He watched her from the shadows. He was always watching her, even when she didn't know it. He knew their mothers noticed. He had overheard them talking about it. His mother had assured hers it was just a childhood crush. It was perfectly normal and he would grow out of it when he got older and understood what their being related meant. But he wasn't stupid. He understood things other children didn't. Besides he didn't love her. At least, he was pretty sure he didn't. He did however understand that she was pretty. And like all pretty things, he wanted to taint her. He found the perfect word for what he wanted to do to her. He had heard it on the news when someone vandalized a church and had to look it up. Defile- to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase. That was a good word.

He watched her duck into the garage when she thought no one was looking. They both knew they weren't supposed to play in there. That was her one fault. She just didn't know what was good for her. He looked back at their mothers. They were busy with making sure his dad didn't burn the house down with the grill. His younger sister, who was the same age as her but nowhere near as interesting, was being a boring good girl and playing with the few of her dolls he hadn't either broken, or stolen to 'practice' with. Deciding that no one would be looking for them for a while, he followed her into the darkness.

It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust. The only light source at the moment was a high cracked window on the back wall of the cramped space. The garage was large, with space for 3 cars, but none were in here. It was used instead for storage, with junk piled high turning it into a kind of maze. In the near dark he managed to catch a glimpse of her long blonde hair disappearing around a corner. He followed after her. As he went, he noticed something shiny on a counter. Stopping to look at it, he found a long serrated knife. Without thinking, he grabbed it and, wrapping it in a piece of leather next to it, stuck it in his pocket. Then he continued his search for her.

He caught up with her easily and reached out to grab her shoulder. She froze before turning slowly to look at him.

"Are you trying to scare me to death? I thought you were my mom!" she whispered still not wanting to get caught. He smiled at that. Sweet innocent thing still thought the scariest thing out there was getting punished by her mom. Smiling back and putting a finger to her lips, she beckoned him to follow her.

They made their way through the piles of junk slowly, her wanting to look and discover every treasure this room had to offer, and him enjoying being close to her and fingering the handle of the knife and wondering just what he was going to do with it. As he was thinking about it, she suddenly stopped in front of him.

"Oh, there's a dead-end…" She turned back to look at him. "We'll have to go look somewhere else." Without a word he pushed her into the small round space blocked on three sides by mountains of stuff. "What are you-" She fell quiet, staring at him with large brown eyes when he pulled the blade from his pocket. For a second they remained like that, watching each other. The silence was cut by screams as he brought the knife down plunging it into her shoulder. He fell down to his knees leaning over her as he stabbed her twice more before being pulled off of her by who he assumed was his dad. He was slammed into a shelf as both mothers pushed past him to hold the screaming little girl.

~*~

Jane Sullivan lay in the hospital bed. She was no longer covered in blood but had had to have over 200 stitches. She had been stabbed just below her shoulder, mere inches above her heart, and also in the stomach above her belly button and the other side of her chest. She lay there staring at the wall. Nothing felt real. They had told her the medicine they had given her might do that.

Vaguely, as if from far away, she heard her mother outside talking to the doctor. They were using a lot of words she couldn't really understand at the moment. Something about someone was lucky about… something. She idly wondered who they meant. She knew it couldn't be her. What could she possibly be lucky for? Somewhere she knew she was crying again. She couldn't understand why Brian had done that to her. He was her friend. They were cousins. Her mom had told her that family looked out for each other.

She heard the door open but couldn't find the energy to move. She could feel her mom come and hold her hand but continued staring at the wall.

"Honey? Janey?"she flinched at that, her whole body jerking and shaking so much her mom had to hold her down. Finding her voice for the first time since it happened she began sobbing so violently her mom had to call for a nurse who came in and gave her a shot. As she felt everything fading away she managed to mumble.

"Not Janey… not Janey… no more Janey…"

~*~

The trial had had to be put off until several months later. They had to wait until Jane was out of the hospital, plus as Brian's lawyer had recommended, he had given a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and as such had had to spend time in a hospital being evaluated. The result of the evaluation had been that they couldn't be completely sure of his sanity but that he was capable of standing trial.

It had taken almost as long to convince the star witness to testify. Jane was terrified to face him again, and didn't want to have to tell what had happened in front of all those people. But in the end her mom had convinced her that it would put Brian somewhere that could help people like him.

This is why she sat here now, in this big uncomfortable wooden chair. They had made her put her hand on the bible and swear she was telling the truth. Then they had asked her a bunch of questions. Then they made her point out Brian as the one who had attacked her. That had been the worst part for her because she had to actually look at him. She had been surprised at the look on his face. He had looked…mean. The look on his face was as if he hated everyone there. Even after what he had done to her, this was the first time she had been scared of him.

After that she had to watch as they showed pictures of her wounds, first in the Emergency Room, then with the stitches, and finally with the large ugly scars she had now, the ones they said she would always have. Thinking about that made her start crying all over again, though she managed to do it quietly.

It only took 15 minutes for the jury to come back. Brian was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to a mental hospital until such a time as he was deemed rehabilitated and fit to return to society.

~*~

She sat in the car looking blankly out the window as the prosecutor and Brian's lawyer spoke to the press. She had been snuck out immediately after the verdict to prevent the press from getting at her. Her forehead lay against the cool glass as she watched her mother and Brian's comforting each other outside the press mob. Molly had been left home with her father who was no doubt watching this on the news right now. It was hard for her child's mind to understand how two families had been so torn apart by an event that couldn't have lasted longer than a minute or two.

A commotion caught her attention as Brian was led out in handcuffs toward a white police van. Sitting up on her knees she pressed her hands and face against the glass and watched him being lead out. To her surprise his head rose and he stared right at her. Just before they were out of her line of sight, he did something that chilled her small body to the bone. Brian smiled at her.