The Beast of Montenegro

“Why does he do it?” Mina asked Alena. “Why does he hurt me?”

“He is drunk,” Alena said. “His mind has been taken over by it.”

“He’s a fool,” said Natalia. “One day you will be strong enough to stop him.”

“Natalia!” Alena rebuked her.

“I’m right,” Natalia didn’t agree with Alena’s impassiveness. “You know I’m right!”

“Will I ever be strong enough?” Mina wanted to know. “I don’t feel strong. I feel weak.”

“You will be,” Natalia said.

“When?” Mina said.

“I can’t say,” Natalia admitted.

“Mother is not happy with me,” Mina said. “She says I shouldn’t cry. It upsets Father… He’s always angry at me. Why is he always angry at me?”

“Go to sleep, child,” Alena intercepted. “Don’t worry about it. Hush now.”

Mina closed her eyes and tried to dream something pleasant, but it was hard. She had never known happiness or love. She could only wish her father would stop. Natalia pulled the covers over Mina and Alena hummed her a lullaby. They staid by her side until she fell asleep.