By Em Hughes (Founder, DIASH)

Here I sit, 3am and no one to share the night with.

I had the nightmare again. It was a long one that I can’t remember all that happened. But the last bit was pretty terrifying. I was nine again, standing in my mother’s bedroom. She was on her phone as I looked out the window. A flash of orange was seen in the distance. At first, I thought the sun was still out. Then I saw the clock struck midnight. Suddenly, two people covered in ashes were running, screaming in terror. My whole house started to shake before I woke up in sweats. I have had this nightmare ever since Mom was taken away. And, as usual, Father woke me up from my sleep in his office. He would stroke my hair, humming underneath his breath as I struggled to fall back asleep.

“Everything will be alright,” he would say.

But he didn’t understand. How could he, being a part of the problem?

One day, I chose to run far away, where I found this old, decrepit house. There was no sunshine coming in through the boarded up walls and windows. The floor where I slept was cold and unforgiving. Only the soft fleece blanket my mother gave me provided some small semblance of comfort. For three weeks I could barely get up from the fetal position in my new prison.

the walks. Over time, I have learned to appreciate the moon and stars shining down at night.

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