Chapter One. Brother and sister fight for themselves.
I should be jumping for joy. I should be ecstatic. I should be happy. I should be proud of myself. I just completed my junior year at South Boston High School. I have the next two and a half months off for summer break. I should be making plans to have some fun or go to the beach or something to that effect. I am none of these things and I am not making cool plans. I am filled with dread and fear.
I park my car in a vacant spot. I climb out and lock the door behind me. I look up at the building that I dare call home. The building has bricks that are cracked, broken, and that are missing in places. There is graffiti on the walls and it should have been condemned years ago. The building still stands and houses low income families. I sigh as I lean against my car. I do not want to go in there.
I am late. I had to stop at the station and pick up my summer schedule. I am an EMT for the city of Boston. I have been an EMT, Emergency Medical Technician, for two years now. When I started out it was as a junior EMT that the company was starting but the program failed. Only a few of us were grandfathered into Boston City EMS and I was one of the lucky ones. I love my job as an EMT and that is going to be the highlight of my summer.
Victor, my father, is not going to be happy for he is not a patient man. Victor is a drug dealer, he uses as well, and he has fun beating my brother and me to bloody pulps. Victor stands five foot ten inches in height, he weighs in at more than three hundred pounds, he has black hair, and his eyes are mud brown.
Morgan, my brother, and I have suffered by Victor’s thick hands. We have had bruises, broken bones, cuts, bumps, scrapes, and so much more. Victor has never thought twice about attacking us. Victor is nothing more than an overgrown bully. I am tired of the abuse. I am sick of getting attacked for no reason what so ever. Somebody has to stand up to Victor and stop him before he kills either Morgan or me.
I walk into the building even though I do not want to. The only reason I am returning to the hell hole is Morgan. We made a promise to each other years ago to save as much money as we could so we both could escape the hell that we live in. We almost have enough saved and I am both excited and nervous about it. I am excited to start a new life, to save what little innocence that we have left, and not living in terror. I am nervous for it is a big step.
I begin to climb the stairs to the fifth floor. I would take the elevator but that has been broken for several months now. I think about the times that Child Welfare has been involved with my family. Our case has been opened and closed so many times that I have lost count. Now the state just says that the case is closed and they do not bother investigating.
The Child Welfare Department along with the court system has found Victor and Dina, my mother, to be fit and loving parents. They have found them to be caring and they would never harm one of their children. I did not know if I should laugh or cry at the situation. Morgan, my brother, and I both felt let down, betrayed, and scared. There was nobody that would step in and help us.
I decide at the third floor landing that today is the day that I stand up to Victor. I do not care about the pain or the agony that it will surely cost me. Someone has to stand up to him and it may as well be me. I trot the last few flights of stairs. I pause for a moment and catch my breath. I am nervous about standing up to Victor but I find the more I think about it the braver I get.
I walk into the apartment that I dare to call home. I walk down the small hallway quietly. I find myself in the middle of another world war. The lights are all out and the shades are pulled down. The room reminds me of dusk as dust filters around. Morgan, my brother, is in the corner of the room terrified. I want to run to him but I hold myself back. Not yet. I look over at Victor who is hovering over Dina, my mother.
Victor is waving a thick, meaty fist in the air above Dina’s head. Dina’s face is expressionless and her brown eyes are nothing more than swollen slits. I see no tears but that does not mean she had not cried. I watch in horror as Victor plunges his fist into her face, laughing, as Dina’s nose breaks and sprays blood all over him.
I clear my throat. Obviously not loud enough for I did not get Victor’s attention. Victor readied himself to punch Dina again. I clear my throat again, louder this time, and Victor drops Dina’s head against the tiled floor with a thud. Victor turns in my direction with an evil smirk on his face.
“You finally return.” Victor says.
“I had to pick up my summer schedule and I told you about it this morning.” I reply.
“Don’t talk back to me.” Victor barks.
I was doing no such thing but I bite my tongue from further use. I hold Victor’s gaze. His muddy brown eyes are darker than normal and I know he is in a bad place. Whatever he took to get high is not working and he is using aggression to deal with it. Victor always resorts to brute force, that is nothing unusual, and we are all use to it now. Victor has been beating us since I can remember. I take a few more steps into the living room.
Victor closes the gap between us. I smell his body odor and he smells rancid. His shirt is drenched in sweat and his face is flushed as well. Sweat has his black curly hair matted to his head. Victor senses what I am up to and he is determined to break my spirit. I steel my stance. I know whatever is coming is going to be violent and I will myself to remain where I am.
Victor growls and his breath reeks of vomit. I glare at him and never saw it coming. Victor’s thick fist catches my jaw and my bottom lip splits open. I fight to keep my balance and this upsets Victor even more. I am punched in the chest and stomach. I double over to protect myself and eventually I collapse to the floor. Victor kicks me in the back, the stomach, and in the chest. I gasp for breath as I notice a pair of feet approach Victor from behind. It’s Morgan. No, run, hide, lock yourself in our room my mind screams.
“HEY!” Morgan screams.
Victor stops kicking me and turns to face Morgan. My brother glances at me as I climb to my feet. Before Morgan could say anything, I shove Victor from behind with everything I had, and he falls to the floor. Victor rolls to his back and glares at me. He struggles to get to his feet for he is so over weight. Once on his feet his fist finds its way to my face and I sway a little. I am ready to fight when Morgan motions to me. Victor catches the gesture as well.
“Get the fuck out of my sight, the both of you.” Victor barks.
We do not need to be told twice. We glance at Victor for a moment and realize that he is serious. Morgan and I scurry down the hallway to the bedroom that we share. No sooner are we in the room, we shut the door quietly, and we lock the door so Victor cannot change his mind and barge in. We invested in the lock for that reason. Victor would come in and continue his torture. It has been a little over a year since we put the lock in and it has been our savior at times.