By Dee. Part 3 of the Damien/Kiera series. Nightmares give Kiera a few restless nights, which isn't good for her mood. Damien remains patient as long as he can...
A child has been found dead in a creek near Lukewarm Park. Police say that the child had wandered off on his own while out with his mother…"
I stared at the TV intensely as the news reporter shared the story about the dead kid. Apparently he strayed away from his mother and got lost 2 days ago. They didn't find him until now.
"Kiera, time to brush your teeth and get ready for bed," I heard my brother Damien say as he was coming down the stairs from his office. I didn't move or say anything. I just had my eyes fixed on the TV, focusing on the news.
other news, there's been around 20 people dead after a deadly collision between a bus and a van on the highway this past morning."
"Kiera!" My brother called out, a little more firmly. I didn't hear my brother enter the living room at all so hearing his sudden rough voice right behind me startled me. I jumped and spun my head to look up at him.
"Did you not hear me the first time? I said that it is time to go brush your teeth and get ready for bed. It's almost 9."
I turned my head back to the TV. "
…So many people died today…" I stated.
"Excuse me?" my brother asked, totally confused about what I had just said. I looked up at him again and pointed to the TV screen.
"The news… they reported so many deaths. There was even a kid who was found dead."
Damien looked at the TV and semi-watched the news for a few seconds before looking back at me.
"…That is unfortunate. So many tragedies going on. But I think that's enough TV for tonight," my brother said. I didn't respond. My attention was back at the news. I just couldn't stop watching it.
Suddenly the TV went black and all I could see was my own reflection as well as Damien's. He was holding the remote and had turned off the TV. I just looked at him with a displeased look. He could have at least waited until the commercials.
"Upstairs, now. I have an early class tomorrow so we must rise early. Plus, you had a long day today so you must be really tired."
"Not really," I said as I yawned and rubbed my eyes, slowly getting up. Damien shook his head at me as he placed a hand on my back and led me to the stairs. I tiredly went up to brush my teeth and get ready for bed.
Once I was ready, Damien stopped by my doorway to ensure I was in bed. We said our goodnights and he turned off the lights and closed the door. I laid on my bed with my eyes open, kind of wishing my brother would have tucked me in or at least give me a goodnight hug. I was still used to having my dad do it to me that it just felt strange and empty not to be tucked in. Though Damien sure looks a lot like Dad, their personalities are quite different.
My eyelids began to feel heavier and I soon drifted off to sleep. In no time, I began to dream. My dream started off nice. I was at my old house and I was running all over the place. In my old room, living room and in the backyard. The sun was out and the garden my dad and I made back then was growing well. I went to check on our flowers and vegetables and picked up a ripe tomato. The colour of it was bright and saturated, it looked so deliciously fresh. I ran inside the house with the tomato in my hand. I began to call my dad as I ran around looking for him. I wanted to show him the fresh tomato we grew together.
I looked out the window and saw the figure of my dad sitting on the rocking chair on our porch. I ran out the door towards him with a smile on my face. But as I got closer and went around to face him, my heart dropped and my face fell. Though he was sitting on the rocking chair, he looked... lifeless. His head hung to the side, his shoulder slumped, his eye sockets sunk in. His face all pale and white like a ghost.
I stared at him with shock, trying to take in what exactly is going on. My hand then suddenly felt slimy and when I looked down, I saw that the tomato I had was now completely rotten with juices leaking out. Disgusted, I dropped the tomato and wiped my hand on my shirt. I then looked at my lifeless father only to see him fall off the rocking chair and laid limp on the ground.
I took a step back as I realized I was staring at my father's corpse… the same corpse I saw at the funeral.
I ran back into the house. The house suddenly became dark and gloomy and the hallway I was running in became endless. Saddened and frightened, I started to cry out to Damien. I called out his name as I kept running down the endless hall, but I never heard a response.
Finally, I spotted a doorway that led to a room. When I entered, it led me to Damien's living room. Panting from all the running, I frantically started to call out Damien's name again only to still get no answer. I ran upstairs to his office room and opened the door. There I saw Damien sitting on his chair, facing the computer. The computer screen was blue with a bunch of codes followed by the word "errors" written repeatedly.
I approached Damien from the back and nudged him, telling him about Dad as I was crying my eyes out. Damien didn't respond or even react. Instead, his head slumped to the side and his body just sat there all soft and… lifeless. Fearing for the worst, I slowly went around to face my brother and to my dismay, saw that my brother was in the exact same position as Dad. Head hung to the side, shoulder slumped, eye sockets sunk in.
He was also dead.
I was frozen in shock and didn't move a muscle, not even when Damien's corpse began to slowly tilt over and fall onto the ground.
My eyes shot open as I abruptly woke up from my nightmare. I sat up, slightly panting and just staring into space trying to calm myself down.
