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The three faces in the picture glared back at me. Each face smiling, hiding the true feelings they had inside. One of those faces was mine. The other two belonged to my sister and my mother. Seeing the photo again brought back so many bad memories. Normally I would hide the picture away, so no one, not even I could see it. I disliked the image so much I tried to throw it out once, but somehow it came back. It was like the print was possessed or had something mysterious to tell me, but I never wanted to know what it was. I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to forget the past, or how many times I have tried to forget the truth of what happened when I was ten years old, but something was telling me that I needed to remember. And, I would remember today.


“Sachiko,” I yelled. “Where are you?” I had been looking for her for over an hour and she was no where to be found. Sachiko was my younger sister, her name meaning child of happiness. She was always cheerful, the optimist of the family. But these past few months she had been acting strange. She stopped talking and she always had this look in her eye like she was scared. Mother was called to the school and had to leave the house almost everyday to meet with her teachers as her grades were dropping. Some people at our school thought she was just sad or in a bad mood, but only I knew the truth. She was mourning over the loss of our father, Isamu. He died a few months back. His last words,” Sachiko.” In his eyes she was always the favorite, while I was just invisible.
I looked up to find Sachiko hiding on the roof staring out into the open space. “What are you doing up there?” I asked. She didn’t answer, she never did anymore.
I climbed to the roof and sat next to her and held her hand. She squeezed it tightly trying to hold on to the little bit of father that had been left----------me.
“I miss father,” Sachiko said. I looked at her and kissed her forehead. “He did what he had to do to save us,” I whispered.
We sat in silence and stared at the clouds, and for the first time since his death I saw father’s face, and instantly I remembered the past.
It was dark Sachiko and I was young but old enough to know what was going on. Father was acting strange and mother was mute. They roused us up from our beds and told us to put our clothes on. There was a pounding at the door and a rapping at the window. The glow of a flashlight ,shown under the crack in the door. They sent us to the back yard and lifted the trash bin, underneath a hole leading to a safe house. “Stay here until you hear the first signal.” Father kissed mother tears streamed down her rosy cheeks. She whispered something in his ear and he left. I never knew that would be the last time I would see his face.
Mother heard the signal or what she thought it was. We lifted the door mother went out first, but as she stuck her head out she pushed Sachiko and I back down. She got out. It was quiet until I heard her terrifying screams. I pushed Sachiko out of the way. She grabbed my arm. “Misaki, wait.” We ran to the surface. Mother was being held down and father was fighting. I ran to the officer that had been attacking my mother I screamed curses in his ear and I hit him. What came next was unexpected; he took out his blade and held it to my mother’s neck. I stood there unmoving. What to do? I thought. I looked across the yard to see my father fighting off officers. I could see his lips mouthing prayers silently. Everything was moving so slow. Mother was still pinned down; Sachiko and I were standing hand in hand.
The officer took out his gun and aimed. Father looked at us and mouthed “Sachiko.” He was gone. Moments after the officers left not even saying the crime our father committed. Instantly I felt a sudden rush of guilt. I ran away from Sachiko, from father, from mother, from home. I ran all the way to the river and cried until I had no more tears left. I was sure mother was looking for me maybe Sachiko was too but, I didn’t want them to find me. I wanted to stay on the river bank and starve. Why didn’t I listen to mother? I stayed on the river bank staring into the blankness, my eyelids never closing. My mind replayed the events. It hurt me so much that father was gone and it was all my fault.





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