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"There's Always Another Rainbow"
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“There’s Always Another Rainbow”

 

 

 

I frowned as I looked at my baby sister.  She was no more than four years old and already she was enduring more pain than she deserved.  We all were.  My younger sister, Julie, who was just seven, was also going through a lot.  She was doing badly in school and she didn’t have many friends.  Her only best friend was a girl named Charlotte Martin.  Charlotte was very sweet and she and Julie got along great, but Charlotte was the only friend Julie had.  All the other kids at school thought Julie was weird because she was so quiet and she came to school with bruises on her face all the time.

          I felt bad for my little one, as I called Julie most of the time, but I knew things were going to get better for her as well as for Molly and I.  After all, there was always another Rainbow around the bend.  Julie was a sweet little girl.  Quiet, but very sweet.  She and Molly would fight sometimes, but it was just once in a while.

          Besides, at our Uncle Mark’s house, we had our own problems.

We had been living with our Uncle Mark ever since our mother had abandoned us at a shopping mall when I was ten, Julie was five and Molly was two years old.  But the neglect didn’t start there, at least not for Molly. 

My baby sister had become my soul responsibility since the first day she was born.  I didn’t mind of course, I loved Molly to pieces.  Ever since the first time I laid my green eyes on her, I knew she was going to be special.

After Mom came home from the hospital with Molly, she placed her in my arms gently and said,  “There ya go.  Here’s your new baby sister.  You took care of her so well when she was in the hospital, you take care of her now that she’s home.  I can’t be bothered by her anymore.”  Then in an even tinier whisper that only I could hear she added,  “I didn’t even want her in the first place.”

I was shocked by that, but I pushed my shock aside and began to take care of Molly.  It felt so good to hold Molly in my arms without the IV and heart monitor on her.  Molly had been born a month before her actual due date so she had had a little trouble breathing and had to be hooked up to a heart monitor and an oxygen mask for the first two weeks.  After that, she was okay and able to come home. 

I had picked out her name the third day she was born.  I named her Molly because I loved that name so much and Shaianne for her middle name after a little girl I used to baby-sit who had a heart of gold.  I knew Molly would have one too.  I even came up with my own special name for Molly.  I called her my little sunshine.  I thought of it the first time Molly ever smiled up at me.  It was during the second night after she had been born.  I was holding her hand and singing softly to her and that’s when she did it.  She gurgled, looked up at me and smiled.  Her smile lit up the room like the rising sun and I knew then and there that she was going to be special.  From that day, I started calling her my little sunshine.  It was my own special name for Molly and nobody else’s.  she responded to it positively and loved it. 

I would often call her it to comfort her whenever the doctors would have to do painful tests on her during the first four weeks of her life.  She seemed to calm down the moment she heard me use it and then I would start singing to her and that was enough to help her stay calm and not cry so much. 

After the tests were done, Dr. Larson, would make sure Molly’s IV lines weren’t twisted around anything and then she would let Molly fall asleep in my loving and safe embrace.  This was something I looked forward to every night.  I would sing Molly to sleep and reassure her that I would NEVER leave her and that I loved her so much.  I would then give her a gentle kiss on her cheek and continue to sing.  Before I knew it, Molly was sound asleep.  I would hold her for a little while longer and then Dr. Larson would put her back in her crib.  I would then cover her with a blanket and then Dr. Larson would give me a blanket and pillow and make sure I had everything I needed before she left to go home.  She was really a nice woman.  In fact, she was my favorite doctor at the hospital next to a doctor named Lucy Knight, who was also a pediatrician.  She was my second favorite.  I think my cousin, Danny had a crush on her, but I know he would never admit it to anyone.

The night after I named my baby sister, I sat by her crib in the NICU and held her hand.  I prayed to God that she would be okay and I started to sing a song to her that quickly became her favorite and still is.  The song was called,  “There’s Always Another Rainbow”.  It was the motto I lived by and I believed with all my heart that it was true.  Little did I know that a few short weeks from then, my faith and beliefs would be put to the ultimate test.

Julie loved Molly too and would always ask me if she could help take care of her.  She didn’t understand why Mom didn’t want Molly and I couldn’t answer my little sister’s question either.  I didn’t have an answer for Julie at all.

After the first three months, Molly started to blossom into a sweet, caring and loving child.  I loved her so much and did everything I could to help her learn how to be a nice and polite little girl.  I did a pretty darn good job and by the time she was two, she was the sweetest little girl I had ever laid eyes on.  She acted up occasionally, like all toddlers did, but she never took a temper tantrum and she would always listen to me for the most part.  The only time Molly would act up was if she was really tired and or felt sick.  when that happened, I would take her into our room and rock her back and forth gently, while singing her “There’s Always Another Rainbow” and it would help her fall right to sleep.

It wasn’t until a month after Molly’s second birthday that things took a terrible turn for the worst.  It happened on a Saturday afternoon.  Our mother suggested a trip to the mall and from the time she had suggested it, I knew trouble lay ahead.  Big trouble.  Sure enough, after she got us out of the car and gave me Molly’s diaper bag, she took off ahead of us and abandoned us right there.  I was shocked, but I knew I had to hold it together for Julie and Molly’s sakes.  I had to  be the big sister and stay strong.  At least until we got to Ponyland.  There I knew I could let my feelings out and Firefly, my best friend in the whole world would be there to comfort and support me.  She always was there for us.  She was the best.

It was then that I had to face the facts.  Our mother had abandoned us.  She didn’t want us.  Once more, it was now my job to take care of the younger ones.  I had now officially become Julie’s mother as well as Molly’s.  I was their sister first and foremost, but it was my job to see that they stayed safe, healthy and as happy as possible.  I was determined to love Molly and teach her the things that our mother had taught us.  I was determined more than ever to give my little sisters the life they both deserved.  But most importantly, I was determined to keep both Julie and Molly with me at all times.  I wasn’t going to let anyone split us up.  Little did I know what price we were all going to pay in order to stay together.

We stayed in the mall for about a week, eating free meals that the cook made until we were discovered by a police officer and he took matters into his own hands.  He called DCFS and before I knew it, Julie, Molly and I were in a social worker’s car, heading for our Aunt Abby’s house.  I was relieved, but somehow I knew that our safe life at Aunt Abby’s wouldn’t last for long.  And boy was I ever right.

About four months after Aunt Abby had taken us in, she tried to get custody of us, but it didn’t work out.  We were forced to go and live with our Uncle Mark, who was not a nice guy by any means.  And that’s where the nightmare really began.

The moment we set foot in Uncle Mark’s house, Uncle Mark started beating us for no reason whatsoever.  He would just make up excuses and then give us the punishments he thought we deserved.  The Rainbow of Light protected us as best it could, but sometimes, it just wasn’t quick enough.  Uncle Mark picked on Molly the most.  I guess because she was so small and innocent.

I did my best to protect her and Julie and shield them from Uncle Mark’s belt as well as his bare hands, but I couldn’t protect them from all of it.  It broke my heart whenever I saw Uncle Mark take the belt to Julie for being too quiet, as he put it, or to Molly for anything that she did that Uncle Mark considered wrong, which in his eyes was everything.

Julie was a good girl and she rarely acted up.  She had her moments, like all five year olds, but for the most part, my little one was very well behaved.  She was shy, but she would warm up to someone once she got to know them.

Molly was a good baby and as she got older, I taught her manners and she was very well behaved with me and she even listened to Julie most of the time.  But whenever she would do something harmless like touch something she wasn’t supposed to without knowing, Uncle Mark would punish her for it.

As for me, well, I tried my best to stay out of Uncle Mark’s way, but I didn’t escape all the beatings he had in store for me.  But sadly, most of the time, Uncle Mark would direct his rages or drinking moods at Julie and Molly, which would cause me to defend them and get hit myself.

As time went on, I took Julie and Molly to Ponyland more often.  It was our safe haven and I found comfort in Firefly and Wind Whistler gave me some good advice that I could use to protect my sisters.

Julie enjoyed spending time with Medley and Medley was a good source of comfort for my little one as was Firefly for me and Fizzy was for Molly.  All of the little ponies were worried and very distraught when they found out what we went through at the hands of our Uncle Mark.  They wanted to help us and felt bad for what we were going through.  But our best pony friends, Firefly, Medley and Fizzy were the most distressed by what we went through every day.  They wanted us to stay safe and happy and did everything they could to see that it happened. 

Fizzy, a very sweet, easy going green unicorn was especially upset that we were being hurt.  She often worried about me as well as Julie and Molly.  She had taken to Molly instantly, ever since the first time I had brought Molly to Ponyland when she was two years old.  Ever since then, she and Fizzy had become best friends.  Fizzy, was Molly’s second word and she would always ask to see her every time we would go to Ponyland.

          Medley, a green Pegasus was Julie’s best pony friend.  Medley called Julie her sweet little hummingbird and Julie called Medley her pretty Medley.  Medley loved all of us very much and would do anything for us, but she and Julie had a special bond.

As for me, well, Firefly was my best pony friend.  She was a pink Pegasus.  She had been there for me through a lot of hard times and was always there when I needed advice or just some comfort.  She had a special name for me as well as one for Julie and Molly.  She called me her sweet girl, Julie Jules and Molly her precious peanut.  I liked my special name from Firefly a lot and I know my sisters felt the same way.

I had known Firefly since I was eight years old. She saved me from some bullies at school and ever since then, we were the best of friends.  Firefly is the pony keeper for the Rainbow of Light and she takes her job very seriously.  Firefly is also a bit of a dare devil.  Her favorite trick is the double inside out loop.  I love it when she does it with me on her back, but Julie doesn’t like it as much.  She’ll do it once in a while, but not often. 

On one particular bad day at Uncle Mark’s house, I was getting us ready to leave and Molly was very excited to go to Ponyland as was Julie.  They both knew they were going to see their best friends and Julie couldn’t wait to see Medley and Molly felt the same way about Fizzy.

          As I put Molly’s jumper on her, Julie sat on my bed, reading a book.  She was always really patient most of the time.

As I pulled the jumpsuit straps together, Molly asked,  “We go to Ponyland now, Megan, pease?  Go see Fizzy now?”  Molly was grinning from ear to ear.

          I nodded and smiled as I finished snapping the buttons on the jumper.

          “We sure are, my little sunshine.  Just let me do your hair really pretty and then we can go see Fizzy.”

          “YEA!!”  Molly cheered.

          “Shh,”  I hushed.  “We have to whisper okay?  Uncle Mark is taking a nap.  We don’t want to wake him up.”

“Uncle Mark go night-night?”  Molly asked.

I nodded.

“Yup.  So we have to be quiet, okay?”

Molly nodded and imitated what I had done.

I giggled softly as I put a comb through her long blond hair and started to put it up in a braid.  As I did this, Molly started to cry and pushed my hand away.

“No!”  She wailed.  “Stop it!”

“Shh,”  I hushed again.  Then I knelt down in front of Molly and said sternly, but gently,  “Molly, honey, you know pushing my hand away is a no-no, right?”

Molly nodded, but she was still crying.

“Shh,”  I soothed.  “It’s okay.  It’s all right.  Can you use your words and tell Megan how you want your hair done?”

“Want to see Fizzy!  Want to see Fizzy!”  Molly demanded tearfully.  She was crying hard now, and I had to get her calmed down fast.

“Shh,”  I said as I took Molly into my arms.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay.  It’s all right.  Hush now.  It’s all right.  That’s my girl.  I know you want to see Fizzy, sweetie, but you have to let me do your hair.  You want to look pretty, don’t you?”

Molly just continued to cry as she buried her face in my shoulder.  I could tell she was tired and she just wanted to go to Ponyland.  She had woken up early that day and it was probably catching up with her.

“Shh,”  I soothed as I set Molly in my lap and quickly put her hair in two pigtails while trying to calm her down.  “It’s okay, Moll.  You’re where you belong.  Safe and sound in your big sister’s arms.  It’s okay.  Let’s get you a cup of juice and then we can go okay?  Do you want to get a cup of juice and then we’ll go see Fizzy?”

Molly nodded.  She had calmed down considerably and now her cries had dimmed down to sniffs.  She didn’t want to leave my arms for anything.

After we reached the kitchen, I put Molly down and I was getting her a cup of juice when all of a sudden, I heard a crash from the other side of the room.  I put the cup down and rushed to see what had happened.

“Molly?”  I asked, fearing that she had gotten hurt.  As I rushed to the spot where the noise had come from, I heard a slam of a door and I knew all too well that the sudden crash had woken up Uncle Mark.  I gasped when I found out what had happened.  Molly had gone over to look at a drawing that I had made and in doing so, she had knocked over a vase of flowers.  Water was now spreading across the floor and glass was everywhere.

As I reached Molly’s side, I scooped her up and hugged her close.  She was crying all over again from fear.  I was grateful that Julie had gone out to the barn in order to wait for Firefly and Medley.  At least I knew my little one was safe.

“Shh,”  I soothed.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay, sweetie.  Megan has you.  You’re back where you belong now.  You’re in my arms safe and sound.  It’s okay.  What happened huh?”

Molly continued to cry as I stood up and put the sippy cup of juice in my back pack.  After I had swung my bag over my back, I turned to leave, but then an angry voice made me stop in my tracks.

 “What the hell happened here?”  Uncle Mark asked angrily.  “Who knocked over my vase of roses?!”

          I gulped and turned around to face my uncle

 “I did it,”  I lied.  “It was an accident.  I promise.  I was getting a lunch bag from the cupboard and I-“  My sentence was interrupted as Uncle Mark’s fist collided with my cheek.  I stumbled back and tried to ignore the pain in my jaw.

          “I told you a thousand times,”  Uncle Mark said, anger in every word he spoke,  “don’t LIE to me!!”  He then turned to Molly and took her from my protective hold.  He slapped her face and then threw her to the ground, but not before punching her in her jaw.

          I gasped as I ran to her, scooping her up in my arms.  I made a break for the door before Uncle Mark could catch up.  I had forgotten to pack a snack for us, but we would eat something in Ponyland.  Cupcake always made something yummy.

          As I slammed the door shut behind me, I stopped to catch my breath as I waited for Firefly to come and collect us.  I gazed up at the sky, hoping and praying that my best friend was on her way.  we needed her more now than ever.

