That Dark (K)night

That Dark (K)night

She woke up two weeks ago. She had been in coma since the day of that ill-fated accident that claimed the lives of our parents. She was conscious of her environment. It was evident from the way she looked around. It was the first time I would see her like that after that journey, the one that pushed me headlong into misery. I had touched her face and held her gaze long enough to see the glimpse of recognition in them. She remembered me. She could not talk or move yet, but she could see and understand. She did not seem to recognize any other thing, but she remembered me.

From my perch on the tree whose branches brushed against the window to her room, I saw her eyes roving. I envied her innocence, her childlike curiosity, how she looked at everything as if she was seeing it for the first time; in awe, eyes sparkling, lips curled in a smile. I wished she saw half of what I had seen. I wanted to change her perception of the world. I wanted to scream at her, to scream that reality was different from what she thought. I wanted her to feel the darkness that had hollowed out my insides. I wanted to puncture the bubble she was wrapped in, but I was not that cruel.

It was not her fault that I was forced to mature rapidly while she lay down for two years but it still made me bitter. It made a part of me hate her. Another part of me, the small part untainted by foul words and filthy hands, loved her fiercely. There and then, I made a promise to shield her from the evil of the man who called himself our uncle, even if it killed me. I have seen the way he looked at her, like he wanted to swallow her whole. I would do everything and anything to prevent it from happening.

I jumped down from the branch I was on and entered her room. She had fallen asleep while I was on the tree. I stared at her for a while, touched her face and kissed her forehead. That might be the last time I would see her.

I slipped out of her room and headed for mine. I brought out the tattered brown box my mum left me. The only thing that mattered was the lock and it still worked. I opened it. The blue knife was still there. I took it out, placed it under the pillow and lay down. He would be back soon. He would come in like he had done every night since I got here. I was ready. A year of abuse was about to end. I was twelve and I was going to be a murderer.


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