I hate being a little kid. My 13th birthday is in 2 days and my Dad still thinks me and my 6 year old brother Sam need a babysitter. I think God should just allow us to skip the little kid stage and just be teenagers. Seriously! Okay, so I’m working on being taken more seriously by my dad and here comes this big project at work he has to complete — whatever! Since my Dad was working late, he called Janice over to baby-sit until he got home. I cannot wait until my birthday Sunday. At least tomorrow will be Saturday and all of us are free to relax. Saturday is the best day of the week, if you ask me. Unfortunately, this is still Friday and my stupid babysitter is here painting her toe nails and talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone. I could do this job with my hands tied behind my back! We asked to watch TV in the living room, she sent us to our rooms. We asked to have ice cream for dessert, she sent us to our rooms. We asked to play on the trampoline in the basement, she sent us to our rooms. This sucks!
Sam and I began to accept our fate, and pulled out the board games. After about an hour of playing monopoly, I walked Sam to the bathroom. It was while I was in the hallway that I heard a man’s voice toward the living room. I was able to take a peek into the living room to find that the baby sitter, Janice, was standing at the door talking to some man dressed in a suit. Dad would never allow any company when he wasn’t here so barged in with my hands on my hips shouting, “Janice, you are breaking my Dad’s rule-no company when he’s not here!” Janice ran towards me strangely whispering with an upset tone, “You need to go to your room — NOW! Nobody’s breaking any rules.” I was thrown into the hall just before Sam came out of the bathroom. Janice shoved us into the bedroom and ran back to the front door. It was then that I rushed to crack open my bedroom door ‘” if she was going to break the rules, so was I. Through the slit in the door, I noticed that the man in the suit was still at the door standing in the rain. In the commotion, I hadn’t even noticed the thunder and lightening. The man in the suit was dripping wet and grabbed Janice’s arm-screaming at her to make sure she got a message to Dad. I almost ran to Janice to help her when she cried out to the man that she promised to do what he asked if he left immediately. The man in the suit obliged to Janice’s pleas and left. Janice quietly shut the front door and stuffed an enveloped into her pocket.
After it seemed like Janice calmed down on the couch, I crept to her side and sat down. I was still mad at her but could tell something was bothering her about the man who visited our home. I whispered, “What did he want?” Janice looked at me as if she had been crying and said, “If anything terrible happens, be sure to take care of your brother.” I looked up confused but answered that I would do just as she had asked and walked back into the bedroom to return to Sam and I’s monopoly game.
Within an hour, Dad came back home and came into our bedroom to hug us. He promised he would talk to us about our plans for my birthday after taking Janice home. Knowing Janice would probably tell Dad about the man at our front door on the way home, I begged Dad to take us with him for the ride.
On the way to the car, I called shot gun but Dad, as always, let Janice ride in the front. We put on our seatbelts in the backseat and waited for the odd silence to pass. Watching the street lights flash by, I wondered when someone would say something! Janice then said to Dad, “Listen, someone came by the house tonight. I didn’t know him but he seemed to know you.” My Dad asked, “Well, what did he say? What did he want?” Janice looked at Dad with a sadness in her eyes, “He just left this.” Janice then handed the envelope to Dad. It was all black with bold red letters on the front. I couldn’t read what it said, but whatever it was Dad knew and rushed to put the envelope in his pocket. He told Janice not to be worried and that he would take care of it.
We arrived to Janice’s parents’ house and she got out of the car. “Janice,” my Dad yelled out to her as she walked up to her front door, “don’t worry about anything, I’ll take care of it.” My Dad was good like that, since my Mom left us, he has been taking care of everything for us. I knew he meant it but still wanted to know what was in the envelope. I never did find out, but later I realized that this was the beginning of how my life drastically turned before I even hit puberty.
We made it back home to find the front door unlocked. Dad walked in first and after about 5 minutes, he came back and told us to go straight to our rooms. I tried to ask him what had happened and why the door was unlocked but he insisted on us going to our rooms right away. He even said we could stay up as long as we liked just in our rooms. After I read Sam a bedtime story and he fell asleep, I went into my room and listened to some music.
It wasn’t until I got to the slow songs that I noticed some noises coming from basement. I got up and glanced at the clock, it was 11:47pm and Dad was still doing laundry? I hope not! He didn’t even come and get our clothes from our room hampers. I dragged out of bed and headed towards the basement. From the hallway, I saw lights flashing from the cracks in the door to the basement. It couldn’t be the TV from down there'”it wasn’t big enough to make such a bright light. I reached the basement door and knocked, instantly the light stopped flashing and I heard a loud thud. Dad ran up to the door and pushed it open almost knocking me down.
“Oh! Sweet Pea, you need to stay in your room, Dad’s working” I loved it when he called me ‘‹Å”sweet pea’.
“Oh no, you can’t be! You’ll be too tired to hang out tomorrow!”
“I won’t I promise I will get enough rest to hang out tomorrow, now just get to your room. I’ll be in to kiss you good night.”
