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My heart was pounding against my chest; the agony was rising within me as I felt like it would just burst through me. The tunnel was warped, a hallway maybe? Blurred vision smeared my line of sight, and weak legs wobbled as I stumbled to the nearest door. What was this tight air enveloping my lungs? I could feel its' cold grip squeezing harder and harder ' I sensed something wrong. Cold, chilling air spilled through the crack that was left open in the doorway ' cooling my forehead which was beading with sweat. But that air'that cloudy, thick air, it wouldn't cease. My chest heaved, desperate for a clear breath, something really was wrong. And yet, even though the sensation seemed so foreign'it felt so familiar.
The color drained from my face, suddenly I knew, that cold breeze, that suffocating cloud within my lung. I remembered what made it so familiar ' it was the one thing I spent so long trying to forget. Sliding my fingers around the doorknob, I pressed the door open. As I entered one foot into the room I felt the atmosphere get dense, my steps were heavy ' echoing across the walls. The cloud was getting thicker ' I couldn't breathe.
The dim lights in each corner cast shadows upon the room, a long bed sat in the center ' the sheets ruffled and a young girl sat against a pillow. Her soft, straight, auburn hair hung to her chin, and she turned to me with caramel brown eyes that matched mine.
'Brother'' She whispered, 'Make him stop, please'make Daddy stop.'
The cloud became unbearable, the closer I came to the truth the more powerful it became.
Oh God'no! Can't'breathe.
Reality, it washed over me like a tidal wave, my eyes snapped open to see my bedroom ceiling. I lifted my head, an aching migraine pulsing through my brain.
'Man'' I groaned in pain.
My sheets were wet; a thin layer of sweat coated my entire body, with my bare chest and abdomen glistening. Sharp rays of sunlight peaked in through the blinds on my windows, burning my eyes. That dream, oh God, it's so clear in my mind, if only that dream had no basis in reality what-so-ever.
'Hey Vinny! You awake yet?'
My little sister came thumping on the door, using the nickname she gave me ' short for Vincent. I'm just a year older than her and we're extremely close'which explained these horrible dreams more than you would think.
'Yeah'I'm up.' I responded, catching long gasps of air, in a way I could still feel that cloud constricting my lungs.
'I made some breakfast, come out when you're ready to eat.'
I merely waved it off without another word; all I needed was another moment to clear my thoughts.
Unfortunately, my legs were just as wobbly and useless as they were in my dream. So I bounded down the hall, still only in pajama pants, my black hair, shaggy and in my eyes.
'What did you make, kid?' I questioned.
'Pancakes and bacon, your favorite,' she paused, 'you look like a zombie, what's up?'
Stormy has changed a lot since we were little; she's not exactly the definition of a girly girl. She commonly wears sweats, dirty tennis shoes and sweaters. Her hair is still short though. But there is a reason behind all of it, just the same reason behind my nightmares.
'Can I ask you something?'
Stormy turned to me, cocking her eyebrow in curiosity.
'Sure.' She replied.
'Do you ever still think about it?'
My fingers twitched, I shifted my eyes in all directions, I knew she would be mad but hell I needed to know. The entire atmosphere of the room shifted, Stormy froze and it almost seemed like a shadow encased her entire body. Her originally light caramel eyes meshed into black ' it was almost unnatural.
'I choose not to.' She growled, Stormy never was the same after what happened ' she doesn't smile as much as she used to. And no guy can ever get close to her ' maybe that's because I don't want it to happen. No one is trustworthy. Not even the people who are supposed to love and be there for you, we learned that the hard way.
Stormy can't remember much of what happened, I think what she's going through is some form of repression. At least that's what I learned in psych ' but what do I know? She just kind of blocked it out of her mind; she knows what happened but has no recollection of the details. That disgusting man destroyed everything that made her who she was. He took her innocence, her childhood, her sanity ' and I couldn't even stop him.
That man, the one who ruined everything that was my sister, was our father.
'Why are we talking about this?'
A large, painful lump came down my throat as I swallowed.
'Because I had another nightmare about it last night.'
My voice was quivering, God, it was so hard to talk about. It made my whole body rock with pain, things got so bad back then. Her eyes seemed to fade back to normal when I told her this, she knew about my nightmares. They plagued me for years, on and off, they came at random times but they always had the same affect.
'Yeah, more recently now.'
Stormy cursed under her breath, that dark shadow still followed her as she paced the room.
'We're not talking about this.' She snapped, and I knew that when she said this the conversation was over.
I no longer trust any guy to be around her, I haven't for years and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to change my mind. Not after what Dad did, since Stormy doesn't remember the specifics ' I do every single last detail. How can I ever forget those screams? How she pleaded for someone to help her because he was hurting her too badly. That man just wouldn't leave her be, and she was so young.
He never touched me, at least not the same way he touched her. In my nightmares I can still feel the bruises he gave me. Dad didn't like for me to interfere with what he did with my little sister.
