Synopsis: Growing up with a violent, alcoholic father and a submissive, depressed mother, siblings Annalise and David have known fear their entire lives. When their father passes away, unexplainable phenomena starts to develop within the home, further escalating with the family’s fear and anguish. Advised by their mother to close their eyes and pray when they see things, the children begin to wonder whether the things they see are real or whether it’s a twisted facet of something deeper.
“Do you see it too?” Annalise whimpered.
David nodded. “It’s in the window.”
“Can you please come closer?”
“I—I can’t move.”
The two of them stared at the bedroom’s double-hung window from where the moonlight shone through, bathing the wood-panel floor in a soft, white glow. Outside the window, staring back at the two siblings, were a pair of deep-set, wide black eyes upon a blanched, sickly face. The eyes darted back and forth between the two of them. The thin lips upon the face formed into a slow-moving frown and the eyes stopped skating around, fixating on David.
In a hushed voice, Annalise whimpered, “Please come closer, David. I’m scared.”
David kept his eyes on the gray-faced thing outside the window and walked to his sister’s bed. Keeping his eyes on the face, David stuck his hands out and felt the crumpled, silky sheets on the bed and sat down beside her. Annalise immediately snatched his hand and held it tightly in her own as the two continued to stare at the black-eyed face.
“Just close your eyes and pray.” David whispered.
The two of them squeezed their eyes shut, holding onto each other’s warm, clammy hands, and prayed. Praying was once their magic spell. One prayer, sometimes two, and the things lurking around in the darkness would fade, often leaving them alone for days, or weeks, at a time. They hadn’t needed prayer for many years.
“It’s gone,” David announced.
Annalise opened her eyes and saw there was nothing but the full moon hanging behind the window. Without warning, Annalise burst into tears, her body a collapsing avalanche of emotions. David swiftly jumped off the bed, turned on the bedroom lights, and ran back to hold his quivering sister. She dropped her head against her brother’s shoulder, soaking his t-shirt in tears.
“It’s the house right?” Annalise asked through tears. “It isn’t us?”
David sighed and rubbed his sister’s back. For siblings, the two were closer than most. Their upbringing and memories sutured them together, like buttons on shirts. Their mother’s recent passing forced them to stay at her house temporarily, sorting and boxing up the rest of her things. It was the house they’d grown up in, one they escaped at the ages of nine and eleven.
“It’s neither. That was probably nothing.”
Annalise pulled away from her brother and snapped her head up. “What?”
David chuckled. “That—that could’ve been anything.”
Annalise stepped off the bed and glared at her brother. “That was a face, David! You were so frightened, you couldn’t even move. You were literally paralyzed with fear. Ugh, why did you even come in here?”
“Because I heard you sobbing through the wall screaming, why, and wanted to check in on you. Was that you?” David asked.
Annalise shook her head. “No, I was asleep and then heard you stomping down the hall.
Oh God, David. We’re going crazy just like her, just like uncle Javier! This is what was happening to them!”
David wiped his sister’s tears with the sleeves of his sweater. “Stop crying. Stop being afraid. That’s what it wants, what it builds off of. And I’ll—I’ll sleep here tonight.”
The energy inside the home fed off of their bickering, off of their fear. Something they learned as children but forgot over the years. Everything started two weeks before their father passed away in the home. David was ten and his sister was eight and neither sibling mourned their father’s death. An alcoholic with a violent temper, Emilio had been slowly dying from cirrhosis of the liver. Towards the end of his life, he spent most of his time lying in his bed in the corner of the house or sitting on his red, plush armchair in front of the living room television. Before he was incapacitated, their father used their mother as a punching bag. Their mother Lisa often threw herself in between him and her children, never allowing them to be harmed. Though he never touched them, David and Annalise greatly feared their father. Fear had been the first, and most detrimental, human emotion they had experienced. When he came home from work, a heavy fog would roll in and the house would grow tense and the children would flinch and cower. When Emilio would sit in the armchair next to them, David’s hands tremored ever so fiercely he would have to sit on them to avoid his father’s piercing insults. When Emilio would ask Annalise to fetch him a cold beer or a glass of water, she would start to tear up, knowing he would use any excuse to scream and humiliate her until he lost his voice. Fear ran through their blood and dominated their childhood. It was all they knew. A few nights a week, Annalise and David would be half-asleep in their shared bedroom when they would be woken by sobbing through the bedroom walls. Their eyes would snap open and they would stare up at the ceiling, waiting for it to be over.
“HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?!” They would hear their father roaring through the wall.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, they heard. Punching, kicking, dragging, the children knew each noise fairly well. That night their mother was repeatedly thrown against the wall. The children heard her small whimpers, her cries, like a wounded animal.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, they heard their mother being dragged down the hallway, her head banging against the floor as their father laughed deliriously. Sometimes she was dragged by her hair and taken to their father’s armchair where she was further beaten to a pulp.
David jumped off of the bed, locked the door, and climbed up the ladder of their bunk bed to his sister who held her hands over her ears. David placed his own hands over hers and the two laid in bed, holding each other until they fell asleep. If their mother thought Emilio might enter her children’s bedroom, she would run in there and lock the door herself. The three of them would hold hands and huddle up together. Their mother would instruct them to close their eyes and pray for the evil to escape their father. Sometimes David would open his eyes and find his father’s large, square face staring at them from their bedroom window. His beady, black eyes angrily darting back and forth between them. Other times, David would lock the door too early and their mother would have to knock on the outside window, begging them to open it and allow her inside. With a busted, swollen lip and puffy, black eyes, she would pathetically climb inside the window and hold her children.
When David was ten, Emilio grew sicker and weaker. The children were thankful he was unable to get out of bed by the end and couldn’t touch their mother. His bulky body grew pencil-thin and his black, beady eyes had sunken in, and his skin was a mixture of gray and yellow. He morphed into the diseased monster they perceived him to be and though he was frightening to look at, the children were grateful to no longer wake up in the middle of the night to screaming and banging. Instead they heard their father’s painful groans through the walls, his pleading for the agony to end. Two weeks before he passed away, David and Annalise began to experience things in the home for the first time. The children would hear their name being called from various rooms in the house and they would check in to find no one in the rooms. Doors inexplicably opened and slammed shut. Despite the fact that their father could barely move on his own, the children found him speedily walking around the home at odd hours of the night. There were a few times they found him in the hallway closet or in his armchair, dazed.
David was eating dinner one night and had seen his father sleeping in his bed alongside his mother. Feeling something watching him, David looked up from his plate of chicken and rice and found his father half-naked in the armchair. The armchair rocked back and forth violently and his father’s eyes were glazed over and black. His mouth dropped open and foam spilled out of his mouth.
“AHHHH,” Emilio groaned, his unblinking eyes wide open and his mouth growing larger with foam spilling out. Emilio started to tremble and shake violently, in the midst of a full-blown seizure.
“MOM!” David screamed at the top of his lungs.
His mother came around the corner into the living room and David pointed towards the armchair. She looked over at the armchair and David gasped when he saw that it was empty. His father wasn’t there. Emilio had never left their bedroom. A week later, Emilio passed away in his bed after a seven-minute seizure. The children found him with his eyes and mouth wide open, foam collected at his mouth. David never told his mother what he saw. When the paramedics removed their father’s body, the three of them felt the house shake and move as if his body was tied to the home. David theorized that Emilio’s venomous soul had been thrown and exiled from their home. The children celebrated their father’s passing, looking forward to never experiencing the noxious effect his presence brought. They were surprised to find their mother consumed by her grief. She was unable to eat, get out of bed, or work for more than a few days a week. The children quickly taught themselves to shower, dress, and make food, knowing their mother would not. A few weeks after their father passed away, a dark, heaviness had taken over their home. Walking into their home was like trudging belly-deep through the ocean.
David and Annalise were at the kitchen table one evening eating Lucky Charms cereal for dinner. Annalise scribbled drawings in her sketchpad with her colored pencils in between bites of cereal and David was fishing out the last of his soggy, colorful marshmallows from his bowl. Suddenly, the children heard a key being pushed into the lock at their front door and heard it open, SWISH, and the door slam shut. The children looked up from their bowls and sketchpad and turned around towards the front door. The door was not open and no one was there. Both children looked at each other and shrugged, focusing on the rest of their dinner. David took a spoonful of soggy, colorful marshmallows and saw a slender six foot shadow of a man standing behind Annalise. David gasped and swiftly turned his head to see who was behind him. He found nothing but their empty living room containing their two red torn couches, television set, and their father’s armchair. The television abruptly turned on, the volume raised higher than David had it earlier, and startled the children. Annalise dropped her spoon to the ground and David flinched in his chair. Annalise bent down to pick up her spoon and David saw the shadow man walk behind Annalise, around the kitchen walls, going through the living room, the armchair moving back and forth as it walked through. Annalise sat upright and dropped her dirty spoon in the bowl. She looked up to see her brother’s face, paper-white and frozen.
