She had noticed nothing out of the ordinary on her weekly trip home from her favorite activity. In the car with her father, she was happily thinking about her class. Especially about the story of Moses, who had been adopted just like she had. The little girl of nine years was truly grateful that she had not been abandoned in the bulrushes but the feelings of relationship with the Prophet were undeniable. Her family was not “Leave it to Beaver” at all but at least she had a home and in their own way her folks loved her.
The light blue station wagon pulled into the suburban driveway in the usual way but that’s when she sensed that something was not quite normal. The regular pattern in which things progressed was not happening. Her dad didn’t follow her into the house for their Sunday morning brunch as was his usual food loving way. He mumbled something about having to check his lawn mower so she climbed the steps and opened the door. Her mother told her to have a look on the couch and then hurriedly left the room. Now she was nervous.
Her best friend, Sandy was a lively and playful girl. At times she could be very intense but she loved studying the Bible as much as Lorrie did so they got along really well. For a month however Sandy had been telling her about things that her brother was doing to her family. Sandy’s father was in the Navy and rarely home. Her brother would hurt them and even had killed their dog and buried it in the back yard. She made Lorrie pinky swear that she would never tell anyone. This secret burned the stomach and strained the brain of the policeman’s daughter but she held her tongue for as long as she could. One Sunday, Sandy walked into class with a huge goose’s egg on her forehead and told Lorrie that her brother had smashed a hot light bulb over her head. Lorrie was shocked and unable to process that kind of information.
The distraught hearer of the terrible confidence went directly to her parents and spilled the proverbial beans praying that they would be able to do something. Surely a cop could find some way to help her suffering friend. Their response would cause great confusion and victimization to her young heart as they told her there was nothing they could do. It was a personal problem and untouchable by outsiders. Lorrie told her minister and her teachers at church. Disappointingly, they too said, “There’s nothing we can do about it. What a shame.”
Lorrie felt the air rush from the balloon of her activism; her empowerment.
After her mom exited the room, she slowly entered it. Filled with a growing sense of danger, she saw the newspaper on the couch seemingly untouched. There on the front page in bold letters, “Maryville Family Brutally Murdered”! Below there were three pictures, one of which was her friend. The world went dark.
She read the article and wept as it described how the brother had tortured, raped and made Sandy, her sister and their mother die in graphic detail. He had stabbed them repeatedly, kicked them, dragged them around the house and let them die a torturous death as he watched unaffected. Crying out for her mother, she became aware of the way that this was shown to her which only added to her grief. “Why didn’t you tell me? You just let me find this?” The mother said that she didn’t know how to tell her.
Lorrie learned that women and children have no power. A lesson that would haunt her all of her life.
© Carol Campbell 2015