The snow fell heavy and thick. Dmitri was sick of it. He was sick of his pathetic life, his crappy house, his drunken father… he was sick of everything. In another room, he could hear his father's liquor-laden snores as they vibrated through the room.
"My dad is just pathetic" he thought furiously. He flopped down on his bed and continued to sulk. He started thinking about the future. The hopes and dreams of a better life, of being rid of his dad, and something better for Sonia.
Sonia was tall, slender, beautiful, kind, smart… and she deserved better. Sonia was 4 years his senior, and she was the only reason they had a roof over their heads. Sonia had a full-time job, but their father took what little money she made. The only other way for her to make any other cash was to sell her body to wretched, creepy men. Dmitri hated that. He hated that she had to sacrifice herself for him. They'd argued over Dmitri getting a job, but Sonia kept telling him to focus on school, to get good grades, and not worry about her… but he couldn't help but worry about her. Sonia was his best and only friend.
Sonia was in her room with a "friend". That was what she called them anyway. They weren't "friends." Those men were disgusting and vile. He hated them. He hated the way they treated her. Most of all, he hated the nasty sounds they made when they were with her. He could hear her latest creep moaning, groaning, and calling Sonia awful names.
Dmitri's blood boiled. That despicable piece of crap didn't deserve to lick the ground Sonia walked on. How dare he talk to Dmitri's sister like that!
The man shouted something, and Dmitri's head popped up. Dmitri sat frozen; listening for something, anything to know Sonia was okay. Time slowly trickled by… and Dmitri could hear his blood pounding in his ears.
He heard a hand hit bare flesh, and Sonia screamed. Dmitri leapt to his feet and dashed past her room and down the stairs to the kitchen. He'd teach that horrible pig a lesson. He'd scare him away!
Dmitri sped through the drawers, digging. His heart pounded and the few seconds seemed to take forever. He pulled out a butcher's knife, and tore up the stairs. He kicked open the door and froze in the frame, starting at the scene before him.
Sonia was half naked on the ground, trying to cover herself with a blanket, her face was red, her eyes were teary, and the man stood above her like he was better than she was. The man looked cold and faceless to Dmitri. The man turned and looked at Dmitri with malice.
"Get out of here, boy," he growled "Business is business."
Anger dripped though Dmitri's blood like morphine, numbing and strengthening him at the same time. Slowly, it began to climb and he felt like he was going to explode.
"Did you hear me?!" the man demanded, "Get OUT!"
Dmitri still said nothing.
"If you don't leave, I'll throttle your pitiful big sister. You got me!?" he bellowed
"If you even touch her," Dmitri murmured, fury pulsing in his voice "It will be the last thing you ever do."
"Dmitri, just go!" Sonia cried, holding back her tears, "I'm okay. I promise."
"Yeah, listen to your sister, ya little brat." The man echoed "I've bought her for two hours, so she's mine until then! Now get out!"
Dmitri wouldn't budge.
"I'll leave if you do, you disgusting, horrible monster!" he shouted at the man. The knife trembled in his hands, and his heart beat so loudly that he didn't hear what the man said in reply. Dmitri only saw his foot swing, and he kicked Sonia in the stomach. Sonia doubled over in pain.
Dmitri screamed. It was a horrible scream of rage and pain. He ran and lunged at the man with the knife. He heard Sonia shout, and the man cried out as well, but Dmitri didn't care. He didn't think, he just took action. He plunged the knife deep into the man's chest, and felt his warm, red blood hit his face. The man gasped and fell over, but he wasn't dead. Dmitri leapt at him again and plunged the knife two more times into the man.
He stepped back, panting and the knife slipped from his fingers, and he fell to his knees, shocked at what just happened. Sonia uttered a small scream and ran to Dmitri. She just stared at her baby brother, shocked and afraid.
"I'm sorry." He whispered
"What are we going to do?" she whispered back
Dmitri said nothing. What would he do?