“What’s the matter?”
David’s spoon was hanging midair, his hand red from tightly gripping the spoon’s stem. The spongy marshmallows slid off, one by one. “Who was that?”
“Who? What’re you talking about?”
At that moment, the two of them heard footsteps stomping down the hallway towards their mother’s bedroom and they heard the door slam shut. David pulled Annalise into the living room and the two of them pressed their ear against the wall. The wall was shared by the living room and their parent’s bedroom and the children could often deduce their father’s mood by pressing their ear against the wall. They heard repetitive bangs to the floor, directly near their ears. The banging was followed by angry cursing and wailing.
“I SAID NOW!” The voice roared through the wall.
Someone was in their mother’s room, hammering her into the ground. David snatched the house phone from the kitchen and grabbed his sister’s hand, and lead her to their bedroom.
“Get on your bed and hide!” David demanded.
Annalise climbed up the ladder to their bunk bed. “She’s crying, David! I hear her!”
David pressed his ear against the bedroom wall but he couldn’t hear anything. It was quiet. With the phone in his hand, David took a deep breath and bolted from their bedroom to their mother’s room. He carefully opened her bedroom door and glanced inside. His mother was lying in bed watching an episode of Friends from her bed. She was laughing and blowing her nose in a Kleenex. There was no one else inside the room. David pushed the door open all the way and stepped inside. The bedroom reeked of rotten meat and sweat. His mom turned towards him and gave him a weak smile.
“What’s going on?” She asked.
David scanned the room, searching for the shadow man but there was no one in there. “We heard banging and screaming up here. We were going to call the police.”
His mother stared at him blankly. “There’s nobody here.”
“Did you open the front door and run in here?” David asked.
She shook her head. “No. Maybe it was Annalise.”
David stared at his mother. “No, we both heard someone run into your room and hit you! He was yelling at you!”
Lisa looked at her son for a few long moments. “Honey, I don’t want you to be worried, okay? Your dad’s not coming back. He’s not going to hurt me anymore.”
“I know,” David responded, his voice rising in frustration. “I know that wasn’t dad. We heard someone, or something, come in here though.”
Someone grabbed David’s shoulder and he sprung up and ran to his mother’s bed. He turned around to see Annalise standing there, her head cocked to the side.
“What happened? Is he gone?”
David exhaled and held his hand against his heaving chest. “No. Everything’s fine.”
The siblings turned around to walk back towards their bedroom when they heard the front door slam again and a boisterous, crazed laugh roared from the down the hall. The children looked back at their mother who was pie-eyed with her mouth hanging open. Their mother hesitated for a moment, staring at the hallway behind the children.
“Um, okay, close the door, and everyone will sleep here tonight.”
David closed the door and turned towards his mother when he heard low growling coming from her walk-in closet. He glanced over and saw a slender man with a gray face and sunken, beady black eyes staring back at him from the closet. It was the figure from the kitchen, solidified and human-like. It put its hands outside the doorframe, its thin, scaly fingers wrapped around the borders, and pulled itself up from the floor. It was taller than the closet door frame. It’s mouth hung open and it’s eyes were unblinking and glazed over.
“Mom, do you see that?” David tapped his mother’s shoulder and pointed towards the closet. He looked back at her and watched the color drain from her face.
Annalise followed their gaze and looked at the closet. “What is it?” She asked.
Their mother shook her head and looked back at her children. “We’re going to hold hands, close our eyes, and pray. Don’t acknowledge it, don’t be afraid.”
The children nodded and did as they were told. The three of them held hands, closed their eyes, and prayed. When they opened their eyes, the thing lurking inside the closet was gone.
“Think of praying as your magic wand,” Their mother instructed them before bed. “When things get bad, just use your magic wand.”
Annalise stepped off of the bed and left to use their parent’s bathroom.
