Daryl was five. He didn't understand that what their dad did was wrong. Merle kept trying to tell him that it was. He just wanted to stay at home. One day a social worker came to their house. She inspected the house with no problems. Then she wanted to talk to Daryl and Merle in private.
"Whats your dad like, when no one is with you guys?"
Daryl just stared out the window. Merle was the only one who would really talk to her. "He beats us"
"Does he now?"
"You dont know the half of it"
"What would you be willing to do because of this?"
"I want you to take us away from him"
"If we did, theres a chance that the orphanage would send you to seperate homes"
"I'm willing to do that...Long as he's safe"
Tha lady wrote some things down on her clipboard. Merle ran a hand through Daryl's hair.
"Does he really hurt you?"
"Yes...What about he beats dont you understand? I mean look at the scars and the bruises!" He started pulling out Daryl's arm pointing out scars and bruises. He even pointed out a scar that was deep behind his hair.
"Why are you trying to get us taken?!"
"Why dont you want to?"
"I'm happy here right where I am"
"No your not, Daryl why do think this is ok?!"
"He's our dad"
"And he hits us, that is not ok"
"But we cant leave him, this is or home"
"It cant be home if we arent safe here!"
"But the lady is gonna take us, I just wanna stay here!" He got up and tried to get around Merle "I dont want the lady to take us! Daddy!"
Merle got up, covering his mouth and held onto him. "No Daryl, he'll kill you!"
Their dad came into the room with a gun. He pointed it at the social worker. "You get out of my house"
She grabbed her bag and ran. The person that came to help them was abandoning them. Daryl and Merle ran to the corner of the room. They stood there side by side when their dad pointed the gun at them. Right at Daryl's head. When Merle saw it he grabbed Daryl, his own back facing their dad. He pulled Daryl away fast enough. Their dad just shot the wall. He tried to shoot again. No more bullets. He thew the gun at them, but it hit the corner of the wall and bounced off, landing under the kitchen table. He got pissed and then stormed out of the house. Merle was still holding onto Daryl. He slid down onto the floor with Daryl in his lap. He couldn't help but softly cry into his shoulder. Then Daryl just sat there staring at the gun.
He was sleeping. With Carol. Merle saw it. His baby brother with a girl. They both had earbuds in. He pulled out Daryl's. They were listening to the kill. The one song that both Daryl and Merle liked. He was listening to it with a girl. He ran his hand through his hair. He saw the scar. He was thinking about him crying when he got it. All the blood honestly scared Merle and he knew it was just a cut.
They were going downstairs trying to get away from their dad. He wasn't even in the house yet. But they weren't gonna risk it. Daryl tripped when they were running down the stairs. Merle tried to grab the back of his shirt, anything to hold him up. But then he tripped too. He just fell flat on the cold floor. He was alright, just a bruise on his shoulder. It would probably swell. Then he heard Daryl crying.
He got up and ran over to Daryl. He was cupping his hands on his head.
"Move your hands, lemme see"
He pulled his hands away revealing a cut on his head. His hands were covered in blood. "I'm bleeding, Merle, its bleeding!"
"Sh sh sh, dad'll hear you"
"But I'm gonna die!"
"No you won't"
"I cant see"
"Theres blood in your eyes"
"But the walls arent purple right?"
"Daryl, your delusional"
"Merle now I really cant see"
"Well your too small to be cracking your head open"
"Ok what four year olds do you know that get some of their brain stuck on the wall?"
"Nevermind" He pulled off his tank top and placed it carefully over Daryl's cut
"Merle it hurts"
"Your not helping!"
"I am though"
"Shut up dad's gonna hear you"
"I dont care! It hurts too bad"
"Daryl be quiet"
He started to black out "Not that quiet, Daryl wake up"
"Yeah you can"
"No I cant" He was whining and trying to wipe the blood from his eyes.
"Calm down, its not bleeding that badly anymore"
"But theres still blood"
"Thats from before dummy"
They stayed down there until they heard their dad leave. Then they went upstairs and Merle used the first aid kit to actually clean the cut.
They were eating pancakes, they were probably expired. The syrup didnt make it taste any better. But that was probably expired too. Their dad came in. And he was really really pissed.
"You guys better not be runnin'!"
They jumped out of the chairs. Daryl's fell over. Merle went to pick it up.
"Merle come on! Dad's gonna get you!"
"I'm comin'!" He ran after Daryl and they ran down the hallway getting to their room. Merle tripped on his pantleg.
"Go, I'll catch up!"
He started getting up and their dad saw where they were going. Merle ran into their room and saw Daryl cowering in the corner. He cowered over him. Their dad came in and tried to pull Merle off Daryl. Merle held onto the doorstop in the wall. He ripped it out. Then he got thrown across the room. Daryl was getting beat. Merle opened the window and looked around on the ground.
