C.A.R.O.L.L.: Part 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Anna and Riley recount their past and initial meeting. Mother reveals her past struggles in the 2nd installment of the 3-part C.A.R.O.L.L. short story series.








C.A.R.O.L.L.: Part 2


By: Michael Hall


































A game warden in charge was standing on a table overlooking a small crowd. He was wearing an orange vest that clipped together in the middle of his chest. His commanding voice was boisterous and carried so well it echoed through the small valley behind the crowd. “Everyone listen up, we have a new area to search today. For the new members of the search party we are looking for a missing female around the age of 17. She went missing 2 months ago and was seen in the local area 1 month ago. It is going to take a lot of effort because of the terrain. I need everyone to look at the board to my right and no matter what, stay with your teams. If you get separated from your team stop where you are and use your whistle to signal.”

I was in group B with numbers ID’s 34 and 51; I had the ID number 22. My search was never resolved from when I was a young kid, but I’ve always wanted to help people who were lost. I had to know what happened to her, luckily there were others who agreed. I was dressed for the search in hiking boots, jeans, a flannel shirt, and received an orange vest like the game warden was wearing.

In the hills and woods of the search area, losing the trail can mean death. Even staying on the trails can be dangerous. The trails were narrow and there were steep inclines leading into and out of the valleys that had a tendency to erode quickly during rainstorms. The wildlife could be hazardous even if you knew about what you were doing; bears, coyotes, and mountain lions to name a few.

Earlier on in the year, the primary mining company went bankrupt, leaving many without work or a stable income for essentials like food and housing. Many of the locals had to either move on to other mining companies or get more inventive in how they earned a living by working for cash or in some cases living off the land, although there were a few people who used welfare fraud and scammed insurance companies.

Anyways, I had to find the other two people that l would be teamed up with. I began looking near the board with our names and numbers on them first. I didn’t see them though so I moved on to looking at people who were in groups of two or people still looking for their groups. I made my way through the crowd until I came across two men who were talking to one another about some bet they had made.

The two men were of similar height, around 6 feet tall if I had to guess. One of the men had a graying beard that puffed out like a bunch of cotton balls, he had a mustache that was so full I’m honestly not sure if he had an upper lip. He was wearing a baseball cap with a logo I still cannot identify to this day; his hair wasn’t long enough to be visible except for the back of his head where it poked through that back near the adjustment clasp. He had on an old pair of military combat boots, some relaxed fit jeans, and a t-shirt with the orange vest over top of it.

The other man was younger, I’d say around 30 years old. He had brown hair cut short with a baseball hat in his hand. He was wearing a t-shirt but had no orange vest; instead he had a long ribbon of orange draped around his neck going down to the belt line on his jeans. Oddly enough he only had running shoes on. He had stubble unlike the other man’s full beard. After looking at the bearded man’s vest I realized he was number 34 and approached the duo.

Hello, my name is Anna. I’m on your team for the search.”

The two men looked at me as if they expected someone else for a moment but the older man broke the awkward silence.

Hey Anna, I’m Thompson. My friend here is Brooks.”

I shook their hands, but felt uneasy. This was my first time being involved in a search party. I had no idea what to expect and didn’t know the terrain well but I really wanted to find her. “So where are you from? Do you live in the area?”

Brooks spoke with a certain rhythm and style that didn’t match up with his appearance. “I was born and raised in the next county over; I left for a while to go to Florida for college and try to make something of myself. Sometimes seeing people having fun on vacation is a good thing, but after a while it reminded me of home and I felt the need to come back to settle down. People around here may be as broke as a joke but we still care about our neighbors like family, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure we make it through the rough patch.”

Dang Brooks, this ain’t a job interview.” Thompson scoffed.

I smirked a little, it was obvious these two knew each other and I’d have to get used to working side by side with them. “Well I’m glad that I can help, although this is my first time helping with a search.”

Don’t you worry about that, as long as you can handle the terrain and use your eyes it’ll be fine.”

So why are we just now looking for the girl? It’s been a month.”

She was a runaway so the cops didn’t give it much thought at first. The family went to the press a few days ago, and someone who stayed at the campgrounds came forward. Apparently he talked to her but she took off running for some reason so he never got her name.”

