by Dave Hemmings

I couldn't go downstairs. If I did, something bad would happen. The bad things always happen downstairs.

I remained where I was. In my upstairs room. The door locked and a small lamp burning. Everything should be fine.

A door slammed and my heart slammed too.

He was back.

I kept quiet. But keeping quiet was never foolproof. I existed in my self-made silence but no amount of silence could guarantee safety.

The world is a dangerous place.

So is this house.

For me, the house is my world. It's really all I know.

His knocks on the door slayed my slamming heart.

I hid in my silence, fully aware it didn't matter. It never does.

He keyed the door open and entered.

I said nothing, as usual. Saying anything makes it worse.

I wanted to morph into nothingness. Then I would be perfect.

He came over and tugged on my bangs.


I didn't look up. I didn't want to breathe.

The only thing moving was my heart. His heart was dead.


I didn't. I couldn't. I wouldn't.

“Move, dammit.”

The only thing I wanted then was for my life to be over. But I didn't want him to be the one to take it.

I moved, and he moved with me.

There is nothing else I can say.