"Dad…" I whispered out subconsciously as I always did whenever I had nightmares.
I looked over to see the book I had left on my nightstand had fallen to the floor. That must've been the thump noise I heard that woke me up. I reached over to turn on my lamp and looked at my Keroppi clock.
Whoa… 1:16 AM. I had never been awake at this time before. It felt weird to see my clock say 1:16 and still be dark outside and super quiet. I rubbed my eyes as I laid back down and turned off the light. As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw those vivid images of my dad and brother pop up. I opened my eyes again and turned on the light back on.
Frightened, I jumped out of bed and slowly opened my door, peaking across the hallway to my brother's closed bedroom door. I stared at it, deciding what to do. A part of me wanted to go and crawl into bed with him and just cling onto him. I was too scared to sleep by myself now. But the other part of me told me that I would just be a burden and bother him. I wouldn't want to make him angry or annoyed.
I sighed as I quietly closed my door and made my way back to my own bed. I grabbed my only stuffed bunny and clung onto it as I tried to think of happy or funny thoughts while I fell back to sleep. But no matter what, I kept waking up from those same images. I eventually gave up and just remained awake on my bed with my thoughts.
Soon enough, the sun began to rise and I looked at my clock to see that it was now 6:05 in the morning. I would have to wake up at 7 and I doubt I would be able to make myself sleep in less than an hour so figured I should just get ready.
I yawned and opened my door to make my way to the bathroom. I looked at my brother's closed bedroom and noticed that his lights were now on and I could hear him rustling in there. I couldn't help but feel comforted knowing that… he was still alive.
I proceeded to go to the bathroom and splashed water on my face before I looked at myself in the mirror. Man, I looked tired. And because of all the tossing and turning I did, my hair was all over the place. I fixed myself up before gently patting myself on my cheeks to perk myself up and went back to my room to get dressed.
As I was putting on my clothes, I heard my brother get ready himself. He would walk to and fro between the bathroom and his bedroom. Then I heard him go downstairs. By then, I was already dressed and just sitting on my bed, reading my book. I figured I should go downstairs myself. I wasn't necessarily hungry, but I did want a glass of milk.
I made my way down and saw that Damien was sweeping the living room. I was kind of surprised to see him do chores so early in the morning. I mean, we normally do chores before we leave to work but when his classes start at 8 in the morning, we never bothered. Or at least, he has never woken me up to help him.
Damien noticed my presence and stopped sweeping.
"You're awake," he stated, obviously surprised by my unusual early rise. Normally he would have to wake me up and have trouble doing so. I just gave him a sheepish look, hoping he wouldn't ask why.
"Hmph… Go sit in the kitchen. I'll start making breakfast." He instructed.
"Uhm… actually, I just want a glass of milk… I'm not really… hungry…" I said shyly.
"…I'll still make something small. You must eat something." Damien said as he made his way into the kitchen. I quietly followed and sat onto the chair, resting my head onto my hand as I waited for my food. I looked over at him as he made me grilled cheese and I started comparing him with the Damien that was in my dreams. I just felt so relieved to see him look so healthy and alive. But I wonder how long he'll stay like that? Healthy people can still die, right?
When Damien brought over my food, he looked at my dazed expression.
"…Why did you wake up earlier than you were supposed to?" he asked, handing me my plate of food. I slightly jerked up at his question and somewhat blushed.
I looked down at my food before taking a deep breath and telling him everything. About my restless night, the nightmare I had and about how I couldn't sleep because the images of that nightmare kept popping into my dream.
….At least…. that's what I should have told him. I should have easily told him about my troubles from last night. But I didn't. I couldn't. I felt uncomfortable and I felt like he wouldn't understand. Besides, it's only been one night. I'm sure I will be fine.
"Kiera? Are you feeling alright?" my brother asked as he leaned close to me to inspect my face. I slightly backed away and blushed a little more.
"I'm fine! Sorry… I… just… my bladder woke me up earlier than normal and I figured that there was no point in going back to bed when I saw the time…" I said. Damien stared at me, finding my answer to be strange. But eventually, he seemed to have accepted it.
"Alright, at least we can take our time going to school today." He said. I rubbed my eyes, "…but you should take a nap in the car if you need to."
I yawned as Damien drove us to work. I stared out the window and leaned my head against the car seat. I was really tired. I had never stayed up before. I don't know how these university students do it. They always tell me they regularly stay up all night studying. Some even told me they stay up partying. Why on earth would they wanna do that? I don't understand adults sometimes. I'm never gonna stay up to party when I get older.
"Did you bring the workbook, Kiera?" Damien asked, always on top of my academic studies. He made this workbook for me to work on every day until I go to school. It pretty much had all the subjects I need to review and prepare for 5th grade.
"Yea, it's in my backpack" I replied, clearly not looking forward to it, "Do I have to do it?"
