The Girl In The Closet

By Poet DeVine

She lay on her bed, resting, not thinking, not feeling. Suddenly, the sound of a car door slamming startled her into awareness. She sat up quickly and crossed the room to the window.

It was her father’s car. He was home.

“He’ll be in the house soon!” she moaned.

Her eyes widened with terror as she quickly scanned the room, finally deciding the closet would be the safest place to hide. She lunged for the door, almost fell inside and quickly closed it behind her. She moved her clothes around until she maneuvered herself into the farthest corner. With her back to the corner, she slid down and squatted on the floor, listening.

She heard her parents talking, a distant mumble of mundane welcome home talk. Her mother laughed as she always did when her father tried to be funny. He wasn’t funny. Nothing he did was funny.

It was quiet again. The silence scared her. She could feel it creeping up the stairs towards her room, searching for her.

Then, the sounds of footsteps on the stairs….slowly…closer and closer. Her father’s tread! She knew his step, only he could make that fifth stair creak so. She huddled deeper into the corner.

“Carol!” he called. “Where’s Daddy’s little girl?”

She covered her ears and closed her eyes, thinking she was not his little girl. She was 16 and almost a woman. And why is he calling himself Daddy? She never called him Daddy. It was an evil name, another name for the Devil!

“Carol!” he knocked on the door. “I’ve got something special for you baby!”

Carol sunk lower onto her feet, trembling now, sweating terror, a sweet/sour stench that filled the small closet. She could hear her bedroom door open. She knew he was just outside the door, could feel her revulsion of him. Her heart pounding she bit her lip, trying not to cry out.

Then, a soft knock at the closet door. “Baby, are you in there?” her father asked.

Feeling trapped, caught by his evil, her bladder loosened and she peed all over her legs, onto the floor. Sitting in the dank puddle, she whimpered softly, willing him to give up and go away.

Slowly, the door opened and he turned on the light. She kept her eyes closed. She felt his hand touch hers, then take her wrist and gently pull her to him.

“What are you doing in here?” he asked.

She did not reply. Keeping her eyes averted as he led her out of the closet, she imagined herself in another place – perhaps the park; yes – the swings and all those children laughing!

“Baby, what on earth did you do? You’re all wet!” Her father lifted her skirt to see the wetness on her legs, her socks and shoes. “Go get washed up.” His voice, less gentle now, more like the violent harshness she had expected, he let her go. She ran into her bathroom.

Quickly, she used a washcloth to wipe away most of the urine. She removed her shoes and socks and returned to her bedroom. Her head hung like a whipped animal waiting for another swat on the nose.

“Come with me.” her father commanded, as he led her from the room. With her hand firmly grasped in his, he led her downstairs into the living room. They were alone.

She could smell the evil now. She waited for it to reach out and devour her.. chew her up….vomit her bones into the fireplace.

Her father led her to the patio door and placed his hand in front of her face.

“Want to see Daddy’s surprise?” he asked.

NO! She screamed in silent horror! She wanted to go! Run…fly away…. And now he wasn’t letting her see where she was going! She walked blindly forward, waiting for his evil touch.

“Open your eyes” he said.

Quickly, she opened her eyes and saw the flames! God, he was going to burn her alive, he was sending her to hell right here in her own back yard! He was the Devil!

Screaming, she lashed out with her hands at the expanse of fire in her face.

NO! she screamed out loud. NO! Leave me alone! Don’t kill me!

Hands grabbed her arms holding her firmly. She opened her eyes. A birthday cake lay on the patio bricks…messes of white frosting and pink flowers and two lonely candles still lit. She looked up and saw her family looking at her with shock. She stepped back and fell against her father. She began to shriek……….

Struggling, screaming! He pulled her into the house.

She heard her mother on the phone talking in a crying voice…”yes, right away. Thank you. I appreciate it, we just can’t handle it anymore”.

Carol went limp in her father’s arms.

“Baby” he sobbed.

She sunk to the floor. Keening, pulling on her hair, Carol vanished into her schizophrenia.