Brother After Dark/C1 Prologue
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Brother After Dark/C1 Prologue
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C1 Prologue

“Mommy, have you been drinking again?” the little girl asked her mother as she stood over the counter to pour herself another glass of whiskey. The mother didn’t hear her daughter, or at least, she pretended not to. “Mommy!” she called again. “Mommy!”

The mother drank almost half the glass of the whiskey and then poured herself another one, oblivious of her daughter, whose persistent cries filled the kitchen.

Thunder bellowed outside, causing the little girl to scream in fear. She had always been scared of the thunder. She ran to her mother’s side in haste, seeking protection and comfort like any little child would in the middle of a storm. Her mother wasn’t expecting her daughter to throw herself at her side, which caused her to lose her own balance, although the liquor could have easily done that. As a result, she dropped the glass in her hand, sending it shattering into a thousand pieces on the floor. The sound of breaking glass, combined with the crashing sound of the thunder and the strike of lightning caused the girl to scream in terror.

“Mommy!” she cried.

The woman had enough of the child’s screaming. It was too much for her to handle.

“I’ve had enough of you, little brat!” she bellowed. “All you do is whine and cry! It’s a fucking thunder! Get over it! Or do you want me to tie you up in the tree outside?”

But the threats made the little girl cry even louder.

“Shut the fuck up! Shut up! Shut up!”

The little girl kept on crying, begging her mother to protect her, comfort her. But instead of feeling pity, the mother got even more irritated.

“I am sick and tired of you!” she screamed, pushing her daughter to the floor. Then she took off her belt and started hitting blindly at the fragile little girl.

The girl covered her face with her arms, bracing herself for the pain. But that pain never came. Because right at that moment, a little boy’s slender body was lodged between her and her mother. The boy screamed in pain as the mother’s belt hit his back. But he didn’t run. He held his ground. He stayed atop the little girl, shielding her from the pain of the lash of leather.

The little girl cried, knowing that the boy was taking in the pain that was meant for her. A third lash caused him to cry out in agony. It was loud enough for the mother to recognize his voice.

“Oh my god!” the mother screamed in horror.

Immediately, she dropped the belt and grabbed her son. She cupped his face between her palms, feeling remorseful that she laid a finger on the boy.

“I am so sorry, baby! I’m so sorry!”

Tears were streaming down the boy’s cheeks, but he didn’t whimper. The look he gave his mother was a combination of pain and loathing. In his eyes, she had turned into a monster. He pushed his mother away and turned to the whimpering little girl on the floor. He gathered her in his arms and whispered soothing words to make her stop crying.

“It’s okay, baby girl. I got you.” Then he looked at his mother in contempt.

“She was… bothering me. She made me break the glass,” their mother said defensively.

“She was scared!” The little boy’s voice was low but thick with emotions. “She was asking you to comfort her!” He tightened his arms around the little girl, who was no more than two years younger than him. “You wanted to hit her!”

The mother opened her mouth to say something, but no sound came out. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she saw the look of disgust on her son’s face.

The boy stood up on his feet and pulled the little girl up. “Come, baby girl. I will stay with you until the storm passes. No one can hurt you while I’m here.”

The boy brought his sister up to her room and tried to stop her tears.

“Why doesn’t Mommy love me?” she asked. He couldn’t answer. “She loves you. She got so scared when she realized that she was hitting you.” She stared at her brother wearily. “Does it hurt?”

The boy smiled and shook his head. “Doesn’t hurt a bit.” But they both knew it was a lie.

“Let me have a look,” she said.

“I’ll be okay,” he insisted. “I’m stronger than you. A few hits don’t hurt me.”

“Thank you. If you weren’t here to always protect me, I don’t know what Mommy would do to me.”

“I will always be here to protect you,” he said.

The little girl found comfort in those promises. But he was gone shortly after that. It was the darkest moment of her life.

“You promised you would always be here to protect me,” she said, crying.

He smiled at her sadly. “I am sorry. You know I would never leave you if I had a choice.”

She lunged forward and hugged him… possibly for the last time.

“Be brave, okay? Always take care of yourself. I’ll always be with you. And someday, I will come back for you.”

He pulled away from her and took off his necklace. It was a locket. He’s had it since he was a baby. He opened it and showed her the pictures inside. It was his picture and hers. “Always wear this. When the thunder comes, hold on to this, and think of me. I will be right there beside you, protecting you. You never have to be scared.”

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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