Ah well, hello again. I just want to say "THANK YOU VERY MUCH" to anyone who's left reviews. They make me extremely happy. And just a note, this is very possibly the most intense chapter of this story. And it honestly almost made me cry. Reviews are always lovely. Enjoy :)

Protect Me

By Fig

Chapter Seven:


"I been lookin' for you," A gruff voice says from behind us. We turn slowly to face a tough-looking police officer with his arms firmly crossed across his chest.

"You Chaney's?" He asks us, eyeing us up and down, "Cole, Dylan, Lyssa?"

We don't say a word.

"That's what I thought. C'mon," The officer grabs us roughly by the arms and drags us out of the dark, secluded alley. A patrol car waits parked on the curb. We are shoved into the back of it.

Lyssa's shaking beside me. I grab her hand and hold it tightly. Cole's gripping the edge of the seat; I know better than to say 'told you so.'

We arrive at our apartment building in what feels like 5 but is really 35 minutes. We seem to run up the bent out of shape stairs, though we attempt to walk as slow as turtles. The officer's knocks on our door sound like a giant's footsteps. I'm still hanging on to Lyssa's hand.

I bite my lip hard. Wasn't this why we had run in the first place; to avoid something like this? We are sure to get it bad, but not quite as bad. Not quite as bad as Dad. But, I wonder as rushing footsteps come closer to our side of the door, is that a good thing?

The door is opening. Mama stands there a fake look of relief spreading across her face. She pulls us close to her; too tightly.

"Oh thank God!" She exclaims, "I was so worried! Thank you so much, officer!"

The officer nods, clearly buying into this though neither of us are.

Mama ushers us in, quietly closing the door behind us. Though our backs are turned, I know exactly what she is doing. She leans against the door, listening intently to the officer's receding footsteps. She steps around in front of us, anger flickering dangerously in her deep brown eyes.

What happens next seems to go through slow and fast motion. She's approaching Cole, who's shaking so hard he looks like he's having a seizure. Brotherly instinct has me wanting to immediately switch places with him, but I know better, and that leaves me to stand and stare.

Mama shoves Cole into a wall. It shakes horribly and bits of plaster fall. Her hands fly to his neck and Lyssa throws herself into me, burying her face into my side.

"You have no idea what you're in for now…" I hear her hiss as her grip tightens against my brother's throat, so that he can hardly breathe. Cole's gasping for breath and it's not surprising when he passes out seconds later.

He falls to the floor, slumping against the wall. I try to say something, but my voice catches in my throat.

Mama's kicking Cole hard and I don't know how much more of this I can take. I hold Lyssa tightly. This is getting unbearable.


"MAMA!" I shout, finally having found my voice though not knowing quite how. Mama turns on me silently, her face ice cold and stern. For a split second I'm afraid she's going to take me and do to me what she did to Cole. But she doesn't. She sweeps past Lyssa and I and walks out the door, slamming it shut behind her and shaking the walls.

I stand still for a few seconds, bewildered. She just…just left. My breathing is shaky and nervous as I wait to see if she comes back. She doesn't. Relieved, I turn from the door where I'd watched her storm out. My relief doesn't last.

Lyssa's sitting next to Cole, cradling his head in her lap. I rush over to them, sliding onto the floor next to Lyssa. She's whimpering softly as she strokes the side of his face gently. I take a shaky breath.

"Cole," I say, my voice shaking, "Cole, wake up."

I gently shake him. Nothing.

I sigh. Lyssa looks at me with sad, pain-filled eyes.

"Cole," I try again, "C'mon, wake up."

Cole shifts slowly.

"No," He mumbled softly.

I gather him in my arms protectively, that sense of relief back. He whimpers softly, suddenly clinging to me, his face buried in my shoulder.

"Cole," I say, "Cole, are you alright?"

He doesn't answer me and, while I understand why, I desperately need him to.

"Cole," I say gently, yet somewhat firmly, "I need you to answer me."

He shakes his head against my shoulder in silent protest. I start to open my mouth to say something more, but Lyssa shakes her head. I shut it quickly. She's right. He'll talk when he wants to.

After a while, he pulls away and looks up at me, eyes pained and miserable, and then collapses against me again.

"Make it stop, Dyl," He whispers into my shoulder, his words slightly muffled, "Make it stop hurting."