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As a child I was absolutely terrified of drifters jumping off the train that ran through our small country town. I was convinced they would climb through my window and murder me in my sleep. I’m not entirely sure where this fear came from, either a babysitter let me watch scary movies, or my parents put LSD in my bedtime snacks. The jury is still out on that one.

After weeks of forcing myself to stay awake into the wee hours of the night, I finally came up with a solution: my baby brother Ben. Every night when it was time for bed I begged my mom to let Ben sleep in my room. She thought I was being nurturing and wanted to spend time with my baby brother. She was dead wrong. I was seven years old—I didn’t care about anything, but my own survival.

Once baby Ben fell asleep I scooted him over to the very edge of my bed, where he was closest to the window. I thought the sound of Ben being murdered first would wake me up, therefore giving me enough time to escape.

Now, occasionally when I hear the sounds of a train I’m thankful Ben was not murdered in cold blood on my bed. I still sleep with the same Care Bear pillowcase, and would really hate to have bloodstains on it. In addition, sometimes I like having him around–you know for fixing my car and hanging shelves.

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