          The sound of Molly’s cries, made me look down.

          “Aw, it’s okay, Moll,”  I said gently.  “Shh, hush now, my little sunshine.  You’re okay.  You’re where you belong.  You’re safe and sound in my arms.  It’s okay.  We’re going to see Fizzy now.  We’re going to see Fizzy.  It’s okay.”  I began to rub Molly’s back and stroke her hair gently as she continued to cry.  She was shaking too.  I felt so bad for her.

          “Megan?”  Julie’s small and tearful voice broke the silence.

“Yes little one?”  I asked, using my special name for Julie.

“I want my pretty Medley!”  Julie whimpered.  With that, she burst into tears and wrapped her arms around my waist.

I patted Julie’s shoulder and gave her a hug. I knew exactly how she felt.

“I know you do, little one, I know.  It’s okay. We’ll see Medley and Firefly soon.”  No sooner had the words left my mouth, I glanced up to see Medley and Firefly soaring towards us.

As soon as Firefly and Medley landed, Julie jumped onto Medley’s back and buried her face in her best friend’s mane.  She was in need of Medley’s comfort.

“What happened?” Medley asked, nuzzling Julie gently.

“Uncle Mark hit Molly!”  Julie wailed.

Medley nodded and nuzzled Julie again before nuzzling Molly, who was still in my arms, crying from fear and pain.  Firefly had already nuzzled us both and she was about to take off for the Rainbow and Ponyland.

“You’re going to be okay, my precious peanut,”  Firefly assured Molly.  “We’re going home now. Ready, my sweet girl?” Firefly directed her question at me, while using her special name for me.

I nodded and breathed a sigh of relief as Firefly took off and headed for the Rainbow and our second home.

When we reached Paradise Estate, Julie and Medley went for a flight while Firefly landed and I dismounted and headed into the Estate.  I patted Firefly’s mane and thanked her for the flight as she followed me inside.

As I set my things down in the living room, some of our friends came to greet us.  Fizzy was among them.  She galloped up and nuzzled me gently.

          “Hi Megan!”  Fizzy said excitedly.  “I missed ya!  Molly too.”  Fizzy’s smile faded, however, when she saw the state Molly and I were in.  “Megan, what happened?  Are you and Molly okay?”  She nuzzled me again as I Sat down with Molly in my lap.  She was still crying.

          I shook my head as I tried to calm Molly down.

          “Shh,”  I soothed, while stroking Molly’s hair.  “It’s okay, sweetie.  We’re safe now.  We’re in Ponyland now.  It’s okay.  Everything’s all right.  Here, honey, do you want to go play with Fizzy?”

          “No!”  Molly whimpered, burying herself deeper into me.

          “Aw, it’s okay, Molly,”  Fizzy said gently.  “Do you want to play bubble catch?”  She nuzzled Molly gently, which caused Molly to look up.  When she saw that it was indeed Fizzy, she stopped crying and squirmed to be let down.  I put her down and smiled slightly as I watched her run to play with her best friend.  Fizzy nuzzled me one more time before whispering,  “I’ll take good care of her, Megan.”

          “I know you will, Fizzy,”  I said, patting her mane.  “I know you will.”

          Julie and Molly had so much fun that day, that they didn’t want to go back to Uncle Mark’s house when it was time.  I didn’t want to go back there either to tell  the truth.  If I had my way, I would have stayed in Ponyland for the weekend, but I knew that would just lead to trouble with Uncle Mark, so I did the right thing.  After promising Julie and Molly that we would come back in a few days, Firefly and Medley took us back to Uncle Mark’s house. 

          As my mind floated back to the present, I glanced down at Molly again, and picked my baby sister up in my arms and gave her a much needed hug.  She was so sweet and so innocent.  She was my little sunshine.  She had long dark blond hair and bright hazel eyes that lit up whenever she was happy or laughed, which usually happened when I tickled her tummy, or read her a story.  She loved being read to and I enjoyed spending time with her.  She was my baby sister and I loved her to pieces. 

          “All right, my little sunshine,”  I said as I carried Molly to our room.  “Time for bed.  I’ll sing you one song and then It’s off to dreamland okay?”

          “Can we have cuddle time?”  Molly asked.  She sounded hopeful.

          “Sure we can,”  I said as I tucked her in.  I climbed in beside her and gave her a kiss.  I patted her shoulder gently and then held out my arms.  “Come here, sweetie.  Come to Megan.”

          “Where I belong,”  Molly said, crawling into my lap.

          “That’s right Moll,”  I said, while using Molly’s family nickname and wrapping my arms around her protectively,  “in Megan’s arms, safe and sound.”

          “Megan?”  Molly asked.

          “Yeah, sweetie?”  I asked, planting a loving kiss on Molly’s head.

          “Can I wear the Rainbow of Light, please?”
          I thought about this for a moment, then shook my head.  If I had known what was to come, I would have changed my mind immediately.

          “I’m afraid not, Moll.”  I said while shaking my head,  “you know that the Rainbow of Light is a no-no.”

          Molly nodded and sighed.

          “But It’s so pretty.”  She said.  As she looked at it longingly, she touched the heart shaped necklace that hung around my neck with such care.

          “I know it is,”  I said.  “But you know that the Rainbow of Light is meant to protect us and the ponies.  Right?”

          Molly nodded.  She knew this all right.

          “But I want to wear it for awhile,”  she whined.  “Please?”

          I shook my head and began to tickle Molly’s tummy, making her giggle.

          “No.  Now let’s get you off to dreamland.  It’s getting pretty late.”

          “But I’m not tired.  I don’t want to sleep.”

          I sighed.  I could tell Molly was in one of her “I’m not sleepy and I’m not going to listen to you” moods.  I also knew that it was in her best interest to get some sleep.  I sighed and said,  “Okay, let’s not go to sleep.”

          “You really mean it?”  Molly asked as she gazed up at me.

          I nodded.

          “I really mean it.  Who wants to sleep when we can play?”
          Molly’s hazel eyes lit up as she sat up and threw back the covers.  After an hour of playing Go Fish and reading her books, Molly started to get tired.  As I was finishing “The Cat in the Hat”, Molly yawned.

          “Goodness me, did someone yawn?”  I asked, before I tucked Molly back in and started to sing to her.  “Time we went to sleep before the morning starts to creep.”

          “No It’s not,”  Molly said, her hazel eyes starting to close.  “I’m not ready.”

          “Oh yes you are,”  I said with a loving smile.  I patted her on her shoulder.

          Molly shook her head.

          “I want a goodnight kiss first.”  She then sat up and looked around.  “Where’s my teddy?”
          I smiled and gave Molly her teddy bear, then I tucked her in and finished my song.  “To your bed, douse the lights and put your sleepyhead down.  And sleep tight.”  I kissed Molly goodnight and gave her a hug.  “Sweet dreams, my little sunshine.  I love you very, very, VERY much.  I’ll see you in the morning.”  As I Got ready for bed myself, I smiled with pride.  I knew exactly how to take care of Molly and how to get her to listen to me. 

About an hour after I had fallen asleep, I was woken up by Molly calling my name.  she sounded scared and really upset.

          “Megan!  Megan!!  Megan!”

          I sat up and took Molly into my lap.  My little sister was shaking and tears were streaming down her face.

          “Molly, what’s the matter, sweetie? What’s wrong?”
          Molly just continued to cry and bury her face in my shoulder.  As I hugged my baby sister close, I heard a shout coming from the hallway.  I cringed when I realized who it was.

          “Megan!!  Get your ass out here now!”  without warning, my bedroom door flung open and there in the doorway, stood our Uncle Mark.

          I held Molly closer to me, for fear of what was to happen.  I slipped the Rainbow of Light off my neck and around hers.  As I did this, I felt Molly’s grip tighten on me and I tried to remain calm.

          “Why aren’t you asleep yet?”  Uncle Mark asked, his glare towards us evident in every word he spoke.

          “We were asleep until you woke us up,”  I said.  I wasn’t scared of him.  At least not that much.  I was trying to stay strong for Molly and Julie, so in a way, I was finding my own strength.

          Uncle Mark nodded as he came into the room.  He tried to take Molly from me, but the Rainbow wouldn’t let him.  It formed a protective heart around us, forcing him to stand back.

          “Clever trick!”  He said,  “Never mind.  I’ll just wait until you aren’t protected by that stupid necklace and then you’ll get it.”  He left, glaring at us. 

When he was gone, Molly let the tears fall and wouldn’t let go of me.  I hugged her close and tried to soothe her.  I knew she must have been scared out of her wits.  I was shaking a little bit too.

          “Thanks Rainbow,”  I whispered as I touched the Rainbow of Light with my fingers and slipped it from around Molly’s neck.  After I had replaced it on my own, I lay back down and tucked Molly in beside me.  I could still feel her shaking, so I wrapped my arms around her.  “Aw, It’s okay, Molly.  It’s okay.  We’re okay.  You’re where you belong.  You’re in my arms safe and sound.  It’s okay, my little sunshine.  It’s all right.  Megan has you.  You’re safe and sound in my arms where you belong.  That’s my girl.  That’s my little sunshine.  Everything’s going to be okay.  Megan has you.  You’re okay.”  As I rubbed Molly’s back and started to stroke her hair, I gave her a much needed hug and kiss and said,  “sweet dreams, Molly.  I’ll see you in the morning.  I love you.”

          “I love you too,”  Molly said.  “Megan?”

          “Yes?”  I asked, hugging Molly closer to me.

          “I’m scared. I want to go home.”

          I nodded and gave Molly a much needed hug.

“I know you do,”  I said.  “I know you do. I do too, but we can’t right now.  I promise we’ll go back to Ponyland soon.”

Molly drifted off to sleep not long after that.  About ten minutes after I had gotten back to sleep, there was a soft knock at my door.  I opened my eyes and said,  “Come in.”

My bedroom door opened and Julie came in.  She had been woken up by the yelling and she was crying.

I held my arms out to my younger sister and said,  “Come here, little one.”

Julie obliged and ran over to me. She threw herself into my lap and cried into my shoulder for an hour before I was able to sing her back to sleep.  I sat there, rubbing Julie’s back and stroking her hair gently.  I wanted so badly to take my little sisters’ pain away, but I knew I couldn’t.  If there was one thing I did know, it was that I needed to get my sisters and myself out of that house and fast.  The only question was, how was I going to do it?

“I’m scared!”  Julie whimpered against my shoulder.  “I want my pretty Medley!”

“Shh, shh, hush now, little one,”  I soothed, stroking Julie’s hair again.  “It’s okay.  Everything’s going to be okay.  I Promise.  I love you, Julie.  I love you so much.  Do you want to try and go night-might for me, little one?”

Julie nodded and let out another wail and buried her face in my shoulder again.

“Aw, that’s my girl.  All right, let’s see if we can’t get you off to sleep.”  I tucked Julie in beside me and began to sing Julie our special song.  “You can find a Rainbow anywhere, even in a cloudy sky.  If you keep your outlook upward bound, you’ll find Rainbows by and by.  The world is bright with color, when sunlight is in your heart.  Once you begin feeling joy deep within, your eyes will open with a start!  You’ll be seeing Rainbows everywhere, happens every place you go.  You’ll be hearing music in the air, the world will take on a golden glow!  So if skies are grey, why should you care?  You can find a Rainbow anywhere!”  I smiled as I looked down and saw that Julie was sound asleep.  I gave her a kiss and patted her shoulder.  “Good night my little one.  I love you so much.  I’ll see you when you wake up.”  With that, I checked on Molly and then got back in bed myself.  We all needed the rest for the rough days ahead.

 

 

The next morning, I woke up and started the morning like always.  I got Julie and Molly up and got our breakfast ready.

As Julie and Molly were eating, Julie spoke up.

“Are we going to Ponyland this afternoon, Megan?”

I nodded.

“We sure are,”  I smiled at Julie and Molly as I finished my own breakfast.

Julie smiled.

“I can’t wait to see Medley!”  Julie said as she finished her breakfast.

“And Fizzy and Firefly!”  Molly exclaimed.

I nodded.  I felt the same way.

“Eat up you guys,”  I said. “We need to get going or we’ll be late.”

Julie and Molly nodded and finished their breakfast without fuss.

          After breakfast was over, I cleaned the dishes and helped Julie get her book bag together.  As I was helping Molly pick out her outfit, the phone rang.  I decided to let the machine get it.  As I was doing Molly’s hair, my bedroom door flung open and Uncle Mark stood there once again.  The sound of the door being flung open, scared Molly.  She jumped and turned around, wrapping her arms around my waist.  I attempted to pick her up, but Uncle Mark was faster.

“Ha!”  He said, removing Molly from my protective hold.  “You don’t have that stupid necklace to protect you this time.”  With that, he glared at me as he slapped Molly across the face.

“Megan!”  Molly cried out as she burst into tears.  “Megan!!”

“Hey!”  I said.  “Leave her alone!!  She didn’t do anything to you!”

“That’s where you’re wrong,”  Uncle Mark contradicted me, aiming another slap to Molly’s cheek.  “You woke me up and since you woke me up, this little brat, is going to get it.”

“How did we wake you up?”  I asked, forgetting the powerlessness of our situation.

Uncle Mark glared at me.

“I didn’t think you were that stupid.  Then again, you can’t even pick up a phone when it rings.”

I gasped as I started feeling a wave of guilt wash over me.  If I had only picked up the phone when it had rung.  Why had I been so preoccupied?  It was all my fault that Molly was getting hit.

“Megan’s not stupid!”  Julie said, her voice full of fear, but at the same time, determination to stick up for me.

Uncle Mark laughed as he said,  “If I say she’s stupid, then she’s stupid.  Didn’t your parents ever teach you not to talk back to your relatives?”  With that, he aimed another slap to Molly’s cheek before hitting Julie across the face.

I then watched in helplessness as Uncle Mark’s fist connected with Molly’s right cheek.  I cringed as I saw the blood coming from her lip and then I noticed that something was happening with the Rainbow.  It had come out of the locket and started surrounding Molly.  But not before Uncle Mark roughly shoved Molly to the ground.  She landed in a heap and started to cry.  I wasted no time.  I was protected by the Rainbow so I didn’t have to worry about being hurt.  I ran to my little sister and put my hand on her shoulder.

