her sister never knew when to keep her mouth shut, hatred and contempt, because she knew Jeannie was, once again, going to make her suffer for Jeannie’s actions, and guilt for having selfish thoughts going through her head. Thoughts of wishing she was not Jeannie’s sister, or at the least, wishing nobody knew Jeannie was her sister.

Delia began begging, “Jesus please, please, help me to be strong. I beg of you… take these selfish thoughts from my mind and … please, don’t let me cry again in front of all these kids!” Delia could feel the tears trying to break free again as she looked Jeannie in the eyes. Her contempt, as she glared back at Delia, was obvious for all to see. Delia knew Jeannie saw her as a goodie-two-shoes. Jeannie never missed an opportunity to tell her so. Delia could see the threat in Jeannie’s eyes – Jeannie expected no less than 100 percent loyalty from Delia and expected her defiance along with her own. Delia looked down into her lap to avoid the hateful look she knew she would find in Jeannie’s eyes. And as much as she hated the thought of facing Jeannie’s wrath, Delia feared facing the wrath of all these other kids more.

But, first and foremost, her thoughts went to her younger brothers. Her eyes darted in rapid succession from James to Willard and back, quietly praying they would return her glance; she knew once she could make eye contact with each, they would understand her look of “stay put and don’t say a word!”

“Little Ms. Queen, it appears you lack good Godly upbringing,” spoke the house mother. “I think a visit to the Reverend’s Office would do you more good right now, then scrubbing the floors or washing dishes.”

While sighing with relief at her uncanny luck once again, confusion took hold of Delia as she looked around the room. Delia looked first at James, then to Willard, to assure them all was well and to rest easy; yet as she looked from the face of one child to another, Delia knew something was terribly wrong. There was no mistaking the look of sheer terror in each and every face. With the exception of one boy, Shane.

Shane possessed a look of defiance and determination that would make Jeannie envious! Delia couldn’t help but stare into this boy’s eyes. For a moment, she completely forgot the moment of events at hand, she just sat there staring at Shane. Everything was suddenly in slow motion and it was as if the world was temporarily put on hold.

“Hey, are you alright? Suddenly snapped back to reality, Delia heard a boy’s voice once again. “Are you alright kid?” She looked at the boy standing next to her, hoping that he had not heard her gasp at the sight of him. “It’s OK, I’m used to it. They call me burnt toast,” he said. It was obvious he had been badly burned in a fire. “Hi, my name is Delia, I’m new here,” Delia said, keeping her eyes lowered, “but, I won’t be here long, just until my mom finds out where we are.” She noticed the look in his eyes, although he quickly looked away,  not to confront her any further; but, knowing that he was of that same mind-set at one time in the past.

That day seemed to be such a long day, but at the same time passed quickly. After being shown what her first assigned daily chore would be – step by tedious step – Delia quickly got into to job at hand, not giving the house mother any reason to notice her in any light, most especially a negative one. It was her job to keep the second level deck and entrance hall floors sparkling clean.

“Where would I find a mop” Delia asked? With, what could only describe as a sneer, Samantha said, “Look here princess, I’m not sure where you or your sister think you are, but in this place we are all ‘Cinderellas’ and the faster you learn that, the better things will be for you.”

“I’m sorry, I’m only trying to do my best and I don’t want to make any trouble.” As soon as the words were spoken, Delia knew they sounded harsher than she had intended. She turned and walked away without saying another word. Damn, Delia thought, Samantha was the one girl in this place she did not want to make mad. It appeared to Delia, she had the ability to rub Samantha the wrong way, at every turn.

“There are no mops here, other than the one on your head. All floors are to be hand-scrubbed. And the tool of choice is right here,” Samantha said, holding out a toothbrush.

“Look, I might not know the way of things here – yet- but I’m not that stupid, and I’m nobody’s fool, so let’s get one thing …”

“You look OZ,” Alice said with while plopping the bucket and dropping the toothbrush onto the floor, splashing soapy water everywhere, “I don’t have time for this, get to work.”

Delia looked towards Sap, who was kneeling at the other end of the landing, bucket and toothbrush at her side. “My God, these people are all nuts. They seriously make the kids scrub these massive floors with a damn toothbrush.” Laughingly, Delia thought to herself, “Hey Delia, you ARE one of these kids.”

Delia’s thoughts drifted as she peered over the banister, eyes locked on the large hand-carved door below. She started praying that the Reverend was nicer than the house mother, and wondered what type of ‘talk’ the Reverend would have with her sister. What could he possibly say to curtail her sister’s rebellion, that Jeannie hadn’t already heard … many times before? Hopefully, Delia thought, her mother would come and get them soon, then she would never have to learn the answers to these questions.

Well, if this was to be my fate today, so be it thought Delia. She walked to the far corner of her side of the landing and was about to kneel down when she heard the first sounds of what sounded like an argument. It was coming from the Reverend’s office below.

“You pig, I’ll scream rape!”

Delia knew that voice, it was unmistakable. And she knew if her sister was using a word like rape, something was terribly wrong. Delia knew Jeannie was still trying to come to grips with being raped only a year ago. But even then, she refused to use the word ‘rape’ preferring to say she was molested.

The sound of piercing screams cut through the air with such anguish, as Delia began running towards the stairway. But before she made her second jump, of five steps at a time, she heard the crashing sound of heavy wood splitting.

It seemed like an eternity before Delia made it to the platform landing between her floor and the first floor. Hopping onto the handrail, she slid straight down into the knob at rail’s ending. Falling to the floor, Delia ignored the pain in her crotch and back. Thinking to herself ‘you’re supposed to be an accomplished gymnast?’ She would have to take herself to task later for losing her focus. Delia’s body already hurt enough from the bruising of that morning.

Spinning around, Delia could see inside the Reverend’s office. No longer was there a door blocking the view. The splintered door frame clung to, a now partial, door. But her attention was on the body just inside the Reverend’s office.

“Mother of all, if you ever touch her again, I WILL KILL YOU.” As Delia studied the masculine body before her, Jeannie ran from the room, skirt hanging off her hips. Looking directly at Delia, Jeannie had an unmistakable hand print beginning to whelp on one side of her face. Just as Delia opened her mouth to make her own threats, Delia heard the sound of knuckles connecting with flesh, again and again.

“You piece of crap, I don’t care what you call yourself. And furthermore, if you were a man of God, it surely isn’t the same God I know. But no more, you belong to me now; I am your master now. Repent you yellow belly, you are about to receive penance from your Lord.”

“Oh my God!” Were the only words Delia’s mind could find. Shane wasn’t just threatening the Reverend, he was beating the crap out of him. She listened to the continued sound of knuckles hitting flesh, as a flurry of children began to arrive and crowd around her. “Why couldn’t she just do it and keep her mouth shut,” Alice said to Samantha, in a loud whisper.


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© O’Della M. Wilson

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2 Responses
  1. admin says:

    Goodness, my reply to you never showed up? I’m so sorry. Thank you for the wonderful compliment Dee, it means a lot – especially coming from you. {hugs}

  2. Dee Marie says:

    Love your work. You are not just an author, you are a wordsmith :]

    Dee Marie

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