Monsters don’t just live in closets. Or in the movies. Or under the bed. Sometimes they look just like you and me. They even trick other unsuspecting adults into believing they’re wonderful people.
When these monsters prey on their children, they scar the child forever. They even distort something as simple as a child’s bedtime prayer into something dark and filled with desperation.
Now I lay me down to sleep:
If I stay real still with my eyes closed tight, maybe they’ll leave me alone for just a little longer. I wish my blanket hadn’t slipped away but I don’t dare pull it back over my shoulders. If they hear me move, they’ll know I’m awake.
I hear him. His steps sound heavy. He’s bringing the bucket of water and ice. It splashes on the floor as my bedroom door bangs open. I squeeze my eyes tighter shut. I can’t move. There’s no place to hide and it will only make him worse. The cold water makes me gasp. It hurts but not as bad as the sharp ice.
“Get out of bed,” he shouts. “We have to cut wood today. You’re going to help and you’re going to like it.” He whacks the bucket against the door facing as I slide across the wet floor. “Get this mess cleaned up before you come to the kitchen and don’t even think about telling your grandparents. They already know how lazy you are.”
I can’t wait for Monday. I get to go back to school.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
My parents said I was the worst thing that ever happened to them, the biggest disappointment of their lives. God won’t want my soul. I’m not good enough.
If I die before I wake:
Sometimes I think it would be better to die. At least that way, they can’t get me anymore. But the preacher said when we die; we all meet up in Heaven. They’re mean to me. I don’t want to see them when we’re all dead. The preacher’s eternity sounds like a long time for them to treat me bad.
I pray the Lord my soul to take:
No. I don’t want the Lord to take my soul. He can take them and just leave me someplace else. I’d rather be alone.