A/N: I just wanted to warn everyone that this chapter was EXTREMELY upsetting to write. Especially with the recent days' tragedy I know that violence may be the last thing you want to read about. ...
Keep Them Safe From Harm
June 10, 2006
The only thing found at the base of the narrow front staircase was a crime scene. The only witness was a timid six-year-old girl who had watched it all unravel from behind the lumpy old couch. Andy was pulled down in frightened reenactment of a day Lindsey had never spoken about before. She didn't even really speak of it now. With Andy's hand resting protectively on her leg, Lindsey sat in such a silence that allowed the screams of her drug-abusing mother to echo off the walls. She let the house tell it's own story.
Chad and Rachel Hawk were not the kind of young couple in their mid-twenties that simply adored one another. They were neither high school sweethearts nor the sort of people who even ought to be married. Without a respectable form of income, both had difficulties when it came to maintaining their habits (Alcohol and Heroine respectively). They had difficulties when he came to the patience a child requires too. Lindsey, their daughter. had been a mistake, they told her frequently; she was only a burden. The little girl was too hopeful to notice that screaming meant a lot more that mommy and daddy were fighting again.
Like most previous days, Lindsey had sat quietly in the living room watching whatever soap opera her mother had fallen asleep to. Left over needles and empty bottles of pills lied on the floor beckoning curious questions Lindsey never received the answers to. She just knew that mommy had lots of medicine because mommy was very sick.
"Mama," Lindsey's little voice was the sweetest thing ever heard once inside the walls of that two-story house. With a groan Rachel pushed her daughter off to the side. Her head was pounding for a release. She shuffled about the mess at her feet to find what she was looking for.
Lindsey ducked behind the couch to sing quietly to herself when the front door opened with a thud. Chad towered in the doorway silently but tension and anger poured from his wide stance.
"Daddy!" Lindsey smiled rushing to embrace him about the knees. The little girl was rejected again pushed aside before she could ever really get in the way.
Sneaking back to her seat between the couch and the wall, Lindsey only listened as her father growled heated words she didn't understand. Lindsey had grown used to the screaming. If she just closed her eyes and recalled her favorite bedtime story, she could make it through the encounter untouched. Undamaged. The most important thing was that she wasn't noticed now. She sat extra still in the shadows as her parents passed her on their way to the kitchen.
"Whore!" Her father screamed before the sound of fists against faces shrieked over kitchen chairs being pushed around. It was a word Lindsey often heard but just another she didn't understand. Whore: always muttered by her Daddy when he smelled like that awful brown water he liked to drink. Whore: always made her Mommy cry.
Glass shattered against the wall Lindsey was leaning against. She hurried even farther back into the shadows where she couldn't be seen. Trembling with fear, Lindsey peaked out from the corner of the couch as her father pulled her mother back into the room by her long brown hair.
Rachel screamed through tears cursing at her husband in defense. She was far beyond even trying to fight back when he first struck her head with the baseball bat.
Once he had started, Chad couldn't be stopped. With every blow to her body thinned by the drugs his adrenaline grew and grew. Guilt just barely reached the corners of his mind when he caught the eyes of his little girl, his daughter, his Lindsey, peering out from behind the couch. Her deep brown eyes watched the pool of blood collect around her mother's head.
"Don't move baby girl," He snarled and Lindsey ducked back again.
Pacing back and forth Chad threw his weapon across the room, and rubbed his forehead as he decided how he would dispose of Rachel's lifeless body. Surely, he wasn't the first drunk to murder his excuse for a wife. With the idea and bravery still building in his throat, Chad disappeared into the front hallway's coat closet. It was empty apart from an ugly gray lock box Lindsey had been instructed never to touch.
Lindsey watch quietly as he tore open the box and admired the shiny revolver that had been hidden inside. She took one last glance at her mother's dead body. Luckily this distracted her enough to ignore the moment Chad became a coward. The sound of a horrible gunshot shook that whole little house.
Lindsey was safe in Andy's arms again soaking tears of mourning into his shirt by the time her father fell dead on the couch. Gaining composure, she pushed Andy away enough to give them both enough space to peak out from behind their couch hideaway.
Swallowing the lump he hadn't notice form in his throat, Andy hesitated. He had never seen a murder scene that wasn't on TV. Everything she had described to him was there. The empty bottle of pills was on the floor in front of the TV. The baseball bat murder weapon sat just left of the door. A chalk outline on the hardwood floor showed him where Rachel died and the bloodstains from Chad's self-inflicted gunshot wound tainted the same old lumpy couch they took shelter behind. Looking around he concluded that there was only one thing ever taken from the crime scene: one frightened little girl with innocent brown eyes. Lindsey had been the only witness; the only person who had seen it all.
Trembling too much to drive safely, Lindsey handed Andy the keys as they made the slow walk back to her car. He nodded only letting go of her long enough to get around to his side of the car. They drove back to his apartment in silence. There wasn't anything that could console or mend the brokenhearted memory. As disturbing as it was, Andy was glad she had shared it with him. Her honestly proved to him that she did want him to understand her, at least a little. He held her hand just for the comfort of knowing she was still there sitting beside him.
Gazing out the passenger side window, Lindsey was still crying the leftover tears when she felt Andy's hand gently slip into hers. She caught his eyes filled with worry and concern but just turned back to the window. She never moved her hand though, because for the first time in her life, she didn't feel alone.