Every guy that comes near her, I run them off immediately ' I can't trust them alone with her'ever. God knows I never expected her to tell me that she really liked some new kid, I grimaced the moment she told me he was coming over, and Stormy could tell I wasn't pleased.
'You have to let go of it sometime! I'm trying to forget about what happened completely!' She yelled, my eyes narrowed, fists clenched in anger and frustration. My knuckles turned white from the lack of blood circulation.
'Do you expect me to just be ok with the fact that you're bringing some guy over? You know how I feel about this.'
Her eyes welled with tears, her short, choppy bangs hung in her face.
'You need to let me forget! I don't want to live with this memory anymore, screw our father ' he's gone!'
Silence. I never knew it could be so eerie, never in my life did I realize how insane a few moments of silence can make you.
'Whatever, I don't care'you do what you want, I can't stop you, just don't forget about everything I have done for you.'
I stormed off, and then the nightmare came back to haunt me, the cloud returned to my lungs. Ah hell, what was wrong with me? I think I left her stunned.
The boy did come over, he didn't look much like her type, but now I feel like I am losing touch with my sister more and more. He had hair like mine, a pale complexion and green eyes, with the most annoying lip ring. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose I have to deal with it.
Stormy doesn't know, I'll always blame myself for what happened to her. I was never strong enough to stop Dad from doing those things to her. I was too small; I was too weak and pathetic to do anything! How sick is that? I pride myself on being a good brother and protecting her ' but I couldn't prevent the one thing that really destroyed her. I'll always hate myself for it, how am I ever supposed to forgive myself?
'Vinny is a bit'protective.' Stormy explained to the new guy, his name is Jackson ' and I hate him already.
'I can tell.' He said, arm wrapped around her shoulders.
'He'll come around.'
I had no intention of 'coming around' no matter how much she tried to convince herself, I wanted nothing to do with him.
Sometimes I wonder if Dad is still alive out there somewhere. I truly hope he is rotting in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, never to be found. He deserves to burn in hell. And I'll never be satisfied until he does.
Unfortunately, I ran into Jackson in the hallway, he stuck out his hand to shake mine. I glanced over his hand skeptically, whatever nice guy routine he was trying to pull ' I didn't buy it. I rolled my eyes and shook his hand, keeping my expression smug so he didn't get the impression that I liked him.
'Nice to meet the famous Vincent, your sister talks a lot about you.' He explained.
'Oh, does she?'
Was it so wrong to feel like she was being ungrateful? I've tried so hard for so long to keep her safe and make her happy ' and then she brings this guy into the house. In a way I feel betrayed, but is that wrong?
'All the time, she really cares about you ' looks up to you'' Jackson fidgeted, 'between you and me, I'm worried about her ' she seems so distant and she won't tell me what's up.'
Of course she won't, kid; neither of us has ever uttered our secret to anyone. We tried Mom back when it was happening, but she was hopeless. She was wasted all the time, but the woman did do one thing right ' she kicked Dad out.
'Distant?' I questioned.
'Yeah, like, whenever I ask her what's wrong she turns dark'almost like she's someone else.'
The boy merely shrugged, he was just confused, I was used to Stormy's mood changes, they occurred whenever we talked about the problem. It was nothing new, he just wasn't aware of her past, so he couldn't possibly understand.
'She could just be joking'but it gets pretty weird when she starts calling herself Dani.'
Dani? Wait a second who the hell is Dani?
'Wait, what?' I snapped.
'Dani, when she gets really mad like that she says her name is Dani.' The kid repeated, this was something new, something so new I wasn't sure what to make of it.
I didn't think my first meet with Jackson would be so enlightening, it made me revaluate everything.
'Vinny, you have these nightmares cause you blame yourself'I don't get it ' it wasn't your fault.'
Stormy was whimpering as she confronted me a few days later.
'I couldn't stop him.'
She squinted her eyes shut, and the shadow returned as she opened them. Her body slumped over, staring back at me.
'We're not mad at you, Vinny, how could we? You've done so much for us.'
My body went stiff, since when was there a 'we' or 'us' involved? What was she talking about?
She shook her head, staring at me with dull, dark eyes.
'Stormy isn't mad at you, she's afraid you'll hurt yourself because of all the guilt. She can't remember anything ' you can, that's why you take the blame'like it was your fault.'
A cold chill went down my spine, was I talking to my sister or what?
She nodded, 'We were young, you couldn't have stopped him, forgive yourself.'
Why did it hit me as hard as it did? Maybe it was because I was assured that I did nothing wrong by someone I cared about. But I didn't know Dani.
The shadow left and Stormy sat on the couch, it was her again, I could tell. The insane silence returned, and I went to sit with her, pulling her into a hug. Did she know about Dani? Was she aware of this person that was in partial control of her? I still wasn't sure I believed it.
Dad did the worst damage he ever could have ' I fear my sister will never be the same. At this point I'm still not sure I'll ever forgive myself ' I might always feel responsible.
But as for Stormy, all I know is that I need to help her, bring her back from this. Or else lose her forever.