Ellie and I moved into the new house as soon as the divorce was final. Best that it happened when she was only four, a chance to forget our abuse with time.
The house was wonderful. It could have been a shack and the freedom would have made it a mansion, but it was already one.
Its most peculiar feature was a stone statue of a woman on the front lawn. As if a guardian for the estate, keeping a watchful eye on the road.
Initial days passed with no incidents. We even managed restful sleep. Ellie started to come out of her shell and explore the world, learn of it through play and touch.
Tranquility didn’t last.
Ellie would no longer go outside, even on the brightest days.
“Ardat doesn’t like it.”
She wouldn’t sleep at night, turning and screaming in a daze.
“Ardat is chanting too loudly.”
When asked who Ardat was, a tiny trembling finger would point out the window, at the statue.
She was projecting past abuse on an inanimate object. Emotional scars are slow to heal. But I was not going to allow a statue to bully Ellie, even in mind only.
I grabbed a hammer and headed outside, Ellie following like a mutinous shadow, pleading for me to stop.
I raised the hammer amid a sea of Ellie’s screams, and delivered a blow to the statue's head. It exploded into a cloud of pebbles.
Instantaneously, the sea of screams dried up into pristine silence.
I smiled and turned to face my daughter, in her place now a statue of a little girl, keeping a watchful eye on the road.