He sat in the inky black room, hugging his knees with his back against the wall. The pounding on his bedroom door and the screaming from his father was deafening. He rocked himself and cried, wishing he could be someone else or anywhere else. He felt trapped and alone, totally helpless against the daily onslaught of fighting and insults. Sometimes he’d fight back, and on those days he’d feel powerful and brave. But after the battle was done, he’d be a crumpled mess like the dirty clothes on the floor of his bedroom. He’s cry and scream, taking care to lock his door so the fighting would remain on the other side. But today he didn’t feel like fighting. He didn’t have the strength to hold onto his anger as it propelled him forward onto the battlefield. So he locked his door early and pre-emptively and waited for the attack to come. And when it did, he swayed in the darkness with his pain and slid down the wall to the floor, acutely aware that he was alone. “I can’t live like this”, he whispered in the dark as the pounding on his door continued, the war drums echoing in his ears. When the pounding stopped and the attacking general retired to his quarters upstairs, he made a commitment to himself that he had to do something or risk living in this nightmare forever. The next morning, the sun shone through his bedroom window, clearing the darkness and setting the room ablaze. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and waved goodbye to his misery as he watched it all burn. The general yelled after him, attempting to dig into his psyche and pry it apart, but he held onto himself, began walking away, and never looked back.