Molly lay on her stomach facing the wall, eyes closed in pretense of sleep and breathing as shallow as life would allow. Not even the heat of August could entice her to kick off the heavy covers.
When she heard her mother's car exit the garage she knew she was in trouble. He would come. He would come into her room, pull down the shades and violate her. Nothing would stop him, not crying, not begging, not hiding.
After he had finished, he would remind her that no one would believe her. She would be punished for lying. She would be sent away if she caused the family to break up. He owned her just like he owned the house and the cars. He paid the bills. No one questioned that he was master of his home. She was cut off. If he were a stranger, she could run home for help; he was not.
Where are you, girl? No use trying to hide. This is my home; I say what goes on here. Do you hear me? Come here, daddy has something to tell you.
Alice would see the shades pulled down; she wouldn't come to play today. She knew the story the shades told. Molly had shared some of the dirty secret with her neighbor and best friend. They were both in Mrs. Gregory's fourth-grade class and would soon be starting fifth grade together.
An hour later Molly's mother was back from shopping. Molly, come help set the table. We're having your favorite, cheeseburgers. Did you finish your reading? We'll have to hurry to get to church in time for Bible study.
Thank you, Father for all your many provisions. Teach us to look to You for all our needs. Keep Molly an obedient child. We ask in Jesus name. Molly's father always held their hands to pray.
Aren't we blessed, Molly, to have a wonderful God-fearing man in our home? I worry so much for Alice. Does her father ask grace? Her family never goes to church. I'm glad you can share our Christian home with her.
Yes, mother. I think so. Alice is always happy.
Well, I'm glad you don't look down on her because her family is not as well off as yours. You must always be thankful for your many blessings, Molly.
Driving to church in the Lincoln SUV, Joseph and Catherine listened to some of their many Christian CD's. Catherine sang in the choir; Joseph was a deacon. They never missed church; both served on a number of committees. Molly was adored by all their many friends.
Tonight's message was from 2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear...
Fear is what was controlling Molly. Even as young as she was, she understood what Pastor Dan was teaching. She feared that Alice would be hurt by her father. She had seen him looking at her in that way. He had started telling Molly to have her come over, to spend the night.
Who could she tell? Who would believe her? Her mother would blame her.
Three days passed and Molly's shades remained up. Alice and she played together and watched TV. Her father had been busy with business and she had seen little of him.
On Saturday, Molly's mother had a hair appointment. She hadn't been gone but a few minutes when he came into her room. He pulled down the shades and started touching her.
No more. I'm going to tell. Molly screamed through tears.
Molly, it's okay. If you don't love your daddy...
The day was hot and sunny; the pool cool and inviting. The safest place for Molly to be until her mother returned was outdoors. Her father was upset with her, but he had left her alone. She decided to go swimming in her pool; it made her feel clean.
Molly's mother came home to find her face down in the deep end of the pool. It was a horrible accident. No one saw it happen.
So many people came to pay their respects to the parents. Every pew was filled at the memorial service. Molly's mother sang the sweetest song; her father praised his little girl.
Alice never saw the shades up again.
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