Visit to the Graves
I stood over my sibling's graves with the flowers I had picked out from Dillon's. Mary had driven me there and she went to visit her father's grave, I could still see her walking away and I appreciated that she gave me some alone time. This was between me and my siblings only. I could feel my eyes start to burn, a sign that tears would soon come. There they were. Buried under six feet of dirt. Their pictures of their smiling faces looked up at me. They mocked me. They rubbed in my face everything I had lost. I shook my head at the thought, and got on my knees. I split the banquet of white roses in half like I had in previous years. Mary had found two bandannas in a clearance sale and when she had shown them to me at the store I knew that they were just what I needed. I pulled the bandannas out of my pocket then and tied the flowery bandanna around the six roses for my sister and the spider-man one around my brother's.
I wiped my face and sat back on my heels. "Hey, um," my voice was rough and the words wouldn't come, "I made it," I tried again, "I told you. Every year, whenever I could." I couldn't hold the memories back any longer:
"Lily I'm scared," Emma looked up at me with wide eyes.
"It'll be okay," I promised, I shifted Erin to my other hip as I took her hand and led her down the street to one of the neighbors houses, "You two will just stay with Ms. Cooper for tonight, okay? You like Ms. Cooper right?"
"But I want to stay with you!" Emma's eyes started filling with tears. We were so close. I sighed. I couldn't just dump them and leave them crying, I couldn't tell them the truth either.
"Here," I knelt down to her height, "I promise, as soon as I can I'll come pick you up. You just have to trust on this, okay? You trust me?"
She nodded vigorously and I stood up, again taking her hand.
I only let her hand go when I knocked on the door, at the look on my face Ms. Cooper ushered us in.
"It's only for a few hours," I told the kind older lady.
"I told you, anything at all," she smiled down at Emma and took Erin from my arms she bobbed him up and down, "Lily, I just hope you know what you're doing."
I gulped, did anyone in a situation like this know what they're doing? What was I supposed to do? I did the first thing my frantic mind to think to do, protect my siblings.
"I-I'll call before I come pick them up," I told her. She looked at me sadly, and for a moment I was afraid she knew all too well what was going on, but she just nodded.
"Okay, I have some new games we can play until then," she winked at me and I hugged Emma one last time before I left.
"If I could give you the world I would," I whispered in her ear. It was what our mother had told me whenever I was little and it was a comment I always felt comforted by.
"I love you too," Emma said.
I pulled away and ruffled Erin's hair before I walked out the door.
"You always knew more than you should," I said to my sister's grave, my voice thick with tears, "You figured it all out that night didn't you? Ms. Cooper knew, I think." I gave a wet laugh and shook, "I should've just taken you guys and run," I ran a hand over my face and wondered for the hundredth time why hadn't I run away before that night?
After months of beatings I had finally figured out how to fight back. When my father hadn't shown up by seven I knew he would come home blasted. I took my siblings to Ms. Cooper and hurried back home. Hoping that he would be too drunk to notice that they weren't there. My dogs greeted me when I returned with the same enthusiasm they always showed me.
"Hey," I said, petting them.
Charlie rubbed against me, I loved how puffy his fur got in the winter. He was a tri-colored sheltie with the most annoying bark, and yet he was extremely clever. Unlike Etta. Etta was thick headed and sometimes I wondered if she really was just plain stupid and she wasn't pretending. She had short hair, like most Chinooks. I watched the clock, knowing that the longer my father was gone he would be that much more drunk. At a quarter to eight he stumbled through the door.
I stood up. In his hand was a half-emtpy bottle of whiskey. He squinted at the lights and mumbled some curse before he noticed me. His eyes practically bulged out of his head,
"You," he sneered.
I stumbled back. Sure I had expected him drunk, I hadn't expected him this drunk. He usually started with some story of my mother and start crying before he started blaming me. He walked towards me and I took another step back. Charlie started growling and stepped between the two of us.
"Put them outside," my dad said quietly, when I didn't move he shouted, "NOW!"
I flinched and jumped into action. I grabbed both of their collars and dragged them out the back door to our fenced in yard. When I came back inside my father was gulping down more whiskey.
I stayed close to the wall, trying to stay as far away from the man as I possibly could.
He sneered, "You better be afraid of me," he said quietly before chucking the bottle at me with a grunt.
I ducked and brought my arms up as glass shards showered over me. He grabbed me by the neck and yanked me from my precious wall before slamming me back. I winced as I felt shards dig into my skin. He leaned in close.
"You stole her."
"You stole her!" he yelled once more banging me against the wall. Black dots appeared at the edges of my vision.
I grabbed his forearm and used it to push myself up as I brought both legs up and kicked him in the gut.
He stumbled back as I fell to my knees, gulping the air greedily.
A look of surprise flashed across his face before it turned to rage, "You dare..." he kicked my side and I cried out, "you're worthless!" another kick, "you piece of shit!" he grabbed my shirt and yanked me up. With one hand he held me up and with the other he punched, always saying some curse.
He let me go and I crumpled to the ground.
"You're pathetic," he sneered.
I stayed curled up, not noticing anything besides the pain. My head throbbed with each heartbeat.I knew at least one rib was broken. The bruises were already forming and blood was trickling down my nose and some cut above my eye.