"Merle! Dont leave me!"
He grabbed a rock and then knocked out his dad with it. Daryl was crying in the corner. Merle went over to him and picked him up. They jumped out the window and Merle ran to the police station.
"What do you mean not enough proof!"
"He could've fell"
"Look at him! If he fell that hard he'd be dead!"
"You never know about kids these days"
"I wanna talk to that social worker"
"Shes in Virginia"
"Well look at her papers!"
"She has em"
"Come to our house, our dad is still there in the corner, the wall is covered in Daryl's blood"
"Hows he still there?"
"I knocked him out with a rock"
The cop was glaring at him "It was self defense!"
"Please, we'll die if he wakes up"
They went to their house. The cop saw the blood and their dad. He had another cop with him and they talked about it for a while. They decided to take him into custody. They were still gonna go into court though. Merle and Daryl got ditched with their grandma. She was the only other family they had. They hated her. She never spoke and she would smoke constantly, not like it bothered them it was just annoying. Merle didnt speak to her unless he truly needed too. Which this time was just because he needed band aids for Daryl.
"How do you not have any?! You're old! Old people always have band aids and candy thats the deal!"
"Well I was told that I was done with little kids when your daddy moved out"
"Well you didnt have extra?!"
"I threw em away"
"Why the hell would you do that!?"
"Cuz I didnt need em"
"But what if you cut yourself?!"
"Dont talk like that in my house"
"Oh shut up!"
"Dont say that to me, I have custody!"
"Same thing, maybe you should just take him to the emergency room"
"They'll take him away!"
"Like you can keep him safe"
"I hate you!"
He went back into the sewing room, where they were sleeping, on the floor. Daryl was curled up in a corner fingering a fuzzy blue blanket.
"Theres no band aids"
"But I need some"
"I know you do"
"Well howm' I sposed to stop bleeding?"
"I think theres tape somewhere"
"That wont work"
"Unless she doesnt go anymore I mean shes like 1000 years old"
"We'll make band aids"
Merle came back with a roll of toilet paper and some tape. The bathroom was still a mess from when he ripped it apart for real band aids. Daryl was poking at the cut on his arm.
He grabbed his arm and started wiping it off. Daryl was squirming.
"Quit moving, I dont wanna hurt you"
"Grama said you cant protect me" Merle ignored him "You said they were gonna take me away"
"Aint nobody gonna take you away from me"
"I wont let em"
Daryl got up and wrapped his little arms around Merle. Merle held him there and completely forgot about making band aids.
"Quit shaking you look like a stoner"
They were in court waiting to see if they had to stay with their dad. Daryl was scared out of his mind.
"I changed my mind"
"I dont wanna go with daddy anymore"
"Me neither kid"
"I dont think we'd live through the night if we have to stay"
"Aint nothing gonna happen to you...Trust me on that"
He laid his head on Merle's shoulder. The whole time Daryl was drifting in and out of sleep. They decided that they could stay with their dad.
Their dad came over to them, grabbing their shoulders and pulling them out of the court.
"You're killing us!" They ignored him "Cant you just take him away?! Keep me but save him!"
They just watched as they were pulled away from the room. The witnesses. They almost felt sorry for them. Then they heard Daryl screaming. The cops ran to the sounds of the screams. Merle was barely concious, struggling to get on his feet. He blacked out. They pulled their dad off Daryl and cuffed him, then left the room. Daryl was crying. He limped over to Merle.
He shook him, somebody came and checked his pulse. Clapped Daryl's shoulder
Daryl sat on the floor, still crying. "Merle get up"
Merle woke up in some room. It was dark. It wasn't a hospital room. He knew that. He did most likely have some cotton taped to his nose. He felt it. It bugged the crap out of him. He pulled it off. He tried to roll over but it sent a sharp pain into his side. He coughed some blood up on the pillow. Another thing that proved he wasn't in the hospital. The beds were comfy. Hospital beds always feel like sleeping in a nest of shredded paper. He looked around the room. Another bed with a fairly small child in it. The stuffed bunny got knocked to the floor. A familiar sight. Merle relaxed a bit. Daryl. He looked around the room some more and eventually ended up staring at a night light that changed colors. Blue green red purple yellow pink. There was no organizational system to these colors. It bugged him. He wanted to get up and unplug it but it would hurt too much. Daryl would wake up. Merle always wanted to let him sleep in. But the damn kid was a light sleeper. Not if people walked around or talked or anything. But if they moved something around in the room. It was really weird. He decided to just not look at the light. He looked out the window and saw buildings. Big buildings. Atlanta. Why was he in Atlanta? He tried to remember the day before. But the latest he could think of was Daryl being scared. He couldn't remember anything from court. Just before that. He watched Daryl. He didn't seem that much in pain. But then again he was sleeping. Or dead. He had no idea. Daryl shifted. He was alive. A little part of him almost thought he was in jail. But Daryl broke the theory. Maybe they were in a hospital. Just a really...fancy hospital. No, they couldn't afford fancy. A hotel? No he laughed at that idea. Being in a hotel. The most possible of that theory was a motel. Again beds too comfy. He tried to sleep. To figure it out in the morning. The closest to morning he got was 5:45. He gave up sleeping for the night.