"Yes. I do not wish for you to fall behind academically. It'll be a while since you'll go back to school."
I groaned. I hated doing the workbook or any kind of schoolwork. I rubbed my eyes and looked out the window again, watching all the people go on with their day. I figured maybe I should take Damien's suggestion earlier and have a nap. It's a 20-minute drive between home and the University and we'd only been driving for 5 minutes. I adjusted myself to a more comfortable position and closed my eyes. Oh, man, did that feel good. But that feeling didn't last long. I was soon having a nightmare again and this time I was the one who was dying.
My eyes shot open and I jumped up, my heart thumping. I looked around the car in confusion trying to see if I was awake. Damien glanced at me through the rear mirror and noticed my expression.
"Kiera? What's wrong?"
I looked at my brother and saw his eyes trying to examine me without completely taking his eyes off the road. I wanted to cry and have Damien hold me but I just couldn't bring myself to open up.
"Ah… nothing. It's nothing. I'm ok!!" I said, trying to sound normal. Damien didn't say anything but stared at me for a few seconds before turning his attention to the road.
"If you're tired, then take a nap. I'll wake you when we arrive..."
I wondered if Damien even knew I had already tried to take a nap until I looked at the built-in clock in my brother's car and saw that I actually only slept for 2 minutes. So I guess he didn't even realize I fell asleep. I rested my head onto the car seat, unable to fall back asleep.
"I'll be fine," I said with a sigh. So much for a nap.
The day went uneventful. I was too tired to run around or make conversations with my brother's students. I
basically finished the chapter of my workbook for the day and spent the rest of the day just trying to deal with my tiredness. Some of the students showed sympathy, others thought my brother kept me up all night making me study. It's amazing how people viewed my brother and saw him as this disciplinary monster.
But then again, there was a moment today where my brother slammed his meter stick onto the table of a student who didn't finish his assignment. Even I got scared. My brother never strikes a student, but he does intimidate the crap out of them, so I can totally see why those rumors exist.
Damien's last class ended at 5pm. I was kind of used to his daily routine and had managed to find ways for myself to get through a long day, but because I was so tired and sleepy, I was beginning to get cranky. On our way home, I couldn't seem to get comfortable in my seat. I kept moving around and was kicking the back of my brother's seat. Damien didn't say anything at first but after a few minutes, he got irritated.
"Kiera, please stop kicking my seat."
I didn't say anything but kept kicking it.
"Kiera!" he said in that firm voice of his. I stopped kicking and began to whine.
"I'm uncomfortablleeeee….why are car seats soooo uncomfortable!!"
Damien sighed. He knew I was tired since the morning and knew we both had a long day. He probably saw my crankiness coming.
"We're almost home. Just settle down for a few more minutes," he said in a surprisingly calm voice. I let out another whine and slumped into the car seat. I kept trying to make myself comfortable but nothing worked.
When we finally made it home, Damien got out of the car and went over to open the door to my side as though he knew I wouldn't do it myself.
"Come on. You need to go to bed," he said.
"But it's early!" I whined.
"Do you want dinner first?" he asked. I shook my head. I wasn't hungry at all.
"Look, I know it's early but you clearly did not sleep well. I suggest you go to bed now. Even if you don't fall asleep right away, you need to rest." I rubbed my eyes again and didn't move. Damien sighed and leaned down to unbuckle my seatbelt and gently pulled me out of the car. I felt a little irritated and was just making a pouty face. Damien ignored it and led me into the house.
"Just go brush your teeth and then go straight to bed. Hopefully, you'll be well-rested tomorrow morning. Next time, don't wake up earlier than you're supposed to."
I nodded and went to do what I was told to do.
I laid on my bed and was a little nervous to fall asleep but my worn-out body made me not care anymore. I looked at my clock and it read 5:55pm. I closed my burning eyes and could feel myself drifting off to sleep only to be disrupted with a different nightmare with different set of vivid images. My eyes shot open and I groaned. Don't tell me I'm gonna keep having nightmares.
For the rest of the evening, I was trying to get myself to sleep. I tried to read my book but couldn't concentrate. I tried to do minor exercise but nothing. I was always having nightmares no matter what I did or thought about and it always dealt with my dad, brother or even me dying. It was always horrifying.
I looked at my clock and it now read 10:30pm. So much for catching up on my sleep, it was now past my general bedtime. I heard Damien come up the stairs, most likely heading to bed. I then heard his footsteps come towards my bedroom. Was he going to check on me?
I immediately got into position and pretended to be asleep. I heard my brother creek the door open and could feel him stare at me. He watched me for 5 seconds before quietly shutting the door and going to his room. I got up and pondered if I should go to him. I don't know why I still felt afraid to talk to him and felt the need to pretend I was asleep. We've already been living together for 3 months after all… it should be ok for me to talk to him, right?