David turned to his mother. “Why couldn’t Annalise see what I did?”
His mother didn’t answer his question and instead prayed quietly to herself. Annalise used the restroom across from them and stepped out to wash her hands in the sink. Lathering the hand soap with water, she heard something below her. Annalise stopped lathering her hands and listened quietly.
MMMM…. Something moaned beneath her.
Annalise cautiously looked down at her feet and saw a woman’s face near her ankles with a broken, misshaped nose and a swollen, bruised face with multiple cuts across her cheeks. The face looked up at Annalise with one eye swollen shut and the other eye rolling around.
“AHHH!” Annalise screamed at the top of her lungs and ran over and leapt on the bed. “There’s a face on the floor, ma!”
Their mother and David glanced over at the floor and saw nothing. The three of them held their hands and prayed together until none of them saw anything else. Within days, the activity inside the house escalated. Annalise would hear their mother sobbing through the walls even when she wasn’t home. David heard their father’s voice roaring from the bedroom. David often saw the shadow man or a figure sitting in his father’s armchair and Annalise complained of seeing a woman’s broken, bloody face in the bathroom mirror. Their mother became absorbed by agony, sobbing at odd times and rarely eating. Her face thinned and her cheeks depressed. Her oily hair matted against her head and she her body odor grew more pungent inside the same filthy robe she wore daily. As their mother fell deeper into an abyss of anguish, the house grew more active.
One night, the three of them sat in the living room together watching a movie when they heard a loud bang coming from their mother’s bedroom. It sounded like something was violently thrown against the wall. A darkness rolled in, abruptly changing the temperature and mood. A thundering, maniacal laugh barreled down the hallway. Sitting on the long, red couch together, the three of them held onto each other tightly, waiting for the darkness to die out. Before the three of them could pray, they heard the light in the hall turn on, *FLICK. Frozen with fear, they waited in silence. Powerful footsteps dashed from their mother’s bedroom and down the hall.
*THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, the footsteps blustered from the hallway towards them. The three of them tightened their grips around each other knowing they would see something terrible.
“Close your eyes.” Their mother calmly instructed over the monstrous footsteps.
The three of them shut their eyes and prayed out loud, holding each other’s hands, their arms up against each other.
“Our father who art’ in Heaven, hallowed by thy name…” The three of them started.
*THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, the footsteps ran into the living room where they sat and slammed down into their father’s armchair. The three of them could feel his presence. The armchair started to rock back and forth, slow at first, picking up speed with each swing. The chair started to smack fiercely into the wall behind it repeatedly, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.
David carefully opened his eyes into small slits, his black lashes sheltering his vision. There was nothing in the armchair. On its own, the armchair violently banged against the wall, knocking a hole into it. The hole broke open and further expanded with each bang. The armchair unexpectedly stopped moving.
“Is it over?” Annalise asked, her eyes still closed.
Before David could respond, the cabinets in the kitchen banged opened at once and glasses and bowls were pulled out and repeatedly thrown onto the kitchen tile. It sounded like someone shoved their arms inside the cabinet and yanked all of the dishes and silverware onto the ground at once. The sound of crashing glass and shattered plates cracked and smashed against the tile, over and over and over. When their father would come home from the bar, completely obliterated, he would open the cabinets and start throwing dishes onto the ground wanting to wake the entire family up and frighten them. It was happening again. When the crashing stopped, the three of them jumped off of the couch and ran into the kitchen.
“What the hell?” Their mother gasped.
The cabinets were closed and there was nothing on the floor. There were no shattered glasses or broken plates. The floor was empty. Their mother walked backwards and fell onto the kitchen chair and hung her head in her hands. She began to weep uncontrollably until David made his first adult decision and called their Grandpa Tito to help.
The next day, the three of them moved out of the house and in with Grandpa Tito. The children acclimated to their grandfather’s house quickly. There were no rancid smells or nefarious laughter or voices inside the home. For once, the children felt safe. Even their mother started to heal within the home. She showered daily and started setting her makeup and blow drying and curling her hair every morning again. She started to work daily and make dinner a few nights a week. Their grandfather’s home started to have a natural, healing effect on everyone. A few months later, over dinner one evening, Grandpa Tito talked to his grandchildren about the recent events they experienced.
