Now that I have a gun, I can protect us better. Sammy knows I will protect him, but sometimes I am scared, too. I don't tell him that, though. I think he would worry if he thought I couldn't protect us both. I've been practicing, shooting at targets, and my aim has improved a lot. If anyone comes in here, I will aim for their faces. That should take care of us, and teach them it's too much trouble to come after Sammy and me. I feel better with my new gun. It's a Daisy, and it shoots one brass bee- bee at a time. I had to wait until my sixth birthday to get it, but it was worth the wait. If anyone comes in here, I will shoot them in the eye. That will make them go away. Everyone else goes away, so I'm sure no one wants to come get me, anyway. My family is a regular family, I guess. They all hate each other and fight a lot. Daddy gets drunk every day, watches tough guy movies on t.v., then falls asleep on the floor in front of the sofa. Momma hates to come home. She does it every day after work, but then she gets mad and leaves. Sometimes I can get her to take me to play bingo with her, but she usually tells me no. She tells my big brother, Gary, to watch me, because she knows Daddy won't wake up if something happens. They don't think I hear them yelling, but I do. When she leaves, Gary tells me to go to bed. He's sixteen now, but that just means he has a car. He's always left right after Momma. So now he gets in his car with the music too loud to hear, too loud for me to hear myself scream, and he leaves me, too. I tried to shut the front door, but Daddy gets mad when I do. It's the only thing that wakes him up. He doesn't even wake up to go pee, so I always stay in my room, or at least away from the smell. Our air-conditioner broke a few years ago, and it gets hot in the summer, even at night. It's so dark out there. Are those eyes across the street? I hope my gun will kill someone if they come after us. I can't shut the door, so I just sit and watch the dark, as it watches me back. It's waiting for me to fall asleep, I know it. I can't call anybody. Momma got mad when I called the police last time. They told her not to leave me alone. She was mad at me for that. Gary got mad at me for getting him in trouble. Daddy got mad at me for having the police in our house. They all hate me, because they don't want to have to take care of me. I'm so glad I got my gun for my birthday. Now I can take care of myself. I don't need them to protect me. Sammy's just a teddy bear, so he doesn't understand. I'll protect him. I have to. I love him. You protect what you love, right? I wonder if anybody will ever love me.