“Shh,”  I soothed,  “hush now my little sunshine.  It’s okay.  Everything’s going to be okay now.  Come here.  Come on, sweetie.  Come to Megan where you belong.”

Molly shied away and pulled her knees to her chest.  I sighed and attempted again.

“Molly, It’s okay.  It’s all right. It’s me,  It’s Megan.  You’re okay.  Come here..  Come to your big sister.  Come on.  We’ll have cuddle time and then I’ll make your cheek feel better.  I promise.  Come on now.”  I held my arms out and this time, Molly looked up.  When she saw that it was indeed me, she threw herself into my arms and collapsed on my shoulder in tears.  I held her close and encouraged her to just cry it out.  She needed to let her feelings out and it was okay for her to cry if she needed to.  She was scared and that was okay.  At least for now.  She was only a baby after all.  She didn’t understand what was going on and I didn’t like it.  As I gathered Molly up in my arms, I carried her to our bedroom and started to clean her injuries.  I put anticeptic on her cut lip and then applied ice, much to her dismay to her cheek.  I knew her jaw was going to hurt for awhile, so I gave her some children’s Tylenol and then just sat with her in my lap.  I rocked her back and forth and stroked her hair for what seemed like hours.  She didn’t want to let me go and she didn’t want to go anywhere without me.  As my bedroom door opened again, I looked up to see Julie, standing there.  She looked very scared.  Her eyes were full of   tears.  She also had a bruise on her right cheek.

“Oh Julie!”  I said gently.  “Come here, little one.”  I held my arm out to my little sister and Julie came over and dove into my lap.  I hugged both of my sisters tightly and gave them each a kiss on their heads.

After I comforted them for a little while longer, my mind started to fill with unanswered questions.  I knew I needed to get my sisters and myself out of Uncle Mark’s house, the question was, where was the safest place to go?

Just then, Molly broke me out of my thoughts.

“Fizzy,”  came Molly’s tearful voice.

“What was that, my little sunshine?”  I asked gently, glancing down at my upset and battered baby sister.

“I want Fizzy!  I want Fizzy!  I want Fizzy!”  Molly cried.

“Shh, hush now.  It’s okay.  All right.  If you want to see Fizzy, then that’s where we’ll go.  Come on.  Just let me pack our things and then we’ll leave.  We’re off to Ponyland.”

“For how long?”  Julie asked.

“I’m not sure.  A while.  I need to keep you guys safe and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Julie smiled through her remaining tears and gave me a kiss.

“Thanks Megan,”  Julie said.  ‘I love you.”

“Aw, I love you too, little one. I love you so much.”  I gave Julie a kiss and told her and Molly to wait in my room while I packed our things.

After the packing was done, I took Julie and Molly outside to the barn to wait for Firefly and Medley.  After I had opened up the Rainbow of Light, it only took Firefly and Medley five minutes to come.

As soon as are friends landed, I jumped on Firefly’s back and secured Molly in my lap.

Julie clung to Medley for all it was worth.

“It’s okay now, my sweet little hummingbird,”  Medley said, nuzzling Julie gently. “We’re going home now.”

Firefly nuzzled Molly and I an then asked,  “Megan, what happened, my sweet girl?”

I shook my head and told Firefly that we would talk about it later.

Firefly nodded and didn’t press the issue.  SHE just flew towards the Rainbow and Ponyland.

When we got to Ponyland, Medley and Julie went for a flight while I took Molly to the nursery and had cuddle time with her.  I read her a story and then took her temperature.  She had a little fever and she was also starting to cough a little.  I brought her some water and then told her to rest.  She wanted me to stay with her, which I did.  After I was sure that Molly was okay, I went to take a flight with Firefly.  I left Fizzy in charge of Molly for the time being.  I knew Fizzy would be able to take care of her for a little while.

 

 

A few days had passed since I had brought Molly and  Julie to safety in Ponyland.  For the first few days, Molly played happily with Fizzy and got reading lessons from Firefly.  While Julie spent time with Medley and did some homework that I had gotten from her teacher the previous week.

As for me, well I spent the time trying to figure out what our future held.  I knew we couldn’t go back to Uncle Mark’s house, but how long would we be able to stay in Ponyland before someone discovered us?  Time was not on our side and I was determined to keep my sisters with me, no matter what it took.

 

 

About a week after we had arrived in Ponyland, our semi normal lives came crashing down.  I had received a call from the school, saying that Molly’s teacher was wondering where Molly was.  I tried to make up an excuse, but then I  realized I couldn’t lie.  I also realized that I had to bring Molly and Julie back to our uncle’s house.  Sooner than later.  I didn’t know how I was going to tell Julie first.  I knew she would require some cuddle time after she was told the bad news.  Molly would want the same thing, but fortunately, Fizzy had taken Molly for a ride, so Molly didn’t know anything yet.

          I found Julie in the daisy field, picking some daisies.  She loved making things with them.  The daisy field was Julie’s special spot in Ponyland.

          I smiled as I sat down beside my little sister.  I put a hand on my little one’s shoulder and said gently,  “Julie, honey, we need to talk.  Come here, little one.”

I took Julie into my arms and gave her a hug and kiss.  I then picked Julie up and carried her back to the Estate.  Once we were inside, I sat down in the living room with Julie in my lap.  I started to stroke her hair gently.

“What’s the matter, Megan?”  Julie asked. Her voice was full of fear.

I sighed.  I knew I couldn’t keep Julie in the dark any longer.

“Molly’s teacher called this afternoon,”  I started, while still stroking Julie’s hair.  “She’s wondering where Molly is.”  I sighed before continuing.  “We might have to go back to Uncle Mark’s tomorrow.”

Julie shook her head and buried her face in my shoulder, letting out a wail like a fire engine.  But before Julie could speak, someone else spoke the words I was expecting to come out of Julie’s mouth.

          “No!  We can’t go back there!!  You promised we would NEVER have to go back there again!  You promised me!”  A tiny, tearful voice exclaimed.

          I looked up to see Molly standing in the doorway.  She looked hurt and really scared.  Tears were streaming down her face.

          “Molly!!”  I said sympathetically.  I motioned for Molly to come and join us, but she didn’t.  She backed up and ran out of the room, crying.

          I turned to Julie and said,  “Little one, I need to talk to Molly.  Is it okay if I leave you with Medley for awhile?”

Julie nodded.  She loved Medley to pieces. 

After I made sure that Julie was going to be okay in Medley’s care, I went to see if I could make my little sunshine feel better.

          “Can’t we just live here and Medley and Firefly could take us over the Rainbow for school?”  Julie asked, her voice tearful, but it was also full of hope.

          I thought about this for  a moment.

          “That might work.  Let me think about it.  But for right now, I have to go talk to Molly.”  With that, I left the room. 

I found Molly in her room.  She was laying on her bed, with her face buried in her pillow.  She was crying pretty hard and Fizzy was trying to comfort her.

          “It’s goin’ to be okay,”  Fizzy comforted.  “Megan would never let anything bad happen to you.  She loves you.”

          “Fizzy’s right,”  I said, sitting next to Molly and holding out my arms.  “Come here, my little sunshine.  Come to your big sister where you belong.  Come on now.”  I gave Molly a warm smile and slowly but surely, she sat up and collapsed in my lap, sobbing into my shoulder.

          “I’m scared!”  Molly wailed.  “I don’t want to go back there!  I want to stay here!  I want to stay here!!  Please Megan, don’t take us back there!  Please.”  She cried harder as I rubbed her back and stroked her hair.

          “Shh,”  I soothed.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  Everything’s going to be okay.  I promise.  Julie might have come up with a good solution.  What if we continue to live here, but Firefly, Medley and Lofty take us over the Rainbow every day for school and bring us back in the afternoon.  Would that sound okay?”

Molly thought about this for a moment, then said,  “Okay.”  I smiled as I saw a tiny smile spreading across her face. 

          “Aw, that’s my little sunshine.  Now, let’s get you ready for bed.  It’s getting close to naptime.”

          “Megan?”  Molly said a few minutes later.  Her voice sounded tearful and scared.

          “Yes, sweetie?”  I asked.

          “Do I have to go to school?”  She asked.  “I don’t like it.”

          I was taken aback by Molly’s question.  Molly was very smart for her age and she loved to read and draw.  Why on earth wouldn’t she want to go to school?

          “Why don’t you want to go?”  I asked.

          Molly shrugged.

          “I don’t have any friends,”  Molly said as she snuggled into me and clung to me for all it was worth.

          I frowned.

          “Of course you do.  You have Rebecca and Melody.”

          Molly shook her head.

          “Not anymore.  Melody left for California and Rebecca is being mean to me now.  She has other friends.”

          I nodded and hugged Molly close.  I had no idea that she was going through this.

          “Aw, honey, I’m sure you’ll make new friends.  You’re a very sweet and loving little girl.”

          “No I won’t,”  Molly said.

          I sighed as I rocked Molly back and forth and stroked her hair.  As I started to sing to her, she started falling asleep.  As I tucked her in, I gave her a kiss and said,  ‘I love you, my little sunshine.  Sweet dreams.  I’ll see you when you wake up.”  With that, I left the room to check on Julie.

 

 

That night, Molly didn’t eat much dinner.  She ate only one plate and she didn’t even eat the ice cream I offered her.  As I got her ready for bed, she pleaded with me not to make her go back to school.  I just cuddled with her and promised her that everything was going to be okay.  Little did I know how wrong I was going to be.

          As I got ready for bed that night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I just kept thinking about what Molly had said earlier.  How could she not have any friends?  She was the sweetest little girl I knew.  As I finally fell asleep, I got my answer the next afternoon, whether I was ready for it or not.

 

 

The next day, I woke up and got Molly and Julie up for school.  Julie grumbled slightly, but obeyed.  Molly woke up crying.  She clung to me all through breakfast and only ate a little bit of her cereal that I had made for her.  After the breakfast dishes were cleaned, I got my own book bag ready and helped Molly get her stuff together.

          When we got to school, I dismounted from Firefly and thanked her for helping us.

“It’s my pleasure, my sweet girl,”  Firefly said, while nuzzling me gently.

I patted her mane in return as I set Molly down so that she could say good-bye to Firefly.

Julie had already dismounted from Medley and was giving her a hug.  She would miss her, but I knew that Julie couldn’t wait to see Charlotte either.

          As for Molly, well, she wasn’t so ready to leave Firefly.  She burst into tears and wrapped her arms around Firefly’s neck, breathing in the sweet and familiar scent of strawberries and honey suckle as she cried into Firefly’s mane.  Molly was scared and I knew it.  I was scared too, but I couldn’t show it.  I had to be brave for Julie and Molly.  I had to be brave for my little sunshine and little one.  I couldn’t let them see my fear.  That would only make them feel worse. 

          “Aw, shh,”  Firefly soothed.  “it’s okay, my precious peanut.  It’s going to be okay, sweetie.  I promise.  You’ll be back in Ponyland before you know it.  And I know Megan will take good care of you.”

          Molly shook her head as more tears came.

          Medley gave me a worried look as she nuzzled Julie good-bye.

          “Hey ya know what I want you to do for me?”  Firefly asked as she nuzzled Molly gently,  “Ya know what would make me really happy?”

“What?”  Molly asked through her tears.

“I would really like it if you drew me a picture in art class.  I love your pictures.  They are so pretty.”

“What do you say?”  I prompted Molly.

“Thank you,” Molly said tearfully.

“Aw, you’re welcome, my precious peanut.  It’s true.  Can you do that for me?  Will you draw me a pretty picture today?”

Molly nodded.

“Aw, that’s my precious peanut.  I can’t wait to see it.  Now, I want you to go with Megan and have a very good day.  I know you will.  I love you, honey.”

Molly nodded as she gave Firefly a hug and tried to stop crying.

“Aw, that’s my girl.  Now, just in case you’re day doesn’t go so well, I have a surprise for you when you come home this afternoon.”

Molly’s eyes lit up and the tears almost stopped.

“You do?”  She asked.

Firefly nodded.

“But I can’t tell you what it is now.  You’ll just have to wait and see.  Now, will you promise me something?”

“Uh-huh,”  Molly said.

“I want you to promise me that you’ll be a good girl today and try your best at everything Miss Elle asks you to do.  Can you do that, sweetie?”

“Yes,”  Molly said.  “I can do that.”

“Aw, that’s my precious peanut.  All right, I’ll see you two this afternoon.  Have a good day, my sweet girl.”  Firefly directed the last part of her sentence at me as she nuzzled Molly one last time before nuzzling me and moving towards the fence to leave.

“I will,” I said as I patted her mane gently before picking Molly up and heading into the building.

After Firefly and Medley had taken flight towards the rainbow, Molly wrapped her arms around my waist and burst into tears. 

Julie gave me a worried look as Charlotte came over to us. She smiled and took Julie’s hand.

“Is Molly going to be okay?”  Julie asked, frowning.

I nodded as I gave my little one a kiss and hug.

“Yes.  Molly’s going to be fine, my little one.  You have a good day now, okay?”

Julie nodded as she returned my kiss and hug. She then bent down and gave Molly a hug.  After that, Julie took Charlotte’s hand and the two best friends made their way into the building and towards their classroom.

After Julie and Charlotte were gone, I picked Molly up and took her into a small conference room that was just to the right of the main office.  I set her in my lap and sat in a chair.

          “Molly, I want you to look at me, sweetie,”  I said gently.

          Molly did so, but she was still crying.

          “I know you’re scared, honey.  I know, but you’re going to be okay.  I promise.  I’ll pick you up in your classroom at the end of the day.  I promise.  Now, do you think you can be a brave girl for me?”

          Molly thought about this and then asked,  “What if the kids make fun of me?”
          “Well, if they make fun of you, then they will have Danny to deal with.”

          Molly cracked a small smile at this.  We both knew that Danny was capable of beating up anyone who threatened us.

          “Okay,”  Molly said finally.  “You promise you’ll come to pick me up after school’s over?”

          I nodded and hugged Molly close to me.