Grandpa Tito brushed his gray hair back and massaged the stubble on his chin while the children ate the fish and rice he made for dinner. “I know what you children have seen and heard. I’ve seen them too. We are sensitive people and you throw us into a volatile environment with chaos and rage and it is like throwing gasoline on a lit match. These things, I don’t know where they come from but I know they have different purposes. My mother unintentionally invited these things in here with religious rituals, Santeria is what we called it. They build off of fear and grief. The more you have, the more they come. She allowed these things to take over and eventually she killed herself. Like your uncle Javier.”
Their uncle Javier died from a heroin overdose. The children never met their uncle but were told stories about him from their mother and the things he allegedly saw in the darkness. The things he was afraid of. When their grandmother died from pancreatic cancer, their Uncle Javier claimed to see her around. He saw her with papery, cracked skin, howling in pain, following him around. The children were told their grandmother would beat their mother and uncle Javier for small mistakes from spilled juice to lost dimes. Uncle Javier received the worst of it. Several years after their grandmother’s passing, he overdosed, consistently claiming she was haunting him.
Grandpa Tito continued. “Like Uncle Javier, your mother let the fear consume her. Your father created an atmosphere of violence and fear within the home. It was already there. When he passed away, your mother’s anguish mixed with fear, expanded the evil energy within the home. The energy within that home is hostile, it seeks to hurt so that it can bring you closer to it, closer to death. Sometimes the energy is there to warn you. Sometimes it wants to mock you. Sometimes it simply wants you out of the house. The point is, you cannot allow it to consume you, ever. Run away from it and never look back. Your mother was allowing it to consume her just as Javier had. You children, will not. You will learn to cope and you will thrive. Because the things in that house, it is driven by your father’s deeds. It wants to take you with it and it will stop at nothing until it achieves it.”
The children internalized their grandfather’s warning and learned to cope with the things they saw and found that it lessened each time by ignoring it and feigning bravery. They stopped being afraid. Annalise drew what she saw in her sketchbooks and David closed his eyes and ignored it. He would turn away from the dark shadows he would see crawling around the walls. Annalise would shut her eyes from the woman with the broken face she found in bathroom mirrors and in windows. The children found the less they talked about it, the less it haunted them.
Two years later, despite their protests, their mother moved back into the home and allowed her children to remain back with their grandfather. With their mother gone, the children were surprised to find the heavy, unhappy energy no longer surrounded them. It no longer attempted to consume them. Eventually, the siblings were able to forget the things they’d seen and heard as children. David forgot about his violent, alcoholic father and Annalise forgot about her sick, grieving mother. The siblings graduated high school with Annalise moving into a college dorm and David moving in with his co-worker. The two became estranged from their mother, refusing to allow her spirit to drain their own. They found the voices and figures grew in numbers whenever they visited their aching mother. Eventually they stopped visiting her.
In their mid-twenties, they received a phone call from Grandpa Tito. Their mother passed away from an accidental overdose from sleeping pills. Filled with fear and the inability to sleep, their mother had been swallowing a mixture of antidepressants, tranquillizers, and sleeping pills over the last few years. She was found collapsed in the bathroom, her face torn up and her nose broken from slamming down onto the bathroom counter as she fell to the floor. Annalise and David spent weeks binging on alcohol and crying, consumed by their own grief and guilt. At the funeral, their Grandpa Tito reminded them to live their life without fear, without grief.
Annalise and David were willed the house. Forgetting their frightening memories of the home, the children planned on staying there for a week to pack up the contents. They did not realize how poorly their mother had been living and this realization further expanded their shame. There were punched holes decorating the living room walls, an infestation of roaches in the kitchen, and an oily substance found on the doors of the bedrooms. Between crying and packing, the siblings exhausted most of their energy and Annalise decided to sleep in the guest room while David stayed in the bottom bunk of their old bunk bed. David was awoken by the sound of a loud bang. *THUMP, SNAP! This was followed by a loud scream and subsequent sobbing from the guestroom where Annalise was sleeping.
“WHY?!” It sobbed from the guest bedroom. “WHY?!”
David slid off the bed and raced over to the guest bedroom. He heard loud thumps behind him, mimicking his own steps towards Annalise’s room. Upon opening the door, he found a sickly, paper-white face staring at Annalise from the double-hung window. The eyes darted back and forth between them upon his entrance. David suddenly remembered everything. Close your eyes and pray. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let it consume you.