Dad went to close the door but not before he turned and I got a glimpse of the blood on his shirt. That was it! Something was definitely going on and Dad might have even been hurt! As soon as I heard Dad go back down the steps to the basement, I slowly opened the door again and watched from the top of the stairs as Dad snatched off his shirt and threw it into a metal trash can. The can was filled with what looked like bloody clothes and shoes. I immediately ran downstairs and asked Dad what was going on.
“Danielle,” he cried out to me, “it’s not time, it’s just too soon for you to know.”
“Dad, stop treating me like a kid. What is going on? I need to be able to help you, Janice said so!”
“Janice told you?”
“Told me what Dad?”
“Danielle, we are not a normal family.”
“What do you mean Dad?”
“We are not from around here.”
“Where are we from? Does this have anything to do with Mom leaving us last year?”
“Some of it… Danielle, we’re originally from another place where we are warriors, protecting our original home from outsiders who want to take our treasures.”
“What treasures? What other place? Warriors? What is this Dad, and why is there a bloody can down here? What was all that light?”
“Danielle, we’re not from earth.”
“Dad, you’re scaring me. What is going on?”
“Danielle, seriously, if you want to become an adult, you have to listen to what I’m saying. You wanted to know the truth and here it is. Don’t touch that can!”
I ran to the bloody can and saw that there was actually a person in the can'”beat up and bloody. A closer look made me realize that the man in the can was the same one from earlier at the front door. He’d come back and Dad killed him. He wasn’t moving and his body was folded with his feet hanging over the rim of the can.
“Dad, he’s dead.”
“I had to destroy him; he would have hurt you and Sam.”
“What did he want, Dad. What was in the envelope?”
“It was a message from our home planet. They want us to leave earth and return home to continue in the fight.”
“So — what should we do? Can we call the police? Will other strangers come to our door?”
“Probably, but don’t worry, you will be ready soon to help in the fight.”
“Yes, you Danielle. For now, I can handle them as long as they come one at a time.”
“What if more than one man comes at one time?”
“By then, I pray you’ll be ready to help me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this before? Maybe I could have been ready? Was Mom ready? Did she know about this?”
“People from our home planet have contacted us before. Your mom decided to return to the home but I stayed behind to raise you and Sam with the hopes of bringing you up in a safer environment. I guess I failed. You will have to learn to fight anyway.”
“Don’t say that Dad, you’re a great Dad.”
“Thanks Sweet Pea. Listen, I have to clean up. We can talk more about this in the morning. There is more I need to show you.”
I ran upstairs and shut the basement door behind me. My head was still swirling from all of the information Dad told me. I checked on Sam to be sure he was alright and then went to bed. I couldn’t stand the still darkness so I kept on the light. I closed my eyes and dreamt of seeing my mom. I wondered if she missed us where she was and if she would return if we needed her help to fight the strange men in suits.
The morning after, I woke up way too early and had to go to the bathroom. After returning to my bedroom, I saw my Dad in the yard from outside my bedroom window with what looked like knives in his hands. I grabbed some shoes and went outside with him. I knew he would not want to talk right away so I stood and watched him for a while. My Dad had never been so focused; he looked like some type of Samurai tossing the knives around his body swiftly over and over again. It wasn’t until the sun was out of my eyes that I saw that the knives were not in his hands but in place of his hands. I screamed.
“Dad, oh my God!”
“Danielle!” Instantly, the knives retracted into his wrists and his hands materialized.
“Sweet Pea, how long have you been standing there?”
“Dad, your hands — those knives — ”
“I know, let me show you.”
My Dad slowly made his hands disappear and the knives in his hands extended past his knees. He pulled them up and started to swivel them once again from left to right. My Dad added some kicks and turns to his routine and started to look like a professional of some sort.
“Dad, what is this?”
“Danielle, this is what I didn’t have the heart to show you. Once you turn 13, you will be able to do this as well. It is a built-in defense mechanism that everyone has on our home planet. Every family has a different trait'”our trait is the swords built into our limbs. Once you have the skills mastered in your arms, I will show you how to use the ones that come from your legs.”
“Dad, this is crazy. You cannot be serious. Is this some type of magic trick?”
“Listen, I know this is hard for you to believe but it is the truth. Maybe I should have tried to tell you sooner so you would be ready in time.”
“No, I get it, it’s just hard to believe…so, how will I know that I won’t wake up tomorrow and cut myself?”
“You’ll be fine, Danielle, the knives are only activated by the sun and even then, they won’t appear unless you will them to out of anger or extreme concentration.”
My Dad put away the knives and walked me into the kitchen to make pancakes. Soon after, Sam woke up for breakfast and we all sat and watched cartoons. At about noon, Dad took us in the backyard to run through the sprinklers. The rain the night before had led to a scorching hot summer Saturday. Later, I was able to ask Dad to take a break with me while Sam tired himself out. We sat in the grass and sipped lemonade in the sun. I leaned over and asked, “Dad, when are we going to tell Sam?” Dad explained to me how it might be too soon but when the time was right, we could tell him together'”that made me feel great, like a real grown up. Dad was right though, Sam would have been scared out of his wits if he knew about the bloody can in the basement and the knives built into our DNA!
