‘I don’t know why,
All the trees change in the fall,
I know you’re not scared of,
Anything at all,
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away,
But I know I had the best day,
With you, today.’
-The Best Day, Taylor Swift
Holding him by his paws, Ariana danced the teddy along the dusty floorboards. She settled him carefully in her lap and picked up a ring of pink netting. Her small, slim fingers deftly attached a
pink material to the teddy’s brown fur, giving him the impression that he was wearing a tutu.
“You shall go to the ball, Mr Ted.” She said quietly.
She smiled slightly. She had been given Mr Ted that very morning for her birthday. He was tattered and half of one ear was missing but she loved him with all her heart.
She held the teddy aloft, examining him. Seemingly satisfied, Ariana placed him back down onto the floor. She sighed, closing her dark grey eyes and leant back against the wall.
Ariana was seven years old to the very minute the clock struck eleven on that cold evening. Her dirty, un-kept, black hair fell in tangles down to her waist. She wore the same clothes she wore
everyday; a too big, off white dress that came down to her knees. She went barefoot.
Suddenly there was a loud crash from below and a scream. Ariana’s eyes snapped open. She stared at the door fearfully, her heart pounding too hard for her small frame. The door to the room burst
open and a wild looking woman flew in. Her hair was a mess and her make up was streaked down her face. The woman slammed the door closed and locked it.
“Ariana!” She whispered. “Quick, hide!”
“Mama?” Ariana stared up at her with wide eyes. The woman’s eyes filled with fresh tears.
“Quickly!” Was all she said.
Ariana stumbled to her feet, without looking back she scrambled into the wardrobe and shut the door behind her. But the door was old and wouldn’t close properly. It left a small gap, allowing her
to see everything.
Moments after she had gotten into the wardrobe, a banging on the door started up.
“Open the door, Sally! You can’t hide in here forever!” A man shouted from the other side. Ariana shuddered at the familiar voice. Michael.
The woman, Sally, backed away behind the bed. Her eyes darted over to the wardrobe and set determinedly. She grabbed the bedside lamp from the table, tearing it from its socket. The door was
suddenly flung of its hinges and as the dust cleared a handsome man in a dark suit walked into the room. His cold green eyes settled on Sally, who held the lamp up threateningly. A short bark of
laughter erupted from his throat.
“What you gonna’ do with that?” He smirked. “Hit me with it?”
“I’ll do worse than that.” Sally snarled.
Michael grinned. He started towards her, but was stopped when the lamp flew at his head. He ducked and it hit the wall behind him. He turned back to Sally.
“It seems you’re all out of ideas.” He said tauntingly.
Sally swallowed; she glanced at the wardrobe worriedly. Ariana gasped as Michael suddenly took a handful of Sally’s hair and threw her to the ground.
“Where is she?” He growled. Sally took a hold of his wrist, trying desperately to release his hold.
“She’s gone! You’ll never find her!” She spat. Michael scowled. He kicked her in her ribs causing Sally to scream as they cracked.
Ariana’s snapped shut, her hands slamming against her ears. Tears streamed down her face as she shook her head from side to side, trying, failing, to block out Sally’s screams of pain.
Eventually everything became quiet again. Ariana dared to open her eyes. The man was nowhere in sight, but Sally was another matter. She was lying on the floor; a pool of blood surrounded her. Her
eyes were closed.
“Mama!” Ariana shrieked. She burst out of the wardrobe, making for her mother’s body.
But two strong hands clamped round her waist and held her in place. Ariana screamed, struggling against his hold.
She hated Michael. Every night he would come and give her mother strange bags of white stuff and pills. And every night her mama, the woman who read her bedtime stories about handsome princes’ and
beautiful princess’, would be taken up to her bedroom and they would stay in there for hours on end. Ariana didn’t know what they did and she wasn’t allowed inside the house when it happened, but
she didn’t like it. She knew Michael was hurting her mother, which was why she brought her head down and bit down hard on his hand.
He cried out in shock and anger, releasing her at once. Ariana flew to her mother’s side. She dropped to her knees and gently shook her shoulder.
“Mama?” She whispered. “Mama, wake up!”
“Mama’s dead now, kid.” Michael stated coldly, grabbing Ariana’s wrist.
“No, she’s not dead. She’s…she’s just sleeping!” Ariana sobbed, refusing to leave her mother’s side.
Michael groaned in frustration. “She’s dead! See that red stuff? Its blood, it means she’s dead.” He informed her.
Ariana touched the blood with her fingers; gazing at it awestruck.
“Blood.” She repeated.
“Yes, well done. Now come on.” Michael rolled his eyes. He picked her up in his arms and headed for the door, but not before Ariana had managed to grab Mr Ted, who she held tightly for comfort.
Michael carried the young girl out to a sleek black car with tinted windows. He placed her in the back, sliding in next to her. The car immediately started up and pulled out of the drive way.
“Where are we going?” Ariana asked quietly. Michael looked at her. He saw no harm in telling the seven year old the truth.
“To see your father.”
Ariana gaped up at him. “My father is a bad man.”
Michael chuckled. “I see Sally taught you well, the bitch.” He muttered as an afterthought.
Ariana turned away from him and stared out the window. She hugged Mr Ted tightly to her chest. At least they hadn’t taken him from her. She watched the bright lights of the city flash past. Her
mother had never allowed her to go with her into the city and she was fascinated by it. Maybe her father would let her come back and see it.
“We could get you a girl friend, Ted.” She said to her teddy.
Michael rolled his eyes at her behaviour. Mr Laquasto was not going to be pleased and Michael almost felt sorry for the little kid. Almost.
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