          “I promise.”  I gave Molly a kiss and hug.  Then I slipped the Rainbow of Light off my neck and slipped it around hers.  “There ya go.  That way, you’ll have a little piece of me with you today.”

          Molly smiled and gave me a hug.

          “Thanks Megan.  I love you.”

          “Aw, I love you too, sweetie.  Very much.”

          After I walked Molly to her classroom, I gave her a hug and kiss.  As I held Molly close, she returned my hug and kiss and then said,  “I can’t wait until the end of the day.”

          “Why?”  I asked.

          “Because then I can come back to where I belong.”

          “And where’s that?”  I asked, giving Molly a loving smile.

          “In your arms safe and sound.”

          I hugged Molly close once again and gave her shoulder a gentle pat before I left to go to my own classroom.

 

 

When recess rolled around, I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  As I walked out onto the playground, I went to my usual bench to read a book.  As I opened it to the chapter I had started the night before, I heard a few kids chanting and yelling something.  I tried to ignore it, until I heard someone say,  “Hey!!  Leave her alone!  She didn’t do anything to you.”

          “Why should we?”  An older boy asked.

          “Because if you don’t,”  the first girl said,  ‘I’ll go and get her sister.  She’s sitting right over there.”

          As I raised my head up, I saw a girl about the age of seven, point to me.  She had long light brown hair and she was carrying a pony that looked like Fizzy in her hand.  She was standing over a smaller girl protectively.  As I stood up, I could see that the smaller girl was Molly! 

I threw my book down and ran over to her.  As I got closer, I hid behind a tree to see if the boys and other girl were going to listen.

          As the older girl moved closer, the other kids scattered.  After they were gone, the older girl bent down and sat beside Molly.

          “Hi,”  she said.  “Are you okay?  My name is Samantha.  I’m in Miss Gabriella’s second grade class.  You’re Molly, right?”

          Molly nodded and gave the girl a small smile.

          “I’m four.  I’m in Miss Elle’s pre-kindergarten class.  Thank you.”

          “You’re welcome,”  Samantha said.  “Those kids are really mean.  I got picked on last year, so I know what It’s like.  It’s not much fun.  Do you think you can stand?”

          Molly nodded and tried, but she burst into tears from pain.

          “It’s okay,”  Samantha comforted.  “I’ll go get the nurse for you.”  As she got up, I figured it was my cue to intervene.  I stepped out from behind the tree and walked over to where Molly and Samantha were sitting.  I knelt down in front of Molly and held out my arms.

          “It’s okay,”  I soothed.  “It’s all right, my little sunshine.  Megan’s here now.  Come to your big sister.”

“Where I belong,”  Molly said through her tears.

“That’s right, my little sunshine.  In your big sister’s arms safe and sound.”  I scooped her up and held her close, wanting so badly to protect her from anything like this happening ever again.  After all, she had enough to deal with at home.  She didn’t need this too.

          “I was just walking by,”  Samantha said, starting to explain.  “And I saw Molly being pushed down by some older kids.  They started calling her names and one boy tripped her and she fell and scratched her cheek.  That’s when I showed up and scared them off.  I’m Samantha Williams.  I’m seven.  Your Molly’s sister, right?”

          I nodded and held my hand out for Samantha to shake.

          “Yes.  My name is Megan.  It’s nice to meet you Samantha.  And thank you again for helping Molly.  She’s okay now, if you want to go and play.  I’m going to take care of her now.”

          Samantha shook her head.

          “No.  I want to make sure she’s okay.  She looks pretty scared.”

          I nodded as I stroked Molly’s hair and picked her up so that we could go to the nurse.          We ended up going back to Ponyland early that day. 

As we waited for Firefly to come and get us, Molly sat in my lap and tried to bury her face in my shoulder.  She was crying and she was starting to shiver a little.  I felt her forehead and frowned when I discovered that she was warm.  Was she coming down with something?

As I took a sippy cup of Ginger Ale out of my bag, I looked up to see Firefly coming towards us.  I put the Ginger Ale back in my bag and swung the bag over my shoulder.  I got to my feet, while picking Molly up and went to meet our friend.  As soon as Firefly landed, Molly squirmed to be let down.  She wanted comfort from Firefly and Firefly was ready to give her precious peanut what she needed.

“Let me go!”  Molly cried as I began to put her down.  “Let me go!  I want Firefly!  I want Firefly!  Let me go!  I want Firefly!”  She was crying harder and I had to get her calmed down before she made herself sick.

“Shh,”  I soothed while stroking Molly’s hair as I put her down,  “hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay.  There ya go.  It’s all right.  Go on.”

Firefly gave me a worried look as Molly rushed forward and threw her arms around Firefly’s neck, burying her face in her other best friend’s mane as she continued to cry.

“Aw, it’s okay my precious peanut.  It’s all right now.  Shh.  Hush now.  Did someone have a bad day?”  Firefly nuzzled Molly gently for about five minutes before I put my hand on Molly’s shoulder and lifted her up once again.  We needed to get going before anyone spotted us.

“Come on,”  I said gently.  “You can spend time with Firefly when we get home.  I promise.”

Molly was still crying, but she allowed me to pick her up and hold her while I climbed onto Firefly’s back and prepared for the fifteen minute journey back to Ponyland.

When we got there, I thanked Firefly for the ride and patted her mane gently.

“It’s no problem my sweet girl,”  Firefly said, giving me a warm smile.  “I would do anything for you.  You’re my best friend after all.”

I nodded as I headed for the nursery.  Once there, I put Molly to bed and stayed with her for most of the afternoon.  She didn’t want me to leave her for anything. 

When Julie came home that afternoon, I told her what had happened.  She frowned and said,  “I hope Molly feels better soon.  I know!  I’ll make her a get well card. That will make her smile.”

I smiled too.  Julie was so sweet.

“I’ll bet she’ll like that, little one.”  I said, giving Julie a kiss and hug.  “Now why don’t you go and work on it and then you and Medley can take a little flight before dinner.”

Julie nodded and ran off.

After Julie was gone, I sank down on the couch for a little relaxation.  The day had been really tiring for me as well as my sisters.

 

 

The next day, I kept Molly home from school.  Julie wanted to stay home too, but I didn’t let her.  She wasn’t sick and I knew she just didn’t want to go because I wasn’t going, but I wouldn’t hear any of it.

          “You’re going and that’s that.”  I said firmly.  “Now get your book bag and go wait for Medley by the apple tree.  She knows where to go.”

          Julie nodded and went to get her things.  Before she left, she gave me a hug and kiss, but I could tell she wasn’t happy with me. She then gave Molly a more sincere hug.

          “Have a good day, little one,”  I said, giving Julie’s shoulder a pat.

Julie nodded and climbed on Medley.  She was still a little mad at me, but I knew Julie wouldn’t stay mad for long.

“Do you think Julie is going to be okay?”  Molly asked as I carried her into the living room so that she could play a game with Fizzy while I did the breakfast dishes.

I nodded.

“Yup.  Julie’s going to be fine.”  I gave Molly a kiss as I set her down and went to get the game that she and Fizzy wanted to play.

 

 

Later that afternoon, I was helping Julie with her homework when my cell phone went off.  Thinking it was Alice, I picked it up without looking at the caller ID. Boy was that ever a mistake.

          “Hello?”  I asked, a little warily.

          “Megan?  Is that you?  Where the hell are you?  Where did you take your sisters?  Wait until you get back home.  I’m going to make you sorry you ever set foot outside this house!  You just wait you little bitch!”

          I froze as I realized who was on the other end of the phone.  In my fear, I dropped the phone and it disconnected the phone call.

          “Megan?”  Julie said, breaking me out of my thoughts.  “Who was that on the phone?”

          “No-no one.”  I stammered, trying to regain my composure.  “It was the wrong number.”

          “No it wasn’t.”  Julie said.  “I know when you’re lying.  You never lie.  Who was on the phone?”

          I took a deep breath and said,  “It was Uncle Mark.”

          “We’re not going back, are we?”  Julie’s voice was full of fear and unshed tears.

           “I’m not sure,”  I said.  “I don’t know how to answer that.”

          Julie nodded as her lower lip started to quiver.  She burst into tears and wrapped her arms around my waist.  I picked my little one up and gave her a kiss and hug.  I stroked Julie’s hair and sung her to sleep.  I knew she needed a nap.  After I tucked Julie in and checked on Molly, I went to take a nap of my own. I wanted to take a flight with Firefly, but I would do that later.  Right now, I needed some rest.

 

 

A week had gone by since Uncle Mark had called and threatened us and since then, nothing big had happened.  Uncle Mark hadn’t called me again and it seemed like everything was going to be okay.  Until Wednesday afternoon that was.

          I had finally resigned to the fact of sending Molly back to school.  She didn’t want to go and showed it by clinging to me the night before and begging to sleep with me.  I let her and didn’t object.  She was scared and I understood, but she had to go back to school some time.  We had to keep up a semi normal routine.  It was the only way to keep the police or any other social services worker out of it.  I was determined to keep my sisters with me.  No matter what it took.

          As I got Molly ready for school that day, she didn’t eat much breakfast and started complaining of a stomachache.  I felt her forehead and she was a little warm, but not much.

          “You don’t have a fever,”  I said, after taking her temperature.

          Molly pouted as I did her hair and got myself ready. 

After I had gotten my book bag ready, I made sure that Julie and Molly had their things and we were off.  Julie hopped on Medley and I hopped on Firefly, while holding Molly in my lap.

When we got there, Julie said good-bye to Medley, Molly, Firefly and I and then ran off with Charlotte.  Molly didn’t want to leave Firefly, but I assured my little sunshine that she would see her later.

 

 

The morning went okay for both of us.  But around lunchtime, the unthinkable happened.  I was eating lunch when my teacher, Mrs. Shannen, came up to me.  She was frowning.

          “Megan,”  she said, her voice was soft,  “honey, you need to go to the principal’s office.”

          I nodded and threw away the rest of my stuff.  I wasn’t that hungry anyway.  As I rounded the corner to the principal’s office, I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  As I walked inside, Miss Pearlson, told me to go inside and I did.  When I opened the door, I froze in my tracks.  There, sitting in a chair across from the principal, was Uncle Mark!

I ducked behind the door so that I could listen to what they were saying.  For the first few minutes, they just did idol chit-chat.  Then Uncle Mark said something that broke my heart and chilled my blood.

          “Yes, I have made arrangements for Molly to be taken to my ex-wife’s house.  I Think some time apart from her sisters will teach Megan the lesson she needs to learn.”

          I stood there, unable to move.  I couldn’t believe it.  It couldn’t be true.  Uncle Mark couldn’t take Julie and Molly away from me.  He just couldn’t. This had to be a dream.  A nightmare.  Anything but the truth.  But yet, something in the pit of my stomach told me that it was anything but a dream.  It was real.  And if I was going to save Julie and Molly, I had to do something fast.  I stood there for another few minutes before sisterly protection took over.  I bolted out of the office, shouting a hurried bathroom excuse to Mrs. Pearlson.  She bought it and didn’t say a word.  I ran all the way to Molly’s classroom.  I knocked on the door and waited for someone to answer it.

          “Yes?”  Came Miss Elle’s voice.  She was nice and very sweet.  I had had her for a pre-kindergarten teacher myself.  “Why hello,  Megan.  How are you today?”

          I forced a smile on my face.

          “Fine.  I need to take Molly home early.  A family emergency came up.”

          Miss Elle nodded and then frowned.  ‘I was just about to call your teacher.  Molly has been complaining of a tummy ache and she had a fever the last time I checked.  She’s laying down over there.”  Miss Elle pointed to a matt and I went over to it.  I knelt down beside it and put my hand on Molly’s shoulder.

          “Molly,”  I said softly.  “Molly, honey, time to wake up, my little sunshine.  It’s time to go home.”

          Slowly, Molly opened her eyes and when she saw me, she sat up and reached her arms out to me.

“Come here, sweetie.  Come to Megan.”

“Where I belong,”  Molly said, her voice was tired, but she had a small smile on her face.  The smile didn’t last long though.

“That’s right, Moll.  In your big sister’s arms safe and sound.”  I took her  into my lap and just held her close for a moment . I could feel the heat radiating from her  and I felt so bad that I didn’t believe her earlier.

          “Megan, my tummy hurts!”  Molly whimpered against my shoulder.  ‘I feel yucky!”

          “Shh,”  I soothed,  “hush now, my little sunshine.  You’re going to be okay.  I have you now.  I’m going to take care of you.  I Promise.  Come on now.  We’re going back to-“

          “You aren’t going anywhere young lady.”  A stern voice said from behind me.

          I stood up and whirled around to find Uncle Mark and the principal, along with a woman who I assumed was a social worker, standing just inside the door.  I froze for about a minute, not realizing what to do.  I tried to remain calm.  I was scared out of my wits but I couldn’t show it.  I had to keep it together for Molly. I had to be brave for her.  I couldn’t let her see that I was scared too.  I Just couldn’t.

          Miss Elle came to my rescue, buying me at least a few minutes.

          “Megan, why don’t you take Molly to go potty and your Uncle can wait for you.”

          I nodded and mouthed a thank you to her as I left the room, pushing passed Uncle Mark without a problem.

          When we reached the sanctuary of the bathroom, I sat on a chair, with Molly still in my arms.  I didn’t even have time to catch my breath before Molly said tearfully,  “Megan, I don’t feel so good.”

          “What’s the matter?”  I asked, although I thought I knew what was wrong.  “Is your tummy feeling sick?”

          Molly nodded and started crying harder.

          “Shh,”  I soothed as I carried her into one of the stalls and set her down in front of the toilet.  “It’s okay.  You’re going to be all right.  I promise.”  I sat there, rubbing Molly’s back and stroking her hair and trying to help her feel better.  I hated it when she was sick.

          When Molly’s stomach had finally calmed down, I took her into my lap and hugged her close.  I knew I was going to have to tell her what was going to happen sooner or later and I knew sooner was better.  But before I spoke, Molly asked me a question that I wasn’t ready for.

          “Is Uncle Mark going to take me away from you?”  She sounded so scared and unsure that I just wanted to hold her and never let her go.