The night went just as restless as last night. I only managed to get 2 hours of sleep. Damien's class started a little later today, so I just spent the morning reading my book.
As I was eating breakfast later that morning though, Damien studied me.
"…Kiera…you look more tired than yesterday. Did you not sleep when I told you to?"
I lazily nodded, swirling my bowl of cereal.
"…Could you not sleep? Are you having trouble sleeping?" he asked softly. My head shot up when I noticed Damien was getting suspicious. I felt embarrassed and stupid for being troubled by some nightmares so I couldn't bring myself to just tell him.
"I just keep waking up early to use the washroom and can't sleep afterwards," I lied.
"But you went to bed at 6 last night," my brother said. I scratched the back of my head and nervously laughed.
"Ah…I keep needing to use the washroom throughout the night," I lied again. Damien studied my face again, finding my behaviour odd.
"I must've drank too much before going to bed…" I said.
"…Seems like it." Damien responded, deciding to let me be. We ate in silence for a couple of minutes before Damien placed down his fork, "Kiera if you need to talk about something… it is wise to come to me."
I just looked at him, not knowing how to respond.
"As your guardian, it is my responsibility to guide and assist you. Whatever problem you have… you must address it to me. It'll be convenient for the both of us."
I wasn't sure if that was his way to affectionately tell me that he was there for me and wants to help or if he was just bluntly telling me that he is under obligation to help me so I have to tell him in order for him to fulfill his duty which, to be honest… made me feel more of a burden and that he didn't actually care. I didn't really know how to respond so I just nodded and said okay.
The rest of the day went pretty uneventful again. I managed to control my crankiness and was able to carry on normally. There were a few times where I snapped at Damien and had him glare at me. But other than that, I did ok. The day was shorter than yesterday, Damien only had one class to teach today so that helped me control my crankiness.
However, nighttime wasn't getting any better. I still kept having horrific nightmares. For the next 2 days, I wasn't getting any sleep and it was totally clear to Damien that something was wrong. He kept asking me questions to find out what was going on but I kept brushing him off. He even offered to buy me a new bed, assuming that the issue was discomfort. But I kept insisting that I was fine.
My lack of sleep had me totally stubborn and irrational. I wouldn't think properly and it seemed like I'd lost all of my common sense. I would be upset when Damien would pry into my business and would get upset when he didn't. I snapped and whined over every little thing and didn't even care I was pushing Damien's buttons… and boy oh boy was I pushing his buttons. I would yell "no" at him, disobey him and would make a huge whine whenever he tried to scold me. He wasn't being as strict with me as he normally was because he knew something was up with me and he didn't want to irritate me more by punishing me. However, that only made me take advantage of things and just take out my frustration on everything… and everyone.
In fact I even went as far as taking out my frustration on one of my brother's students. I was being restless in class. I would tap the table with my pencil, roll my brother's chair back and forth and even crumple papers to throw it in the garbage bin pretending I was playing basketball. My brother had to constantly stop the lesson to put me in my place. He would tell me to either finish my workbook or to rest my head on the table to take a nap but I refused to do both. A lot of the students were shocked to see me misbehave and disobey my brother.
During the class' 20 minute break, some students went out for a smoke or to get a snack while some stayed to chat with their friends. Damien took that time to talk to me. I gulped.
"Alright come here," Damien said firmly and beckoned me with his hand. I shook my head and let out a whimper. Damien sighed and reached over to grab my arm, gently pulling me up from his chair and taking my seat, making me stand between his legs.
"What's going on?" he asked in a mildly firm voice, looking into my eyes.
"Noooothing!!" I replied in a whine. My brother's eyebrow twitched a bit. I guess he was getting irritated with my whining because that's all I'd been doing the whole week.
"Something is clearly wrong. You've been whiney and bratty this entire week and are just getting worse. You don't seem to be getting enough rest even though I send you off to bed early. You're not staying up to fool around, are you?" he asked.
"I'm not!!" I spat, offended by his assumption. Damien gave me a look.
"Kiera, watch the tone. I know you're tired and cranky but that doesn't mean you can speak to me like that."
"I'm not cranky!!" I said through my gritted teeth. I was beyond irritated and annoyed and wished Damien left me alone. It's none of his business anyways. Damien stared at me with a disapproval look that said he had enough and was about to scold me until one of his students came up to us. It was Savannah.
"Uh… hey Mr. Bergmann," Savannah cautiously greeted. Damien took a deep breath before responding to her, making sure he wouldn't accidentally snap at her.
"May I assist you?" he asked calmly, Savannah blushed.
"Oh… I uh… just wanted to see how little Kiera is doing!" she said, smiling at me. I looked over at her and then looked away. I actually got along with her pretty good. In fact, she's one of the students I talked to the most. But today, I hated everybody and didn't want to talk to anybody. I didn't respond to her at all, I pretty much ignored her.
