Introduction: This is a short story that revealed itself to me in the form of a long sequenced dream. I’ve been keeping dream journals and interpreting my own dreams since middle school, and I do it because some of them are so vivid, I get the creeps and want to try figuring out what they mean. Most dreams are just our subconscious running a-muck, but since I was little, sometimes my dreams were warnings of things to come or things that have already come and gone. This was a bit revealing and disturbing, yet it was beautiful and heart wrenching. I do not know who the characters are. I don’t know if they’re truly fictional or have a place in history (past, present, or future). All I know is that something – or someone – told me to pay attention to what is shown to me and after the whole story unfolded, I was told to wake up and write. With that said:
*** READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. ADULT CONTENT: VIOLENCE, SEXUAL SITUATIONS. ***
“A Guardian for Sara”
Short story by Elle
She was just 10 years old when the first visit came. She didn’t expect anything bad to happen to her. She had heard things like this happened to bad little girls, but she was a good girl. She did her chores without complaint. She offered to help when she could provide assistance. She kept her room clean, she ate all her vegetables, she even kept the litter box fresh.
The first visit hurt her. Though she was told over and over again that she was a sweet girl, such a pretty, young thing. Why did this happen to her? She wanted to cry. She yearned to scream. Yet, tears and voice were nowhere to be found within her. She only found pain and hate.
She didn’t tell mommy. She didn’t tell Sean either. Though she was sure he would protect her. After her daddy left, mommy met Sean, and there was a small wedding. During the ceremony, Sean promised to be her guardian and friend, mentor and protector. She could count on Sean to save her.
The second visit came at 12 years old. It still hurt, but again, she couldn’t cry out or scream for help. She was told she was a good girl, and this was her reward. She wasn’t convinced, but as before, she was told to keep it a secret, and she did. Three weeks later, she experienced her first period, and that’s when the visits became more frequent than not.
By the age of 14, she knew the routine. 10 minutes past midnight, her door would open. She would lie in bed, her back to the door. She would be caressed and kissed softly before being nudged onto her belly. Her panties would be removed, and she would have sex. That’s what it was called. She had learned a little about it in school during the reproduction chapter in biology 1. She felt horror and fear when she read about it. She even asked mommy about sex. Mommy thought she was too curious about the subject, and she was asked if she was having sex. She denied. The pain was gone now, but fear of pregnancy filled its void. What if?
When 16 came around, she met Jack. Jack was nice. He was a “smart jock”, and people respected him. He gave her a rose petal when he first said “hello” and struck up a conversation about the US Civil War, her favorite subject… history. She started to talk to Jack late into the night, and the visits lessened but still occurred.
Jack asked her out on a date a few days before Christmas. He even called Sean and mommy to ask their permission before asking her. Sean called Jack “a gentleman”. Jack took her to a Mexican restaurant, but all she remembered of the night was his smile and the look in his eyes that made her feel safe.
That night, the visit was rough and painful. She was accused of having found a replacement. She wasn’t allowed to have another. She was spanked hard and was choked. Yet, while tears slipped from her eyes, she thought of Jack.
Jack with his calm smile and gentle eyes. Jack with his warm hand holding hers. Jack with the letter jacket draped over her shoulders. Jack with an interest of history like herself.
After the tenth date, Jack kissed her good night on her front porch, and she blushed. It was softer than she had ever felt, and she could feel all of Jack’s emotions in that single kiss. That’s when she knew the visits were not safe for her anymore, and she wept. Jack, confused, held her as they sat on the porch swing. It was 12:30am, and she was still crying into his chest. She told him everything, and his embrace tightened with every choking sentence. He didn’t run. He didn’t back away. He simply held her in his arms.
Dawn came, and she was sleeping in Jack’s embrace. She felt his voice vibrating through his chest. She heard Sean’s voice at a distance. She woke to running footsteps and slamming doors.