          “Yes,”  I said, not knowing what else to say.  “But I’m not going to let him touch you.”

“Promise?”  Molly asked.

I couldn’t say yes.  I knew I couldn’t.  It broke my heart that I couldn’t protect Molly from this, but I knew I couldn’t lie to her either.

“No,”  I said softly.  ‘I can’t promise you that, my little sunshine.  I’m sorry. I just can’t.  But I can promise you that I will always love you and no matter what happens, I’ll get you back.”

Molly burst into tears of fear as I sat there, trying to comfort her.  She didn’t want to leave me and I didn’t want to lose her.  But I knew there was no way around it.

          The walk back to the classroom felt like a long one.  When I got halfway there, I realized something.  I couldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t just hand Molly over to my uncle willingly.  I Had to do something.  I slipped the Rainbow of Light around  my neck and prayed that my plan was going to work.  It was the only one I had.

          When we reached the classroom, Uncle Mark snickered with delight as he held his arms out.

          I tried to keep Molly calm while trying to open up the Rainbow of Light.

          “Not so fast,”  I said.  “You have to promise me something first.”

          “Megan?”  Molly asked, her voice tearful.

          “Shh,”  I hushed.  “It’s okay.”  I soothed while pulling out the Rainbow of Light with my free hand.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s going to be okay.  You’re okay.  You’re safe and sound in my arms where you belong.  It’s okay.”

          Molly nodded, but she pushed herself deeper into me.  Her fingernails were digging into my skin.

          Once I had successfully gotten a hold of my cherished locket, I turned back to Uncle Mark

“You have to promise me that you’ll bring her back  and you’ll let me know where she is.”

          Uncle Mark shook his head.

          “I don’t think so, young lady.  I don’t think that’s how punishments work.  Now give me your sister like a good little girl.”

          It was my turn to shake my head.

 “I don’t think so.”  With that, I successfully opened up the locket.  “Rainbow, do your stuff!”  I said commandingly.

The Rainbow jetted out of the locket at the sound of its keeper’s words.  It made a protective heart around us and tried to protect us from this threat.  The Rainbow continued to surround us as I held a now hysterical Molly in my arms.

I started to stroke Molly’s hair and gave her a kiss on her cheek.  I needed to calm her down for fear that she would make herself throw up again if she didn’t relax.

          “Shh,”  I soothed.  “It’s okay, my little sunshine.  You’re okay.  Megan has you.  You’re safe and sound in my arms where you belong.  You’re all right.  That’s my little sunshine.  That’s it.  You’re okay.  It’s all-“  But I was interrupted as I felt a shove from behind me.  In that instant, the Rainbow of Light broke my fall, but as I fell, I lost my grip and Molly was wrenched from my protective hold.

          “Megan!!”  Molly cried out.  “Megan!  Megan, help!  Help me!!  Please!!  Me-Megan!”  She was crying harder now and I felt so bad.  I wanted so badly to rescue my, but I didn’t know how.  At least not at the moment.  I was so stunned, that I didn’t even realize that the Rainbow of Light had gone back into the locket. 

I touched it gently, hoping it would help me find a solution.  All the while, Uncle Mark was carrying my little sunshine away from me. 

I sprang up and went to run after them, but I found that I wasn’t fast enough.  Uncle Mark was much taller than me and he was out of the door before I could even make two steps to catch up.  Feeling nothing but defeat and fear for what lay in store for my baby sister, I sank to the floor and began to cry.  I had failed.  I had failed myself, but more than that, I had failed Molly.  I Had promised her that I would always protect her.  But I hadn’t.  I had let him take her and I didn’t even do anything about it.  And now she had been taken away from me.   For gosh knew how long.  And it was all my fault.

          I don’t know how long I had been sitting there, but soon I felt a comforting hand on my shoulder and a gentle voice said,  “It’s okay.  It’s okay now.  Everything’s going to be okay.”

          I looked up and saw Miss Elle standing behind me.  She had her hand on my shoulder and she was trying to comfort me.  I let out a sob and let Miss Elle pull me into a hug.

          “How can you say that?”  I asked.  “How can you say that everything is going to be okay!  It’s never going to be okay again.  Molly’s gone.  She’s in for beatings and gosh knows what else and It’s all my fault!”

          “Shh,”  Miss Elle comforted.  “It’s not your fault, Megan.  It’s not.  I saw what you did.  I saw what goodness you have inside of you.  And it wasn’t your fault.  You’ll get Molly back sooner than you think.  I promise.  Now, why don’t you go and get Julie and go back home.  I think you two deserve an early day and a day off tomorrow.”  She smiled at me warmly as she gave me another hug.  It was only after I had broke away from Miss Elle’s comforting and loving embrace did I remember Julie.  I gasped and ran from the room.  I had to save my little one if it was the last thing I did.  Thank goodness Julie had lunch around this time.  I raced to the cafeteria and spotted my little sister.  She was eating lunch with Charlotte and their friend, Ariel.

          I smiled at the three girls as I walked over.  I was trying not to look like anything was wrong, but it was hard.  I couldn’t hide it and I knew I would have to tell Julie what happened to Molly sooner or later, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it right now.  First thing was first, I had to get Julie back to Ponyland and now.

          “Hey there, little one,”  I said, putting my hand on Julie’s shoulder.  “It’s time to go home.  You’ll get to see Medley early today.”

Julie smiled and got up.  But as she lifted her arms up to me and I picked her up, she frowned.

“Is something wrong?”  Julie asked.

“What makes you think that?”  I asked as I carried Julie out of the cafeteria and towards the door to the playground so that we could meet Firefly and Medley.

Julie shrugged.

“Because you look scared,”  she finally replied.  “And you never take Molly and me out of school early.  Where is Molly anyway?”  Why isn’t she with you?”

I frowned as I tried to stall for time. I set Julie down and pulled out the Rainbow of Light.  I opened it up and waited for Firefly and Medley to come. Even though the signal was only for Firefly to see, I knew that Medley would come too.

Julie tapped me on the shoulder after I had released the Rainbow and asked,  “Where’s Molly?”

          I sighed and gave in.  I had to tell Julie and I couldn’t keep it from her any longer. As painful as it was, she had the right to know.  She was Molly’s sister too.

          “Julie, honey, I need you to listen to Megan really carefully, okay little one?”  As I said this, I knelt down in front of Julie and took her into my arms part way.

          Julie nodded and her lower lip started to quiver.  I could tell she was going to start to cry and soon.  I was fighting back my own tears as well.

          “This afternoon, Uncle Mark came and he-“  But before I could finish my sentence, I looked up and saw Firefly and Medley coming towards us.  I stopped, stood up and braced myself for the questions that were going to be asked.  After all, it was only one-thirty in the afternoon.  Firefly would know something was wrong.  I could never fool my best friend.

          When Firefly  and Medley landed, Julie ran to Medley and threw her arms around her best pony friend’s neck.  She started to cry and buried her face in Medley’s mane.

Medley started to nuzzle Julie and stroke her hair with her front left hoof.

“There, there now, my sweet little hummingbird, it’s okay.  What’s the matter, sweetie?”  Medley asked as she gave Julie a kiss on her cheek.

Firefly nodded as she nuzzled me gently.

That did it.  I threw my arms around Firefly’s neck and burst into tears, burying my face in Firefly’s mane, desperately seeking my best friend’s comfort.

Firefly nuzzled me again and started to stroke my hair gently.

As for Julie, well she was still crying, but she had climbed onto Medley’s back and had her face buried in her pretty Medley’s neck.

          “Megan?  Megan, what’s the matter, my sweet girl?”  Firefly asked in concern, using her special name for me.

          I continued to cry as I buried my face in Firefly’s mane, breathing in the sweet scent of strawberries and honeysuckle.  It was familiar and very soothing.

          “Shh, shh, hush now, shh, it’s okay my sweet girl.  It’s okay.”  Firefly soothed as she continued to stroke my hair with her front right hoof.  “It’s going to be okay, sweetie.  What happened, honey?”

          I let out a sob as I tried to calm down.

          “Un-Uncle Mark took Molly!”  I sobbed, clinging to Firefly for all it was worth.  “He grabbed her right out of my arms.  She’s gone!  It’s all my fault!”

That was it for Julie.  She let out a wail like a fire engine and started to cry harder.  I felt so bad for her, but I couldn’t comfort my little one right now.  I was too upset and needed some comforting of my own.  Besides, I knew she was safe with Medley.  Medley would take good care of her.

“It’s all my fault!”  I repeated tearfully.

Firefly shook her head and nuzzled me gently.

          “No it’s not, sweetie.  It’s not your fault.  Do you hear me, Megan Julia Hartson?”

          I nodded and tried to calm down.

          “it’s not your fault.  We’ll get my precious peanut back.  I know we will.”  Firefly nuzzled me again and continued to stroke my hair until I calmed down enough to climb on her back for the twenty minute journey back to Ponyland.

 

 

By the time we had reached Ponyland and Paradise Estate, I had calmed down considerably, but I was still feeling really bad.  The other thing was, I had no idea how I was going to tell Fizzy what had happened.  I knew my friend was worried about us and knowing that Molly had been taken would just make Fizzy feel worse.  I knew I had to tell her, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it.

 

 

Dinner was a quiet affair that night.  Julie didn’t eat much and I didn’t have the heart to punish her. She was upset and so was I.  Firefly managed to coax me to eat one plate of food and that was all.  she then took me for a flight to try and help me feel better.  It worked a little bit, but I was still feeling really bad.

          When we got back to the Estate, Fizzy came into the living room to see how I was doing.  I had told her what had happened before dinner and she too was scared for Molly, but she knew everything was going to be okay.  I knew it too, but for some reason I couldn’t believe it at the time.

          “It’s goin’ to be okay,” Fizzy said, nuzzling me gently.  “I know it will.  Molly will be back with us soon.”

          I nodded as I gave Fizzy a hug and patted her mane gently.  She was really a good friend to all three of us, Molly especially.

 

 

Later that night, Firefly tucked me in bed and stayed with me for awhile.  I had already tucked Julie in and now Medley was trying to help her get to sleep.  My poor little one was having trouble as was I.  I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.  I closed my eyes, but every time I Tried to fall asleep, I would see the afternoon events play back in my mind over and over again.  It was like watching a movie on constant rewind.  It was terrible!

          It was the longest night of my life.  I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat.  All I thought about was Molly.  And with another pang of guilt, I realized that I hadn’t even told her I loved her before Uncle Mark snatched her from me.  Did she know?  Did she know that even though I couldn’t save her from him, that I still and would always love her?  With that question rolling around in my head, I cried myself into a restless sleep.

 

 

The next week and a half was a sleepless, appetiteless and very nerve wracking couple of days for Julie and I.  Julie just kept asking me when Molly was coming home and I couldn’t tell her. I felt so bad, but I didn’t have the answers my little one was looking for.

I hadn’t heard from Uncle Mark and not that it didn’t surprise me, but I needed to hear that my little sunshine was okay.  I knew she was scared and she needed me, but there was no way of finding her.  Unless Uncle Mark actually had the decency to let her call me. 

I was surprised when the phone rang on Wednesday night and I picked it up to hear a familiar, small voice on the other end.

          “Hello?”  I asked, not sure if I wanted to know who was on the other end.

          “Me-Megan?”  Came Molly’s scared and tearful tone.

          “Molly?  Oh my goodness.  Where are you?  Are you okay?  I’m so sorry!”  My words came out in a rush as did tears from my green eyes.

          “I can’t tell you,”  She said tearfully.  “I’m scared!  I want to come home.  I want to be back in your arms, safe and sound  where I belong!  I want to be back where I belong!  I don’t like it here.  Megan, I’m scared!  I want to come back home!  I want to be back where I belong!”

          “Aw, I know you do, my little sunshine.  I Know you’re scared, but don’t worry, I’ll get you back soon.  I love you, sweetie.”

          Before Molly had a chance to respond to my words, I heard a hand connect with something that sounded like another person’s body and then the line went dead.  I sat there, scared for her and not knowing what had happened.  I could guess all right though.  The phone call had just been ended and Molly, undeserving it, had just been physically punished for making it.  I resolved then and there to rescue my little sister from that horrible place, if it was the last thing I did.

 

 

The next week shed some light on what we were going through in the way of a social worker who was on our side.  She had documents and letters from various relatives that stated that I was mature enough and responsible enough to take care of Molly and Julie on my own.  I felt a glimmer of hope in knowing that, but it still didn’t change the fact that Molly wasn’t with me.  I wanted my little sunshine back so badly, I was willing to do anything to get her back.

          About a day after Jasmine Gallard had called, she came to see us at school.  The principal called me down once again and when I got there, I found Mrs. Gallard, sitting in a chair opposite mine.  She gave me a warm smile and shook my hand.  After we had introduced each other, she explained what getting Molly back would entail.  I was ready to do anything.  Anything except…

          “No!”  I said, almost defiantly.  “I AM NOT going to live with Uncle Mark and Aunt Kara.  I would sooner quit school before doing something that crazy.”

          Mrs. Gallard nodded.

          “I understand how you feel Megan, I really-“

          I shook my head.  My green eyes blazing with anger.

          “How could you?  You’ve never lost a sister to an abusive creep.  You’ve never had your baby sister wrenched from your arms, the arms that were meant to protect her and not be able to do anything about it.  So don’t you DARE sit there and tell me you know what I’m going through, because you DON’T!!”

          Mrs. Gallard nodded and gave me a drink of water.  Then she said,  “I’m sorry for what you’re going through and I want to help, but I’m afraid the only way you’re going to be able to get your sister back is if you do what your Uncle says.  Then we can get a court appearance to grant another relative full custody of you and your sisters and possibly even grant you half guardian ship of Julie and Molly.”

          I nodded and listened intently.  I knew there was no way the court would award custody to me.  I was only twelve years old, but maybe if I found someone for us to live with, someone other than Uncle Mark.  Maybe, it would just work out.

          “Okay,”  I said, sighing and resigning to the fact of doing it Uncle Mark’s way for now.  “I’ll do what he says.  If and only if, you promise me that you’ll check on us every day and not take his word for our well being.  He can be really crafty when he wants to be.”

