I was lying on my wooden cot when I heard mumbling coming from my parent’s room. My little sister was asleep next to me. We shared once wooden cot with no mattress, just wood. The mumbling got quieter and I strained my ears to hear what was being said.
“-not enough money-” I could barely hear my mom say.
Other than that, I couldn’t hear what they said, so to pass the time I just stared at my little sister, Claire.
Claire is four-years-old, that’s two years younger than me. I stared intently at her long golden hair. It was all tangled of course, but still pretty. And it shone brightly from the moonlight pouring in through the window. Then I counted the bruises on her face. 5. And the bruises on both her arms. 17.
The murmuring from my parent’s room stopped and now I could hear my father snoring. I went back to bruise-counting, this time on my own arms. 23. I also had a long scrape down my left arm from my shoulder to my wrist.
I traced it lightly with my hand and almost screamed out in pain, but I didn’t. But tears formed in my eyes and streamed out orderly. I tried to forget the pain and shut my eyes…and slowly fell asleep…
Things hadn’t always been this way. When I was little I remember living in a big house. But then something happened to all our money and we had to move here. To this evil house; and my parents turned evil, too. We couldn’t afford food. I don’t know why, but because we lost our money our parents started hurting us.
I woke up the next morning. Claire was still asleep.
“Claire! Logan! Get in here!” My mother called.
I shook Claire awake and we both ran in as quickly as we could to escape punishment for not coming quickly enough. We were both dressed in rags. Brown ratty cloths.
When we entered the kitchen, mom was waiting for us. She handed us each some rags. “Clean the floor,” she told us sternly, “and make haste, because we are going somewhere today. And you are coming along.”
Oh boy, I thought to myself happily. I started humming as I washed the floor with the wet rag. I wondered silently where it was we could be going. My parents rarely went anywhere, and they never took us. In fact, Claire and I hadn’t been out of the house in over two and a half years.
We finished cleaning the floor quickly and reported back to my mother.
“Can we go now,” I asked.
She stared at me with her scary eyes which made me shrink back into the corner.
“Get in the car,” she told us.
We did as told. Mom and dad met us in the car. It was an old pick up.
We drove for a long time; maybe a few hours. It was getting dark as we finally came to a stop on a long dirt road, far away from home.
My dad stopped the car and got out. He opened up the backdoor where we were and grabbed Claire by her shirt. He threw her out off the side of the road and then grabbed for me. I scooted back as far as I could into the corner of the car, but my dad climbed in and grabbed me. He threw me off the side of the road, too, and then hastily got back in and sped off, leaving Clair and I in a daze.
We didn’t know what to do. First, we tried following the road in the direction the car took off for a while, but the road was endless. It was dark now. We ran away from the road and into the woods for protection and to find some grass or something soft to rest on.
We walked deeper into the woods. Claire clung closely to me. I could feel her shuddering and crying against me, and shivering from the cold. But I couldn’t help her. I had to be brave- for the both of us.
It wasn’t long before we found a little cottage. I got a weird premonition standing outside of it, like something bad had happened inside that house or was going to happen. But it was the only house around, probably for miles. Our only shelter.
I walked carefully to the door. Claire beside me. I slowly reached out a hand and knocked on the huge door. There was footsteps inside the cottage and then the doorknob turned and opened to reveal an old lady.
“Oh my!” she said, looking at us, “what do we have here? How did you get here?”
“I- I don’t know,” I told her.
“You must be cold and starving! Come in! Come in!” she opened the door wider so Claire and I could squeeze through.
That night she gave us all the food we could eat. Chicken breasts, pasta, cookies, candies, and cake. That was the most food I’d ever had in my entire life. She also gave us some nice new pajamas (Claire gota nightgown and I got pajama pants and a shirt) and a bunk-bed to sleep in. That was the first time in a long while I’d actually slept on a mattress.
It was really creepy, though, how she just happened to have pajamas just our size with her and bunk-beds. She must’ve noticed the weird look on my face.
“I have grandchildren that come over once in a while, just your age!” she told us with a smile. But I didn’t believe her.
Things were great for the next few days. But then it turned bad. Just like in our family.
She made us sweep the floors, cook her food, and do just about every chore she could think up. After a few days, I was so tired, I refused. She took away my clothes she’d given me and given me back my rags from before. She made me sleep on the stone floor instead of the bunk-bed, and she only fed me scraps.
“You ungrateful child! After everything I’ve done for you, you would dare defy me?” And she hit me, hard.
Chores were added daily; whenever she would think up something off the top of her head
Claire and I had had enough of this. We tried to run away, but she caught us, and beat us badly.
A few months later we were rescued by a hiker who had been waking in the woods when they heard our screaming. Some people came and got us. We were sent to an adoption agency.
We may not be in a family or anything, but at least we had each-other.