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Death is Permanent

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I sat there, with my arms wrapped around my little sister. We were sitting in my room, curled up in the closet. She was only 7, and I was 15. She looked up to me, so I had to protect her.

Our father was a dangerous man. He did things that seemed terrible to others outside of his group. He was the Don of the local mafia. He always had dangerous people lingering around our simple apartment in the back streets of Brooklyn. They always scared my little sister, Tandy. So, whenever they were here, she curled up in bed with me and I held her close, because I was afraid myself.

But tonight was different. Tandy and I were just sitting in our small living room, sitting together listening to my iPod I had on the speakers. We were listening to my music tonight, because every other night we switched whose music we listened to and tonight was my night. So, we were listening to The Cab. I sang quietly in her ear; she loved when I did that. When Angel With A Shotgun came on, everything in our lives turned upside down.

We overheard our father talking to his groupies in the dining room, all gathered around the table. Our mother was in bed already, it was 11 after all. She had to work in the morning, but we had no school the next day. We weren’t going to bed early.

But when our father said the last sentence we heard, we bolted for my room.

“Oh yeah, the wife. She’s gone tonight, don’t worry about that boys. Then we’re takin’ the girls and gettin’ outta here,” he said, slurring his words. We could tell he was drunk, and we knew what he was going to do.

And that’s why we’re here now. We didn’t want to leave, or have to get drug out by the thugs that father worked with. But we knew they’d come for us anyway. Tandy sat in a fetal sort of way, and I positioned myself around her, my arms wrapped around her tiny body.

“Rossy, Rossy...” Tandy repeated, over and over. That’s what she called me. My real name is Rose, but when she was younger and learning to talk, she called me Rossy. So, the name stuck.

“Shh baby, shh.” I soothed her, or at least tried. I craned my neck over so my lips met her ear, and I sang quietly into her ear. Our mother always sang us the song Safe and Sound, and Tandy always loved it. So, that’s what I sang. As soon as I got over the few first notes, she started to calm down and the tears slowed down both of our faces. I sang it over and over, not caring if we were heard. We knew that we’d be taken away anyway, no matter how quiet or clever we were. The thugs, no matter how dumb they seemed to be, they always outsmarted us.

Soon enough, my guess came true. We heard the banging footsteps leading down to our room. Father burst down the door and stormed to the closet. He tore open the doors. We just stared up at him, with fear visible in our eyes. He knew we were scared, but he didn’t care.

“Get up.” he growled at us, practically sweating the hatred he felt towards us. He would never dare hurt us, but obviously our mother was a different story. “Your precious little mother is already outside. Just come down to the street and nothing will happen to you.” he sneered.

Tandy and I scrambled to our feet, but I still held onto her. Father shoved us forward in front of him, and I just let Tandy grab my hand. I stayed as calm as possible walking down the dark and dank steps leading down from our apartment. When we stepped out into the street, we ran to our mother and let her hold us tight. We stood there in a loving embrace for what felt like hours.

Father came downstairs with a small but powerful gun in hand, holding it at his side, but not completely out of sight.

“Get in the alley.” he said, with a raspy tone to his voice from the cigarettes he smokes.

Our mother led us to the alley, still hugging us. The alleyway was filled with trash, including a rotting old mattress that had been there for as long as I can remember. He walked up to Mother, holding the gun to her head next to her temple. She let go of us quickly and backed away.

“Get down onto that mattress,” he barked at her like a dog. She did as she was told, and got down. “I’m sick and tired of you. So, I think you can guess what happens now.” he said menacingly.

“Girls, I love you. Don’t let him do anything to hurt you. You’re beautiful, and I’ll love you forever and always.” she said, tears streaming down her face like a strong current in a river. She locked eyes with me, and then with Tandy, but lastly again with me. As if to tell me a final goodbye and that she loves me so much. I understood, and simply I nodded my head. With that slightest movement, one of the thugs grabbed me from behind and braced me. They grabbed Tandy also, and weren’t any gentler.

My father looked behind him to look at the other thugs and nodded, as if to say he was ready. Father raised the gun, level with Mother’s head. And he took a shot.

I struggled against my retainers strong hold, trying to break free and run to my mother. Father took another shot, just to make sure she was finished for good. After that shot, the man let Tandy and I go. I ran for mother, grabbing her hand and laying over her stomach, rocking back and forth in tears. I was hysterical and couldn’t think straight. Tandy did the same, yet much less violent.

After about five minutes or so, father grabbed Tandy and I by the back of our shirts, ripping us from our mother’s side. I screamed loudly, trying to break free. Father hooked his arm around my front and threw Tandy to the ground. I bent over and bit down on his arm hard, drawing blood. He yelped like an injured dog and jolted his arm back.

“You filthy mutt..” he muttered to me under his breath.

I scowled at him, tears still streaming down my face endlessly. Father grabbed my shirt and dragged me back toward his car in the street. He jolted Tandy up from the ground and threw her and I forward toward the car. We stumbled forward, trying to stay as quiet as possible. Once we regained our balance, he threw us into the back seat of the car. We stared out of the back window, pounding on it, screaming our mother’s name. Our father got into the front seat with one of his favorite thugs. He strapped himself in and the car surged forward. Tandy and I just screamed, trying to resist the urge to punch our father out. We knew that was a dumb idea.

And just like that, our mother was torn from our lives. That simply, our heartless father killed his own wife.



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