"Ey, someone just asked how you're doing," Damien said, tapping my upper left my arm. I turned to face Savannah.
"What do you think!?" I spat. Savannah was taken aback and looked a little hurt. I knew it took every single muscle for Damien to hold himself back from smacking my bottom right then and there. He roughly turned me to face him and gave me such a deadly glare that pretty much told me that I'm done for.
"Ah, I'm sorry," Savannah began.
"Don't," Damien interrupted her, "She hasn't been sleeping properly lately. Please excuse her rude behaviour and don't take anything she says personally."
I suddenly got really annoyed that Damien had to explain Savannah our problem. And did he had to say it like that?
"Why are you telling her my business!?" I angrily asked my brother. Savannah looked shocked that I had spoken to my brother like that.
"Excuse me?" My brother said giving me the look. I think he was about to smack me until Savannah interfered.
"Ah, it's ok Kiera. We all get cranky when we don't get enough sleep. I sure do," Savannah said sweetly, trying to calm me down. She then pulled me closer to her and took out her sketchbook that we usually draw in together and handed it to me.
"Why don't we just do a little doodle? Maybe scribbling may help you release some stress."
"No!" I spat. I could feel Damien's glare burn the back of my head.
"Oh… ok, well here. Maybe you can hold onto it until tomorrow, in case you want to scribble or draw something," Savannah kindly offered.
"I DON'T WANT IT! LEAVE ME ALONE!" I yelled and threw the sketchbook away. It slammed against the wall before landing onto the floor. My mini outburst caught the attention of the other students who were in the classroom. Everything went silent. Savannah looked hurt and embarrassed.
"Kiera Petra Bergmann!" My brother's voice boomed, getting up from his seat. His voice startled everyone in the room, especially me. I slowly turned to look at him. He was glowering at me. His lips were tight, his eyebrows were furrowed and his eyes were cold
"Why on earth did you do that?!" he angrily asked.
I didn't respond. I was actually just as shocked as everyone with my outburst. I was just so irritable that I couldn't control myself. But now, all my crankiness and bad mood had gone away and been replaced with fear. I stared at the floor.
"Look at me." My brother ordered. This time, his voice was much more different than before, much scarier and menacing. I slowly looked at his scary glowering face.
"Did you really think you would be able to get away with that?" he asked. I still didn't say anything, I was afraid to speak.
"You are to answer when I ask you something, young lady!" Damien barked, voice echoing through the room. The students tensed up and watched intently at our little dispute.
I shook my head.
"…Nosir" I mumbled.
"Loud and clear!"
"So why did you do that?" he asked again. I felt a lump form in my throat, preventing me from finding my voice. I looked away for a second before slowly shrugging my shoulders.
"Get over here," he growled, pointing to his side. I stood still frozen, so scared of what he would do if I went to him. Will he actually spank me? Right here in front of his class??
"I said get OVER HERE NOW!" he yelled. His voice caused me, as well as the other students to jump. I quickly took a step forward towards him and when I was by his side, he pointed to the empty wall, next to his desk.
"Go stand there. Against that wall. You are not to move until I tell you to nor are you to speak unless spoken to. I'd deal with you right now but class will begin in 5 minutes and I do not need to waste class time on you! So until I'm done, you are to stand there and think about what you've done and about what I'm going to do to you."
"What?" I shot my head up to fully look at my brother. My face was completely red knowing exactly what he was referring to, "N-no Damien please don't-"
"I did not say you can speak!" My brother snapped, "Now go stand against the wall"
My eyes became watery as humiliation finally struck me. I could totally feel the students stare at me and I could hear the students coming back from their break asking what was going on.
"Yo what's with this eerie atmosphere here? Who died?" a student asked. Some other students filled him in and I could hear a lot of murmuring going on.
I didn't dare make any eye contact with anyone. I just slowly made my way to the wall.
"Face the wall! Stay like this and don't you dare turn or look back!" my brother instructed.
I stood there as I heard my brother go pick up the sketchbook I threw, giving it to Savannah and sending back to her seat with an apology. I took in a deep breath as I tried not to cry. I was beyond embarrassed and I was totally afraid about my upcoming spanking. But I was also frustrated and angry. How can Damien be so mean and yell at me? It's not my fault that I can't sleep.
I slowly turned my head to take a peek at my brother and I saw him organize some papers I assume were the assignments he was about to hand out. I looked at his big, rough veiny hands and shuddered at the thought of him smacking me with it.
"What did I say? Face the wall and do not turn around!" Damien scolded, snapping me back to reality. I quickly faced the wall, feeling more embarrassed by the minute.
"Stand straight and bring your feet closer together!" he roughly instructed. I did as told. I could feel my brother stare at me for a couple of seconds before turning his attention to his class and announcing that class will now begin.