          Mrs. Gallard nodded and promised me that she would.  She also said that she would be taking me and Julie back to Uncle Mark’s house in a week.  So that’s what it came down to.  A week.  One more week before I would be reunited with my little sunshine.  But at what price?  What price were we all going to pay for us to be reunited again?  I didn’t want to even think about it.  Now wasn’t the time to think about it.  I had to think about how I was going to protect Molly and Julie from Uncle Mark until we were able to get in touch with the person I prayed could help us.  It was a long shot, but I needed to at least try and contact this person.  She was our only chance at a semi-normal non-violent life.  And I was more determined now than ever to make that possible for Molly and Julie.  Especially for Molly.

 

 

The night we returned to Uncle Mark’s house, or rather arrived at Aunt Kara’s house, was a night I would never, ever forget. 

I got out of the car and I had barely gotten my stuff through the front door when Uncle Mark pushed me inside and said,  “Go up to your room.  You both are sharing one with that brat sister of yours.”  Then he slapped Julie across the face and added,  “now get out of my sight!”

I didn’t need telling twice.  I slung my bag over my back and picked my little one up.  I carried Julie upstairs and went into the room all of us would be sharing.  After I had closed the door, I sat on the bed and hugged Julie close.  She was bruised and shaking from fear.

“Shh, shh, hush now, little one. It’s okay, little one. It’s okay, Julie.  It’s okay.  Megan has you now.  I have you, little one.  Everything’s going to be okay.”  I started to stroke Julie’s hair gently and started to sing to her, hoping it would help her feel better.  “You can find a Rainbow anywhere, even in a cloudy sky.  If you keep your outlook upward bound, you’ll find Rainbows by and by.  The world is bright with color.  When sunlight is in your heart.  Once you begin feeling joy deep within, your eyes will open with a start!  You’ll be seeing Rainbows everywhere.  Happens every place you go.  You’ll be hearing music in the air, the world will take on a golden glow!  So if skies are grey, why should you care?  You can find a Rainbow, anywhere!”  I smiled down at Julie who was still crying a little and asked, “Aw, now don’t you feel better, little one?”

Julie nodded and buried her face in my shoulder.

“Aw, that’s my girl.  All right. Let me get us unpacked and then I’ll go find Molly okay?  You just sit tight.”  I handed Julie her beloved stuffed cat she had named Sagwa and began to unpack our stuff.

As I glanced to the right, I immediately saw that Molly’s bed was made and empty.  Thinking of nothing but holding my little sunshine again, I got to work on unpacking. 

After I had unpacked my clothes and some books, I Slipped the Rainbow of Light around my neck and went to wash up.

“I’ll be right back, okay little one?”  I asked, giving Julie’s shoulder a gentle pat and kissing her cheek.

Julie nodded and gave me a small smile.

As I was washing my face, I heard a commotion coming from downstairs.  I turned off the water just long enough to hear Uncle Mark yelling at someone and then I Heard the familiar sound of him slapping someone.  I held my breath and then heard him say,  “Go upstairs to your room now!!  Your sisters are waiting for you.  Go!!”

          I finished washing up and then went into the hallway in time to see Molly reach the top of the staircase.  She looked bruised and very scared.  Her hazel eyes had lost the twinkle in them that I knew so well.  I was determined to get that back for her.

          As Molly rounded the corner, she sank to the ground and started to cry from fear and pain.  I rushed forward and knelt down in front of her.  I held my arms out and coaxed her to come to me.

          “Molly, It’s okay now.  Come here, my little sunshine.  Come to Megan where you belong.  Everything’s going to be okay now.”

          Molly looked up and when she saw me kneeling in front of her, she threw herself into my arms and clung on for all it was worth.  I wrapped my arms around her protectively and picked her up.  I carried her to our room and closed the door for privacy.  As I sat down on the bed, I pulled Molly into a hug and then held her at arms length so that I could get a good look at her.  She was a little skinnier than I remembered and her face was tear stained.  There were bruises on her cheek and one underneath her right eye.  I fought back tears as I hugged her to me, vowing that I would never let any harm come to her again.  I was getting a second chance to protect her and that’s exactly what I was going to do.

          For the next couple of minutes, there was silence.  It was broken only by Molly’s sobs and occasional hiccups. 

Just then, Julie’s voice broke the silence.

“Megan, is Molly okay?”  She jumped from her spot and ran over to us.  As Julie sat on the bed, Molly tensed and pushed herself into me.  She started to shake and burst into tears of fear and pain.

          “Megan, please don’t let them take me away from you again!  Please!!  I want to stay where I belong!  I want to stay where I belong!”

          “Shh, It’s okay, my little sunshine,”  I soothed.  “Hush now.  Megan has you.  It’s okay now, sweetie.  You’re back where you belong now.  You’re back in my arms safe and sound.  You’re okay now.  I’m not going to let anyone hurt you again.  I promise.”  I held Molly close and gave her a gentle kiss on her cheek.  I then continued to reassure her.  “That was just Julie, honey.  It’s okay.  Julie and I are both here.  Nothing’s going to happen to you.  It’s okay. You’re safe and sound with Megan and Julie.  You’re okay, sweetie.  It’s all right, my little sunshine.”  I gave Molly a hug and Julie started to pat her shoulder gently.  I was about to tell Julie to be careful, but Molly didn’t seem to mind.  She needed both of us right now and it was good that Julie wanted to help.  She wanted our Molly back as much as I did.  I then started to stroke Molly’s hair and sing her a song, hoping it would ease her fears and help her sleep.  It did help Molly calm down, but she didn’t fall asleep.  She kept her face buried in my shoulder the entire night.

About two hours later, I tucked Molly in bed beside me and went to tuck Julie in.

“Sweet dreams, little one.  Megan loves you so much.  I’ll see you in the morning, okay?”  I said, giving Julie a kiss and hug.

“I love you too,”  Julie said, returning my hug and kiss.  “Sweet dreams.”

I smiled and patted Julie’s shoulder before returning to my bed and climbing in for the night.

“Megan?”  Julie asked a few minutes later.

“Yes, little one?”

“Can you give Molly a kiss for me?”

I smiled through the darkness.

“Sure thing, sweetie.  And don’t worry.  We’ll get our Molly back.  It might take some time, but we’ll get her back.”  With that, I Started to sing Julie to sleep.  “In no time at all, we’ll have things back in shape.  Everything will be the way it was.  Birds will start to sing again, bees will start to buzz. In no time at all, you’ll be shouting out with glee, at the change you thought could never be.  Though the task is far from small, and it seems like a mighty long hall!  With a little faith and trust, we can fashion dreams from dust!  In just no time at all!”  With that, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.  I knew I needed my rest.  The days ahead were going to be rough ones for all three of us and we all needed a good night’s sleep.

 

 

The next morning, I awoke to find that a blanket had been draped around us, courtesy of our cousin, Janie.  I opened my eyes and saw that Molly was still in my protective embrace.  As I got up and placed Molly down gently, she stirred and reached out her hand subconsciously for me.

          “Megan?”  She asked sleepily.  “Megan!”

          “Shh,”  I soothed.  “I’m right here, sweetie.  It’s okay.  I didn’t go anywhere.  I promise.  I just have to get dressed and then we’ll have cuddle time, okay?”  I kissed her cheek and put my hand through her hair gently.

          Molly nodded and closed her eyes again.

I dressed quickly and did my hair. I then glanced over to see that Julie was still fast asleep.  I gave her a kiss before going back over to my bed and securing Molly in my lap once again.

Just then, Molly let out a whimper and said through her tears,  “I want Fizzy!  I want Fizzy!!  I want Fizzy!  Please, Megan, I want to go back home to Ponyland!  I want Fizzy!  I want Fizzy!”

I sighed as I started to stroke Molly’s hair and gave her a kiss.

“Shh, shh, hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay, Molly, it’s okay.  We’ll see Fizzy and Firefly soon. I promise.  Shh, shh, hush now. . . “  I continued to soothe Molly until she calmed down a little.  But as I began to rub Molly’s back, she flinched.  “Did that hurt?”  I asked, fearing what I was going to find if I lifted her shirt.

          “Yes!”  Molly whimpered.

          “Okay.  All right.  It’s okay.  I won’t rub your back.  It’s all right.  Here we go.”  I held her close and began to stroke her hair and sing her “Let a Song Carry You Along”.  She always liked that song and it always seemed to calm her down whenever she was upset or scared.  I continued to sing until I kissed Molly’s forehead out of habit, and discovered she was burning up!  I double checked to make sure I was right and sure enough, my little sunshine had a fever.  “Molly, honey, are you feeling okay?”

          Molly shook her head and let out a sob.

          “Okay, It’s all right.  Can you tell me what hurts?”

          “My ear and my tummy,”  she said.  Her voice sounded so tearful. So desperate.

          “Okay.  It’s all right. Just let me get the thermometer and I’ll be right back.”

          “No!”  Molly cried as she clung to me.  “Don’t leave me, Megan.  Please!  Don’t leave me please!”  She burst into tears and all I could do was hold her and reassure her that I wouldn’t leave her.  I picked her up and carried her with me to the bathroom.  I found the thermometer and then took it back to our room.  I slipped it underneath Molly’s arm and held her close while I waited for the results.  After the thermometer beeped, I read it and discovered that Molly had a fever.  I quickly got her a cup of Ginger Ale and some Children’s Tylenol.  As she drank the medicine, tears streamed down her face.  I Felt so bad for her.  All she wanted was to fall asleep in my lap and she couldn’t even do that due to how she felt.  “Good girl,”  I praised, after all the medicine was gone.  “That’s my little sunshine.  Do you want some Ginger Ale?”

          Molly nodded and allowed me to help her drink some.  After that, her eyes started to close, so I took her into my lap and sung her to sleep.

          “To your bed, douse the lights, and put your sleepyhead down, and sleep tight.”  After I was done singing, I held Molly and kissed her cheek gently.  “Sweet dreams, my little sunshine.  I’ll see you when you wake up.  I love you.”  As I held Molly close, I started feeling a sense of urgency.  I had to get us out of here, and fast.

 

 

For the first few nights, Molly clung to me like glue.  She didn’t want to go anywhere without me.  Every time Julie and I had to go to school, my heart broke when I had to give Molly over to our cousin, Janie.  Janie was sweet enough and she promised me that she would keep my little sunshine safe, but I knew that Janie had as much power to keep Uncle Mark from hitting Molly as Fizzy and North Star had against the witches from the volcano of gloom, which wasn’t much. 

The first time I came home from school, Molly ran to me and buried her face in my waist.  I picked her up to find that she had a freshly growing bruise on her cheek.  I fumed inside, but showed nothing but compassion and love for my sister on the outside.  I hugged her close and cuddled with her for the rest of the night.

“Are you okay now, sweetie?”  I asked, holding Molly close.

Molly nodded.

“Now that I’m back where I belong.”

“And where is that?”  I asked, smiling lovingly down at my little sister.

“In your arms safe and sound.”

“That’s right honey.  And you can always come back to where you belong.  Never forget that, Molly.  I’m always going to be here for you and Julie.  I love you so much, my little sunshine.”  I gave Molly a gentle kiss on her cheek.

Molly nodded as she snuggled into me for a much needed cuddle.

 

 

About two weeks after we had moved back in with Uncle Mark, I started seeing my little sisters’ personalities coming back.  It didn’t last long though, but it was something. 

I was in the kitchen, making Julie, Janie and Molly lunch and I heard Molly laughing.  I smiled and then turned on the water to wash out a bowl from breakfast time.  When I turned the water off, I had just enough time to put the dishes in the sink before Molly came in and buried her face in my waist.  She was laughing no more.  In fact, she was crying and crying hard at that.  I picked her up and saw that she was bleeding. There was a cut on her arm.  I washed it out and bandaged it.  Then I took Molly into the other room and sat down on the couch with her in my lap.

          “Shh,”  I soothed.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  You’re all right now.  It’s okay, Moll.  You’re back where you belong now.  It’s okay.  You’re in my arms safe and sound.  You’re back where you belong in Megan’s arms safe and sound.  Megan has you now.  Megan’s right here.  That’s my girl.  You’re back where you belong.  You’re okay now.”  I kissed Molly’s cheek gently, then turned to Julie.  “What happened?”  I asked my little one now.  “How did Molly get hurt?”  I then frowned when I realized that there was a bruise on Julie’s cheek too.  I held my other arm out to her and Julie dove into my lap, sobbing into my shoulder.  Knowing that Julie was too upset to answer me, I turned to Janie for the answer.

Janie sighed and started to explain.

          “Julie was tickling Molly and she was actually starting to laugh and then Uncle Mark came in and accused us of waking him up and he…  he hit her and then he threw her down and she cut her arm on the table.  He then hit Julie across the face.  I tried to calm them down, but Molly ran into the kitchen before I could help her.”

I nodded just as Julie’s tearful voice broke the silence.

“It’s all my fault!”

“No it’s not,”  I said firmly but gently.  “Julia Corina Hartosn ,it is NOT your fault, do you ear me, young lady?”

Julie nodded.

“yes ma’am!”  She said tearfully.

I nodded and gave her a kiss.  I didn’t blame Julie.  How could I?  She was just trying to bring our Molly back and she almost had.  Now Molly was once again upset and the twinkle in her eye was gone.  I cursed inside for the injustice of it all.  As I held Molly and Julie close, I kissed them both on the head and felt my little sunshine start to flinch.  It was then that I realized that her cheek was probably not the only thing that hurt.  I decided then and there that we were going to get out of this house, no matter what it took.

 

 

Wednesday was the day I put my plan into action.  Mrs. Gallard had called me in for a meeting and I was going to bring Molly and Julie with me.  They were both very scared to be anywhere without me, especially Molly.

          Molly was very scared to go to bed without cuddling with me first.  She would often fall asleep in my arms and then whimper if I tried to put her down.  I felt so bad for her.  She was so sweet and innocent.  She didn’t deserve any of this.  None of us did.

          As we waited for Jasmine to see us, I hugged Molly close to me and tried to explain to her what was going to happen.

          “Molly, honey, I need to explain something to you, okay?”

          “Okay,”  Molly said.  She was very tired and her ear was hurting her again.  Not to mention her shoulder from being hit the other night.

