The Death of Isabella This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 13, 2018
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I felt the icy wind hitting the apples of my cheeks, immediately freezing the droplets falling out of my emerald eyes. The auburn leaves under my feet cried in agony with every step I took. My heart reached out to them, longing to ease the pain they felt, but my feet felt no pity. The angry soles of my worn out shoes stepped harder, faster- laughing at the roaring cries coming from underneath. There was no question about it; the trees knew, the grass knew, the sky knew. Everyone who was watching knew- the angry soles were going to win this fight. They stomped with absolutely no mercy, demanding absolute silence. One… two… three stomps- whimpers. Four… Five stomps- silence. Satisfied, they allowed me to walk away from the scene.
The sky was shades of scarlet and violet when I finally came to a stop outside my house. I stared at its empty eyes and wide mouth that begged me to run as far away as possible. I couldn’t. I stepped through the door of secrecy, quivers running down my spine. The pictures on the walls refused to meet my eyes and the love seat sitting in front of the dark screen crouched in on itself as soon as it heard me open the door. The never ending silence was deafening as I tiptoed my way to the room with the bright blue walls.
I knocked. I always knocked.
“Johnny, I’m home…” I whispered.
No answer.
I knocked again, a little harder this time, waiting to hear the high pitched “BELLY!” and the patter of small toes rushing to swing the door open. But nothing. Just silence.
There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, sickening images of blood and broken limbs flashing through my memory. I began knocking louder, begging the Gods above me for a miracle. “Open the door, please!” My arms were burning from the impact, burning from the rage and emptiness inside me. All I could do was crumble; the quivering of the walls around me only shattering the already microscopic pieces of my heart. The air from my lungs was being sucked up by the air surrounding me. I held onto my chest so my heart wouldn’t come out with it. 
My eyes shot to the picture of dolls at the end of the hall. The icy blue eyes staring back at me cut deep into my soul, creating an internal winter. “You did this,” I whispered, “you killed him.” The rough cheeks on the frame seem to form a wicked smile, as if they were enjoying my pain. The eyes, the cheeks, the furrowed brows that held evidence of old age and liquor; they all mocked my pain.
The memories were flooding back like a monsoon, surging their way through every inch of my being. I felt the bones of my baby brother as if they were my own. I felt them break with every stomp, every kick, of heavy shoes. I felt the hot, alcohol infused breath on my face as a sharp pain overcame the left side of my body. I held the wide opening in my now broken ribcage, feeling the warm liquid spilling out of my body. I looked up with glossy eyes and saw the blurry image of my daddy one last time. I took my last icy breath. Black.

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