My head shot up from the ground, ignoring the pain. 'No, no, no, no,' I thought as my little six year old sister opened the front door, holding Erin's hand. Her eyes widened when she saw me.
"No," I moaned.
My dad looked between me and the younger two before he put two and two together.
"You little bitch," he said, once more picking me up from my shirt, "You told HER?!" he shouted.
"I swear, she doesn't-"
"She will now! Who else knows?!"
By now I was sobbing. My world had broken the moment my little sister opened that door.
"That's it." He dropped me and reached into his waist band, pulling out a pistol.
"No daddy!" Emma screamed running inside.
"Like it?" My father taunted, showing me the gun from every angle, "Bought it of a guy at the bar." He pointed it at Emma.
"No!" the screech was torn from my throat as I managed to scramble to my feet, wincing as my split lip from last week reopened.
He grinned at me, "We're going to take a drive, you're going to do everything I tell you to because if you don't I'll take who you care about just like you did to me, got it?"
We climbed into the back of my father's truck. The drive itself is fuzzy in my memory. I just remember not noticing the pain because of my worry for my siblings who were strapped in next to me. One minute we were driving over the bridge the next minute something hit us. Another truck. I recall the sensation of falling, and then watching as the water got closer and closer.
I reached over and unbuckled my siblings, freezing at the sight of blood Emma had and the glass the was embedded in my brother's face. I unbuckled myself, forcing my mind to focus. We hit the water, the truck shuddering. Somehow I got a door open and pushed my siblings out. I swam to the surface, frantically looking for any sign of either of them.
"Emma?!" I screamed, treading, my muscles numb from exhaustion and the cold water, "Erin?!"
"Lily!" there, a small splash. I swam over, my body screaming out in protest with each stroke. I reached them, Emma was still holding Erin's hand, I marveled at how either of them had managed to stay above water with their injuries.
I gripped their shivering bodies and held them to mine as I struggled to get them to shore. Each kick was agony, but soon I felt mud beneath my feet. I stood up and carried my siblings out of the water and onto the ground.
"Lily, can we sit down?" Emma asked.
I nodded and sat, hugging them close to me. One look at their injuries and I knew it was serious. The sirens blared in the distance, only a few more minutes until they would find us.
"I'm tired," Erin mumbled, snuggling into my shoulder.
"Ah, ah, ah," I bounced both of them up and down a little, "No falling asleep on me, either of you, got it?"
"But L-Lily," Emma shivered.
"No sleeping," I repeated.
"Am I gonna die Lily?" Emma whispered.
"No," I could see them fading already, "No everything's going to be okay."
Their breathes were shallow, I knew what was going on, but I didn't want to believe it.
"Is heaven real?" Emma asked.
"Yes," I replied.
"Is mommy in heaven?"
"I-I don't want to die Lily, I'm scared."
"You're not going to die," the lie tasted sour but I wasn't going to let them be afraid, not if I could help it, "You'll be okay. You hear those sirens? That's help coming, right Erin?"
No response. My heart stopped, "Erin?!"
I shook his form as panic set in.
"ERIN!" I screamed.
"Lily," Emma's voice was a faint whisper.
"No," I sobbed.
"I love you," Emma whispered.
"I love you Emma," I told her, but the light had faded from her eyes.
The EMTs found me there after what felt like centuries. It took two of them to tear me away from either of my siblings. And eventually they had to knock me out because I was frantic with grief. I wanted to die. I wanted to jump in the river and drown. Why didn't these people understand that?
"Lily?" Mary's voice was gentle, pulling me from the past.
I looked up at her, not bothering to fight the tears that streamed down my face.
"Oh, Lily," she knelt beside me and drew me into a sheltering hug, I melted into her arms and let go of the grief that had been clinging onto me since that awful night. "They would be proud of you, you know?" When I didn't respond she continued, "They would want you to live your life Lily."
I didn't bother replying and she didn't say anything else, she just held me close and rubbed my back.
The ride home was a silent one and by the time we got home Dean and Sam were done with their homework and playing on the x-box. They paused whatever game it was they were playing when we walked inside. I went straight to my bedroom and sat on my bed, hugging my knees to my chest.
My head snapped up at the sound of a tentative knock, "Can I come in?"
"Yeah Sam," I called back.
Sam came in, and walked over to the bed. He sat beside me, "I think you're brave," he said.
I laughed at his blunt manner, "Why?"
He looked at me, "Because, you just are."
I ruffled his hair, flashing back to when I had done that to Erin, before I focused back on Sam.
"Hey!" he fixed his hair quickly.
"Knock, knock," Dean said, leaning on the door frame.
"Jeez, I guess I never realized how popular I am," I joked.
Dean rolled his eyes, "Sam, mom said yes to the movie."
"Alright!" Sam said pumping his fist.
"What movie?" I asked.
"It's a surprise, come on," Dean replied, grinning, he nodded for me to follow and I did, Sam on my heels.
It wasn't until later that night that I realized Dean and Sam had brought me to the movie to take my thoughts of my siblings. I shook my head at the realization and grinned as I slid under my covers. John would be home tomorrow. One more day until the weekend. I sighed contently as I flipped the lamp off and shut my eyes, knowing that I would dream about my siblings, and snorted when I found out that I thought of four people now when I thought of siblings. Emma and Erin, but also Sam and Dean.