          “I’m going to have to show Mrs. Gallard some of your bruises, okay?”

          “Megan, no, please!  Don’t show them to her!!  Please!!”  Molly started to cry and buried her face in my shoulder.

          “Shh, hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay.  It’s all right.  You’re safe and sound in my arms where you belong.  You’re okay.  You’re safe and sound in Megan’s arms where you belong.  It’s okay, sweetie.  It’s okay.  That’s my girl.  That’s my girl.  You’re all right, honey.  You’re okay.  Megan’s here.  I have you.”  I soothed Molly until she calmed down a little.  After Molly was calm, I continued my explaination.  “Molly, I have to show Mrs. Gallard your injuries, because if I don’t, we aren’t going to be able to go live with Aunt Abby.  You want to get out of there, don’t you?”

          Molly nodded, but she cried as I picked her up and made my way to Mrs. Gallard’s office.  As I sat down in a chair, I felt Molly start to tense and she tried to bury her face deeper in me.  I held her close and whispered soothing words into her ear, hoping it would calm her fears.

Julie sat next to me and stayed silent. She had brought a book with her, but she really wasn’t reading it.  She had heard what I had said and she was a little scared now herself.  But as I gazed over at my other little sister, I could also see something else in her green eyes that were identical to my own.  There was determination in them.  She wanted out of Uncle Mark’s clutches as much as Molly and I did.

Just then, Mrs. Gallard arrived. She gave us a ram smile, but I didn’t return it.  I was too upset. I wanted to get right down to business.

          “So how are you doing?”  Mrs. Gallard asked.  “Everything going okay for you?”

          I shook my head and prepared to show her my evidence.

          “No.  We’re not okay.  We need to get out of there.  And we need to get out of there NOW.  We can’t wait any longer.  And this is why.”  I took a deep breath and fighting back tears, I made Molly face Mrs. Gallard.  She was crying and she tried to bury her face in my shoulder again, but I wouldn’t let her.  I held her to me, but made her face Mrs. Gallard.  Mrs. Gallard had to see the truth.  As ugly and cruel as it was, she had to see it.  It was the only way we were going to be able to get out of there for good.

          After about three minutes, I allowed Molly to bury her face in my shoulder again.  She was crying and she clung to me so hard, I could feel her fingernails digging into my skin.  I just hushed her gently and tried to calm her down.  About a moment later, I looked up at Mrs. Gallard and said,  “Now what do you say to getting us out of there and into a safer place?”

          Mrs. Gallard didn’t answer me for a moment.  In fact, she didn’t speak for at least ten minutes.  As I glanced up and straight into her eyes, they looked the size of golf balls.  She wasn’t really looking at me, more like through me.  Her jaw about hit the ground.  When she finally did recover from her stunned silence, she said,  “I can promise you, Megan, I will get you and your sisters out of that house as soon as I can.”

          “That’s not good enough for me,”  I said.  With that, I started stroking Molly’s hair with one hand while I lifted up her shirt with the other.  I wasn’t even sure if it would work, but to my relief, it did the trick.  The bruises and welts on her back were enough to make Mrs. Gallard do something immediately.  As I put Molly’s shirt back down, I hugged her to me and tried to soothe her.  She was almost asleep, but not quite there.  I started humming “There’s Always Another Rainbow”, hoping that would lull her into a sleep filled with sweet dreams.  She did fall asleep, but woke up about ten minutes later, shaking.  I soothed her and then looked up to face Mrs. Gallard again.  My face was set with a look of determination and my jaw was in a firm no-nonsense line.  The kind of look I gave Julie whenever she wanted to stay up past her bedtime.  I was not going to have Molly and Julie hurt anymore, nor was I going to expose them to anymore violence.  They didn’t need it.  None of us did.  “I want us out tonight.  I don’t care what you have to do to get us out, but do it.”  I then softened my tone and tried to fight back tears as I said,  “Please.  We can’t live like this much longer.  Molly and Julie don’t deserve it.  They’re just little girls.  Two innocent, sweet little girls who should be laughing and playing with their older sister and friends and not having to worry about being hit.  They don’t deserve it.  Any of it.  We don’t deserve it.”

          Mrs. Gallard nodded as she picked up the phone and made a few phone calls.  When she finally got off the phone, she had a small smile on her face.

          “You and your sisters will be leaving tonight.”

          I breathed a sigh of relief and hugged Molly close.  I whispered,  “Thank you,”  to Mrs. Gallard and then thanked God for answering my prayers.  “Where are we going to go?”  I asked.

“You’re going to be taken to a group home until I can find temporary foster homes for all three of you.”

          I nodded, but then something she had said struck me.  But before I could ask, Julie spoke up.

          “All three of us?  Won’t we be able to stay together?”  Julie’s voice was tearful and full of fear.

I knew the answer even before Mrs. Gallard said it.

          “I’m afraid not.  I’m so sorry, sweetie.”  And what made matters worse was, she truly looked sorry for us.

          At that point, Molly pushed herself deeper into me and let out a sob of fear. 

Julie jumped from her spot and rushed over to me, throwing herself into my lap.  She started to cry and shake and cling to me for all it was worth.  I could actually feel her fingernails digging into my skin.

Molly spoke up.  Her voice was full of tears.  She hadn’t been asleep after all, or maybe barely.  She had heard everything that Mrs. Gallard had said and now she was crying again.

          “No!”  She whimpered.  “I want to stay where I belong!  I want to stay where I belong!  I want to stay where I belong!  Megan, please, don’t let her take me away from you!  Please, I want to stay in your arms where I belong.  I want to stay where I belong!”

          “Shh,”  I soothed as I comforted a now hysterical Molly.  “Hush now, my little sunshine.  It’s okay, Moll.  Megan has you.  You’re safe and sound in my arms where you belong.  You’re okay.  Everything’s going to be okay.  I promise.  You’re both safe and sound in Megan’s arms where you belong.  I promise, I’m not going to let ANYONE take you away from me again.”  I Gave Molly another kiss on her cheek and patted Julie’s shoulder gently.

Mrs. Gallard frowned.

“I didn’t mean to scare them,”  Mrs.  Gallard said.

          I shook my head as I patted Julie’s shoulder and picked Molly up and hugged both of my sisters closer to me.  I didn’t want to say that it was okay, because it wasn’t.  If Mrs. Gallard had any sense, she would have mouthed the word no to me instead of actually saying it out loud.  She obviously didn’t understand the bond between sisters.  And Molly and I had a bond that went beyond the regular sister one.  Ours was more of a bond of mother and child than anything else.  To Julie, I was her older sister.  She had had the privilege of having a mother, I did too, at least for a little while.  But Molly had not.  I had been like her mother from the time she was born.  She had even called me Mama until she was two and learned how to say Megan.  She needed me and I needed her.  We couldn’t be separated.

          The same went for Julie.  She needed me and I wasn’t about to lose her either.

          “We better be going,”  I said.  “I promised my uncle that we would be home by four-thirty.  I have to get my little sunshine down for a nap anyway.  That’s probably half the reason she’s so upset.”  I lied.  I didn’t want to, but I had to.  I had put Molly down for a nap earlier and she had slept.  She was a little cranky when she had first woken up, but she was truly upset because of what had just happened.  And I had NO intention of going back to my Uncle’s house.  At least not tonight.  I was taking Molly somewhere I knew was safe.  We were going back to Ponyland.  At least for the night.  I had to get her away from everything.  My little sunshine needed a break and so did I.

          But as I left the building and put Molly and Julie into the cab, I realized that I couldn’t just leave like that. 

          “Megan?”  Molly asked, her voice was tearful and tired.

          “Yes, my little sunshine?”  I asked, stroking her hair.

          “I want to go home!  I want Fizzy!”

          My heart broke at hearing this precious request from my little sister.  She wasn’t talking about Uncle Mark’s house.  She was talking about Ponyland.  She had thought of Ponyland as her home since she was born and hearing her say it this desperately, made me want to break the rules even more, but I knew I couldn’t.  Not even for Molly and Julie.

Julie burst into tears just then and said, “I want my pretty Medley! I want my pretty Medley!”

I sighed as I hugged both of my sisters close and sung them to sleep.  I knew they needed their rest.  I wanted to do that very thing, but I knew I couldn’t.  I myself wanted Firefly’s comfort, but I knew I would see her in a few days.  It didn’t make me feel any better, but it was enough to keep me going until I would see her again.

          “I’m sorry, sweetie.  We can’t go home right now.  I wish we could, but we can’t.”

          Molly and Julie cried themselves to sleep in my arms.  By the time we got home, I put her to bed and got ready for bed myself.  The day had been exhausting and I needed my rest for the rough days  ahead.  We all did.

 

 

That night, I was woken up by a bunch of noise and Molly calling my name.  She sounded like she was crying and her tone sounded desperate.

          I opened my eyes and held my arms out subconsciously.  Molly threw herself into my lap and I wrapped my arms around her.  Thinking it was just a nightmare that had scared my little sunshine so badly, I began to rock her gently.  But little did I know that a nightmare was far from the reason.

          “Megan!”  Came Julie’s scared voice.  “Get the Rainbow of Light!”

          I didn’t know what she needed it for, but I took it from around my neck and threw it to Julie.  Julie caught it and opened it up.  The Rainbow came jetting out, but not before Julie accidentally dropped it, causing it to go back in.  As Julie lunged for it, another pair of hands got it.  A stronger pair of hands.  I gasped as Uncle Mark picked it up.

          “No!”  Molly wailed as I put her down and rushed forward.  I wasn’t worried about getting hurt.  He didn’t scare me.  Much.  With determination in my voice, I said,  “You aren’t going to touch the Rainbow of Light.  Not on top of everything else.”  Then with hatred like I had never felt before, I added,  “You don’t have the right to touch it.”

Julie ran behind me and started to whimper.  She was scared to pieces, Molly too.

I stood there, facing Uncle Mark.  I was starting to feel a little scared myself.  I then regained some of my courage and commanded,  “Okay, Rainbow of Light, do your stuff!”

The Rainbow jetted out of the locket at the sound of my voice and obeyed me.  It started to beat Uncle Mark around, but he quickly recovered, and boy was he ever mad.  Before he could grab the Rainbow, I shouted,  “Rainbow of Light, back where you belong!”  Little did I know, what a mistake I had just made.

The Rainbow of Light soared back into the locket at the sound of my voice and the locket lay still, ten inches form Uncle Mark’s hands.

“Give us the Rainbow back now!”  Julie demanded.  “It’s not yours!  It belongs to us.”  Then she uttered something that I wasn’t ready for.  “It belongs to Megan and it protects us and  the little ponies.  It’s not yours to take.  Now give it back!”

Uncle Mark sneered.  He was as threatened by Julies demand as a tiger would be to a mouse.  He didn’t have to listen to her and he knew it.  I knew it too.  He pushed past me and went straight for her.

“What have I told you about talking back to me!”  He asked.  In one swift movement, he picked her up and aimed a slap at her face, causing her to cry out in pain.  Then he threw her to the ground.  I rushed forward and picked her up.  I made sure Molly was okay.

Just then, Janie came into eh room. She glared at her father and gently took Molly from my arms.  She then put her arm around Julie and guided them both out of the room.

Molly started to struggle.  She wanted to help me, but she had to stay safe, Julie too.

          After my sisters were gone, I stared down the man who had scared us and had so badly hurt my baby sisterand myself, not to mention Julie.  Suddenly, I was terrified.  I was alone and what made matters worse, the Rainbow was no longer in my possession.

          Uncle Mark, sensing my fear, snickered demonically.

          “So, I guess It’s just you and me.  Your sisters aren’t around to protect you now.  Not that they ever could protect you.”

          I glared at him.  I Knew that even though the Rainbow wasn’t physically with me, it was with me in my heart.  I looked at the spot where it had been and closed my eyes.  In that instant, I felt a shove from behind . I fell to the ground, hitting my arm on the side of the dresser.  I forced myself to ignore the pain and stood up again.  In that instant, I could see that the Rainbow had been dropped.  I scrambled for it, but then realized I didn’t have to be wearing it for it to know what to do

          “Rainbow, do your stuff,”  I said quietly.  Almost in a whisper.

          The Rainbow came out of the locket at the sound of my voice and did its best to protect its keeper.  It surrounded me, making it impossible for Uncle Mark to do anything to hurt me.  He stood there in shock for a moment, then I heard a knock at my door.  It was Janie.  She was older than I was and she was NOT scared of her father at all.  She walked purposely in and said,  “Megan, some woman from social services is here to see you.  She said for me to tell you to pack up.”

          I nodded and mouthed a thank you.  As I gathered my bag, I put the Rainbow around my neck, not realizing that that meant it was no longer out.  As I reached the door, Uncle Mark lunged at me.  I jumped out of the way and felt myself slam into the window.  Glass shattered everywhere and for about a minute everything went black.

 

 

“Megan?  Megan!  Please be okay.”

          I struggled to open my eyes and respond to the voice that was calling my name.  I knew it was Molly, but I couldn’t get my eyes to cooperate with me.  I opened one and saw that she was sitting on the edge of my hospital bed, holding my hand and trying not to cry.  I gave her a small smile and then heard another familiar voice.

          “You really scared me!  I’m glad you’re okay.”

I glanced to my right to see Julie, sitting in the chair next to my bed.  She looked like she had been crying and she was holding tightly to Sagwa.

          “It’s okay now, little one,”  I said, giving Julie a warm smile and patting Molly’s shoulder.  ‘I’m okay.”  I then glanced around and asked,  “Where’s…?”  I was surprised at how scratchy my voice sounded.

          “You don’t have to worry about him anymore,”  came Mrs. Gallard’s voice.  “He was arrested shortly after the ambulance arrived.”

          “That was the most scariest ride I ever took,”  Molly said.  Her eyes were full of fear

          I nodded and hugged her to me with my free hand.

          “Everything’s going to be okay now,”  I said.  My voice a little stronger.  “Like I always say, there’s always another-“

          “Rainbow!”  Molly and Julie said in unison, making me giggle.

          “That’s right,”  I said as I hugged Molly to me and felt Julie pat my shoulder.

