This is the moment of my future breaking. I could have said no.
(this is your FALL)
I don't have all the answers. I don't.
I am ten years and five months old. I am quiet and clever and wise (because clever and wise are two very different things; but the wise is still growing) – and I have no answers to war and the war-torn and hate and the hate-consumed.
I have no answers.
. ... .
It is November, and the cold wind batters bitterly against the worn stone of the house. Freezing drafts seem to follow me everywhere, and my hands are icy to the touch no matter what I use to keep warm. (It is irritating. What am I alive for if the heat doesn't help? What am I alive for if the heat only brings problems like – no, I won't think about that.)
My mum and dad are in a war zone every moment of every day – and I wonder in a detached, numb, tired (tired of fear and anxiety and shrieks and insults and curses winding their way through the stars) way if I could have said 'no' to this life. (Blood matters and death haunts for free, and isn't it such a lovely thing? Fine print. Fucking fine print, and I signed everything I could have been away the tender day I was born.) I think about it and decides, very firmly and intellectually, not to think about it.
My hands are always so cold.
. ... .
I refuse to think on it. It isn't hard, after all. I have so many things to occupy her mind with, and - there is absolutely no use; it's going to be on the edge of my mind for the rest of my goddamned life. I throw myself into schoolwork and tries to ignore my parents’ constant threatening.
A week later, my father turns his anger on me, sends dishes to break on the wall inches from my face, and the fresh worry and panic is what finally succeeds in wiping it from my thoughts.
. ... .
November slides into December, and I am on the edge of breaking. My parents - school - and I just can't sleep. My jaw hurts from being permanently and subconsciously clenched. I have a constant, throbbing tension headache, and the circles under my eyes now need to be hidden with smudges of my mother’s cover-up to stop people from asking questions.
I snapped something - I can't really remember what - so vicious at Mother that she has actually been leaving me alone. It has lasted a week, and I can't help but hope that the new trend will continue. (The memory of her shocked, hurt face doesn't bother me. I feel I have too many problems to care.)
This is the state I am in when my father runs across me. Again.
I am sitting cross-legged in a hidden corner of my bedroom, trying to be zen like I read in some book so that I won't snap or break into hysterical sobs over mashed potatoes during dinner. My eyes are closed, and I am so tired. I know sleep won't come.
I am zen. Calm. Floating. Blank.
And then there is an amused smirk so loud that I can see it and hear it and feel it. My stomach clenches and my eyes snap open.
I stare into dark, bottomless eyes, darker than my own. I am in shock and blankblankblank, and I find a word issuing from my (dirty, common) mouth: "Dad."
My father leans his head back and surveys me lazily. Those dark, bottomless (fathomless) eyes are hooded and amused, like always (or maybe always has been transmuted to when around his daughter - maybe always is only sometimes, and maybe I know nothing - and maybe I am the stupidest little girl ever and will play with fire again and again. I can't see into the future, but I should have an innate sense of self-preservation that would tell me to fucking run and run and never look at Daddy again. Of course, I don't. That's why...) and I can feel my throat closing up and my stomach clenching.
(I don't recognize it, but the look in my father's eyes is predatory. This is what I have been afraid of him for - the darkness and the cruelty and the wickedness that is innate in those mad, masked eyes. It is what lets him commit terrible acts that words aren't enough for - and maybe I have it in its infant stages.)
I gets the vibe that he knows what I am feeling better than I myself do.
Three seconds after I think that, Father speaks (without screams or curses or threats) to me for the first time. It is a...purr, and the words contained in that purr (and it takes me a second or so to comprehend them) are: "June. Whatever are you doing all alone in dark places?"
My eyes blink and face flushes, my body stiffening defensively. "Not that it's any of your business," I spit out, "but I'm simply trying to get a moment of quiet." And where has me zen gone? I am all bluff and bravado, on the edge and trying to hide it.
My father does not take this the way I thought he would. He - chuckles. He chuckles throatily and says, "Mmm. Quiet can be hard to come by."
I bristle at the subtle disdain lacing the man’s words. "Oh? Well, if you think so little of me, you won't mind if I ask you to leave."
And this is where it gets a little stranger - this is where he starts his trap. He steps closer and leans down, into my personal space. He smirks again and says lazily, "Oh, but I would mind, Anna."
I am- I don’t know what I am. I blink again and shake my head, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. "What do you want?" And I regret the plaintive words the moment they leave my mouth.
That damnable smirk lights his features as the brunette says: “Nothing too much."
Lily stares, disbelieving. "...Oh."
"But we can get down to it right here, right now, if you like." He straightens and looks around the alcove critically. "It has...atmosphere."
In spite of himself, perhaps to spite herself, I say, "That seems a little crude for your tastes." And I wonder very seriously why he hasn't slapped me yet.
And then he flashes a smile. "Anna, nothing is too crude when it comes to getting what you want."
The smile has sent me into shock. That is the only reason why I reply with, "And I'm what you want?"
My father falls gracefully onto my bed, in front of me, and suddenly their faces are closer than they have ever been. He leans forward, his arms trapping me in. Our foreheads touch (and I am caught caught caught - so easily and too easily and why?) and he says, "Oh yes." We are sharing air, and then he -
He leans back, trails two ghosting fingers down my cheek, soft and slick and lovely, and then he stands up and leaves.
This is the moment of my future breaking.
I could have said no.