Jack held her tight as her eyes focused on mommy slouched and slumped against the porch railing. She had tears staining her cheeks, and her hands shook with tremors that made her weep more. Sean was yelling, and she heard punches being delivered and objects crashing and breaking.
Drowsily, she asked what was going on, and as she looked up at Jack, his face sincere and full of security, shock and fear shot through her. Even as Jack assured her that she’ll be safe from now on, she knew she had said too much. She had revealed too much.
Sean and mommy had come out to the porch for their morning coffee and found her and Jack on the swing. Jack had told them of her confession, and he had stayed awake through the night to watch over her. Sean had gotten so furious with the news that he felt guilty for not seeing it happen, and mommy was so distraught that something like this could happen under her roof.
Sean emerged from the house, half dragging a young man by his shirt and carrying a duffle bag. She sank into Jack’s chest at the sight of the younger man whose eyes locked on her, full of hate and disgust. Sean pushed him down the porch steps and roughly threw the bag at him. He yelled for him to leave and never come back. He choked on his words as his anger shouted, “You’re no son of mine.” 23 years of good upbringing and unwavering support vanished in one sentence.
For the rest of the day, Jack stayed with her. She kept to her room, her bed with fresh sheets after mommy ripped the old ones off and begged Sean to burn them. Jack helped Sean empty the room down the hall. She could hear them carry furniture and bags down the stairs. Mommy came to check on her a few times. Jack brought her lunch, and they talked about history and school, discussed how he didn’t imagine her room would be painted peachy pink. He made her laugh with humorous sarcasm over her toy train collection next to her tea cups. They spoke of everything and anything besides what was happening outside of her room. He told her that he’s going to have dinner with her family and how Sean had asked him to. He hugged her and kissed her forehead when she started crying as he said he needed to go home to get cleaned up and ready for dinner. He promised he’d return, and he wouldn’t miss having dinner with her for anything.
Mommy had just pulled out her six cheese lasagna with spicy sausage and was finishing up a garden fresh salad and cutting the garlic bread. At the same time, she had just finished making with the tiramisu and was setting the table when Sean entered the dining room.
“I love you two with all my heart,” he said, his face pale and full of worry. “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you,” his eyes were full of tears as he looked at her. “I’m so sorry. I hope you can forgive me.” There was a loud, echoing sound as she watched Sean’s eyes widen and roll into the back of his head. Mommy screamed as his body tipped forward and fell to the floor and his shirt absorbed rich, red blood.
With Sean lying on the floor motionless, a young man stood in his place. The son who was no longer part of the family as of earlier in the day was holding a gun, pointed straight at her. His eyes were stern and full of contempt, and mommy’s screaming were bouncing off the walls. She could feel mommy’s terror and his rage, but all she could think about was Jack. She wanted him to protect her. She needed him to be there with her. She prayed for him to save her. He promised her he’d come back. Did he break his promise?
Another loud shot rang in the room, and mommy’s cries ceased to exist. What she didn’t see was the bullet that silenced mommy by entering her skull. What she failed to witness was mommy lying in a pool of her own blood in the kitchen with fresh garden greens scattered about her. She could only think of Jack and his calm smile; his gentle eyes looking at her. His warmth as he held her in his arms.
“You weren’t supposed to tell.” She could barely hear his words through her own thoughts and heart beat. “You weren’t supposed to replace me.” He took a step closer to her. Her heart beat faster, and she prayed for Jack to show. “No one can ever have you like I did.” Another deafening blow and she felt her chest burn and itch and ache. “I’ll have you again in the next life.” A final explosion reached her ears as she started to fall to the floor. A thump somewhere near told her the son who was no longer part of the family had taken his life. Her eyes began to blur the room, and her heart began to slow. Yet, all she thought of was Jack and how he’d promised to come back in time for dinner. How he said that he wouldn’t miss having dinner with her.
