Ally was terrified, and rightfully so. She believed her life was in danger, rightly so as well. Her short life had never really been a happy one, but things were getting even worse. Mommy had died years ago and Daddy had taken to drinking to “dull the pain”, as he put it.
The problem was that when Daddy drank, Daddy got violent. When Daddy got violent, he would hurt her. Hurt her real bad. When that happened, she had to lie in school and tell the grown-ups she fell from the swing; fell from the stairs. That she had closed the door on her fingers or burned herself on the stove. She had cut herself “accidentally”, even stabbed herself by mistake.
Lying was hard, especially when she wanted to tell them the truth. Tell them her Daddy was hurting her. But she knew if she did that, Daddy would get even angrier with her. They would take her away to an orphanage or a foster home, and Daddy told her those would be much, much worse.
Then there was the other thing: the one that had started happening lately. Daddy would drink and instead of violent, he would get lonely. And when that happened, he would come to her bed at night. Not in the good way, but in a real bad, bad way. He did things to her that she did not want. And if she asked him to stop he would get violent again. Real violent. She was afraid, that one day, in a fit of rage, Daddy might kill her.
She didn’t know what to do. That is, until one day she was talking to one of the only girls who did not shun her. A girl called Robyn. Robyn started noticing all the bruises that kept reappearing on Ally, and one day in the playground she approached Ally. “Is it your Dad who does that to you?” She asked with disarming empathy.
Ally did not answer.
“My Daddy used to hit me real bad too. For real dumb things,” She continued. “Then one day I told him if he didn’t stop, I was going to call Nana Razor.”
“Who?” Ally asked, breaking her silence.
“Nana Razor,” Robyn said as naturally as if stating the sky was blue. “You know Nana Razor, right?”
“N-no,” Ally stuttered.
Robyn rolled her eyes, “You heard about the Boogeyman, right?”
“Okay, the Boogeyman takes away bad children. Nana Razor is kind of the same, but for grown-ups instead.”
“She is?” Ally asked. Her eyes lit up.
“Yeah, there is even a song about it,” Robyn told her and then started to sing the sing-songy rhyme.
“That’s just a dumb rope-skipping song!” Ally protested. “It’s not real.”
“That’s what grown-ups want you to think, silly,” Robyn countered, “But they know it’s true. Grown-ups were children too at one time. So they know about Nana. You should have seen how my Daddy turned white when I said I was calling her. He changed too. Now he is so much nicer.”
“How do you call her?” Ally wanted to know.
Robyn rolled her eyes again. She explained that whenever she cried because of something her Daddy did, she had to gather her tears in a cup. Toy teacups worked best because grown-ups would not miss them and they filled up faster. Then she told her something real important: “If you change your mind, you have to throw your tears down the sink and wash the teacup before the full-moon comes.”
“Why?” Ally asked.
“Aren't you listening?” Robyn snapped. “Nana Razor comes on the full-moon, duh. And if Nana Razor comes, she has to take someone. She’s like a boogeywoman, right? That’s what they do.”
The bell rang, signaling the end of recess. Ally thanked Robyn and started to head back to class. She knew well that a detention for being late was just another excuse for a beating.
“Wait!” Robyn called running behind her. “Take this.” She pulled a little pink toy plastic teacup from her pocket and handed it to Ally. “I don’t need this anymore.” And after hugging each other as little girls do, they headed back to class.
That night, when her Daddy started acting up, Ally threatened him saying she was going to call Nana Razor. That lead to new round of beatings for her father apparently had never heard of Nana Razor. That night in her room while she was crying, Ally took the little teacup that Robyn had given her and started saving her tears for Nana Razor.
Full moon night arrived and not a moment too soon. Tonight, Daddy had been “lonely” again. He had hugged her and tried to kiss her earlier. The “bad” sort of kiss. Ally managed to get away, which made Daddy really mad. He ran after her, but she beat him to her room and slammed the door shut and propped up a chair against the doorknob. Daddy screamed and pounded on the door for what seemed to be forever. But finally frustrated and exhausted, he sat down on the sofa with a bottle and passed out.
