Crack I felt her hand, but it wasn’t the pain that frightened me, rather the noise.
Even now I don’t understand the emotions or thoughts that raced through my head. The shame I felt for the people who witnessed my punishment how awkward they must feel
“To the basement and take your brother,” She said her voice cracking
I hated the basement it was cold above all else.
“I want my mommy,” Cameron murmured as he squeezed my hand
“Well, mom doesn’t want us,” I said a little harshly as tears welled up in my eyes.
I pulled Cameron in close as we huddled in the corner of what they called are a bedroom.I Reached down and gingerly rubbed my ribs.I wasn’t allowed to wear pants today and my shirt I had given to Cameron as his was confiscated. I winced in pain trying to inspect myself in the pitch black dungeon we called home.
The pain from my black eye made me want to cry, but I beat it back with determination and pride. Who was I to cry I thought? I should be proud I am strong, so he doesn’t have to be, I keep up the fight when his runs out I take the beating
I promised to protect you, and that’s what I’ll do.I wiped my tears away and held tight to my brother.
“I will never leave,” I whispered into his ear that was covered with his messy blonde hair
Rarely cut anymore despite our “mother” being a hairdresser.
“Why would you ever leave, “ he said with innocence in his eyes
“I guess there isn’t a reason I would,” I said cracking a smile at his logic
The concrete floor was starting to make our feet numb as we sat there huddled into the brick corner. I was having difficulty seeing Cameron now, but I could tell from the moonlight shining through the tiny window on the far side of the room.
He was sitting next to me shivering in the cold rubbing gingerly at his feet I knew he was losing feeling in his feet just as I was
“James I’m so cold why do they send us here, I miss are room upstairs,” Cameron said in confusion sniffling crying softly from the pain of the cold.
I squeezed my toes and the pain making me wince
“Come here little midget, “ I said; lovingly gesturing for him to sit on my lap up off the cold concrete.
Before it Can suck the life out of him, he crawled slowly over to me just to feet, but it loosened so far away I looked around my eyes filling with moisture as I fought back the tears.
It was then that my mind notice
I saw them
They were there waiting to devour us, how dark it was.
I saw them
I saw them in the dark
The darkness filled with long claws begging us to move an inch out of the moonlight.I Could hear them the gurgle their throats and the creaking of their weight. I could hear them I could tell they wanted to devour us their teeth and claws digging into our flesh.
“You can’t have him I am his protector you will never lay a hand on him,”I whispered into the darkness squeezing tight to Cameron.
The shadows soon grew longer wrapping their cloaks around us I whispering over and over again together you can’t get us, together you can’t do I repeated to myself trying to convince me more than anything it became my chant to protect us from the evil in the world. It wasn’t long until the cold and exhaustion from protecting him from the monsters all day overtook me.
It was hours later that I awoke. I looked around my eyes that had adjusted to the darkness. Cameron was laying on the floor next to me he had pulled his shirt down over his knees curled into the fetal position to keep warm.By now my body was entirely numb, and I had lost feeling in my feet and hands my chest hurt from the cold hard ground. But it was the ache in my stomach that hurt now most of all I just knew I had to eat as I hadn’t in a couple of days
I bent down picking up Cameron’s tiny, frail body, and I barely made it to the bed having to put him down just 4 feet from where we were sleeping in the dark My body it was exhausted weak.
He looked up at me saying what I was thinking.
“James I’m hungry.” I looked at him, shame in my eyes.
“little man, I just there’s no food.”
I helped him up from the ground
“Get up on your bunk” I murmured “heat rises right.”
He shook his head in silent agreement “ they will get mad you know “ he said,
“ when aren’t they angry and what else can they take we don’t even have mattresses let alone blankets.”
If he only knew what they could still take, I thought as I remember to last night with Jon in his bedroom
I laid there on the wooden bunks we liked to call beds but were really wooden shelves they had taken my blankets and mattresses a long time ago I don’t think I remember when the last time I regularly slept without freezing or aching for food.
It was then that I made the decision to risk it all we needed food and if they werent going to give I would have to take. I guess it wouldn’t be the first time but this time felt different to me. As if there was a sense of doom overcrowding the events of the day I was so hungry, hardly cared the pain was almost unbearable, but I sucked it up, but I guess sometimes I wouldn’t feel normal without the constant clawing.
It seemed almost like a dream as I watched myself sneak across the room in the darkness not to alert Cameron and have him be an accomplice, the hunger was driving me. It didn’t take me long to make it up the stairs and into the kitchen It was almost as if the shelves were bursting with food
I grabbed the first thing that i could carry a can of Pringles, and it seemed to me the greatest thing I could ever have found.
I quickly and quietly made it back to my bunk, The adrenaline rush in knowing my victory appeared to have warmed my bare body as I wolfed down half the can of Pringles before I heard Cameron stir. I went silent, and I waited for the sound of sleep that didn’t come.
“Do you have food? “ a silent pleading voice said from above
“ Um no buddy I don’t,” I said quickly without thinking
“But but I think I can smell it,” he said I could hear a slight hint of hope in his voice that I soon squashed selfishly
“There’s nothing go to bed “
I turned over placing the can under the bed tucking it out of sight.I soon passed out again but this time, there was a warmth in my belly.
But there was still a darkness looming over me. If only I knew, I would never see my brother or speak to him again.
If only I knew that was my last conversation, I would have with my only friend.