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The Sound of Freedom
I squeeze the stress toy as hard as I possibly could. There’s nothing else I could ever do to change my feelings. But this somehow makes it all seem better. For the time being, anyway.
“I’m sorry Mr. Danes. There’s not much else we can do for Maya in the psychology apartment here. She needs serious help.”
“What psychologists do you suggest?”
“They have a variety of very skilled psychologists in the downtown area, if you just stop and notice. Seeing someone might change her to seem like a completely new person.”
There’s no one here to support me. There hasn’t ever been anybody to support me.
I’m locked inside the closet again, praying that he has someone over that will notice I’m missing. And I’ll make lots of noise, to let them know I’m here. I’m trapped, but I’m here.
The closet is dark and dusty, and I can’t see anything. I feel the coats and boxes shoved around to make space for my tiny body. The spots where he hit me are tingly and warm, probably turning tomato red. But there’s nothing that can be done. I’m stuck with him.
The therapist doesn’t say anything. Is she waiting for me to talk? Because I won’t. If I reveal anything, I’ll have more red marks, in places I can’t hide by wearing pants in the unusually hot spring like I have lately.
I stare at my hands. They’re raw and red, with giant blisters and calluses.
“Tell me about your mother,” the therapist finally says.
“I don’t have one.”
“Your father, then.”
“And why can’t you tell me about him?”
I’m back in the closet, this time I’m sure he has barricaded the outside with chairs and boxes. There’s less junk in here, because he removed it to barricade the door. They’re coming, I can feel it. And once they come, I’ll finally be free.
There’s pounding on the door, and then thumping as he stomps down the stairs above me. The lightbulb (which has been burned out since she died) swings above my head, and everything shakes. He’s angry. They’ve finally come for me.
“What?” his gravelly voice growls.
“We’ve had a report that you’ve been abusing a young girl, about twelve?”
“And how would you know that?”
“That’s none of your business, sir. We’re the police. We have the right to look into anything suspicious. Speaking of suspicious, why are there boxes and chairs piled against that door?”
I’m in the car with him. I don’t know how he got away from the police, but he did. We’ve been driving for days. I hope that someone will find me. Save me.
When the police come for him again, he slams on the gas pedal, and we go flying forward. The sirens are loud in my ears. The sound of victory is upon me. It washes over me like a blanket, finally welcoming me into its warmth.
Soon there are more police cars. He is in handcuffs. He struggles to get away, to get to me.
“I was a wonderful father to you, tell them!” he says, and gives me a look that could scare anyone into confessing a crime they didn’t commit.
But he’s in handcuffs, held by two officers. And I’m free.
“No, you were abusive. Ever since she died. You ruined my body, and my mind. But you won’t ruin my soul.”
I’m finally in a place where I can speak my own mind. Where I’m healing, and better, away from him. I’m finally free.
Free at last.