It's Been Eighteen Hours

March 10, 2008
By nesima Aberra, Chandler, AZ

it's been eighteen hours since you've been missing.
standing in the dark, you sort the choices out in your head.
you steady your hand on the doorknob,
heart overheating.
the house is so quiet.
you look down at the porch to see the faded, plastic dog, ears perked, holding a welcome sign between sooty paws.
you could go in.
he could be better now, different.
lightning crackles in the distance.
one two, buckle my shoe,you sing under your breath.
just like how you did everytime you hid under the bed as a child.
to make it all go away.
three, four…
don't go in, you fool!
you shout in silence.
storm clouds brew overhead.
three, four…
just open it, hun.
it's so warm in there.
why are you afraid?
your hand drops from the knob.
you finger the deep purple bruises on your arm, what look like blossoming mushrooms-appetizing.
it was your your fault though. always was and always will be, you repeat again.
he comes home tired from his two jobs, and you try to give him a hug when you know he's too tired for those too.

but absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
maybe it was enough this time.
yes, how silly and afraid you've been.
you'll finally be safe, loved and happy.
your hand is now back on the door knob.
a presence moves behind you.
" thought you could get away again, didja?" the gruff voice speaks, squeezing your waist.
call for help, fool.
push him away.
raindrops patter on your head like soft giggles of pity.
as you're shoved over the doorstep,
the smell of tobacco mixed with rotten fish crushes your senses.
you look down once more at the plastic welcome dog and your pulse freezes. smiling with their monstrous canines are not one, but three faces.
This is no home.

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