I heard his footsteps coming down the hall. At first I had hoped that he just wanted to read me a story or say good night. But I knew that he wouldn't. He was coming for what he always came for: my "beauty". I get physically sick even thinking about that word because that's what he called me. That's what I'll always be. His beauty.

I lie there and breathe. Lie there and breathe.

I focused on my breathing. That's what got me through. He came to the side of my bed and told me he was here for a kiss goodnight. I knew he was lying. He probably told Mama that he was getting a kiss from me and then going back to their bedroom. Her blind faith in my father kept her from seeing the truth.

Father climbed into my small bed with me as I began crying. This did not deter him though.

Child the Lord won't mind. It's just you and me.

"God, you're a beauty" he grunted as he thrust into me. I shrieked quietly, knowing that he liked it when I made noises, I tried to stay as quite as possible. Maybe if I didn't encourage him, he would stop. He went in and out of me at a slow pace. Stroking my face and hair. He was trying to be gentle with me. Trying to show me affection. I threw up in my mouth at the thought. Seeing my disgust, he sped up. Showing me who was boss, who was in charge.

I knew this routine. He would be at this for another 6 and a half minutes, less if he'd been drinking. My body shuddered involuntarily, the room was cold and my blankets had been discarded long ago. My father took this shudder as a good sign. He thought I enjoyed what he was doing! He thought he was the cause of my shaking!

God it's good- the lovin'- ain't it good tonight?

"You ain't seen nothing yet!"

He wasn't lying. He seemed to be lasting longer than ever tonight. At that age I didn't really know what made him stop but he would convulse after a while, spurt something into me, and then leave me crying. After he was done I always ran to the bathroom to try and get his disgusting juices out of me. It felt like poison in my body.

"You're so fucking beautiful Ilse!"

Gonna treat you right.

Then his hand struck my face. This was not an uncommon occurrence, although he'd never done it while he was "putting me to bed". I pulled my face back to look at him. I wouldn't let him know how much I was hurting. He could tell though, he'd beaten me enough times to know when I was in pain. His eyes glistened when he saw the sadness in my face, he enjoyed it. He enjoyed inflicting it.

9 minutes 54 seconds. This was the longest he'd ever stayed with me. What was different? I didn't know. I just wanted him to stop.

Overall it lasted 13 awful minutes and 8 horrible seconds.

My father looked over at my crumpled body as he pulled up his underwear and pants,

"Now remember, beauty, it's our secret"

There is a part I can't tell

I rolled over and stared out of my window. The dark streets seemed more inviting and safe than my own home.

Wendla Bergman's house was nearby. Her mother wouldn't understand though, she'd send me home in a heartbeat. Not wanting me to tell her precious innocent Wendla about all the horrific things my daddy dearest did to me.

There was Moritz Stiefel, but he was afraid of his own shadow. I couldn't imagine how he would react if he knew what had happened to me.

Melchior Gabor would listen. He may even offer help but who would believe him? Or even me for that matter? We were a couple of 13 year olds and my father was a well respected man in town.

I had no choice. I would go into the dark.

The dark I know well.

There was a Bohemian a little while over the hill.

The dark I know well.

It would be easy to sneak over and forget about my past.

The dark I know well.

Opening my window, I climbed out into my new life. Into the dark.

The dark I know well.