I pushed Gabby into the bedroom and closed the door. My heart was racing, but I had to stay calm for her sake. I grabbed the suitcase out of the top of the closet and sat it on the bed. “Here,” I said as I zipped it open. “Put some pajamas and two outfits in here.”
She didn’t move. “Why?”
“Don’t ask me questions right now, just do as I say.” I peeked into the living room. Squint was sitting quietly on the couch with the TV remote in hand. I turned back to Gabby. She was digging through the bottom dresser drawer.
“I will be right back, okay?” I said as I put my hand on the top of her head. She turned around with a t-shirt and pants.
“Does this match?” she asked. I felt a ball form in my throat. I was having her pack a suitcase, yet I had no plan for what to do next. I just knew we couldn’t stay in that house any longer.
“Yes,” I was able to squeak out through my tightened throat. I forced a smile at her as she got up to rummage through the closet.
I had to figure this out. I couldn’t let this man hurt my little sister, and I knew at this point that getting my mom to leave him would be damned near impossible. I tip-toed through the kitchen towards the bathroom where my mom had locked herself inside after Squint pushed her on the ground. I lightly knocked on the door. No answer. I put my ear against the door and listened hard. Nothing.
“Mom?” I whispered.
I heard some shuffling and then the door unlocked. I paused, waiting for her to say something or push the door open. After a few moments, I turned the doorknob and snuck inside.
My mom was sitting against the wall next to the toilet with her arms resting on her knees. Her head was resting on her arms so that I could only see the top of her head. She had the most beautiful, thin blonde hair. It laid perfectly along her shoulders and down her back. She didn’t move, even after I closed the door behind me.
“Mom?” I said.
After a few moments, she looked up. Her eyes were dark. It looked like she was high. “What?” She replied, her voice was scratchy and deep.
“We have to go. We have to get out of here before he hurts us.”
She put her head back on her arms and shrugged. “I can’t leave.”
I took a deep breath and looked around the room. “Mom, Gabby and I cannot stay here. You get that, right? He just threatened to kill all three of us. We have to go.” I pleaded. “Please.” I felt my desperation flow out as smooth as butter. She didn’t move.
I threw up my hands. “Mom!”
Silence filled the room and once again I started to feel my throat get tight. I stood there with my eyes closed, praying the monster inside of her would let her go. I opened the door and snuck back to the bedroom.
“Do you have your things ready to go?” I asked Gabby. She was on her knees looking through a large pile of shoes.
“I don’t know what shoes I should bring. Where are we going?” she asked.
“We’re just gonna go on a little adventure. Everything is going to be okay,” I assured her. I threw a pair of pants and a towel into the suitcase. “Hurry up,” I urged. I grabbed a pillow off of the bunk bed and smashed it into the suitcase. I grabbed Gabby’s arm and pulled her up off the ground. “We have to go now. C’mon.”
We walked through the living room to the front door. Squint hollered, “Where you guys goin?”
I pushed Gabby outside and closed the door behind us.