I have always lived in this house. It's not very big, but it's home.
This little house is where my children are, where we worship God together and wait for him to take us into his eternal home.
I love the decor, the furniture, the wallpaper - all except for the green room. That's where the stairs up are, and I just generally avoid the place.
Once every two weeks, though, I have to go in. I must blindfold myself, take the stairs up into the bright room, hold my shaking hands out and hope it's her there, not him.
It's a fifty/fifty shot, really.
If he's there, I subjected to whatever horrific games he wants to play - my body doesn't belong to me anymore, I separate myself from it, and let him have his way.
If it's her, I get a large crate of foods and drinks to take down to my house, to share with my four children. I can only tell who it is behind the blindfold by their voices.
They both greet me, almost always the same way. If I hear his gruff, "There's my girl," I know I'm in for it. If I hear her melodiously melancholy, "Hello, dear," I know I'm safe.
The last time I went up, a week and a half ago, she greeted me in her classic way. I smiled to her, hoping she could tell I meant it despite not being able to see my eyes.
But, when she handed me the box, she grabbed my wrist and whispered, "In the bottom of the box is a bottle. In that bottle are pills.
If you ever hear someone else, if they ever come for us, you know what to do."
"Of course. I know." And I did know. I have to protect myself, I have to protect my children. I know what men are capable of, and if they come I will do whatever is necessary.
And thank God she gave me those pills. She must have known they were coming. I have pushed all the furniture I can against the door that leads from the green room into our den.
I cuddle my children close, each of us taking our little red pills with a sip of what's left of our water.
I kiss each of my precious babies, my little joys, as the pounding on the door grows louder and my head starts to swim.
A man shouts from the other side, "Open up! This is the police. Please remain calm. We have Howard and Betsy Turner in custody. We're here to help you. Take you outside! You're safe now..."
I can feel everything getting old, my children have stopped moving, stopped crying. We must be close to God's big house now. I'm so glad the woman gave us those pills, kept us safe.
I don't know what the police is, or who Howard and Betsy are, but I do know one thing - never trust a man.