And then he thought about everything Sonia had to suffer with. She had to do everything she does to provide for him… their father takes everything she makes from work and drinks it… she does all this for him… because of him…for him. All of this was… his fault. Guilt overwhelmed Dmitri and he felt like he was drowning. He jumped up.
"I know what I have to do," he said quietly. He picked up the knife, and walked into his bedroom. He grabbed his backpack, dumped out his homework, and started throwing clothes in it. He heard Sonia walk towards the doorway, but he said nothing. He threw in a flashlight, extra batteries, a pocket knife, and some of the cash he'd been stashing under his bed. It was a whole $45, but it was better than nothing. He wrapped the knife in tissues and put that in his backpack as well. He grabbed his backpack, and blew past Sonia. He went to the living room and grabbed his coat and the keys to his father's truck.
"What are you going to do?" Sonia whispered
"I'm going to run. I know they'll catch me eventually, but I don't care. You shouldn't have to suffer for me," he muttered "As soon as I leave, call the cops and tell them exactly what happened."
"Dmitri, I can't do that!" she shouted, beginning to cry "I won't let you!"
"I have to do this. I don't have a choice. Don't worry about me, okay?"
Sonia ran to him, and crushed him in a hug.
"You're only 15…" she whispered "Please, please be safe."
"I'll try," he told her with a false smile.
Even through all this, their father slept on.
Dmitri tried to stay calm as he took his father's old pick up down the main street. He just kept telling himself. Stay calm, stay calm. He tried to relax himself as he drove as carefully as possible.
The snow kept falling, faster, and thicker.
Two police cars zoomed past him, lights flashing, and sirens screaming. Dmitri's heart flew faster, and he stepped on the gas pedal, speeding far over the limit. He started to cry as he sped on and on.
He took a human life. A life that was worth nothing, but a life none the less. That man had a job, maybe a family, maybe he had been drinking, and maybe he wasn't all that vile after all… Dmitri shook his head as he ran another red light. No, that man wasn't worth anything. Why should he, Dmitri feel bad? He'd go to prison and pay for what he did… and Sonia would be free of him, free of everything.
Free. What did it mean to be free? Did it mean death? Life? Love? A lack of it?
He kept driving. He slowed down, and stayed at the speed limit, just mindlessly going with the flow of traffic.
He heard the screaming sirens once again, and slowed like everyone else to let them pass. But they were not passing. They were following him. Dmitri panicked and hit the gas pedal.
They kept chasing him and he sped on, paying no attention to anything. Only his blind panic. They knew. They must have known. Sonia must have told them. Good. He wanted to free Sonia. Free…. Sonia…
He felt like he was slipping. What he had done kept playing over and over in his head. He ran his hand through his hair nervously. The cops were still behind him. He cut over several lanes and pushed his way onto the highway.
Were they still there? He didn't want to look. He needed to think about the future for now. He needed to formulate a plan of action. He was willing to rot in prison, but that didn't mean he wanted to. Ideally, he'd just want to escape from them now, free Sonia, and live with his dirty deed. But could he? Could he handle it?
His thoughts sped as he drove along almost blindly. The cops were still behind him. The way they were chasing him, he knew that if they caught him, he'd never see the light of day again. He knew what he had to do.
He turned the truck, and spun it, and turned it so it spun against the wall of the highway. The cops followed. There were only two cars, and that relaxed him some. Dmitri no longer felt afraid.
He got out of the truck and moved to the opposite side so he stood between the truck and the wall. Then he watched and waited.
"Listen son," one of the cops called to him as they slowly approached, "your sister told us what happened… we tracked you quicker than we thought."
Dmitri said nothing in reply.
"She also told us the…ah, circumstances and why you acted like you did. We understand Dmitri. What you did was wrong, son. But we're not gonna hurt ya. Just come with us."
He still said nothing, but he climbed up onto the wall and stood there. He had driven there in such a daze he didn't notice that that stretch of highway was a bridge. That makes everything that much simpler.
