What would you do if you had one chance to kill the man who raped your 12-year-old sister?
No judge. No jury. No witnesses.
Seventeen-year-old child prodigy Garrett Anthony has to answer that question. As he holds a gun to the head of his sister’s rapist, he flashes back to his traumatic past: five-years-old in a foster home, seven-years-old stealing food to survive, and at 16 visiting his black father in prison for the first time.
After years of fighting to secure a stable life for himself and his sister, he finally has a scholarship to a prestigious Washington DC private school and the love of a Virginia senator’s daughter. But this new found and tenuous happiness begins to unravel once he reveals the family secret which is the catalyst to the painful decision he must make. Can he take the life of someone else and continue to live with himself?
“May we speak to you in the hall?” the doctor asked me after poking his head in. “I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself properly,” he said once we left the room. “I’m Dr. Shepherd and this is Rowena Smith from Child Services.”
I shook both their hands and said, “I don’t understand why Child Services is here?” while eyeing them suspiciously. I’d seen enough of Child Services for five lifetimes.
“We spoke to your mother,” Dr. Shepherd said ignoring my question. “She faxed over a letter giving you power of attorney over Eden. She trusts you to make all the decisions concerning her welfare.” That letter was worthless in my book. I’d already been doing that for the past twelve years.
“Will you tell me what’s wrong with my sister, please?” Dr. Shepherd and Rowena Smith exchanged a look, a look of foreboding that instantly made my heart race.
“You might want to sit down, son,” the overweight black lady said as she put her hand on my shoulder.”
“I don’t want to sit down. I want to know what’s wrong with her.”
Dr. Shepherd sighed and said, “Your sister had a miscarriage.” I stared at him blankly as the words swirled around my mind. Everything logical in me told me it was impossible.
“I’m sorry. You must be looking at the wrong chart. My sister is only twelve.”
“It’s not a mistake, Garrett. We’ve already performed the D&C. The fetus was about 6 weeks old.” My knees gave out. I collapsed in a chair. My heart tightened in my chest. My stomach revolted. I thought I might vomit. The doctor kept talking, but I really couldn’t hear anything else.
“Who did this? Who could do that to a child?” I asked, interrupting the doctor’s details.
“We need your help to figure that out,” Rowena said. “Does she have a boyfriend? Is there any chance this was consensual?”
I glared at her. How could she even suggest something like that?
“A detective is on the way,” she said once she noticed my fierce expression. “Do you know anything that may help with the investigation?”
I shook my head. I knew nothing. What kind of brother was I to let something like this happen? I should have been paying more attention to her. This was my fault and I was going to fix it.
Leslie DuBois lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two daughters.