❝The tiger and the lion may be more powerful, but the wolf does not perform in the circus.❞
Elijah finally broke through the forest line that leads to the backyard of my house, where I saw Mommy and Mason on the porch and Mason was hugging Mommy as they both sat on the lounge chairs. Even Daddy was outside, pacing beside the toys I had brought out earlier. A huge smile spreads across my mouth as I begin to bounce in Elijah’s arms, I couldn’t contain my excitement of showing them, my new friend.
Daddy’s ears did the twitching thing as we got closer – it did that whenever he heard something – his head snaps up and to the side, connecting gazes with me.
“Abigail!” he called out, wide-eyed.
His voice caught the attention of Mommy and Mason, they looked at Daddy and to where he was looking at, their own eyes widening when they saw me. Mason shot up from his seat, his chest rising heavily, his nose flaring. I turn to face Elijah as he continues to stare straight forward.
“That’s my family!” I tell him, gauging his face while keeping one arm around his neck, and pointing with the other.
"I see,” he mumbled, his hands adjusting me.
Holding me, he stops a few feet away from Daddy who was sending a mean stare at my friend. I raise both my arms and exclaim, “Daddy!"
His gaze shifts over towards me and soften in intensity before hardening when he sees Elijah’s arm resting underneath my bottom, “Mason get your sister." he orders, and I watch as Mason moves away from Mommy’s side and rushes down the porch steps.
He slowly makes his way over towards me all while his eyes are trained on Elijah. When Mason was close enough, I look back at Elijah as he lowers me toward Mason and into his awaiting arms—once I’m secured in my brother’s arms, he steps back. Mason does the same and forces my head under his chin, holding me with both arms.
Daddy was suddenly by Mason’s side, his from tensed as he lightly pushes Mason behind him with me in his arms; in the process, he blocks my view from Elijah.
"Diana,” Daddy calls out.
The sound of footfalls nearing grabs my attention for a moment as Mommy places her hands on Mason’s shoulders and steer him the other way. I lift my head wanting to see Elijah and with difficulty I observe him and Daddy staring deeply at each other, his face was empty looking while Daddy’s back was towards us.
"Take your sister inside." I hear Mommy whisper to big brother. I whip around to face her, mouth opening.
“Abigail, sweetie, this isn’t the time to argue."
"But Mommy,” my bottom lip begins to tremble at the thought of leaving Elijah.
Mason starts to walk in the direction of the door, leading inside. “Listen to Mom, Abby," he tells me softly.
I twist my body to get away, flailing my arms and pushing as Mason’s chest, listening as he grunts his effort to keep me in his arms. I look over my shoulder and at Elijah to him watching the scene unfold, Daddy’s body was shaking, turning around; eyes blazing.
"Get her in the house! Now!"
Mason obeys and begins to move once more all while I hear Daddy telling Elijah to leave: that’s when I become frantic not wanting to see my friend and never come back.
"Wait, Daddy! He saved me,” I yell out, pushing at Mason’s chest still, and causing everyone to freeze. “He saved me from the bad wolf in the woods,” I say, looking out at the trees.
Daddy looks at me over from his shoulder, before tilting his head back to Elijah, lips thinning. “Is that true?"
Elijah doesn’t take his eyes away from mine. “Yes. It was going to kill her."
Big fat tears slip down my cheeks as I slam the door to the house and run out into the night, fast approaching footsteps following me out. I hurry down the three-stair porch, and rush out into the yard, desperately wanting to get away and cry alone.
I ignore their calls and continue to rush away towards the forest that seemed like a safe haven right about now, large hands suddenly clamp down on my shoulders twirling me around and stopping me from entering the awaiting forest.
"Abigail, stop this!” Dad ordered, shaking me. “You’re overreacting about something so little, he probably got busy with the things he has to do at the camp, he can’t always return your letters."
I grit my teeth, twisting to get out of his hold but he tightens. “You don’t understand!” I yell, leaning away from him, while I look over at Mom through blurred eyes as the tears increased.