A few awkward minutes passed by and I was getting irritable again. There was about an hour left of class, does he really expect me to stand still for that long? All I could hear in the room was my brother's voice giving a lecture on Ethnicity… whatever that is... and the students typing or writing as they were taking notes. I sighed and leaned my head against the wall. I took a peek at the students. A lot of them were focused on the lesson, but I also noticed a few were glancing over at me and whispering. Some were even smiling…were they making fun of me?
"OY!" My brother barked, getting my attention. He snapped his fingers at me before pointing the wall.
"I'm not going to ask you again!! Face the wall and don't move or else you're really going to be sorry!!" he said harshly. I immediately turned my head to the wall, my face scrunched up as I tried not to cry. I was suddenly feeling really overwhelmed by everything. My nightmare, my lack of sleep, my crankiness, the fear of getting spanked and now this shameful and embarrassing feeling. All of these emotions came swirling within me and even though I tried not to cry, tears began escaping my eyes. I kept wiping my tears and soon noticed that I was beginning to sniff and breathe heavily. In the end, I couldn't hold it in anymore. I began to cry.
The room fell silent once again. Damien stopped talking and I knew everyone was staring at me. I felt so stupid and more self-conscious but I just couldn't stop. I just covered my face with my hands and leaned my head against the wall. I heard Damien sigh.
"Class will end early today," I heard him announce. The students all began to murmur. Some were confused while the others understood why.
"You are all dismissed. We will finish this up on Monday. Please take one of these handouts I printed as you leave. Have a safe weekend everybody."
I heard the movements of the students gathering their stuff and packing up. The room became noisy as 200 students spoke to one another. I didn't move at all and I hoped nobody came to talk to me. I just wanted to be left alone.
"…uh, Mr. Bergmann.." I heard a student say to my brother. It was Savannah. My body tensed up as I prayed she wouldn't come near me. After what I did and have her witness me getting scolded, I wouldn't know how to face her.
"What is it Savannah?" Damien responded in a stern but gentle voice.
"…I just um…I just wanted to say that I'm sorry if I had triggered something or did something wrong that had made Kiera behave like that. I did not wish to cause trouble."
"…mh. I appreciate the apology but you have nothing to apologize for, Savannah. You were trying to help. I appreciate the attempt. Kiera had been acting up this entire week and I made the mistake to let it get this far. It's now time I draw the line and smack some senses into her. So don't worry about it."
A pang of guilt struck me when I heard Savannah felt my behaviour was her fault. And then my heart sank when I heard Damien clearly confirm that I will definitely be getting a spanking. My bottom tingled at the thought of it.
Eventually, the students left the room one after another and after 5 minutes, the room became silent. I still didn't turn around so I don't know if everyone was gone but I knew Damien was watching me. Finally, I heard him roll his chair towards me.
"Alright, come here," he said, grabbing my arm and pulling me towards him. My crying had died down a bit but I was still sobbing softly. "What is wrong with you?" he roughly asked, brushing my hair away from my face. I just kept sobbing. He didn't say anything for a few seconds. He just watched me before sighing. "…You know your behaviour is unacceptable, correct?"
I scowled at him.
"You're 9 years old. If something is bothering you, then you are to talk about it. Not whine and moan and have outbursts like a 2-year-old! Your behaviour had been unpleasant these past few days but today was beyond shocking and disappointing! What on earth possessed you do behave such a way?!"
I sniffed and scrunched up my face as I was getting annoyed again. I knew I was in trouble but I felt like Damien was being unfair and super mean. Sure, my behaviour was a bit… questionable but its because I'm tired. It's not my fault! He just humiliated me in front of his big ass class and now he is still lecturing me when it wasn't my fault.
"Kiera! You are to answer me!" Damien barked when I didn't respond to him, completely sick of my behaviour.
"I DON'T KNOW!" I screamed and dropped myself onto the floor. I don't even know what I was feeling at the moment. I just know I wasn't thinking or functioning properly.
Damien took in a deep breath before roughly lifting me up and instantly putting me across his knees. I began to kick and squirm but stopped when Damien furiously smacked my bottom 5 times. I yelped.
"I don't know what the hell is going on but you need to stop with this sickening behaviour! I'm trying to talk it out with you but if you're going to keep acting like this then I might as well just get on with the spanking!"
"Noo! Damien!! Nooo!!!" I cried, pushing myself up only to be pushed back down. I felt him hook his fingers into the waistband of my pants and pull them down to my knees. I began to freak out as I realized he was going to spank me right here in his classroom! He hadn't even locked the door! Someone could easily barge right in!! I began to squirm again as I pleaded and begged my brother to not spank me.
"Please Damien! Nooo!!! NOO!"
Damien responded with 2 smacks on my panty covered bottom. I covered my mouth with my hands, trying to keep my shriek to a minimum. I felt my brother adjust me on his lap and felt his arm lock around my waist. He then rested his hand on my bottom.