"Daryl?" No answer. He tried again "Daryl?"
He jumped up "Merle?!"
"Hey" A part of him was still trying to sleep. Then Daryl jumped onto his bed. Jumping half onto Merle. The beds were comfy but really small. He winced in pain. "Ok no need for that"
He shoved Daryl onto the edge of the bed. "What happened?"
"The people took us from daddy"
"Good...I thought we would've got ditched with Grandma again"
"She opted out"
Merle would explain everything he talked about to him. Merle was fourteen, he wasn't talking five year old material anymore.
"So where are we?"
"The orphamanage" He laughed at the fact that he couldn't pronounce orphanage. They talked about it before and Merle heard him say it for the first time. He couldn't get him to stop. He completely forgot about it until a few minutes ago.
"Still cant say it?"
"I can so!"
"No you cant I just heard you!"
"You heard it wrong"
"Say orphanage then"
"...I dont wanna"
"No!" He ran back onto his bed and hid under the covers. Then he had to reach down and grab the bunny off of the floor.
It took them a year to get adopted. And that was because the couple was of "helpful nature". The people that worked there would complain about them. Because one refused to get adopted without the other. Daryl interupting some people who wanted to adopt Merle was what got them adopted all together.
He didn't want to. These people seemed like lumps. The always happy kind. He came in the office and texted the whole time. It was so early. It was like 2:00. They couldnt have let him sleep just a little longer. The first time they saw him they immidiately had to talk about it. He could just imagine them saying "Could we see some of the other children" like they were buying a puppy. He hated them already. Daryl came in the room with his bunny.
"You said you'd tell me if people wanted us!"
"You were sleeping"
"So- just nevermind"
The couple seemed intrigued. They spoke to the woman who owned the orphanage.
"Who is that? He's so cute"
"That is Merle's baby brother"
The woman got on her knees. Daryl crawled onto Merle's lap.
"Jeez Daryl I almost dropped my phone"
"Whats your name?"
"Daryl" He mumbled to the woman.
"Whats the bunny's name?"
He was confused "Its a stuffed bunny he aint got a name"
The woman stood up to talk to her husband. Daryl looked at Merle. He shrugged at him. These people are just neat little piles of stupidity. The woman behind the desk spoke up.
"Daryl, Merle these people are gonna take you to a nice new home"
"Both of us?"
"Yeah, finally someone wants both of you"
"Tell me about it"
He grabbed Daryl and they went to their room to pack their things. Which wasn't alot.
"I dont like em"
"Me neither, baby brother"
"I mean they thought the bunny had a name, how stupid are they?"
"Kids are sposed to name everything"
"Some of the other kids hear name rocks"
"Rocks? That is so dumb"
"How do they tell them apart?"
"Idunno, you comin'?"
He was digging around under his bed. "Hm hmm" He grabbed his box of quaters.
"You've gotta have like eighty bucks in there by now"
"I know, so I'll bring it"
"No I thought you were gonna leave it for the next people in here"
"Nuh uh!" He ran after Merle down the hall back into the office
They were in the car for a few hours. Into some town that was pretty much built in the forest. There were leaves and vines and roots over all of the houses. Then they stopped the car on the side of the road next to a huge huge house. The couple got out of the car. Merle was staring at the house. Daryl was looking at the house across the street.
Then Daryl looked at the house. Three stories tall. A balcony in most rooms on the second floor. He sat there with his mouth gaping open.
"Oh my god!"
They stood on the walk way. This house looked like the kind in movies that everyone who went inside died. And the laws of horror, the virgin dies last. Daryl grabbed Merle's hand.
"You're such a wuss"
"You're doin' it too"
They went into the house. Spiral stairs. Really weird designer decor everywhere. The tv took up the whole wall. The couple led them up to their rooms. Rooms. Plural. Daryl didnt like it. Merle didnt care. What hit Merle first was the fact that they had two rooms ready when they planned on one kid. So they just had empty rooms with a bed in them. How much money do these people have? They pointed out their rooms and told them to get settled. The man went downstairs. The woman was stalking them. Merle tried to go in his room but Daryl wouldn't let go of his hand.
