“Henny. Please, Henny. We must hurry.”
My sister was leading me towards the road. It was a path I was not allowed to go down. But she’d grabbed me just before the sun rose. There was a mist over the fields and a bird sat on the wire that kept the cows in.
“Where are we going?”
“We’re going somewhere safe. But hurry. He’ll be up soon.”
“I don’t want to—:
“Henny we must. You must be a woman for me today. Can you do that?”
She stopped and turned, grabbing my upper arms and squatting to look directly at me.
“I cannot allow him to do what he’s been doing for too long. To me. To your sister. And he’ll do it to you.”
“But she’s gone. Where did she go?”
“She went where we’re going. You’ll be able to be with her again.”
“But I’m tired and I haven’t had my breakfast.”
That’s where I noticed that bird.
My sister, the one still here and not the one who’d gotten away, turned back and I grabbed the hand she offered to lead me.
“He’ll be up soon. Maybe he’ll be too drunk to realize where he is or to find out we’re gone. But we need to hurry. We can get a ride on the road.”
That’s when we heard the engine. It rang through the morning mist like a pistol shot.
“No. We must run. Henny. Can you run with me? We’re almost there.”
And we were almost there. I trusted her so I ran with her as she pulled my arm.
“If we can just get to the road.” She was saying it almost to herself. “If we can just get to the road someone will drive past.”
Suddenly the pickup’s headlights reflected back at us off the mist. She turned and stared a moment before trying to sweep me up in her arms. But I was too big. She was placing little kisses on my neck. We both knew it was futile. He was just about upon us.
She stopped and slowly turned.
He opened the door of the old Chevy. Stepped out.
“She can go. It’s you I need. We don’t need her. We’ve made our own little girl. Just you and me.”
She directed me to stand behind her.
“If I could rip the child in my belly from there so she’d never be touched by you I would do it.” Her hands were around me, keeping me in place.
“But I love you. I’ve loved you all—”
“You’re a sick, perverted monster. You don’t know anything about love. I got Emmy away. I’ll get Henny away. And I’ll get my baby away.”
“Our baby. Don’t forget that. You whore.”
“Who made me that?”
I slipped away from her when her hands went to her face.
“Who made me that?” The shout echoed across the field, startling some birds into flight.
She was shaking and sobbing. He closed the door to the pickup and began to walk towards her.
“Come here, baby.”
“Just let her go. I’ll stay with you. Just let her go.”
He kept walking, his arms out to give her a hug.
He noticed neither me nor the rock.
There was blood everywhere. The sheriff thought my sister did it. She had blood all over her and she was inconsolable when he arrived, her hand lightly caressing my father’s face, using her skirt to clean the blood from his eyes. His wild, open eyes.
“No, sir. It was me. He was going to hurt her.”
“Little girl. You aren’t strong enough to inflict this sort of damage.” I didn’t know what he meant by “inflict.” But it was me. I did “inflict that sort of damage.”