"Kierra, I want you to know that I am not spanking you because of you not being able to sleep. I know something is wrong and that's something we're going to talk about later. Right now, I'm spanking you because of your ridiculous and despicable behaviour and because of your poor choice of expressing yourself. I won't tolerate such rubbish conduct and I should've dealt with this earlier."
And with that, Damien began to spank me. He smacked all over my bottom very easily. The smacks echoed across the room and in no time I was crying, kicking and squirming around. I gripped onto his navy blue khaki as I tried to get away but to no avail.
"You *smack* are *smack* a big girl now! *smack smack* you can talk *smack* and can tell me *smack* when you're not feeling well! *smack* you're not*smack* a mute *smack* nor are you a baby! Use your *smack* words when you want to express yourself, not throw a tantrum!*smack smack*"
"Ahh!! Damieen!!!" I cried.
"To think *smack* you were being disrespectful *smack* to me these past days *smack* smack* by cocking an attitude*smack* back talking to me *smack* and disobeying me. *smack* *smack* and now you decided to disrespect my students *smack* *smack* by throwing Savannah's sketchbook when she was trying to make you feel better? *smack *smack* I'm both shocked and extremely disappointed in you!*smack**smack*"
"AAHH!! I'M SORRY!! I'M SORRY! I… OOWW… I DIDN'T… AAH.. I DIDN'T MEAN IT!" I cried.
*smack *smack* *smack*
My bunny pattern panties did not protect my bottom at all. I could feel it turn red as my brother kept raining down the smacks. I furiously kicked my legs causing my pants to reach down to my ankles. I was whimpering and groaning as tears kept dripping off my face but I still tried not to cry too loud.
"I know *smack* you're going through *smack* *smack* a rough time adjusting to your new lifestyle, *smack *smack* which is why *smack* I didn't push you into talking to me *smack* and gave you lots of space. *smack* But enough is enough. *smack* There are better ways to deal with emotions! I regret letting this go too far!"
I reached back to block the spanks but my brother just caught my hand and pinned it against my back and continued spanking me. He then lowered his spanks to my back upper thighs which caused me to shriek. I couldn't help but to no longer cry in silence. I began to wail as I couldn't take the pain anymore, releasing all of my frustrations and tantrums with my cries. I'm positive all the people passing by the room could hear me.
"I kept asking you what was wrong, *smack* *smack* I kept giving you opportunities to talk to me.*smack* I told you to come talk to me about anything. *smack *smack* *smack* You had choices, Kiera. Things could've ended differently if you had chosen wisely."
I kept crying as Damien's lectures sunk into me. Maybe I should have just told my brother what was wrong instead of trying to avoid talking to him. He is my guardian now, after all. The only grown-up I can ask for help. The only grown-up… who wants to help. He tries really hard to come out of his comfort zone for me and he did do his best to make me feel like he is there for me. I know he is not a people person but he had his own way to show he cares.
Am I really gonna push away the only help that will be offered to me? And now that I think about it… Damien really was having a lot of patience with me. When I think about the other 2 times I got into trouble, Damien wouldn't even wait to give me a spanking. Once he feels that I need it… then I need it ASAP. But this time he delayed the spanking. He had put up with my whining and attitude because he wanted to cooperate with me first… yet I still refused.
I began to cry harder as the guilt and shame got to me. I covered my eyes with my hands and just waited for my spanking to end.
Finally, the spanking stopped and Damien stood me up but I immediately collapsed on him and cried on his chest. Stunned by my sudden action, I felt Damien's body tense up and freeze, unsure of how to react. He just looked at me as I clutched onto his shirt.
"I'm sorry Damien! I'm sorry!" I sobbed, "I didn't mean to be bad! I'm sorry!! Please don't hate mee!!"
Damien didn't say anything. He just sighed as he allowed his body to relax and then placed a hand on my head as I drenched his dress shirt with my tears, neither of us saying anything.
Though I desperately wanted a hug, it still felt nice to hold onto him. I felt more secure and hearing his breathing calmed me down. I didn't want to let go at all. I was afraid that if I did I would somehow lose him.
When my crying began to die down and I was only sniffling, Damien gently pushed me away so he could pull my pants back up for me. I looked at him while he did that and figured that… maybe now's the time to talk.
"…Damien?" I asked with a sniffle, my voice barely audible.
"Hm?" he responded, adjusting my pants.
"...Am…am I going to die?"
My question took him by surprise. For a split second, I saw him lose his cool by making a "what the heck" expression but his face became serious again.
"What…why are you asking such questions?" he carefully asked
I looked at the floor, not sure how to explain.
"…Is that what's been bothering you? Is this what it's all about? " I bashfully nodded. My brother leaned back on his chair and ran his hand through his hair, sighing. "This… isn't really something you should worry about..."
