Who are you? Who am I? Does it matter? Should it matter? The questions are there, and people think them, people wonder about them. People are too scared to ask them. They go along in their simple little lives, thinking their simple little thoughts, hoping to cover up the fact that they're lost. They're lost in an endless maze, one that spins you around in a million circles and then takes you for another one. People have no idea who they really are, they define themselves by what T.V. shows they watch, what books they read, what they do for work.

But none of them truly know.

Not even me. I, however, define myself by different standards. My name is Anita Grey, and I define myself by the Hell I've gone through. And I've been through Hell and back, many, many times. When I look in the mirror, I see someone who is not good enough. I see a dirty woman, covered in scars that should have long since faded, I see a woman who can still feel every place her husband had ever hit her. I see a woman who has no way out. That's not the worse part, because even though I've gone through Hell, even though I know what it feels like, I let it happen to someone else.

I let it happen to my daughter.

She used to smile. Lucy used to smile all the time. She went to school, she had friends. She had good friends, but that all changed when she turned thirteen. Her father was done with me, I was just an asset now, because I had given him young, teenaged flesh, and he took it. I heard her screams, but I was too weak a woman to do anything about it. Every time I enter her room -still pink from her baby days- I hear her yell, "No, Daddy, no!" I still hear her crying. Her pain haunts this room. I know what I feel entering it, I wonder how she feels.

Can she hear herself crying?

Or is she too focused on the pain that is to come, to listen to the pain that has passed? I know it hasn't really passed, not at all. I know she can still feel it. I know that she can't believe that her father, the man that had loved her as a little girl, the man that had helped give her life, could be such a monster. And I know she blames me, I can see it in her brown eyes. She looks at me and says "How could you let this happen? I am your daughter, you're supposed to protect me! You're weak! WEAK! You knew he was a monster, but you never did anything." She never said it out loud, but I knew.

I knew.

And I know that even if I can't save myself, I have to save her. I could send her to my sister in Montreal. I could send her to my parents in Texas. I don't care where she goes, I just need her out. I look at her school picture from when she was five, and know that I cannot go with her. I need to be here, take the anger, the blows, the rape that was sure to come. I needed to be here to keep him here, to keep him from going after her.

My god, when had my husband, my once loving and faithful husband, become a 'him.' When had he stopped being Jim? When? When had he started coming in late, the smell of cheap booze, smoke and hookers surrounding him? When did he start hitting me for asking? When did I stop asking? When had that become normal for me? It never should have, because it was not normal. I should have seen the signs. I should have left when I knew I was pregnant. But I didn't. I stayed. I should have run as far away as I could, gone home to Mom and Dad. I didn't even have to press charges, just getting away, never having to see him again. That would have been enough.

But I was too weak to run.

It is night now, and soon he will come lumbering out of the basement, drunk, but knowing exactly where he was going. He would wander passed our room and into Lucy's. Lucy's, with her pink walls, flower wallpaper and flower comforter. Lucy's room that looked exactly like it did when she was five, and had been begging for a change when she turned twelve. I hear his footsteps, I hear the creak of the door. I know that I should stand up, go to her room, and tell him to stop. I could let him hit me, and beat me, and bruise me. And she could run. She could get away. Far away. She could go to the police. There was no denying the evidence. She could go where she wanted, as long as she got away.

But I never left the bed.

I hear his grunts, and she screams. We have no neighbors, not where we are. No one hears her scream except him - and me. He takes pleasure from her pain, and I am to weak to stop him. The screams stop, and I am scared, terrified. She never stops screaming. Even hours after the awful deed has been done, the sound echoes in my ears forever after. Not now. Now it is dead silent, and I cannot even hear ringing in my ears. He leaves her room and goes back downstairs for more alcohol. I tiptoe from my bed, down the hall, and to Lucy's room, Lucy's innocent pink room. And I scream. I scream silently, because I can't let him know that I know.

He killed her.

Her hair is thrown across the pillows. Her mouth is open, and her eyes glassy, reflecting the dim light from her Angel nightlight. Her skin is pale, and she is naked. Her barely even developing, barely teen body is open to the air. She even looks violated. There is nothing on her except blood. The blood is redder than I ever thought possible. A deep, dark crimson spilling from her heart. Whatever stabbed her is gone, only the blood is left. It covers her, almost as though it wants to hide her once sacred parts from the world.

I turn my back on what's left of my girl.

I run for the stairs. For the door. I do not care if he hears now or not, I need to get out. I need to run for the police, let them know what he did to my daughter, my baby. What he did to me. I pound down the stairs, to the landing. My hand is on the knob - and I'm flying. Falling is more accurate, I hit the bottom of the stairs, and the pain I feel makes me wish I were dead. Wish that I was no longer breathing. He hulks down the stairs, coming ever closer. He is standing above me now, and all of a sudden, his foot is on my stomach. What little breath I had recaptured suddenly flies from my lungs. I gag, and begin to claw at his leg. He removes his weight, and I am gasping. He picks me up by the throat, and shoves me against the wall.

"Bitch." He snarls. "Where were you planning on going?" His voice is slurred. I cannot say anything, I have no words left.

He throws me across the room. "ANSWER ME!" He roars, but I can't.

He comes after me with such speed, such ferocity. That I do not have time to think before it is all over.

© Double I 4 My Guyz