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The boy woke moments before the scream echoed through the room. Timmy didn’t know how he always knew when Benny was having a bad dream, he just did. But he knew that his mommy didn’t like to talk about it. Timmy knew that it scared her. Sometimes he could tell how she was feeling as well. Not all the time, but sometimes. He was on his feet in a moment, making his way across the floor to his frightened little brother. His bed socks flopping from the ends of his feet and thumping on the floor, making him smile. He turned the night light on, blinking his eyes in the sudden brightness. He knew that Benny was scared of the dark and of the bad monsters that hid under his bed in the night.
But Timmy wasn’t scared of the dark, he was a lot more grown up than his baby brother. Timmy was almost five, it was only six more sleeps until Timmy’s birthday and he could hardly wait. He gathered up his crying brother in his arms and rocked him backwards and forwards, singing his favourite song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Benny’s thumb had found it's way into his mouth and he started to calm down. Timmy knew that Benny had been dreaming about their daddy and how daddy had hit mommy that time. He was yelling at her and calling her bad words. Mommy had been crying and Timmy and Benny had been hiding under the kitchen table, clinging to each other. When he knew that Benny was sound asleep again, he gently put him down and, leaving the night light on, crept back to his own bed.
But he couldn’t fall back asleep. He sat in his bed and looked around his room. He didn’t like this knew apartment. It was cold and the neighbours were noisy. Mommy cried a lot of the time now. She was always sad since daddy had left. She even screamed at him sometimes when he hadn’t even done anything wrong, and she never used to do that before.
Timmy didn’t like his new pre-school either. The lady there asked all kinds of strange questions and was looking at him funny when he answered. His mommy had told him that he should always tell the truth, but she also told him not to tell people about how he could sometimes feel what his brother was feeling. Timmy started to cry now as well. He had not known what to do today and the lady wouldn’t leave him alone. When his mommy had come to pick him up, he had wanted to tell her all about it, but he was scared that she would get angry, and he knew that mommy was already mad about something.
Timmy angrily rubbed the tears from his eyes. He wasn’t a cry-baby anymore, and he was the man of the house now. He had responsibites. He had to look after mommy and Benny now. As he straightened his shoulders, his mind turned to his birthday. He could hardly wait. Mommy would make a cake and there would be a special dinner and presents. Mommy had asked him what he wanted for his special dinner and he didn’t know what he wanted most. He was thinking that maybe mommy could make her special spaghetti. His mommy made the best spaghetti in the whole world.
He looked up in surprise when he heard the faint creak of the door opening. Maybe mommy had come to check to see if they were alright. She hadn’t tucked them in tonight. He started to smile and decided he would tell her about the spaghetti.
But Timmy’s eyes grew wide in shock when he saw the strange man in the doorway. The man was way to big to be daddy, he could tell that, even in the dim light of the night-light. His mouth started to open and he was just about to scream for his mommy when the man put a finger up to his lips.
“Shhhh kid. Nothings wrong.”
Timmy clamped his mouth shut.
A second man came in and whispered.
“Which one do we want?” and he pulled out a photo and peered at it in the darkness. “That one.” He pointed to Timmy.
The first man starting to move towards Timmy’s bed. Timmy scrunched himself up into a tiny ball.
“No-ones going to hurt you kid, but you have to be quiet.”
Timmy’s eyes grew wider and wider and the man must of known he was about to scream because he clamped a hand over Timmy’s mouth.
The other man moved over towards his sleeping brother and pulled out a short shiny knife.
The man was holding on to one of Timmy’s arms very tightly and he could hardly breathe. The man’s big hand was completely covering his nose and mouth. Timmy started to wriggle, but stopped when the man pulled hard on his arm.
“Quit it. Stay still.” He whispered in a harsh voice.
Then the man leaned down and whispered in Timmy’s ear.
“Kid, if you make one sound, or try to run away, I am going to have my friend over there kill your little brother. Nod if you understand.”
The tears started rolling down Timmy’s face. He was so scared and he wanted to scream for his mommy so badly. But he looked up at the man and nodded.
When the hand was removed from his face, he gulped in great big mouthfuls of air. He looked at the man standing over Benny and looked back at the man who still had a tight grip on his arm.
“Good boy. Remember, one sound….and you kill your brother.”
Timmy didn’t want to kill his brother and he tried so very hard to be quiet. But when the man got up and pulled him up by his arm, he could not help the gasp that escaped his lips. He froze, petrified as both men looked at him.
“I'm sorry” he whispered “I didn’t mean it. Please don’t hurt Benny, I’ll be good, I promise.” He pleaded as the tears streamed down his face.
But the two men chuckled softly. The man holding him put a black bag over his head and tied it up around his neck.
Timmy started to panic, breathing rapidly and he started to sob loudly. Then he heard a voice in his ear. He tried to shrink back, but the hand pulled him closer, his arm now aching from the tight grip.
“Remember kid, no noise…..or baby brother……”
The man then grabbed Timmy and lifted him, resting him against his hip. They made their way through the apartment and back down to the car.
The whole time Timmy was crying and his arm hurt and now his body hurt from the way the man was carrying him. He hoped so badly that he hadn’t killed his brother.
He was thrown in the car and the man sat next to him, keeping a firm grip on his arm the whole time. After a little while, Timmy had stopped crying. He wanted so badly to ask what was going on. Why was he in trouble? What had he done wrong? Was his mommy sending him away? He reached up to fidget with the hood, but stopped when he received a light blow across the head and the man hissed at him.
“Touch that again and I will break your arm.”
Timmy started to cry again and tried real hard not to touch the hood. But he hated it. It made him scared and if he couldn’t see where he was going, how was going to remember how to get home? Mommy would be so mad tomorrow when she found out that he had been out of his bedroom in the night, leaving Benny all by himself.