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Chapter 7 : Not What I Wanted
I felt Chelsea tugging my shirt, trying to hold me back, as if she knew what I was wanting to do. I had made up my mind, however, and nothing she could say to me would change that. Mother and Father had been mean to me, and I was an angel. Not only that, I am still an angel. A guardian angel. I am going to keep my friends and my sister safe. I clenched the long leather strip that Chelsea had given me, and waited, listening to every step Father took down the stairs. Toro was running back and forth between the table in front of us and the stairs.
Father would have the whistle with him and he would blow it, but we could never hear it, but Toro could, and he would go scampering back to his box. Father said he used that to train Toro to go back into the box when he was outside. That’s why we named our Pitbull, Mr. Toro Scampers. I didn’t even look back at my friends, only reached my hand backwards for Eli to hold, which she did. I could always tell the cold, sweaty touch of her palms when she was scared, and her hands were dripping now, and her ankle was hurt, so she needed my help to make this possible. The others would follow me, I know they would. We all agreed on what is happening and I took responsibility to make this right.
Father’s footsteps grew closer and the stairs squeaking grew more annoying, until it finally stopped for a while, and so did Toro, as I peeked around the blockage of the table to see him run in front of the stairs and sit. The squeaking continued again and Toro made a mad dash towards the box, hitting his head into it as he did and laid himself inside, looking away from Father. I managed to push the table aside just enough to squeeze through without making any obvious sound, as Father resumed his descent.
I held tight to the leather in one hand and to Eli in the other and took a small breath, realizing how daring a thing I was doing. I saw one of Father’s legs pop out the side of the stairs and immediately dashed towards it, jerking Eli behind me.
The rest of Father then came out and looked at Toro’s box, then around the room, probably for us, but by the time his eyes noticed the table in the corner, I was already under him.
“What the He-…” he tried to swear, but I swung the leather at his thigh and he reacted, bending towards it and then I pulled Eli and myself around and behind him, hitting him again on the back of the neck, and his back and arms turned towards it as he yelled. I kicked Father’s back and Eli’s other hand pushed him, and he fell on his knees, almost onto his face as he fell down the last step and into the Room.
I ran upstairs with all my speed, dragging Eli behind me, hoping she wouldn’t fall, but she kept up with me as we reached the top step, as always, the door was left slightly open.
We did it. We made it. I saved Eli and my friends.
Chelsea and Margret were not behind me as I looked back down into the dim light, but I heard them scream as I saw Father get up and stare angrily at us.
“Toro…” he screamed. “Sick ‘em!”
I heard Toro bark loudly and dash towards a corner, out of my sight, and heard my friends yell even louder, while Father ran up the stairs.
No, nothing. There was nothing else I could do now.
I yanked Eli out the door with me and slammed it shut, hearing the door make a small, faded, ‘click’ sound as it locked.
“No!!” Eli cried at the door, followed by a ‘thud’ sound as Father hit the other side of the door.
I pulled Eli closer to my face, she was crying and tears were rolling down her face, streaming into her mouth as she cried louder.
“Eli…,” I talked to her. “We can still help them!”
Thud Thud Thud
“How?” she cried at me.
“What’s going on down there?”, Mother yelled from upstairs, and we could hear her walk about hastily.
“I’m sorry Eli,” I talked to her, my own eyes tearing up, thinking of what I just did to my friends, and what I was about to say to my sister. This is not what I wanted to say, or what I wanted to do. They were supposed to come with us, we were supposed to get out of there together. Now? But now… If they are to get out.
“If we want to help them…. We need to help ourselves, first.”
Those cold words rolled out my tongue and tasted bitter.
(Picture Credit to Respected Owners)