I raised my head to look at him with a dumbfounded look. Viewing my expression, Damien gave a small sigh again.
"You're only 9 years old. Such thing doesn't apply to you. You still have a long life to live…. so this isn't something you should even think about…"
"But that news the other day… a kid was found dead!" I insisted. Damien looked at me for a bit, having difficulties in choosing the right words for me.
"…some tragedies do happen to people. And as sad and unfortunate that is, all we can do is take better care of ourselves and be more careful in what we do. Right now, you're young and healthy and you have me to raise and take care of you."
"But… what about you?" I nervously asked, biting my lip.
"What about me?"
"…Won't… won't you die soon too? And… leave me? Like… what dad did?" I asked with a shaky voice, looking at the floor again as to not see my brother's eyes, "I keep having these nightmares."
"Nightmares, you say?"
I proceeded to tell Damien everything. About the vivid nightmares and why I haven't been able to sleep. I told him that I couldn't stop thinking about death, even before watching the news. The news only triggered my nightmare. Damien listened intently without ever interrupting me.
"I… I just couldn't stop thinking about dad being dead. When I saw his body at the funeral… he looked like he was just asleep. I always felt he will wake up but he never did. I can't get over his face. I miss him a lot. And sometimes I wonder what will happen if I die… will I be just as old as Dad? Then I saw the news and figured that I can die anytime. But when will that be? Will it be scary? Will it hurt? Dad looked peaceful when we placed flowers on him… but was he scared or in pain when he was dying? How do you know if you're dying?? When will I die?"
Damien placed his hands on my shoulders to calm me down as I was beginning to get hysterical. He remained silent as though he was figuring out what to say to me.
"Look… It's true that we humans aren't meant to live forever. Death is an unavoidable thing," Damien admitted, looking guilty for not being able to sugar coat it for me, "But again, that isn't something you should worry about now. Right now, we should just focus on enjoying life and making memories. We should appreciate things and take care of ourselves."
Damien then looked away, blushing a little "…I miss the old man too." He said, clearly uncomfortable for sharing a personal thought. "But I know he lived a long and well life and I know he wants you to do the same. You have a whole life ahead of you. You will soon become a teenager and then become a fine young woman and even then it'll be years until you become an elderly person."
He then cupped my face with his hands and gently stroked my cheek with his thumbs, "Until then, I'm not going anywhere. I also still have a long way to go. So be at ease. I won't let anything happen to you"
Though I was still disheartened about the fact that death is something we can't avoid, Damien's words still comforted me. And hearing him say he missed our dad struck me like a chord. Not once have I ever considered how Damien must've felt about our father's death. Sometimes I forget he was his dad too and that we're both still grieving about the loss. It's sad but I still felt a wave of relief when I realized I was never alone on this and that Damien understood me and was there to help. I could feel the weight on my chest just vanish after talking with him even though my butt was still stinging
"But next time, young lady," Damien began in a firm warning voice, "I will not give you any more chances like I did this time. If you have a problem, I expect you to talk it out with me. Should you repeat the behaviour you displayed today, I will immediately bare your bottom and spank you no matter where we are. Is that clear?"
I blushed and nodded.
"And on Monday, you are to apologize to Savannah."
I nodded again and rubbed my eyes, now feeling way more exhausted than ever before, as if I wasn't already dying from exhaustion.
"…Let's go home and try to get you to sleep. Once you're fully rested, I can help you understand more about death and how we shouldn't let it worry us as much," Damien said as he stood up to organize his desk before packing his briefcase and my backpack. He then placed his hand on my back to lead us out of the room but I just turned around and extended my arms towards him. Damien blinked as he looked at me in confusion.
"Carry me, please?" I asked with puppy eyes. Normally I would be too shy and embarrassed to ask such a thing, but I was just so drained that I didn't have it in me to walk all the way to the parking lot. Without saying a word, Damien bent down and easily lifted me up with one hand while he held our bags in the other.
I hugged him tight and buried my face into the crook of his neck, breathing in the soft smell of cologne he wears. It was different from our father's which I missed so much, but Damien's scent still comforted me and made me feel peaceful. As he made his way through the campus, I saw some of his students walking around and a lot were surprised to see Damien carrying me. I even heard a student say how he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it. I could feel Damien get a little bashful and I couldn't help but find it amusing. He seems to get uncomfortable or embarrassed when he has to do anything that dealt with emotions or affection. I just hugged him tighter.
Before I knew it, I fell asleep in his arm and for the first time this week, I didn't get any nightmares. My dream was normal and my sleep was peaceful. My brother didn't disrupt me at all, not even when we made it to the car. He just carefully sat in the back seat, with me still sleeping on him and just remained there until I woke up.
Needless to say, I no longer had those nightmares about death. And, after a few weeks of Damien and me reading a book about life and death, I understood the majority of it and wasn't as worried and paranoid about it.