The night was silent, the moon hidden; the stars had fled along with the wind. The silence screamed through the impenetrable darkness. There was a stillness about the night that had dogs cowering into their cages with their tails between their legs and cats slinking beneath tables. The beasts as well as the elements seem to perceive that the night was like no other, how right they were!
Harry winced as cold water met with raw flesh. He clenched his teeth as he washed the blood from the wound by his side. He had to hurry or he’d be late and he would be asked questions he was not in the mood to answer. His whole body hurt like he had been run over by a speeding car. He tried to smile at the image of his opponent’s battered and limping figure but all he could manage was a grimace. He picked his bag and tried his best not to limp as he made his way home. His parents must never know he had been in another fight.
* * *
‘Why can’t I have a key to lock my door? I am 15 and I need privacy. Harry, Tom and Dick scream at me whenever I enter their room but they come into mine whenever they want!” Promise had mastered the doleful expression and was putting it on full force. Anger had got her nowhere so she had had to change tactic.
“We always knock”, Dick retorted giving her his best “I know what you are up to” look. Promise stuck her tongue out at him when her mother’s back was turned.
“Stop whining Promise. You have all the privacy you need. You have a whole room to yourself while your brothers have to share. They have been told to always knock before coming into your room and you have admitted yourself that they do just that so knock it off”. Dick smirked and winked at Promise. He was the bane of her existence; he always picked on her and expected her to do things for him because he was two years older than her. However, she always knew how to annoy him.
“At least I have a room to myself”, she smiled smugly as the smile was wiped off Dick’s face. They lived in a three bedroom apartment and the boys had all had to share a room while Promise, the youngest, had a room to herself because she was the only girl. That fact always annoyed him. Promise hurried out of the kitchen before he could say another word. She had had the last word, this time.
* * *
Tom tiptoed into the room he shared with his brothers who were fast asleep. He pulled off his shoes as quietly as possible and lay on his bed (he shared a bunk with Dick who slept on top). He cushioned his head with his hand and closed his eyes. He could still feel his heart beating fast from a mixture of excitement and fear. His parents would have his hide if they discovered what he had done and what he was planning to do. He opened his eyes and tried to adjust to get a more comfortable position. His eye fell on the table by the door and he froze for a second before forcing his muscles to relax. He felt the heaviness descend on him as he thought of what he had to do in a few days. He could not believe what was happening, his thoughts churned on until he fell into a fitful sleep.
* * *
Promise curled up in a chair and sulked. She had just been saved from being thoroughly beaten by Dick. She had accidentally dropped his phone in water after he had specifically her not to touch it. Harry had had to physically restrain Dick from beating her. Tom had seemed oblivious to all the confusion and raised voices. He had buried his face in a text book although it was obvious he was not reading it; he had been on the same page for hours. He had been very distracted all day. Their parents had traveled a day before and were not expected until the next week. They were all in the sitting room. Promise got up and announced that she was going to bed. She hesitated, ‘‘Dick would you…”.
”Don’t talk to me!” Dick cut her off sharply.
”Fine! Lock up alone when you are going to bed. Don’t forget the back door.” she stormed out of the sitting room and slammed the door. Dick got up and increased the stereo so loud they would not have heard each other if they had attempted communicating.
* * *
The shadow loomed over her. At first it just stared down at her. She looked like a child, so innocent. One moment the figure was standing over her cloaked in darkness, the next he was on her. Promise jerked awake and tried to push the weight off unsuccessfully. Her eyes widened as she heard her nightgown rip. She couldn’t think, she just knew she had to get away. She screamed before the hand clamped down hard on her mouth. She had to hang on for just a little while. Someone must have heard her scream. She bit hard on the hand and when it was removed momentarily, she stretched her hand to her bed stand and took hold of the scissors on it. She jabbed at his ribs with enough force to tear through his cloth and tear a bit of his flesh. This enraged him and he struck her hard across the face. She went limp as the world went dark. The stereo blared on from the sitting room.