Annalise stared at her brother. “I think we should leave right now. Before we go crazy.”
David shook his head. “We’re almost done, here. We’ll leave tomorrow and we won’t stay another night here, okay? Just—just work on your sketchpad. Still use them?”
Annalise smiled and pulled out an iPad from her purse. “Upgraded to an electronic, iPad bro.” Annalise opened up the application and started to sketch. “David… do you think maybe mom was just…. crazy?”
“No, we all saw the same thing. That doesn’t happen to mentally ill people. They don’t see the same things.”
Annalise sniffed, trying her best not to cry and allow the negative emotions to build. “Mom said grandma used to beat her and Uncle Javier. They were terrified of her. Uncle Javier started to see ghosts and his own mother before he overdosed. Grandpa said his mom was seeing things before she killed herself. Mom was afraid of something before she overdosed. Dad obviously came from some sort of illness with how violent he was. And the thing is… that face I kept seeing over the years… the one in the bathroom… I think it was mom. It looked like the way she died.” Annalise took in a few deep breaths and rapidly blinked her tears away. “We come from a long line of sickness, David. What if we’re sick too? What if we’re just traumatized?”
David shook his head. “We’re not crazy. Otherwise, why do we only see these things inside this house? We’d be haunted everywhere… right? It’s—it’s just guilt. It’s fear. We would see things other places.”
“We saw them at grandpa’s house. I saw that woman’s face two weeks ago in the bathroom mirror.”
David shrugged. “Maybe… maybe it was trying to warn us.”
Annalise pushed her iPad towards her brother. “Tell me. Is this what you see, too?”
David’s heart started to race as he swiped through the sketches of old women with cracked skin and broken jaws and limp hands. It looked like various, beaten versions of their mother. There was their mother’s large, brown eyes peeking between the closet door with swollen lips. Their mother’s jaw sewn shut, her eyes, swollen grapes. David swiped to the last slide, expecting to see the paper-white face with the beady, black eyes. Instead he found a somber, bloated face with long, dirty hair and broken teeth with large, brown eyes. It wasn’t outside the window either. It was inside the room. They weren’t seeing the same things. They were never seeing the same things. David suddenly felt sick and pushed the iPad back towards his sister without another word.
Annalise’s comment raced in David’s head. What if we’re sick too? David’s heart beat faster and his fear started to build rapidly causing his hands to shake. Suddenly, Annalise sat straight up and her tears silently rolled down from her enlarged eyes.
“Do you hear that?” Annalise whispered. “Do you hear her crying?”
David shook his head, unable to hear anything. A thump was heard from their parent’s bedroom. A deep groan exhaled from down the hall, low at first and hastily picked up volume, shaking the house with its agony. It was the same groans he heard weeks before his father passed away. Annalise heard desperate cries and David heard pained groans from their parent’s bedroom. The bedroom where their father inflicted direct pain to their mother. Where their mother bathed in her grief for years. For the first time the siblings could clearly hear the howls of suffering.
Annalise panicked and jumped off of the bed. She stumbled against the nightstand and banged her face against it, breaking her nose on her way down, *THUMP. Careening around on her feet, Annalise bent her ankle snapping it in half. SNAP! Annalise screamed and howled in pain. She laid on the floor, sobbing and holding her ankle.
“Why doesn’t it ever stop?” Annalise sobbed. “WHY?! WHY?!”
David’s eyes widened with dread as he realized they were in a cycle. The two came to this realization at the same time and glanced at each other. The two of them heard the door to their old, shared bedroom open and close. The hallway light turned on and footsteps ran down the hall toward them, mimicking David. The door gently swung open and close with no one standing there. Annalise and David glanced at each other and cautiously looked over at the window. David could see his father’s beady, black eyes upon his angry face looking at them from the window, like he used to do when they were children and their mother was hiding inside the room with them. A long forgotten and feared memory. Annalise could see her mother’s torn up face inside the room, moving closer causing a massive pang of guilt and agony.
“Do you see it too?” Annalise whimpered.
David looked at his sister whose face was cut and nose was broken and bleeding from banging against the dresser, her face swollen and puffy from crying. Without answering, David grabbed his sister’s hand and the two of them closed their eyes and prayed. At that moment, David felt a substance build up and foam inside his mouth.