My name is Isabella Martin, and yesterday was my sixteenth birthday. Yesterday, I was the beloved daughter of my father, Angelo Martin, who could have been a good man. Today I am an orphan, with nobody to love me or care for me. Today, my "promising future" is gone. Instead of worrying about being accepted to a law school in America, I am forced to wonder whether or not I will survive the night. I went from loved, safe, and surrounded to hated, terrified, and completely alone in less than twenty-four hours. My name is Isabella Martin, and I am a runaway.
I woke up on November 3rd, 2006 like it was any other day. I was in my extravagantly-decorated bedroom in my dad's house, buried beneath mountains of quilted blankets and sheets. My mind eventually cleared the fogginess from sleep and I realized that it was my sixteenth birthday. I sat up just as my father stumbled in my bedroom, his dark hair a mess and his eyes wild.
My eyes moved up and down, scanning his appearance. He was still dressed in last night's outfit, and he smelled strongly of cigarettes and alcohol, with the lingering stench of vomit.
"Good morning, sweet Izzy. Happy birthday." He stood swaying back and forth, looking like he could topple over any second.
His flickering eyes and leaning stance told me he was flat out drunk. It wasn't a surprise, because he had gotten drunk often since my mother had been killed. He had told me it was a car accident, but I didn't believe him because he couldn't manage to say it when he was actually sober. I missed my mother often at times like this, wondering if she hadn't died if things would be any different.
"Oh, you remembered." The words had a sarcasm that cut into the air, creating a volatile feeling. I was surprised to feel the stinging hurt that produced tears behind my eyes because I didn't think my father's idiocy could affect my feelings anymore, even though he obviously didn't care that today was my birthday.
"How could I forget your sixteenth birthday? Today is a special day, Isabella. You get to meet your new husband." He took a step closer. I shuddered at the thought of an arranged marriage, but I managed to keep the words back because he looked as though he could do anything right now without thinking about it.
"I'm not really sure though, if an arranged marriage is the best thing," he murmured. He stepped closer again, and I breathed a sigh of relief. An arranged marriage was the last thing I wanted, and if after months of pleading, my father could finally see that, it really would be a miracle.
"You see, Isabella, I don't want to give you away to another man because I want you all to myself." My blood suddenly ran cold and I covered my mouth to prevent the shriek that almost released itself. My father sat down on the bed and caressed my leg, his touch losing its fatherly innocence. I slowly slid my leg under me, away from his touch, but he didn't seem to notice.
Before I could blink, he had me pinned down on the bed. I tried to hard to remember that this wasn't my father, he was drunk, but it was so hard. The hungry look in his eyes was the most frightening thing I had ever seen, like a predator about to pounce on his pray. I remembered him calling me beautiful constantly, and touching my arm or my face. I never suspected this hidden desire, and the thought made me want to throw up.
After what seemed like hours of him staring at me, he reached down and started to pull up my top. I finally fought him, screaming and trying to push him off of me, but nobody was listening and he was too strong. He grabbed my flimsy pajama top ferociously and pulled it over my head, not caring that it hurt my head. He pulled me up and reached around for the clasp of my bra, and soon had my most private parts free, despite my pleading and kicking and screaming. His mouth was inches away from me when I suddenly pulled my right arm free and slapped him across the face, hard. He reared back and stared at me, a red mark already forming.
His eyes narrowed in anger and he reached for me again. He didn't touch me before I jumped up and ran, locking myself in my clothes closet. I could feel vibrations as he pounded on the door, angrily ordering me to open the door.
"Think, Isabella, think," I told myself. I suddenly remembered the escape door my father had told me about, at the bottom of my closet. I pulled a shirt off of a hanger and pulled it over my head as I got on my hands and knees and searched for the door. At last, my hand found and handle and I pulled, revealing a ladder that I couldn't see the end of. Just as I started to climb down and pulled the door shut, my father in his fiery rage kicked the door down. When he realized the closet was empty he roared for the guards, "I want Isabella found and killed! I want her dead!" I listened to his footsteps fade and the door slam, breathing a heavy sigh of relief that he was finally gone.
I slowly crawled down the rest of the ladder, grateful that he had forgotten about the door. My feet landed on dirt at the bottom, and I discovered a short tunnel that led to another door, which I assumed was to the outside. I practically sprinted to the door and pushed it open with all my might. I didn't start crying until I saw the guards standing right outside, guarding the front entrance to the house. "This leads to the front? Seriously?" I had almost pulled the door shut again when it let out a loud, ear-killing squeak, alerting everyone that I was down here. I watched in horror as the guards spun around and yelled for backup when they saw my pale face peeking out from underground.
One guard harshly yanked the door open while the other grabbed me and hoisted me out. I preteneded to look defeated until he set me down on solid ground, when I used all of my training to give him a hard punch to the face. He fell backwards onto the ground in shock, and I used that advantage to grab one of the broken fence posts and swing it blindly at the other guard. "Thank God," I whispered when I saw him lying unconscious. I knocked the other out just to be safe, dropped the post and ran for the woods, wary of the guards that had just raced around the corner. I couldn't run fast enough and they saw me and yelled as they ran towards me.
Though I didn't stop running, ice-cold fear coursed through my veins and my heart pumped faster than it ever had, my entire body tense with panic. My bare feet cried out in pain as I stepped on fallen branches and twigs, but I ignored the pain and pushed forward, dodging trees and bushes as I continued blindly away from the house.
I didn't have time to think about what happened or how my father had so awfully betrayed me, I just ran, the fear of being caught and forced to finish what he had started being enough to send me sprinting.
I didn't know if it was minutes later or hours, but the voices and footsteps behind me finally ceased, as though they had retreated in the other direction. I sank to the ground, my entire body shaking with the sobs and heavy breaths that I had started to let go of. I was safe, and I was okay. I thought I had made it until I heard the crack of a stepped on branch that sent me flying into a standing position. There was no way I could outrun someone that close, so I decided to fight, and prepared myself for one of father's guards.
"Come out, you coward," I hissed loudly, staring at nothing but trees. My father stepped out from behind one, clad in a fighting uniform and pointing a gun at me.
"Any sudden moves and I will shoot you between the eyes," he said coldly, letting the bullet click into place. "I am not afraid of a little girl."
I stared at him, taking in his wrinkles and angry eyes that had lost all evidence of alcohol. "You are a bully, a coward, and a liar. I cannot believe my mother married a man like you."
"SHUT UP!" he shouted, shaking his head. "You know nothing about me, you little bitch. Everything you think you know is a lie."
"Oh really?" I questioned. "So when I say that I know you killed my mother, that's a lie. When I say that I know you feel guilty and that is why you drink, that's a lie too. When I say that you are a stubborn, dirty coward with a lack of respect for your own daughter, is that a lie, Father?"
He stared at me, open mouthed, and I sprung on top of him, knocking his pathetically skinny form to the ground. The gun flew out of his grasp and I grabbed is desperately, pointing it right between his eyes.
"Any last words?" I asked. The cruelty was evident in my sneer. I wanted nothing more than to never see this man again, no matter what it takes.
A single tear rolled down his face. "I'm so sorry, Izzy."
"Don't call me Izzy!" I screeched, squeezing the trigger. I heard the echo of the shot and watched the bullet sink into his face, clean through his brain.
I rolled off of my father, laying my body on the dirt-covered ground, and let myself cry. I cried for my stolen innocence, the fear that led to my first kill, and the father that I would never miss. Finally, I would get a chance to leave behind the life I had never wanted. I could finally escape.