"I dont want my own room"
"Sure you do"
The woman saw what was happening "How about you put your stuff in there" She pointed to Merle's room "And I'll see about moving one of the beds in there. In the meantime you can go downstairs, we have a playstation"
She went downstairs and Merle threw his stuff on the bed. Daryl put his on the floor. ""Merle?"
"Your such an idiot"
"Well what is it?"
"While they're moving beds around we can go downstairs and do stuff"
They stood there and looked out the window for a minute "Well this is as settled as we're gonna get, lets go"
Daryl followed him back downstairs. Eventually the bed got moved into Merle's room and they got some more stuff to put in their room. They still hated it. Daryl still thought he was gonna get killed in the middle of the night.
The first Christmas they had there was pretty boring. They only got a few things. They both got ipods though. Merle already had one.
"I already have an ipod, a better one too"
"Well how about we just give you the money for it and you buy whatever the hell you want?"
"Hey I want money!" Daryl was still only half paying attention to them.
"You have a box full of quaters! Besides what would you buy with it?"
"Well there you go!"
"I dont know how to set it up"
"I'll set it up for you dumb ass"
Merle was almost eighteen and Daryl was scared that Merle would just leave and forget about him.
"Are you gonna move out?"
"Oh, I kinda thought you would stay"
"Why would I stay in this shit hole, I'm goin' home"
"I knew you would"
He rolled over in his bed, facing the wall. Merle realized what he thought "Daryl, you're comin' with"
"Yeah, I aint just gonna leave you like that...Aint never"
He smiled "Gonna be you and me and that bunny of yours"
"Do I even still have that?"
"Yeah its in the closet"
"How'd you know?"
"I see it when I get shit outta there"
The day he turned eighteen he woke up early, threw their clothes in a bag, then got Daryl up and they went home. Nobody touched it. Their stuff from when they left was still there. Daryl walked into their room and he saw all of the stuff he had when he was five. Dumb toys.
"We'll um get rid of these um someday"
Their stupid adoptive parents called child protective services. In case they got kidnapped or if they just weren't safe. They tried to be real parents which made them hate them more.
Child protective services came to the door. The house was messy. Thats just how they found it. They explained that to the woman the same woman that ran out of their house in fear when they were younger. She decided they were fine and she left. Once she was completely out of sight Merle fist pumped and Daryl started laughing at him.
Daryl was home by himself one day when Merle was trying to get a job. Or keep the job he had. He was just sitting there trying to solve a rubix cube on the kitchen table. He remembered the gun under the table. He remembered how it was one of the only things that scared Merle. He remembered him crying. He never saw him cry since. He heard the door slam. Then it was just quiet. He tried the rubix cube again.
He got up to see what was going on he went towards the door and stopped.
He threw his cigarette at the couch and lunged Daryl. He tried to throw him off. But he ended up just covering his head like usual.
"Wheres your brother?!"
Daryl was choking on his own blood. "Idunno"
"Oh for fucks sake where is he!?"
He slammed his head against the wall. Daryl felt the blood filling in his ears. His dad was trying to strangle him. He was trying to think of anything to help him. Between blacking out all he could think of was if Merle was gonna get home before he died. He saw the gun under the table. His dad saw him looking at it.
"Its empty you asshole!"
He grabbed it anyway. Pointing it at his dads head. He prayed it would work. He closed his eyes and before he knew it his dads brains were splattered on the wall. He pulled the hands from around his neck and he blacked out. When that gun was pointed at him it must've jammed. It was a miracle that it worked this time.
"You hear that gun shot?"
Merle was working on his friend's car "Yep"
"What you think it was?"
"A gun shot"
"Well whatever, dont you gotta get back?"
"Alright say hi to Daryl for me?"
He went home and pulled out his key but the door was already unlocked.
"Daryl how many times do I tell you to keep this damn door locked"
He went down the hall and changed out of his grimey clothes.
"Daryl where the hell are you?"
He turned on the tv and he sat on the couch. He saw some blood on the wall.
He got up and went in the kitchen.
"Holy mother shit!"
He kicked the gun over and shoved his dad into the corner of the room.
"Daryl? C'mon man wake up"
He pulled him into his lap. He used the back of his hand and wiped away the blood on Daryl's face. He felt for his pulse, he had a hard time finding it, but it was there. He was breathing lightly. But he was breathing. He couldn't take him to the hospital or they would take him away. He carried him to their room. Then he moved their dad to the basement he cleaned the blood in the kitchen. He went back to Daryl.
"Baby brother, you gotta wake up for me, c'mon baby brother"
He stayed asleep for almost a week. But though he didn't remember much he talked to Merle about their dad being the first man he ever killed.