"C'mon now, son" the same cop called, "don't do anything you'll regret."
Dmitri looked down and saw dozens and dozens of cars speeding along below him. He looked back at the cop. This cop was the only one not holding his weapon. He kept his hands out and slowly continued to approach Dmitri.
"You say I'll regret it?" Dmitri questioned the cop.
"Yes… come down. Come with us. Your sister wants to see you," the cop tried to persuade him "Please listen to me, son. Don't hurt yourself. Sonia wouldn't want that… you love your sister don't you?"
"My sister… Sonia," he muttered "This is for her. I have to free her," he said firmly
"No you don't son. If you do this, think of how that will hurt her. She loves you very much."
Dmitri looked closer at the cop. His name plate read: Officer C. Jonas. C. Jonas was wasting his time. He knew that C. Jonas knew it, and he knew it. But Dmitri would humor him.
"…I know," Dmitri whispered "But it is also because of me that she had to sell herself. If I never existed at all, she could have just left dad and had her own life. But she had to worry about me. We never and money for anything…" he trailed off "DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE SOMEONE HAVE TO HURT THEMSELF FOR YOU?!" He roared and tears of desperation poured down his face and the wind slapped him.
"I can't say that I do. But I can say that even if you go to some kind of prison, your sister needs you alive. She loves you, and would never want you to do something like this," C. Jonas said softly. He was now only a few feet away from Dmitri.
"I have to pay for what I've done."
Dmitri turned his back to C. Jonas, who continued to talk to him. C. Jonas sounded more and more desperate. Dmitri wasn't sure if he cared anymore. He saw more cop cars and an ambulance approach.
The law could never punish him enough. He had to punish himself. He looked back at C. Jonas.
"It has to be like this," Dmitri told him "I just want you to know, Officer Jonas… that what I'm about to do isn't your fault. It isn't my sister's fault. If anything, it's my dad's fault. You can tell him I said that. Tell Sonia that I'm sorry and I love her…she really is my only friend. And you don't need to feel guilty, Officer Jonas. Please don't. This isn't because of you. This is my choice."
Dmitri took a single step backwards and he fell as C. Jonas bolted to the wall where he once stood, cried out something to him, and met Dmitri's eyes as he fell.
He felt like he was flying! It was both beautiful and terrifying. He wondered if that man he killed had family. He wondered if he was a bad person at all. Maybe he was pretending to be what he wasn't.
He wondered if C. Jonas had a family… as that thought crossed his mind, Dmitri looked away from C. Jonas. He didn't want to torment that man by making him watch his death. But if C. Jonas felt guilt about Dmitri or not, Dmitri would never know.
The other cops were shouting.
He plummeted from above and met his fate, far too soon, below in the storm of cars.
Dmitri's body was recovered and his funeral was held a week later. As it turned out, C. Jonas did have a family. A wife, two daughters, and one son… C. Jonas knew Sonia could never afford the funeral that her little brother deserved. When he told his wife this, she agreed with him. They paid for Dmitri's funeral.
The Jonas family and Sonia were the only ones there. Dmitri would not have wanted it any other way.
Sonia and Dmitri's father didn't show up. The night before the service, he was apprehended for drunk driving for the 3rd time. He was to face 10 years in prison for it.
At the end of the service, just before his casket was lowered, C. Jonas felt overwhelmed. He looked around. His own children were too young to understand, but they stayed quiet and respectful. They were good kids. Mrs. Jonas had her arm around Sonia and stroked her hair as she cried. Mrs. Jonas had always been a kind woman.
"Your dad got caught for drunk driving, kid," he whispered to the casket "I guess you got your wish… she's free. Sonia is finally free…" and a single tear fell down his face for the boy who sacrificed himself for the love of his sister.
It began to snow again on that cold winter morning. As Dmitri's casket was lowered, the snow began to fall faster and thicker. And like a blanket of forgiveness, it coated his resting place.