• The thud, sweeping through the house like an aftershock from behind the door, alerted everyone. The father sprinted to the door, his plate of food suddenly forgotten on the counter.

    His arms felt like lead. One pushed forward automatically, rapping on the door. Cold sweat creased his bald head. Hearing no whisper for an answer to his panicked question, his shaking hands searched for the warm doorknob. Finding it locked, his thoughts jabbed at him, fumbling wildly around the seemingly impossible. The father’s fist pound on the barrier harder.

    Her heart jumped, hearing her husband beat against the old door. Aroused suspicions lead her unwilling body to the scene as a string of profanity escaped his pale, icy lips. The step mom took her turn, calling the girl’s name.

    Nothing. Just the soft, simple, heartbreaking whisper of rain. The wooden door strained against the father’s desperate force. It’s interior bending and cracking where it shouldn’t. It broke, like glass in three directions, beneath his limp shoulder. He struggled against the pieces that remained.

    She stood, nearly tripping over limp legs as she heard her dad obliterate the bronze door. She pushed pat her frozen, goggling step mom to get to her hyperventilating dad. The sight leadened her striped socks to the diamond tiles like super glue. Her green eyes, blank and emotionless.

    The silk shower curtain dangled from the few remaining hoops of silver. Fresh water made stringy, clear veins along the dull flower pattern. A steamy fog rushed out of the white room, greeting the cold stricken guests. The father had obscured most of the body that lay both partially in the pearly white tub and on the noticeable diamond floor, but the sounds were inevitable.

    The oldest daughter watched helplessly as her sister’s curling, bare legs and pale face shook like a fish out of water. Her eyes, insipid, laughing at them with sick humor. Blood had trickled onto the miniature sink and slick floor where she had fallen. The blood had already traced a diamond near her pulsing head, coming from the waterfall of gushing blood flowing from her whispering lips. Untold was her pain, but to the conscious sister, words touched her strained lips and the sister’s delirious mind accepted them.

    “Look in my eyes, you’re killing me.”

    Their frantic father screamed something alien and the step mom shuffled off, bruising her arm on the shattered door in her haste. The sister slumped out of the room after her, her eyes demanding a distraction. She felt the dead phone in her jeans pocket and clasped it tightly as she listened to her step mom’s hurried voice in the other room. The father turned to the devastated daughter, challenging. Blood continued to flow as she attacked her own, desperate tongue. The sister threw a warm, peach cloth in between her black tongue and tyrant teeth. But, the damage was already done.

    Her violent twitches stilled, calmed. The father, grasping her bare shoulders, whispered warmly to her. Her eyes flickered momentarily. The step mom rushed in with her dirtied, penguin-laced pajamas just as there was a thunderous knock at the opposite end of the small house. The obedient, watchful dogs howled at the young men in uniforms as they sauntered to the scene, clutching great boxes of special bottles and tools.

    The strangers gently took her limp, wet body into the beckoning living room. They sat the child on the cluttered couch as she grumbled something inaudible. She stirred as she was released, her eyes huge with worry as she gathered her bearings. She hadn’t remembered anything from the fall, but her thick legs prevented her from lashing out in a pout.

    The step mom wilted against the door frame that led into the curious room, her bleeding mascara rejected her promise to not shed wasteful tears. Tears didn’t fall, they crashed around the upset child as she swam in and out of conscience. The daughter had disappeared without a trace, just like the memory of the other. The emotionless, bruised father strayed to a worn chair, the farthest from the new comers as they did their job. His face only sold misery.

    What’s done was done, and none of their lives would be the same again.