          “When the doctors release you,”  Mrs. Gallard said, after smiling at me,  “I’m going to take all three of you to a group home until the court date next month.  Since you will only be staying for a month, you will NOT be placed in a foster home.”

          “YEA!!!!”  Molly cheered.  Her face lit up with the first smile I had seen in months.  This made me smile too, and Julie grinned while patting my shoulder and giving me a kiss on my cheek.

          I grinned as I Returned her kiss and hug the best way I could with my free hand once I had taken it from around Molly.  My other arm had an IV in it.

          I sighed.  I hated hospitals and I wanted out of there.  As I gazed around the room at my family, I smiled.  Things were going to work out for us eventually.  The road ahead looked brighter than ever and I knew that no matter what happened,  I would always be there for Julie and Molly and no matter what happened, there was always another rainbow around the bend.  We were going to make it and from where I sat, the future looked brighter than before.

 

 

About a week later, we arrived at the group home.  Molly had regained her happy, gentle personality, but she still was very clingy when it came to me.  She didn’t want to leave me for anything and whenever she felt scared, she would wrap her arms around my waist and I would pick her up and hold her close, assuring her that I would always protect her. 

The first night we were in the group home, I found out just how cruel and mean kids could be.

          I was getting ready for dinner and I had gotten Molly and Julie ready before me. 

          As I was brushing my hair, a worker by the name of Mike Tyler came into the room.  He knocked first and I Told him it was okay to come in.  I just had to finish doing my hair.  We liked Mike a lot.

“Hey you guys!” He said. “Ready for some chow?”

Molly giggled and Julie cracked a small smile.

Mike then turned to me and asked,  “Do you want me to take the little ones down for you?”

I nodded and smiled gratefully.

“Thanks al to,”  I said. “I’ll be right down in a few minutes.”

Mike nodded and extended his hand to Julie.  Julie took it and then glanced over at Molly, who hadn’t moved from her spot next to me.

Hearing this,  Molly threw her arms around my waist and refused to let go.  She burst into tears and I picked her up.  I soothed her and tried to explain to her that I would be down in a minute.  She wouldn’t hear it.  She wanted to stay with me and that was that.  As I glanced at the clock, I realized that I was going to be late if I didn’t get ready now.  I knew that the adults who ran this place were very strict about punctuality.  Fearing what would happen to us if we were late, I did the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.  I gave Molly one last hug and kiss and then placed her in Mike’s arms.

          My heart broke as I watched him carry Molly out of the room.  She was crying and calling my name.  she looked so scared and unsure.  After all, this was a new place and I knew once she got used to Aunt Abby’s house and we had our usual routine back, Molly would be back to her old self for good.

          When I reached the kitchen area, I was quickly hit with a pang of guilt for making Molly go without me.  As I entered the kitchen, I saw Molly sitting on the floor, crying.  She had a bruise on her left cheek.  I wasted no time.  I rushed to her and held my arms out.  She dove into them and clung on for all it was worth.  I picked her up and excused myself to get her cleaned up.  I then glanced to my right to see Julie sitting down, eating her dinner.  She was sitting by herself.  I motioned for my little one to come with us and she did.  I needed her to tell me what had happened.

          “What happened, little one?”  I asked as we reached the bedroom all three of us were sharing until the court date.

“They took Brandon from her,”  Julie said.  “One kid pushed her down and that’s how she got that bruise on her cheek.  She hit her face on the wall.”

          I nodded and hugged Molly close, not ever wanting to let her go again.

          “I want Brandon back!”  Molly whimpered as she buried her face in my shoulder.  ‘I want Brandon back!  I want Brandon!”

          “Shh,”  I soothed.  “It’s going to be okay, my little sunshine.  I promise.  You’re going to be okay.  We’ll get Brandon back for you.  I promise.”  I kissed Molly’s head and sat down on the bed, with my baby sister in my lap.

          “I’ll be right back,”  Julie said.

          “Where are you going?”  I asked.

          Julie just smiled a little.

          “I’m going to get Brandon back for Molly.”

          Before I could say a word, someone knocked on our door.

          “Hey ya’ll!”  Mike said, coming in and giving us a grin.  ‘I believe this stuffed golden retriever belongs to a certain pretty brown hair young lady.”  Mike then produced Brandon from behind his back and handed him to Molly.

          Molly smiled and took her beloved stuffed dog from Mike. She held him close and gave him a kiss.

          “What do you say to Mike, Moll?”  I asked.

          “Thank you, Mike,”  she said.

          “Aw, you’re welcome, babe.  You know I’m always here for you girls.  Now, I just came to see if you guys wanted anything from a certain golden arches restaurant.”  He winked and both Julie and Molly squealed with happiness.

          “Happy meals, please?” They asked in unison, making me giggle.

          Mike grinned too.

          “Happy meals it is. And how you, honey?”  He asked, turning to me.

          I blushed a little.

          “Just a cheeseburger and fries, please?”  I asked politely. I wanted to set a good example for Julie and Molly.

          “All right.  The dinner express will be back.”  With that, Mike patted us on the shoulder and left.

          “Thanks Mike!”  Molly and Julie called after him.

          I giggled as I held Molly close and made room for Julie on my other side.  I loved my two younger sisters so much and I knew things could only go up for us from here.

 

 

That night, I tucked my little sisters into bed and spent a little extra time with Molly. I still felt a little bad for what had happened earlier that night.  I held Molly close as I stroked her hair and planted a kiss on her cheek.

          Molly snuggled into me for a cuddle and held Brandon tightly in her arms.

          “Molly, I’m sorry, my little sunshine.  I didn’t mean for this to happen.  Are you feeling a little bit better?”

          Molly nodded and gave me a kiss.

          “I am now,”  she said.  “Now that I’m back where I belong.”

          “And where is that?”  I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

          Molly smiled.

          “In your arms, safe and sound.”  She said as she rested her head against my shoulder.

          I smiled and gave her a kiss on her cheek.

          “Aw, you’re so sweet, ya know that?  I love you Molly.”

          “I love you too, Megan,”  Molly said as she closed her eyes and fell asleep in my protective and loving embrace.

 

 

A month went by quickly and before I knew it, I, along with Julie and Molly were in Mrs. Gallard’s car, heading to our court appearance.

          I held Molly in my lap and prayed that everything was going to work out.  I had to testify against Uncle Mark, and that was one thing I wasn’t ready to do.  I was scared out of my wits and I knew that Molly was too.  She didn’t want to leave my lap, but she agreed to sit with Aunt Abby while I testified.  Julie did too.  I was proud of both of my little sisters and I made a mental note to take them out for ice cream when this whole ordeal was over with.  I just prayed that it would end in our favor.

          When we reached the courtroom, Molly started to cry and wouldn’t let me put her down.  I hugged her close and tried to soothe her.  She was so nervous, she made herself throw up.  I felt so bad for her.  She was only four years old and this was really scary for her.  Scarier than it was for me.  After I had cleaned her up and changed my shirt, I managed to sing her to sleep and give her to Aunt Abby without any problems.  I figured that if Julie and Molly were with her from the start, but knew where I was, they would be okay.  I was right.

          As I sat down, I took Julie into my lap for the time being. She was equally scared, but she wasn’t talking much.  I could see tears ready to fall from her green eyes and it was breaking my heart.  I held her close and gave her a kiss on her head.

“It’s going to be okay, little one,”  I promised.  “I know it will.”

Julie nodded and gave me a hug.

“All rise,”  the Judge ordered.

          Everyone rose and then sat back down.

          “This is a custody hearing.  Everyone will have their chance to speak.  There will be no outbursts of any kind.  Is that understood?”

          “Yes Your Honor,”  everyone said in unison.

          “I now call Megan Julia Hartson to the stand.”

          I took a deep breath and  gave Julie a quick kiss before sitting her next to Aunt Abby.  I then gave Molly a kiss and made my way up to the judge’s stand.

          “Good luck, Megan,”  Julie whispered. She gave me a thumbs up.

I smiled and returned her sign of good luck.  She was so cute.

“I’m going to need more than luck,”  I said softly.  “I’m going to need a miracle.”

          The walk up to the front of the court room seemed like it had taken me forever, when in reality, it had only taken me three minutes.

“Please place your right hand upon the Bible.”  The Judge instructed me.

I did so and tried my best to stay calm.

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?”  The judge asked.

          “I do,”  I said, my voice was shaking and I knew it.  I tried to keep as calm as possible, but it was hard.

          The Judge nodded and then asked,  “Is it true that for the past three years, your Uncle, Mr. Markus Carter, physically abused you and your younger sisters, Julia Corina Hartson and Molly Shaianne Hartson?”

          I nodded.

          “Yes,”  I said.  I was trying my best to keep my voice steady, but it was harder than it looked.  I clutched the Rainbow of Light in hopes that it would help me hold it together for just a little while longer.

          “What evidence do you have to prove your statement?”  He asked.  HE glared at me, and I tried to act like I wasn’t intimidated by him.

          “I saw him do it,”  I said.  “I was the one who picked up the pieces and cleaned Julie and Molly’s injuries every time they got hit or beaten.  I also got beaten myself.”

          The Judge nodded.

          “And is it true that just a month and two weeks ago, he took Molly away from you while you both were at school?”
          I nodded.  I could feel tears stinging the back of my green eyes.  I didn’t want to give in to them, but it was hard.  I never wanted to remember that week ever again.

          “Yes.  He did.”

          “Why?”  The Judge asked.

          I took a deep breath.

          “He thought I needed to be taught a lesson.”

          “And why would he think that?”  The Judge asked.

          I took a deep breath and launched into my story about what had happened that day.

          After the Judge was finished asking me questions, he told me to sit down and wait while Uncle Mark was asked questions.  I did so, and took Molly from Aunt Abby.  She was beginning to wake up and she had started to cry a little.

          As I Sat down, Julie reached over and squeezed my hand for comfort.

          I gave her a small smile.

          “We’re almost done, little one,”  I whispered.  “We’re almost done.”

          Julie nodded as she patted Molly’s shoulder gently. She wanted our baby sister to feel better too.

          “Hush now,”  I said gently, as I started to stroke Molly’s hair and planted a kiss on her cheek.  “It’s okay my little sunshine.  Megan has you.  You’re back where you belong.  You’re safe and sound in Megan’s arms where you belong.  You’re okay.  That’s my girl.  There ya go.”  I hugged Molly close and gave her a kiss on her head.

          “Megan?”  Molly asked, her voice sounded tired and very tearful.

          “Yes, my little sunshine?”  I whispered.

          “I have to go potty,”  Molly said.

          I glanced at Aunt Abby, who gave me the okay.  I got up and took Molly to the bathroom.  As I was leaving, I turned to Julie and asked, “Do you need to go potty too, little one?”

Julie shook her head and sat down on Abby’s lap.

I nodded as I picked Molly up and left the room.

When we got to the bathroom, Molly asked,  “Megan, do you think the Judge will let Auntie Abby be our gardenin?”

          I laughed at this and shrugged.

          “I think you mean guardian, Moll.  And I hope so.  It sure looks that way.”

          “Will I have to tesify?”  She asked, she looked scared and I could tell she was close to tears again.

          “I’m not sure, sweetie.  You might have to.  But don’t worry.  I’ll be right there with you.”

          “Promise?”  Molly asked.

          “I promise you.”  I stroked Molly’s hair as I picked her up and headed back to the court room.

          “You did a GREAT job!”  Julie congratulated me as we waited for the Judge to call us back in.

          I grinned and gave Julie a hug.

          “Thanks.  Let’s just hope I did a good enough job to get us out of that mad house.”

          Julie gave me a thumbs up as the Judge poked his head out of the room and said,  “Court is now back in session.”

          We returned to the court room and Molly buried her face in my shoulder again.  She was just so worn out from everything that she burst into tears and just kept asking me to take her “home”, which meant Ponyland

“Soon, my little sunshine,”  I promised as I started stroking her hair and singing to her softly.

          The Judge eyed me for a moment and then said,  “Before I reveal my verdict, I call Abigail Gabriella Hartson to the stand.”

Aunt Abby walked up to the stand and the judge swore her in.  He then asked her if she thought that she would make a good guardian for us.  She said yes and then gave several reasons why. 

After Aunt Abby had taken her seat again, the Judge gave all of us a small smile and said,  ‘I have come to the conclusion that the three minor children in question will now become the soul responsibility of Miss Abigail Hartson.  And as for Mr. Markus Carter, I sentence you to ten years in prison for child abuse and child endangerment.  Court is now adjourned!!”  He banged his gavel on the table, making Molly cry out in fear. 

I glared at him, despite how happy and relieved I felt.  It was finally over.  The terror and fear we had lived for so long was finally over.  As I hugged Julie and Molly close, I thanked God for answering our prayers.

Before we knew it, we were on our way to our new life with a person I knew would love us and change our lives for the better.  Finally it seemed like everything was going to be okay.  Our lives were taking a turn for the better and I couldn’t wait to tell Firefly, Fizzy and everyone else in Ponyland about it.  I made a mental note to take Julie and Molly back to Ponyland as soon as our lives settled back down.

 

 

That night, I got Julie and Molly ready for bed and had cuddle time with them.

          “I’m glad we’re living with Aunt Abby now,”  Julie said as she snuggled into me for a cuddle.

I smiled and nodded.

“Me too, Jules,”  I said, using Julie’s family nickname. “Me too.”

Julie gave me a kiss as I Ruffled her hair.

“Remember what I always say?”

Julie nodded.

“There’s always another Rainbow!” All three of us said in unison.

“That’s right,”  I said while trying to stop giggling. We were all laughing. It was a nice sound to hear.

Julie then asked,  “Megan, can you sing our song, please?”

I nodded.

“I sure will.”  With that, I started to sing Julie our song and then I sung Molly’s.

As I Tucked both of my little sisters into bed, I smiled. Our lives were going to be a lot better now that we were living with Aunt Abby. I knew there was going to be some adjusting on Julie and Molly’s part and on mine too, but if there was one thing I was sure of, it was that there was always another Rainbow around the bend.  And if you looked hard enough, you could find a Rainbow anywhere.  And ours had come exactly when we had needed it.

 

 

                   THE END