“You don’t. . . understand, he’s been gone for three years, they both have! And they even promised to visit, yet. . nothing."
The roll of thunder vibrates in the air, and the humidity and heat rises. I could smell the earth, dirt, grass, and pines as they drift into my nose. I try to take deep breaths to calm myself down.
"Stop it!” I yank myself from his hold, “Stop saying my name, it’s. . annoying."
I back away from him and spin around, taking off into the trees, the leaves creating a further shade from the setting sun and a coolness over my body. But that didn’t soothe the pain in my chest, leaves crinkled and crunched underneath my feet as I running and walk to an unknown destination. After a few minutes, I stride over to a thick tree trunk and slid down to the ground at the base.
The tears I held at bay come full force and before I know it, I’m sobbing into my knees hugging myself harder to keep the tremors to a small shake. Everything is different now, there was no one to comfort me besides Mom and Dad and I didn’t want to speak with either of them, Mason left for some sort of camp back when I was seven and Elijah disappeared around the same time and I was left all alone hanging onto the hope of them coming to see me, just like they promised.
Three years later and nothing.
I cry harder, digging my nails into the flesh of my leg trying to distract myself when suddenly the air stills and the little critters hopping around scrambler away, the hair on my arms stand to no ends. The feeling is familiar and my head pops up with a smile on my lips.
“You’re such a firecracker for a ten-year-old," he says, his green eyes gleaming as they stared down at me.
I woke up screaming as pain rushed through my veins, waking up every fiber in me, alerting my senses. I cried out sharply when a liquid was poured over my neck, on a certain spot that felt as if a fire was dancing upon my skin; my eyes popped open, almost bulging out of my skull when the same feeling happened to my left wrist. I try to pull my hand away, thrashing against a force that held me down but couldn’t it was too strong and I wanted it to stop.
I wanted the fire to burn out and leave me alone, I twist my head from side to side though my eyes were open I couldn’t see a thing, the darkness was begging to drag me back, my eyes focusing in and out of things.
“Hold her down, I have to inject the medicine.” someone spoke.
The feel of fingers on my arms and legs was faint in the back of mind as I focused on one particular set, my head was tilt upwards to look above as I laid flat on my back, chest heaving up and down. I know I was quite the sight.
I squeeze my eyes together and opened them, blinking to rid of the haziness. A soft graze brushes on the mark on my neck, before a sharp prick pierces my neck, and slowly an itch began that progressed into a burn that once again turned into red-hot flames, it licks at my nerves and tortures every single vessel until I begin to shake; uncontrollably. My limbs shake and tremble, going out of control, I feel my eyes roll as my back tenses, my muscles soon following along, locking and staying in place.
“Is it supposed to do that?!”
Even wailing could be heard among other noises, besides those hands that were trying to hold down my body, a lot of things were going on at once and for my subconscious, it was hard to keep up with the flames brimming to my head and clouding my mind and breaching into the darkness. Then everything stopped. The pain stopped, the burning, the itching, the shaking; everything stopped, and I blacked out for a moment.
I came to in someone’s arms, cradled like a baby, I blink rapidly, clearing the haze from my eyes and suddenly I’m staring up at dark brown eyes that are swimming with extreme worry.
“Dad?” I croak, shifting in his arms.
I could hear his breath of relief as he lifts my face up and plants a hard kiss on my forehead, I don’t have the energy to protest.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” he whispers against my forehead.
I sigh heavily, leaning my head on his chest, I could hear his heart beating a pattern in his chest. A hand cups my face and my gazes cuts over to see Mom leaning down, eyes red and wet and face swollen, she brushes her thumb along my cheek looking down at me with eyes that expresses every emotion she’s feeling.
A sudden movement pulls my eyes away from her and over her shoulder where I see Xavier standing by the door, bare-chested but wearing shorts. Something in his eyes has the emotions from before slowly starting to come back and along tagged flashes of images. Before I know it, my face is pressed into Dad’s neck, silently crying.
What’s going on?