I hate taking kids before I take their parents. Except for this one girl, she was the only kid I enjoyed taking. Children are usually scared of me and parents hate me for taking the kids from them, but she welcomed me for a long time. She longed for me. Ever since I met her, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I took her. I met her when she was only five years old. She was just a small, adventurous kid, full of life. I remember her talking to me and telling me how she wanted to be a doctor and save people so they did not end up like her. The night we met, was not a night where she was full of energy and life. Not one where her eyes lit up with joy. The night we met, was the night her face turned hard and she lost all hope in the world. That was when she was introduced to me; Death.
The night we met, she was left alone with a man. He had broken into her house and he brought her upstairs to do with her as he pleases. I waited there as his calloused hands reached around her tiny neck, fingers catching the chain of her necklace. His hands pressing it down until it caused indention’s on her skin and you could see the outline of her cross on her chest. I waited for him to hold on a bit longer and end this for her, so I could take her and bring her to safety with me. He finished up what he was doing, let go of her neck, and left her there. He left her crying on her bed, curled up in a ball, wishing for me to take her. I decided that night, I would watch her and make sure she would be strong, that she would not be alone again. I tucked her in and laid with her until she fell asleep, curled up in my arms, like a normal five year old should. She was finally at peace. We were at peace with one another and we would visit each other time and time again.
We did not meet again for several months. Her life settled down and she went back to school after the summer. I stayed around to watch her grow. She was a happy child who loved life and was thrilled to see she still had hope that life was going to be okay. She had not lost the special shine she had, but there was still some part of her that was lost that night. A boy in class was wearing a belt and he took it off and went to put it in his backpack. But while the child was fumbling with the metal on the belt, all she could remember was the man from the night, taking his belt off and tying her to the bed. All she could feel was his skin on hers and his voice repeating in her head. All she could see was the gun in the table he used to keep her quiet. The air began to escape from her body as if someone was sucking it from her lungs. Her chest was being constricted and her throat burned like fire as she gasped for the air. All she could do was curl up to make herself small, hoping to be overlooked by the scary monsters in the world. I wanted to scoop her up and tell her that she was safe, that everything was going to be okay. But I can only go to her if I am invited. So instead, her teacher went over to her and tried to understand what had happened to cause the commotion.
Many things such as this set the young girl off and threw her back into the memory of that night. But she never spoke a word to anyone. The man warned her that if she told anyone, he would come back and hurt her again. So she kept the memory buried within along with all the pinky promises made with friends. I wish the only monster this young girl had to hide from was the man, but if that was the case, then she and I would not have become good friends. But sadly, more monsters came into her life and we grew closer with each other. Her parents were not together, so she was constantly being shipped from one house to the next. You know, some people were just born to be fighters. Not the kind that kickbox or the kind that work out for the strength. But the kind that fights and fight for what’s theirs because they have to. Those who have a voice like fire and words of thunder, and a heart of pure rock. A heart that has been destroyed time and time again, just to grow back stronger the next time. She is that kind of fighter. The kind who never gives up. Whether she wants to or not, she never stopped fighting. She had to.
She fought long and hard many days. After the man, the next time we spoke to each other, she was in the same room I found her the first night. She was shivering under the blankets of her bed, making herself as small as she could. She was pale, sweaty, and appeared to be very sick. But again, left up here all alone. She was short of breath and yearned for water, anything to quench the thirst that lingered on her scratchy throat. The little girl had been left here to die. Left here with no food, no water, and no way out, in a pitch black room where you could not even see the hand in front of your face if you tried. I was glad to finally be able to comfort the young girl, wrapping my arms around her shaking body and wiping the tears from her face. She laid her head against my chest as I rocked her back and forth, singing her a song, hoping she would fall asleep and I could take her then. She slowed her breathing and fell asleep, her tiny hands still grasping my shirt, refusing to let go of the only thing that manages to stick around when times get tough. I watched those blue eyes of hers disappear under her heavy eyelids and felt her shivering come to a stop.
Once I was sure she was asleep, I put her down in her bed and waited for her to pass, but she never did. I stayed with her all night through till morning and I stayed with her, watching her wake up the next day. I sat in the corner of the room and watched as her small six year old cried out for me to please take her. Cries came, unable to be followed by tears due to extreme dehydration and she started gagging, but her stomach was too empty for her to throw up anything. I held her hair back, wiped her face, and tried to comfort her as best as I could, trying to get the young girl quiet, knowing danger would come to her if her cries were to be heard. As I was trying to calm the young girl, we heard footsteps coming up the stairs. The young girl froze, she wiped her face, ran to the closet, pulled the door shut, and hid behind some coats. I saw her in the familiar fetal position that I have seen her in time and time again as she tried to escape this world and become invisible. We heard the metal clinking outside the door as her father inserted the key into the door, unlocking the barrier that kept him away from the young girl. He slid a plate of food through the door, rolled in a water bottle, and slammed the door shut, locking it behind him.
We decided that I was going to stay. She kept thoughts of me lingering in the back of her head constantly and knew that all she had to do was call out for me and I would come running. She would often be heard crying for death to take her away from this world, to be brought to a safe place, far from here where she could be safe. Every time something would happen to her, she would call out for me and we would fight through it together. She had two abusive parents and the man who continued to come back into her life to remind her of his presence. Her mother beat her close to death several times, but the first time, all she had done was finish the milk and forgot to tell her mother. Her mother started by throwing things at her. A coffee pot, a flashlight, aerosol cans, anything her mother could reach was thrown. I stood by watching as her mother’s anger progressed. At one point, glass was smashed over the girls head and made her start crying, setting off more anger in her mother. Her mother grabbed her by the neck and slammed her head into the wall. She repeatedly slammed the girls head into the wall, a boom echoing with each thrust. I waited for the girl to call me, to urge me to take her away from this place, but this girl held on. Her mother took her head, brought it to the wall, took her head, brought it to the wall, just like clockwork. Finally, the girl gave up fighting after two or three minutes of having her head being crashed into a wall, she fell to the floor, begging for me to take her away from this, ending her life right here. I ran over to her and told her that we could not let her mother beat us here. That I was here for her and that I was going to be right next to her the whole time, but we had to hold out. Her mother would not be the way she died. She fell to the floor and I helped her get back up, just for her mother to do the ritual all again. Time and time again, she fell to the floor and we would stand up together, just for her mother to smack her right back into that wall and for her to fall again. After ten minutes of fighting exhaustion, the young girl had enough and as she fell onto the tile floor, she did not get up. She fell to the floor one last time and remained on the floor, her mother stepping over her to get to another room. That girl lied there for an hour, passed out on the cold floor, blood gathering by the side of her head from where it constantly was hitting to the corner of the wall. I waited until she gained consciousness before moving her upstairs because if she was found lying in the same spot she was left, her mother would repeat the whole process again.