First part of six, brought to you by zrpru

Strength

Just because I'm 16 doesn't mean I can't survive on my own. Every day is a fight for survival in my own house. With drug addict for a mother and an abusive father, I feel like sometimes I'm the only sane person on this planet. I would have already gone insane if it wasn't for my younger siblings. John is strong, but not strong enough to defend himself and his twin sister Jade from our father. He would fight, I'll give him credit for that, but it would be in vain and end in death.

Jade and John will both turn 11 next month, but I wonder if that even means anything anymore. The only thing our mother cares about is a full syringe and I don't think our father cares about anything or even anybody. I still have the bruises and scars from the beating he gave me this morning. He grabbed Jade violently by the arm and yanked her next to the table because she burnt his breakfast and was going to cause him to be late for work again. As he unbuckled his belt from around his waist, I stood in front of him, blocking him from hitting my little and frightened little sister. John snuck up behind her and slowly pulled her aside while my dad lit into me like lion on a fresh kill.

The lashes from the belt stung so bad that I started to lose the feeling in my back and chest. At one point he threw me against the table, snapping the legs off of it and causing it to fall on top of me, pinning me to the ground. Our "father" let out a terrifying scream of annoyance and rage, and continued to lash at my exposed face and chest, demanding to know why I had just decided to destroy our kitchen table? After a few more minutes of this torture, his lashing grew less consistent and powerful as he started to tire. Suddenly he dropped his belt, grabbed his jacket and muttered something about getting something to eat before work, then walked out and slammed the door.

Jade and John instantly rushed to my side trapped beneath the table. Jade apologized over and over again at my misfortune while she and John helped me push the table up just enough for me to slip out from underneath. I grabbed them both and held them close to me, assuring Jade that it was ok and that it wasn't her fault, staring at the front door the entire time in case our father made another reappearance and I needed to quickly shove them out of the way of his war path.

I was so focused on the front door that I jumped a little when I heard our mom coming out of her bedroom. She looked terrible. She had big, black rings under her eyes, skin all splotchy, and her whole body was badly malnourished. I couldn't stand the sight of her and pulled the twins out of the kitchen and down the hall to our room, her ghostly, tormented eyes following us the whole time.

I put the twins back to bed since it was three in the morning. Our father goes to work early and gets back at seven o'clock, and he wakes us up every morning at 1:30 to make his breakfast and so he can make sure we do our chores. We got back from school a couple of hours ago, and I've decided to take up writing. Someone said something about writing being a soothing way deal with your problems. So far it's working. Oh no, it's 6:57. My dad is going to be here any moment. Better not let him catch me writing. He has said on more than one occasions that real men don't write and that if he ever caught me being "un-manly", he would beat the man into me, regardless if I was still alive at the end of it. I can't leave my brother and sis…oh no, he's home!