Night Terrors

By KS Herrman

They come for us in the night. There is a knock on the door and when Father rises to answer it,  the door explodes inward, broken shards of wood littering the floor. I hear shouts from the men, my Father’s voice soft and shaky in response. 

Footsteps approach the bed where my baby brother and I lay huddled together, trying to hide under the blankets. I am 6 years old and I am scared. Maybe no one will find us if we stay quiet as mice. 

More shouts and the blanket is pulled back. Mother’s face appears above us. There is a cut above her left eye and the sight of the blood paralyzes me. 

“Come,  my lovelies,” she says. “We’re going on an adventure.” She tries to smile, but her mouth trembles with the effort. I know better than to ask her where we are going.

I help my brother put on his shoes, then step into my own. I hand him his faded blue bunny and clutch the worn rag doll Grandmother made me close to my chest. 

The men bark at Father to hurry and he leads us out into the yard. 

The sky is dark and full of stars. Mother is crying, silent, tears streaming tracks down her face.

Two trucks wait. The men shove Father toward one, announcing that men and women must go separately.  I scream when they grab my brother and toss him in the men’s truck. He is only a baby, I want to shout. 

Mother clamps a hand over my mouth to silence me. I see that his bunny has fallen to the ground as we are pushed into the other truck. 

I dart forward and grab the bunny out of the dirt just before Mother and I are thrown into the other truck. I will keep it for the rest of my life. 

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KS Herrman was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Having traded public librarianship for the glamorous life of a wife and homeschooling feminist mother,  she dreams of being well-rested one day. Instead of sleeping, she writes and publishes short fiction at Lovely But Lopsided on Facebook.  

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