Staring into her new-born sister’s eyes, Jade felt love overwhelm her. She had waited so long for a sibling and now this perfect, pink little girl was here. Gently hugging her she whispered, ‘I’m your big sister, I love you and I will never let anyone hurt you.’
Jade spent as much time with Anna as she could, even shirking her chores to cuddle her sister. The 4 years difference meant nothing, and she taught the little girl to crawl and speak and spent hours just playing with her and chatting. Their mother smiled every day at the relationship between the little girls – it was inspirational. Never a cross word between them.
Going off to school was tough. Jade wanted to be with Anna but also wanted to go to school. She would run to the car, jump in the back seat and tell little Anna how her day was all the way home. Anna sat and did homework with Jade, chewing on her pencils and mixing the colours, Jade didn’t mind, this was her sister. Her universe.
The first time daddy came into her bedroom when mommy was asleep, Jade was 6 years old. Daddy made her promise not to tell anyone what they did, it was a secret and only they would know. Mommy would get cross with Jade if she told her and take her away from Anna, daddy said. Jade would never tell because a life without Anna was something she couldn’t conceive.
6 became 7 and soon little Jade was 10 years old. Anna was excited to go to school and the two little girls headed in hand-in-hand on her first day. It was lovely for Jade to be able to see Anna at lunch, a whole new chapter opened for the sisters and Jade spent every lunchtime playing with her.
It was a Sunday afternoon, covered by an azure umbrella sky the girls were playing in the pool. Mom kept an eye but as Jade could swim and never took her eyes off Anna, mom popped into the house to start supper. Daddy joined his girls and they swam and played. Swimming to the steps Jade grabbed the ball they were playing with but froze when she turned. Daddy was staring at Anna like he used to look at her. He picked her up and patted her bottom and Jade just knew.
Getting out she ran into the bathroom to be sick. She knew what awaited Anna and was desperate to spare her. Jade’s mother noticed she was pale that evening but Jade said she was just tired and went to bed. She lay there staring at the ceiling her door open, waiting. Of course he came and Jade called out as the footsteps passed her bedroom.
‘Yes Jade, quiet don’t wake mom.’ He walked back.
Wise beyond her years, a smiling Jade held out her arms to her father, terror beating in her ears. ‘Come daddy, close the door.’ She didn’t want to – she never wanted to, but she couldn’t allow him to hurt her precious Anna. She would do anything, and she did.
It worked for a while but Jade could see her father’s interest in Anna grow and her fear and determination grew too. Her immature and abused mind plotted and planned a million ways to stop this. She couldn’t tell her mother, not after she invited her father into her bed, he would tell her. But she absolutely couldn’t allow him to hurt her Anna. It was inconceivable. She had to do something.
The next day was Wednesday and father would be at work. Mom was inside making dinner, it was gloriously hot and the girls swam together. Jade called Anna to the step and hugged her. Taking her face in her hands, she told her how much she loved her and that she would never allow her to be hurt. She kissed and cuddled her little sister for a long time. Tears coursed down her face as she took little Anna and pulled her under the water, sitting on her on the step to stop her from coming up.
Anna struggled and flailed, her little arms powerless against Jade who sobbed her heart out. Eventually Anna stopped fighting and Jade looked down to see little bubbles slowly trickle out of her mouth, she was gone. She was safe.
Jade held her close until her screaming mother ripped the little girl from her arms. Jade’s heart broke and would never heal.
‘You’re safe now little Anna, I kept you safe.’