I-I'm scared. I've always been. I can't even speak for myself anymore. I wouldn't speak at the dinner table, if we had one. I look around my cold, misty room and can hear the slamming of glass bottles in the room next door. I know my brother, Erick, is home, now. I hear a female's voice. It wasn't my mom, I know it isn't. I rise from my air mattress and sneak across the hall. I peep my head inside and see Erick and the girl next door on the bed. I see her crawling up his body. I cover my mouth, making so I can't speak. Erick looks over to the door and sees my red hair. He stands up, knocking the girl on the floor. He approaches the door and looks me in the eye,
"Stay out of my life!"
The door slams in front of my face, almost cutting my nose off. I slump back to my room and sit, staring at the wall. I think to myself,
"Where's mom and dad? They would've stopped Erick from loosing his temper."
I creep towards the stairs and listen, nothing. No one's home, once again.
A sound of a cry appears in my ears. I run to my baby sister's bedroom. I see Erick standing over top of the cradle, shaking her to stop,
"ERICK! Put her down!"
"Stay out of this, ginger bread."
That's what he's always called me. I act like it doesn't offend me but, what can I say to stop him?
I run to the cradle and grab my innocent sibling,
"You can't treat a baby like this!"
"Don't tell me what I can and can't do!"
I run back to my room with tears in my eyes, holding the infant in my arms. I sit and stare into her face. She's smiling, something she rarely does. I rock her,
"It's okay. We'll be okay, now. I won't let them hurt you. I promise, once I leave, you're coming with me. We can travel and see all the animals you want, since, you like them so much,"
A tear falls on her blanket,
"And, I-I won't leave you, anywhere. I won't harm you or, let anyone-harm-y-you. If only you were old enough to understand, to feel the same way I feel. You're just a baby, what do you know?"
Her eyes fall down and she sleeps softly in my arms. My stomach growls. I set the petite baby on my mattress and look in the fridge. Beer, beer, and soup. I guess, that'll do. I warm it up in the microwave and when the beeper goes off, the wall jumps out,
"Keep it down!"
I slowly walk but whip around as the door slams open,
"What are you doing?!"
"I-I got hungry and-"
"That was your mother's dinner! Do you want her to starve?"
"I bet you do. After all we've done for you-"
"You did nothing!"
I cover my mouth. I'm dead. That's the first time I've actually spoke my mind to my parents,
"What did you say?"
"Nothing. I'll just put this in the fridge and sit in my room."
"I'll follow you."
I set the soup on the top shelf and cautiously walk back to my room. I get to the mattress and sit in front of my sister, so that he won't see her,
"You hiding any drugs in here?"
"No! Why would-"
"Don't talk back to your father. Where's your brother?"
I point to his room. Suddenly, the little one wakes up and starts crying,
"Why? Are you trying to hurt her?"
"No! I would never-"
"You were. I can't believe you would try to hurt your little sister."
He picks her up by her head but, I grab her,
"You can't have her!"
"I was saving her from Erick!"
He lets go,
"Blaming your brother, too? Tatum, when will you learn the rules in this house?!"
"Chocked on your own words, I thought so."
He takes my sister and she wails. I whisper,
"You didn't even name her."
He keeps walking. Maybe he didn't hear me. He returns to my room,
"You will not be joining us for dinner."
I cry into the pillows. I'm not upset I'm not having dinner. I'm upset because I want people to treat me right.