Ally lay down on her bed and tried to sleep. She knew Daddy would not get up from his drunken sleep until late tomorrow. By that time she would be out of the house, and maybe this time she would finally tell the Social Worker Lady in school about Daddy. She would probably go to a foster home, but no matter how bad it was, it couldn't be any worse than this.
She was almost drifting to sleep when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. At first she thought somehow Daddy managed to get in, but when she opened her heavy sleepy eyes she saw a shadow at the foot of her bed. The shadow was twisted and scrawny, and moved as if any movement was made at the cost of great pain. Ally’s eyes started to focus and saw it appeared to be a toothless and very old-looking woman with hands so scrawny and disfigured with age, that they looked more like claws then hands. Her skin was wrinkled and dry, like that of a mummy she saw on a field trip to the museum. Her head was topped by the hood from a robe so faded and tattered it seemed to be falling apart and flaking with every movement. Her eyes were deep and dark, and even though it was too dark to see them, Ally knew they were staring right at her.
Ally wanted to scream, she wanted to jump and run away as fast as she could, but her body seemed frozen. She tried real hard not to wet her bed as the hag lifted the little pink tea cup, and took it to her lips. The wrinkled lips parted in an eerie smile, exposing fleshy gums. “Why did you call Nana, my deary?” She wailed in a tortured voice.
“It’s Daddy, he’s... he’s...” Ally could not finish the sentence.
“Hush, child,” The hag murmured. Strange as it may sound, there was some sweetness in her voice. “Your tears will tell me all I need to know.”
Then she took the tiny toy teacup and slowly drank Ally’s tears. A look of understanding and sadness crossed her eyes. She knew. She knew everything. Everything Ally felt too scarred and ashamed to tell anyone. Everything.
“My poor, poor child,” she cooed with her tortured voice. “Nana is going to make it all better now. Nana is going to make it all go away.” For a second, Ally thought she saw tears trickling from Nana’s deep, dark eyes.
“I’m scared, Nana,” Ally cried, as tears streamed down her face. Tear that she had held back for way too long.
“Just cover your head with the pillow, sweetie. Hide under your sheets. It won’t take long.”
Ally started to cover her face, but could not keep herself from peeking from under the sheets. From her peek-hole she saw Nana slowly get up; her joints cracking as she moved. From her robe she took a rusty straight-razor for each hand, and flicked them open. She turned towards the door, and then glided across the room and right through the door as a terrified Ally watched in disbelief.
Then she heard Daddy scream. She held her pillow tight against her head, to block out the screams but she could still hear them. Daddy screamed and screamed until finally, he stopped.
The neighbors called the police that night. They were somewhat used to hearing screams and noises from the apartment where that alcoholic man lived with his little girl. Tonight however, it had been different. Tonight, it sounded as if someone got killed.
The police arrived and after knocking a few times decided to ram the door open. Upon entering the apartment, they quickly noticed the blood-stained carpet, but no body could be found. There was a trail of blood leading straight to the window. But since the apartment was on the ninth floor and there was no fire escape they did not know what to make of it.
Though the neighbors insisted a little girl lived there too, they never found her either. Maybe only Robyn knew that Ally had gone away to a place where she would never again be afraid, never again be in pain. She had gone away. Away with Nana Razor. She knew this because she found the little pink teacup on her bedside table when she woke up the next day.
Later that day Robyn saw another little girl during recess, trying hard to be invisible. She had a black eye and sat weeping attempting to cover her eye with her hair. Robyn felt inside her jacket pocket to make sure the little teacup was still there. Then she walked to the little weeping girl while she whispered a sing-songy tune.
“Children fearing for their lives
Pray to Nana Razor.
They put their tears in a cup
To give to Nana Razor…”