Today’s post is in response to a prompt over at Weekly Anamnesis, which offers a one-word writing prompt each week. The blog’s authors are working to get it going again, and I’d like to see it get some more participation, so I thought I would contribute. If you’d like to participate, here’s how. This week’s prompt:
I am invisible here, which is a good thing to be if you live in this house. I am in my closet, crouched beneath the clothes hanging above me. A dim bar of light reaches for me from under the door, but does not find me. Dresses tickle my face, and a hanger of belts swings back and forth in front of me. The closet smells like shoes. I lean against the toy box, its wood cool against my back.
From the other room, past my closet door, through my open bedroom door, and the one into my sister’s room, the sounds come to me. The sounds of Her striking my sister. The sounds of my sister’s cries. An equal number.
It is my job to count. It is something we do for each other, my sister and I. We are each other’s witness. It is important to know the number, to know how bad it is. More than the last time? Or less? One way of knowing where we stand.
I have no memory of when we decided to keep count for each other. It just was, and would be. For as long as we needed.
Thirty-two. Thirty-three. More.
I’ve lost count.
The shadows hide me. It is dark.