• The dark crept over me. Instead of surprising me as it had so many times before, I actually welcomed it. It felt strangely comfortable, enveloping me entirely. It took me from where I merely hurt, to a place where I completely ached. I was constricted with memories. Fear. Panic. Emptiness. Rage. It curled its lips up at the corners, basking in its own wickedness.
    I stepped out of the shadows and slinked towards the back door as I had planned so fervently in my mind so many times before. I knew what was to come next, but my pulsing heartbeat was drowning out my thoughts. The knob was cool to my heated touch as I slowly turned it clockwise. I was shocked by the lingering scent of the meal that was most likely eaten around the table that blocked my path into the living room. Did he enjoy it with his family? Was there laughter and bonding in this very house? Stop. Do NOT make him real, he is a monster.

    As I passed the hall table at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed a stack of papers to be graded. I wondered which one would be getting the easy A this year. Laying my now drenched hand on those papers, tears started to form in my steely eyes. Poor things, this HAS to stop now. My rage willed me up the rickety stairs and past the family pictures along the wall. Don’t look, they‘ll make you forget. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel something tug at my nearly absent heart. Tiny smiling faces beamed out at me as I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists. The faces got older and easier to ignore the closer to the top of the stairs I got.

    I could hear the heavy breathing coming from his room. Panic froze me there on the landing, causing my world to reel. The wall was my guide as I slid down and squatted for a spell. You’re so close, just a little further. Now, the tears flowed freely and impaired my vision. Reaching around to retrieve the bandana in my back pocket, I observed a stack of old yearbooks. Shuffling through, I found 1984, my 7th grade class. I found the page rather quickly.....his sly grin made me to retch. Tucked in the crease was an old newspaper clipping. [Student accuses Teacher; Teacher gets off on a technicality. The hall turned red as a fire brewed within me.

    Renewed in my quest, I arose from the floor and ventured to his doorway. I felt for the bulge in my right jacket pocket. Shocked by the cold steel, I gripped it tightly with my torrid hand. Inching closer to the door , I was caught off guard by a faint smell.......Old Spice. It enveloped me as he had so many years ago. Choking on memories did not stop me from pushing the door open. Images flashed across my mind faster and faster, until I came to the side of his bed and his sleeping body. His breathing was slow and easy, much unlike my own. Did he always sleep this peacefully, or was he awakened by night terrors as I so often was? Just do it, now.....there’s no turning back. I retrieved the gun from my pocket and aimed it at his head. Quivering with fear, panic, emptiness and rage.....I slowly started to draw the trigger towards my aching body.

    Dear Lord, please give me the strength I have so long ago lost. Salty tears stung my cheeks and clouded my aim. I pulled my shaking hands back to wipe them away. A soft clinking noise startled me. Reaching down to quiet the clamor, I realized my locket was swinging half opened. I knew better than to open it further, yet I couldn’t stop myself. My daughter’s sweet smile beamed back at me. My hand clutched the locket close to my chest in an attempt to shut out what I had just seen. What are you doing, this is not worth losing her over. Pushing the gun in my pocket, I snuck out of the room, down the stairs and out the back door where the dark crept over me.