My name is Suzanna Jane West. I pass out a lotpartly because I am a pretty sick 10-year-oldbut mostly because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of a lot of thingsthe bathtub (the water’s much too hot), the living room (all those mean strangers are there), the closet (there’s no doorknob on the inside and no light either), the dog (he’ll bite me on command), the dark (monsters will sneak in and hurt me)but mostly I’m afraid of him. He’s evil, I know it.
Oma took me to church one time and I learned about the devil. He’s this terrible guy who makes people do bad things. Really bad things. Oma says that when the devil gets into your thoughts that’s when bad things happen. But, I don’t think that’s the truth about my dad. The devil isn’t in his headhe is the devil. The things he does to mewhat he did to my brothers, the ones that Oma says are angels watchin’ over me. He has to be the devil.
I don’t really believe Oma about the angels. If they was watchin’ over me, why would so much bad stuff happen to me? You’d think that they were sleepin’ on the job. Oma says they can’t stop everything. But if they was real angels I know they could. They could just walk right up to Jesus and say “That bad man is hurtin’ our sister. Make him stop.” And just like that it would stop.
I love my Oma dearly, really I do, but sometimes I wonder why she doesn’t just take me away. She knows just what’s happening. I tell her everything. How when the bath water was so hot I started bleeding and he wouldn’t let me outhow when you tell Saber “bite her,” he’ll chase me around until he tears his teeth into my arm or leg and he just laughshow when I make too much noise he says he’ll put me right next to Adam and Mathew in the ground and how he made me watch as he shot all my kittens one at a time cuz one of them had peed on his chair. I tell her everything even though I know it makes her cry. But, she doesn’t do anything. I think she’s too afraid after the last time.
You see last time she told, he put her right in the hospital and made her tell the social workers that she had lied about everything. That I was just a clutzy kid. They knew what was happenin’, but there was no real proof, so I got sent right back home (to the beating of a lifetime). Now the social workers come to visit a lot, but they never see anything. One time I tried to tell them how I’d gotten so bruised up I could hardly stand. He told them I was a liar and that I had watched too much TV. That I really got hurt fallin’ out of my tree house that he had built for me. There was no tree house.
Another time, I decided to make it look like he killed me. I had it all planned out and it was a good plan. I saw the social workers pullin’ into the driveway so I tore off a scab on my arm and rubbed blood on the walls in my room. Then I climbed out the window and hid under the deck. The whole time he was yellin’ for me sayin’ my friends was there. I could hear him yellin’ from under the porch and I laughed a bit, but real quiet so no one would find me. He finally picks the lock to my room pretending to be all worried. The social workers go in right behind him. One of them screams at the blood. The other one starts yellin’ at him askin’ what did he do with me.
Well in no time, the police pull up. I was thinkin’ they’d arrest him right then and there and I’d be free to go live with Oma. But, no. Instead those dumb cops go snoopin’ around and find me under the porch. They’re supposed to be helpin’ me. Instead they throw me right back to the devil, who told them he’d forgotten about my little hiding place and that new bottle of paint he had gotten to paint my tree house. (Dumb cops didn’t even see the tree housethere’s no trees around our house for a tree house!)
I got it real bad that night for tryin’ to get him in trouble. He was poundin’ on me ’til everything went black. That’s when I knew that if I wanted this to stop, I had to take care of it myself. No cops, no angels, no social workers, no Oma. It was my job. Of course I had to wait until I could walk again, but that only took a couple of days.
I waited til the devil fell asleep. Made sure he was snoring before I even moved. I slowly crept out, which was hard since my whole body still hurt from the last beating. But I had to it. “Jesus give me strength,” I whispered as I slid the bedside table drawer open. I carefully lifted his gun out of the drawer. It was loaded as usual. I remembered how it worked from watchin’ him shoot all my kittens. I put it right up against his head. If I missed and he woke up, I’d be dead. Then I pulled the trigger.
Seein’ him lying there with his blood everywhere, I actually felt happy. I didn’t feel even one bit bad about what I had just done. I was safe. He couldn’t hurt me no more and he couldn’t hurt nobody else. I had done what all the adults couldn’t do. I took care of my problem.