever wise and confident figure of a brother that Sean deserved.
“You’re the best brother I could ever ask for.” He whispered silently, sliding his arm behind my back and pulling into me slightly. His words caught me off guard, I wasn’t used to being told positive things…
` “I’m just trying to protect you. That’s all.” I murmured uncomfortably, his weight seeming familiar on my chest. I moved my arm behind his back and rubbed his back softly, for just a quick second. I laid my head back against the pillow, pulling the blanket over us. Knowing well and good Sean wasn’t going to want to be alone tonight, not that I could blame him.
The wind howled brutally outside and we could still hear Kenny and his wife arguing. The words were never given shape, or form, but you could feel the tension growing quicker and quicker. I gulped nervously, I was hoping they wouldn’t get rowdy, or come in here to take it out on either of us…
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard glass crash in the other room. Sean pulled closer into me, I could feel the breath leave his body as all of his muscles tightened. We laid there for a moment, before finally I moved out of the bed, creeping closely to the door and holding my ear to the keyhole. I heard gasping for air as finally the words began to take form and shape.
“You listen to me Kenneth,” Carla whispered, her voice a low snarl, “If you threaten me again it’ll be the last thing you do as a free man.”
I cracked the door slightly, so I could see and hear a bit better. Sean immediately behind so he didn’t miss anything. I felt nervous as the conversation continued, the only thing keeping me level headed was the hand placed on my shoulder behind me. My brother was the only thing that was going to keep me sane at this point.
The scene, from what I was seeing, looked grim. They were in the living room, down the hall, in each other’s faces. An old porcelain vase lay in pieces all over the ground, Carla backed against the wall with her cell phone in hand and Kenny with a wild look in his eye; a look that seemed beyond anger, beyond malice. His eyes were filled with the intent of murder.
“You’ll be dead before you can make the phone call, bitch.” Kenny roared, launching himself at her. Luckily for her she was smaller, so she was able to roll out from under him, I heard a crack as his fist met the wall, creating a crater of impact. I stumbled away from the door and backed up as far as I could as their screams echoed throughout the house.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.” I stammered as I crawled back to the wall, horrified by the sounds and sights I’d just seen. I was hyperventilating now. Sean lingered a moment longer until I could hear Kenny howl in pain as he slammed into the door, shutting it violently and nearly collapsing it in on Sean.
Sean moved quickly, locking the door and moving towards me, getting me up off my feet. He and I were both shaking and trembling in fear. One thing was certain, we couldn’t stay here. One of our two “guardians” was sure to win and come in to finish us as well.
“Grab your jacket and some clothes,” I shouted over the racket outside continued to rage on, “We can’t stay here, I don’t know where we’ll go but we can’t stay. We’ll get out through the window.” Sean nodded and we each grabbed as much as we could carry.
I heard Carla scream in agony outside and then the door to the room caved in as she crashed through it. Kenny was glaring down at her, the murderous look gleaming in his one good eye; his other one having been cut deeply by the massive shard of glass in Carla’s hand.
I opened the lock on the window and nearly threw Sean out of it into the snow, moving quickly behind him, getting him up as best I could before we ran in the first direction we could think of.
I could still hear Kenny screaming and Carla wailing as we ran. The snow soaking into the pajama pants we were both in. I was crying, tears and snow blurring my vision as we kept running, until we were blocks away. Finally we slowed down, having reached the outskirts of the neighborhood. I kneeled down, trying to catch my breath as the Chicago city lights began to gleam not too far away.
I racked my mind of places that we could go. There was the police station, or a hospital… I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of the hideous trails of blood on the doors, the walls, and their hands. That’s when I heard it. The sound of an engine, of car doors opening, and a bloodcurdling scream.
I whipped around and before I knew what was happening, I threw myself onto a masked man, pulling him off Sean and into a desperate, grappling battle onto the banks of snow. He wasn’t that tall, but he was strong, and quick, he wore a black ski mask and a trench coat. He moved incredibly fast, managing to flip me over from on top of him and have me on my side in a matter of moments. He jumped on me, as I thrashed violently trying to keep him off of me, but it was to no avail. He managed to get me onto my back, pinning me down and pulling a long cord from out of his pockets.
I felt his hands wrap the cord around my wrists, making my hands immobile. Finally he whipped me up to where I was looking in his face. His beady eyes seemed to have no irises, just pure black staring into me. I turned my head as I saw another two men had wrestled Sean down and were now tying his hands behind his back.
“Leave him alone!” I snarled, adrenaline running through my veins as I managed to head-butt the man in front of me, brushing him aside and moving towards the other two and kicking one of them in the crotch. I tried to move to the next one, but he had a gambling piece I hadn’t been expecting.
“Make another move and your brother’s done.” He said, with the point of a knife at Sean’s throat. I halted. Breathing heavily as one of the other men came behind me, hauling me to the ground and finishing tying my legs as they did the same to Sean. Finally he picked me up, shoving me towards a windowless van, I was thrown inside it, the men chucking my brother in and piling in the seats.
The last thing I remember was seeing Sean’s terrified look as the hoods were put on and the blows to the head came.