Once again the rage took over.
This time it was against Henry. Dad was on his case about forgetting to rake the hay bales scraps like he was supposed to. Instead Henry went to play ball with the boys from the farm up north. Dad ended up striking him across his face, and that’s when I stepped in. I tackled him down and he got up, his rage now thrice what it had been. Round for round we went at it.
Mom hearing the fighting and things crashing around us rushed in to find Dad kicking me in the side. It was her screams that made him stop long enough for me to get away. But I can take his beatings, his abuse. My mother and siblings cannot. I have to stay with them for as long as I can. I didn’t know where else to really go. I passed by the address that Mrs. Romanus had given me but it looked like no one was home that evening. I decided to seek out Rowan.
Rowan is this girl I met just last week and like a ton of bricks her striking beauty hit me. I have only spoken to her a few times, but each time I feel like we have connected in a way I’ve not felt before. Sure I’ve had interests in girls before but nothing serious and really with my life who has time for girls. Besides most girls I meet are either too dumb or too stuck up to interest me. I mean I am always picked on and teased, I come to school in torn, used clothes that my mother made for me because we cannot afford the uniforms. So who would ever really notice me? Rowan is different, though. She’s younger than me, sure. But she just seems so mature for her age.
So there I was at the orphanage where she now lives, given her only surviving parent died. I threw rocks at the back window… where I am almost positive she sleeps; at least I think so from the short tour I took before. And to my surprise, she popped her head out of the window. Her long red hair flowed in the wind. Instantly I felt… better. I asked her if she could sneak out to talk to me. She smiled and disappeared for a moment, before popping back out to nod yes at me. I sneaked around the west side, making sure the newly posted guards didn’t spot me and waited. A few minutes later, she crept out slowly closing the door. She peeked to see what the guards were doing. They seemed to just be chatting among themselves with some occasional laughter. Rowan then hurdled over the railing and then jumped down. She was so light on her feet. I was impressed.
We ran out to the shop nearby, pretending to look at goods. We snuck into the building. It was then that Rowan saw my swollen nose and busted lip. I told her everything that happened. She touched my hand, squeezing it just so. I felt better just talking to her. She tore a piece of her dress and handed it to me to let me clean up. I searched for a bathroom somewhere, found them upstairs. I asked her to go with me. I took off my tunic and then my dirty undershirt to wipe the blood off that had dripped down from my mouth and chin, landing on my neck and chest. I wanted to see where Dad had kicked me on my left side, had Dad broken my ribs again? No. Just bruised. Just then Rowan saw my tattoo. I explained to her what it means. My brother and my sister’s names protected by the dragon, “That’s me. I am the dragon.”
We talked some more and I realized that she had put herself on the line for me, risking to sneak out. She would be punished if caught. I couldn’t help myself at that point. I wanted to kiss her. So I did, on the cheek. I thanked her for being there for me. I ringed out the water from the piece of cloth she gave me and put it in my back pocket. I’d keep it as a reminder that I am worth caring about. I walked her back to the dorms, helped her up to the railing where she got back inside without anyone noticing. I ended up back at the bathroom of the shop. I’d sleep in the cold floor there until someone would wake me. I just couldn’t go back home right now. But I know I have to or let my mother and siblings suffer at his hands. And that’s not something I can live with.