After the sprinklers, we got dressed and had lunch at the mall and went to see a movie. It was altogether a great Saturday, until we got home and Dad’s study was smashed. I walked past the previously spotless room, and saw paperwork all over the floor and the lap top snapped in two. When I asked Dad about the office, he said everything was alright and that we shouldn’t worry'”but I had the feeling that something was terribly wrong.
With all the fun we had earlier, Sam needed a nap. I pat his back and put on his favorite cartoon until he drifted to sleep. After I saw Sam’s drool on my jeans, I assumed he was knocked out and went to my own room to think and pray. I didn’t know what God was doing, but I knew if anyone could help, He would. After my prayers, I played some music and took a nap myself. After a few hours, I awoke to a quiet house. This was my chance to talk to Dad about our plans. Through my bedroom window, I could see that the sun was setting and that meant that Dad was on the front porch drinking his tea. I crept beside him and leaned on his shoulder.
“Sweet pea,” he said, “you know I never like to lie to you.”
“Sure, Dad,” I said with hesitating excitement.
“Danielle, I know you will be 13 years old tomorrow and it is a big deal for you, but it is a big deal for me too.”
“I know Dad. What are we going to do about the attacks? That must have been someone else coming for us who trashed your study. What do we do?”
“I think all we can do is stay prayerful and prepare. Someone might come back tonight. I need you to be sure to watch out for Sam. In the morning, we will be able to practice together; your knives will start to grow in by then. Tomorrow night we’ll have your birthday dinner at Frenchie’s, your favorite restaurant.”
“Really Dad? I love that place! Can we dress up?”
“Of course, Sweet Pea.”
I went to bed with a smile on my face and dreamt of nothing at all. In the morning, Dad was in the shower and breakfast was already on the table. After Sam and I ate and got dressed for church, Dad was in the living room waiting for us while he talked on the phone. I smiled at him on the way to the car and he whispered to me, “Everything’s alright.” I held on to that statement and grabbed my pink Bible and Sam’s hand before walking to the car door. On the way to church, I noticed I didn’t feel any different from the night before and thought that maybe everything that happened was truly a dream. Maybe my birthday would be a normal day for us after all.
After church we went for ice cream and back home to start the chores. A Sunday afternoon is quiet and still and then there is the dread of the coming week. Dad told me about the night before and how another man came by the house again. He was a little stronger than the man the night before but my Dad was still able to defeat him. By now, there were 2 metal cans in the basement and Dad would have to find a place to get rid of the bodies. He said because they were from our world, he would be able to just use them as fertilizer for the garden in a couple days. It seemed weird to think of Dad getting rid of bodies but it was now our reality.
I reminded Dad about my birthday dinner and he promised we’d still go. I read a book and danced in my room for hours, picking out just the right outfit. Finally I chose a sleeveless light purple two piece satin top with matching skirt with ruffles on the rim. My Mom bought me the outfit and shipped it to me about 3 months ago. It came with a card and $20. I treasured it and had not thought to wear it until now.
After I did my homework for Monday, Dad made me and my bratty little brother Sam walked the dog and take out the trash. Sam seemed like he wanted to ask me something while we were on our walk but he must have seen my face and decided to keep quit instead. When we returned to the house, I took a shower and got dressed for my birthday dinner. Dad had already gotten Sam dressed and said we would leave in 10 minutes or so for our reservations at Frenchie’s. Dad locked up the house and we left for the restaurant.
After dinner, we returned home to see the back porch light on. Dad went in first as usual and sent us to our rooms. I read Sam a bedtime story and he went to sleep with an innocence I would never return to. I sat at my window watching the sun set in my purple outfit. I turned on some music and smiled to myself waiting up for Dad.
In the silence, I fell asleep at the window seal trying so hard to listen for Dad’s footsteps to my room to wish my good night. I woke up to flashing lights under the crack of my bedroom door and loud thuds coming from the back porch. Then, there was complete silence and then the sound of the toilet flushing in the hallway. Suddenly, Dad walked into my bedroom without his tie from earlier and there was more blood on his shirt.
“Sweet Pea, you ok?”
“Its almost 4am, why are you still up?”
“I fell asleep waiting for you.”
“Well, you’ll have to change into your pajamas and go back to sleep for school tomorrow.”
“Ok, I know that you were just fighting someone else. Is everything alright? Was this one stronger than the last?”
“Yes, a little. Listen, I know we have talked about a lot of stuff over one weekend but I want you to know that I never wanted you to have to be deformed like your Dad. I didn’t want you to have to fight. That’s why I stayed on Earth with you and Sam even though your Mom felt she had to return home.”
“Dad, I have always wanted to be just like you. I’m not afraid.”
“That’s my Sweet Pea! We’ll start training tomorrow after school.”
“I can’t wait.”
It was jut then that the sun began to rise on the horizon and I started to feel a tingle in my wrists.