As her breathing slowed and her fingers grew cold, her blurry vision caught a figure running towards her. She felt herself being lifted by strong, gentle arms, and she heard a familiar voice in the distance. Jack had kept his promise. He had come for dinner dressed in a shirt and jacket, and he had a tie that matched his eyes of blue-green. He caressed her cheek and told her help was coming. He told her what she had never heard anyone but mommy say. He told her that he loved her, and he was sorry he didn’t come sooner. He said there was traffic that kept him from coming sooner. He apologized and kissed her face, enveloped her in his safe yet trembling arms. She felt his tears against her cheek and his fear and sadness in his sobs.
Yet, he didn’t beg her to stay. He didn’t plead for her to live. He merely wept and held her tight. She tried to say she loved him and struggled to keep her eyes open. Fatigue was washing over her like waves against a sandy shore. All she wanted was to fall asleep in his embrace. As she fought to reach up and touch his face, she felt his warm fingers wrap around her frozen hand. She forced a weak smile that tweaked her lips, and she drew a ragged breath as her heart terminated its beating. Her hand went limp, her head dead weight, and she saw from Jack’s blurry and darkening figure a glowing light.
The light emanated from Jack and beckoned for her to step forward. Its warm haze encouraged her to rise from her cold, lifeless self. As she approached the glow, she heard his voice. His tone wasn’t scared or sad, rather he sounded pleased and relieved. He held out his hand and reassured her that everything was going to be all right. Squinting into the light to see him, she smiled and sighed in absolute relief, and reaching to take his outstretched hand, she surrendered herself to his steadfast grasp.
As she walked hand in hand with Jack, he spoke soft words to her. “I had been searching for you for a long time. I was hoping to reach you before something happened, but you didn’t speak up, so I couldn’t find you. I sensed you, but I knew I was already too late. All I could do was help ease your pain and take your mind away from it all. I’m sorry I couldn’t really protect you. I was told to not act until you opened up about your situation. I wanted to save you the moment I found you, but I was told that I couldn’t, else I would have been taken away from you.” He stopped walking and turned to face her. “This is as far as I can go. The rest of the way is up to you. I promise that you’re safe now. He will not find you here.” His voice was calm, his eyes were gentle. “No one will hurt you here.”
She asked if she’ll see him again, and he shook his head. “I chose to go to you against their will. I cannot step foot where you belong.” She inquired if she’s going to Heaven, and he responded, “Heaven is what you believe happiness is.” She confessed that her happiness was every moment she was with him. “Then, perhaps you’ll find a world where you and I are together again, but here,” he looked down the path he could not walk on. “I cannot go with you as much as I want to.” He squeezed her hand and kissed her cheek. “What I had said is still true. I love you.” After a final embrace, she stepped forward, away from him, with warm hope surrounding her. She didn’t look back to see if he was watching her or if he was still guarding her back.
She strode down the path with her head high and a smile on her lips. Bright, immensely warm light engulfed her whole being, and she was forced to close her eyes against it. She was at peace.
She awoke to a hard slap on her bottom, and she let out a piercing shriek. She struggled to open her eyes, still screaming at the top of her lungs. She was cold but couldn’t form words to say so. “It’s a girl,” she heard someone exclaim. “It’s a girl,” the voice sounded pleased yet exhausted.
“Sara,” another voice, a familiar voice whispered. “Sara,” the name rang in her ears, and she calmed her cries. “Sara,” the voice called again, and she slowly opened her eyes. “That’s it, Sara,” the voice encouraged her. As her vision cleared and focused, she saw him smiling down at her. “I knew you’d find a way for us to be together again,” he cooed and softly touched her cheek. “Now, I can always keep you safe.” She let out a cry of happiness. “Now, I can always protect my Sara.” Joyous shrieks escaped her mouth as she pawed and kicked in his strong yet gentle arms. She had prayed to be reunited with him. She had hoped to have him as her protector and guardian. She had been granted her wish. She had been reborn years later as Jack’s little girl.
© Elle Short Stack Story Time 2014