Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
They told her that it would be dangerous to drive the night of a blizzard, but she thought it was a stupid warning. After all, she had driven before, and in the middle of a Hurricane of all things, back when she was a teenager trying to leave New Orleans. But they were right, this time it was different. She couldn’t see anything ahead of her, there was no way to know when a car coming her way until it was too late and the lights turned her blind for a second. It had proven harder this time also due to the fact that she was a full fifteen years older than she had been when she had decided not to stay and die in New Orleans with her family. It was youth, that endless source of energy and fearlessness, that had driven her all the way up north. All that was long gone.
The thing was that she needed to make it south, even if it cost her life, ironically. It wasn’t every day that the person that had hurt her the most in her life was executed. Her mom, arrested in Texas and found guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering three little boys. One of them was her brother, Anton, who she had never met. After she had run away that day, in the middle of a hurricane, the family had moved to Texas out of precaution, afraid that she would go to the police and reveal their secrets. Of course, Katrina’s imminent arrival had been a catalyst as well.
But she wasn’t interested in telling anything to anybody. Not any more then than she was now, in spite of different media outlets being interested in her story, the one who got away. She had, however, made it clear to the lawyer that she wanted to know when her mother was going to be put to death. For that occasion yes, she wanted to be the one that got away, the one that would be able to look at her in the eye as she died. She wanted to be the last thing that monster saw before her eyes closed forever and she started her journey to hell—the same hell that she had put her through.
The first couple of weeks after she ran away, Dalilah thought that Mommy and Daddy were going to find her. She made it to Detroit and then even considered crossing the border to Canada. But she had run away without any documents, she wasn’t even sure if there was anything out there that could attest to her birth or existence. She had certainly the feeling that she didn’t exist anyway. And then, it was also around that time that she had learned about the devastation that Katrina had left in its wake, and she figured that her family was among the dead, not wanting to leave because it was god’s will.
Mommy, like she liked to be called, was all about God’s will, in her own very twisted way, and there was little room for challenging or questioning her. It had all started when her older sister, Olga, was six. Olga didn’t have a lot of memories about it, but she had once stumbled on pictures of before. Before Mommy met Dalilah’s dad, or Daddy. Mommy was a single mom, trying hard to make ends meet. Daddy was a pastor at a little rural church, or at least that was how he presented himself. Seeing how much her mom struggled, he told her how it was all a result of her sin. After all, she had slept with a man without being married, no wonder he had bailed as soon as he’d found out she was pregnant. What Daddy was offering her, though, was a path to redemption in the eyes of the Lord. She could start anew, and he would take care of her daughter as if she were his own.
In the beginning, or so Olga told her once, all mom wanted was to be with him. She didn’t really attach too much importance to the religious aspect, but that quickly started to change, and a little too quickly for Olga’s taste. Her mom because Mommy. There was a structure to it all, and Mommy was the pastor’s wife now. But it wasn’t only the prayers and the constant bible reading. It was the guilt, there was a lot of guilt, and that was what Dalilah had been born into, that guilt, that feeling that nothing was ever enough to reach god’s mercy and contentment.
Delilah didn’t remember when the physical abuse started, it was kind of embedded in her, that was just the way adults behaved. But the sexual abuse, she remembered clearly. She was six and it was Daddy’s brother. And she had run to her home, naive, to tell her parents what had just happened. She was the one beaten, for being disobedient. After all, Uncle had told her not to tell anyone, and that included Mommy and Daddy. That day it became clear to her that no one will ever come to her rescue, and she’d started thinking that maybe that was just the way it was everywhere, in every family.
The fact that they didn’t go anywhere didn’t help at all. They were homeschooled so that no one could alert authorities as to what was happening. Not that she realized at the time, because for her, there was nothing there to be scared about. For her, in all the houses, in all the towns, moms would bathe their daughters at night to prepare them for their father’s visits, and their uncles’, and their cousins’, even their grandfather’s. Olga knew it before she did that it wasn’t normal, and that had been the reason why she’d run away at the first chance she got, also the reason why she’d ended up an addict, trying to soften the pain with heroin. Four years sober, it had been seeing Delilah after all those years that had brought all the pain back to the surface. She’d OD’d not long after. And just like that, the only person who had meant something to Delilah was gone. She knew, then, that even though seeing Mommy die wouldn’t bring Olga back to life it would, maybe, give her some sense of peace. Some sense of justice.