Stained Glass
by Prophecy Girl

Don't have a heart beneath this skin.
Can't break me, I'm already broken.
Stained glass glowing in the light.
-Jessi Robertson, "Stained Glass"

The slick metallic taste on my tongue. The sound of their voices, far away and chanting, "Spin, spin, spin, spin..." like an angry mob.

Little Faith. She's always the first to do anything. At eight, I was the first one to dive into the pool beneath the quarry. At ten, I was the first one to climb the roof of an abandoned house and walk across unsteady beams that creaked and groaned beneath all 60-something pounds of me. I jumped into a tree just before the roof caved in.

And now, at twelve, I'm the first one to play this new game. It was Kyle's idea; to go into his stepdad's drawer and pull out the revolver he kept stashed there. We took out every other bullet and now they're all yelling for me to spin the cylinder and I do, then slam it shut. I cock the hammer and close my eyes.

Sweat drips down my forehead past my squinting eyes and down over my clenched jaw. Everyone is silent now, the sound of the breeze and the pounding of my heart the only thing I can hear. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. My face burns red and strands of my long wild hair stick to my neck.

It's summer in Boston. Maybe my last. Three bullets. Three empty spaces. There's a fifty percent chance of rain today, a fifty percent chance that I'll die today. One hundred percent sure that this is the dumbest thing I've ever done, but how can I back down now? I never back down.

From somewhere far away, a whispered voice says I don't have to do it and a few others agree. But there's Kyle, staring down the barrel at me and sneering, and I close my eyes again as his hand surrounds the grip. His index finger wraps around the trigger and my hands fall to my sides as I sit there on my knees with a gun in my mouth. The first tears start to fall and I think of all the things I won't get to do. Like be a seventh-grader. I shudder and he pulls the trigger.

Time stops. I picture my brains spilled across the sidewalk and insects crawling on my skin and up my nose. The trigger clicks and everyone gasps and all I can do is wonder when they'll find my body and how they'll know it's me.

Nothing happens.

I open my eyes slowly, and my so-called friends are staring at me, wide-eyed. I am alive and the air has never tasted so sweet before. Without pausing, I knock the gun out of his hand and punch him in the face. Kyle falls to the ground with a bloody nose, already crying, and I pick the gun up and stick it in my pants.

"You fuckin' asshole," I spit, using words I've never used before. Then I really do spit, right in his face, and swagger away without another word.

I keep the gun. Just in case.


I never found out what Kyle's stepdad did when he found his gun missing, and I never really thought about it too much either. Two years later, on the first day of high school, he jumped me as I cut across the football field. He pinned me to the ground, and it became clear that while I had only gained ten pounds, he'd gained quite a bit more. He was bigger and taller and no longer the snot nosed little boy that tried to kill me when I was twelve.

Now he was a high school junior, and I was at the edge of the football field where the weeds were all overgrown and no one could see me. It was like Russian Roulette all over again--I was sweating and scared and frozen in place. I thought he was going to beat me up, to prove to everyone that he was better than trashy little Faith who kicked his ass but good as a kid.

"Get the fuck off me," I say firmly, not shouting, not showing my fear. Never show them your weakness.

Without warning his hand travels down my side to my thigh while the other goes around my neck and pins my to the ground. I can barely breathe when I feel his fingertips sliding under my skirt and brushing against my brand new underwear. Now I understand. He wants what Daddy wants. What all men want. Everybody wants a piece of me, and when he tears into my underwear and puts his fingers inside me I wonder if there will be enough of me left after he takes some, too.

After a long time, he leaves and I am left behind like a broken rag doll, sprawled across the grass with fingertips bruised into my neck and invisible handprints on my body. I'm bleeding a little, so I pull myself up and gather the remnants of my clothes and stumble home, occasionally falling and scraping myself up even worse. It's like my feet aren't connected to my brain anymore.

When I get home, I know I made a mistake because Daddy calls me a slut and screams at me. Wants to know who I've been fucking. He drags me into my bedroom by my ear and throws me to the bed and I think again of the gun tucked away under my mattress and how I'm going to use it on him as soon as I'm ready.

He boxes my ears and starts punching me in the gut, causing me to fold in half and scream into my pillow. He rolls me over and slaps me, splitting my lip. Fucking little whore. Slut. I'll tan your ass but good. He throws me down and starts pumping in and out of me and I float away somehow. Like I'm watching it from outside my bruised, helpless body.

He drops me to the floor when he's done with me and before I pass out, I realize how far away the bed seems from down here.

One day..


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