Above the Darkness

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Courage

I could hear my dad screaming up the stairs to tell us dinner was ready. I was leaving my room, when my sister stopped me in the hall and shoved me back into my room. “What do you want Christine?” I asked insistently.

She looked me straight in the eye, hovered over me and said, “Now, I don't know what is up with you lately, Liz, but quite frankly I don't like it,” Christine replied with a bark in her voice that reminded me of a yippy Chihuahua wearing a pink dress. Her attitude often accompanied a waving hand in my face and another hand on her hip. However, this time she just continued to linger and stare, trying to intimidate me.

“What are you talking about Chrissy?” I asked, totally baffled. I knew it was unlike me to make everyone breakfast, but I didn't think that was too big of a deal.

“You know, like this morning, being so nice and everything. Normally, you don't even say anything. And from what I gather, you don't even like any of us.” She took a step back and crossed her arms.

I was very surprised that she felt this way. I wasn't aware that I stirred up so many emotions. “Well, that's not true. I love you all. It’s just that you guys aren't exactly nice to me, so I thought maybe if I was nice to you, then maybe you would start treating me and each other better.”

“HA! You kiddin' me Liz? You know that is not how our family works. Even if we were nice to each other that wouldn't change the fact that we have parents from hell.” She said as her hand waved in my face.

“Ya maybe not, but I just thought maybe when our lives are already hell, it's unnecessary for us to make each others' lives even worse. You know what mean?”

She wrinkled her face, but then said, “You may have a point. But I was told to tell you to quit it because it’s not only making us a little freaked out, but dad might start suspecting something and punish us even more.”

I could see her point, but I wished that we weren't so trapped in our ways. “Okay, I will cool it for now, but I can't promise to stop being nice forever. After all, I do have a conscience.”

She smiled, “Well glad you do sis. But, like I said, if you really want to be nice, you will avoid making dad suspicious at all costs.”

“Okay. Yeah, I know how he can be,” I agreed without hesitation. Although, in my heart, I could not truly and fully agree to stop changing.

Well, it was dinnertime again. Everything was going as expected, but like I said, my heart wanted a change. In the middle of everyone bickering, I stood up and took a piece of roast beef from the plate in the middle of the table. “What the heck are you doing Liz?!” My brother Jamie exclaimed.

“Getting some food, what does it look like,” I snapped back.

“Sit back down and wait your turn!” the monster bellowed.

“NO!” I yelled back.

“What did you say?!” the monster stood up so fast that his chair went flying back.

“I said I am getting some food. I barely ever get any. And today is going to be different. The youngest will go first.” My siblings just gasped and stared at me with their eyelids pulled back so far all I could see were their bulging pupils.

The monster was breathing very heavily at this point, and I swear I thought I saw steam coming out of his nose like a dragon. But I did not budge. Usually, at this point, I would be crawling underneath the table. I put my hand in my pocket and there appeared the invisible necklace. I just held it tight and stared down my father.

The monster's eyes almost appeared human. The steam stopped coming out his nose and his breathing slowed, “Your sister has a point. Today can be different. But ONLY today! If you try to pull another stunt like this, you know what will come to you.” I could not believe it! It was a miracle! I thought for sure I would be beaten until nothing was left of me. My siblings were still staring at me, as I took some food and sat down proudly in my chair, then, they all followed suit. Jordan and Ruth smiled at me with great appreciation.

After the incident, the rest of the evening was surprisingly calm and everyone was just a little bit nicer to each other. It wasn't totally perfect or anything but it was a tiny bit different and anything different, from what it is usually like, is an improvement and a relief. No one was beaten, or abused. Most of my siblings were not happy with me at all, but nothing drastic happened nor did anyone shove me in my room again to tell me to change back to “normal”.

I headed upstairs to go to bed, and I felt more nervous about going to bed tonight then I felt at dinner time. I didn't know what was to come of this dream tonight, and I was scared to know. But like Oochoo said, it must happen. I made sure to put the invisible necklace on before lying down in the bed. I couldn't help but hesitate in shutting my eyes, as my heart pounded fiercely, but I took a deep breath and shut them slowly. I didn't fall asleep right away, so I kept myself calm by dreaming of the magical essence of the forest. Slowly but surely my heart began to calm down, and I fell into a deep sleep.

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