Wow, I feel for the girl. At least someone reported her missing, even when I ran away no one reported me missing.”

You were a runaway?”

Yeah...I uh...don’t talk about it much.”

Although I made it awkward with that information I could tell that Thompson and Brooks really did care about finding the girl so I just let it go.

After a few minutes the game warden was once again standing on the table next to the numbers board. “Is there anyone who did not find their groups?” A few seconds went by, but no one said anything or raised their hands. “Alright good, keep close to your teams and stay within eyesight of each other. If you lose one another while you are searching use your whistle to find your team. Blow once if you lose sight of your team if they don’t answer you back vocally first, blow two times to signal that you found something. With that said, let’s get moving to the search area.”

The whole group moved to the beginning of the valley area of the forest, I could hear birds chirping everywhere. The wind was blowing gently, bending the thin branches back and forth. I always thought we would be searching an area the size of a large estate, but my inability to see relative size from a map was made clear when we reached a small hill before the landscape starting sloping down towards a stream. Other than a walking trail and bike bath that cut through the trees it was a beautiful place that was untouched by people. There were campgrounds a few miles away near the start of the trail but their influence was limited to the walking and biking trails for the most part. The locals had a small town center near the campgrounds with some shops and a motel, but the residential area was more spread out within the terrain on windy dirt roads.

The game warden gave us all our assignments to look at, all within eyesight of the starting area. We checked the wood line on either side of the trails, on the high ground near a small rocky cliff, and in a low spot where rainwater would run into the stream. There wasn’t a single sign of anything man made in the whole area except for the volunteers searching. After a while of finding nothing, the silence was getting a bit overwhelming. So I walked closer to Brooks to strike up a conversation.

So Brooks, how well do you know the terrain around here?”

Not as well as Thompson, but I can manage pretty well. This area is known for deer trails and the occasional bear. There are a few areas around here we could check but we have to leave the main group, I doubt they’ll let that happen.” Brooks seemed to be annoyed by the restraints of the search party, as if it was holding him back. Thompson had the same look on his face as well. I just knew they had some idea of where the missing girl may have run to for shelter, living here as long as they have it just made sense.

The girl went missing from further down the trail right? So why are we so far out? It just doesn’t make much sense to me.”

Thompson walked up behind Brooks and me and quickly spoke up. “Well because if someone is dehydrated or lost they can go in circles and take odd paths to try and find their way home. In the end they just end up more lost nearly all of the time.”

Well I guess that makes sense…what the heck is that?” I saw something in the distance waving like a flag. As the three of us got closer we realized it was a piece of clothing that had snagged on a low tree limb. I quickly blew my whistle twice to signal the search party that we had found something, the game warden came over as fast as he could. He then signaled the rest of the search party to come over and started waving his hands in the air to show the urgency.

After a few minutes of looking in the immediate area we realized that the direction of the search had changed. We were now leaving the areas around the trails and heading deeper into the woods away from most of the trails and further into game trails where there was no smooth path and the terrain was a bit rougher. The game warden was now realizing he needed a new strategy due to the terrain change but with the sun going down, he decided to get everyone rounded up and the whole group went back to the main camp area for the night.

There was a dinner that night with everything from ham and cheese sandwiches to chili dogs and hamburgers. I had the hot dogs with ketchup, sat by a small fire they had so everyone could stay warm after the sun went down. The heat from the fire kept most of the tents warm; the few on the opposite side were a little cooler but not so cold that you couldn’t sleep in them. There were quite a few camping tents in the area so we could sleep on site if we wanted to, although there were some who went back into town and stayed in the motel. I decided to stay at the camp and spend the night in one of the tents with another female search party member. I didn’t have time to talk to her before I went to sleep, the day had worn me down and we needed to get up early and get to the new search area.

In the morning when I woke up the dew covered everything in a beautiful glaze. There was a slight breeze and the weather was perfect; not too hot, but not too cold. I made my way to the food tent to get breakfast with the woman in the tent. After enough time had passed for everyone to eat, we regrouped and set out again to look for the missing girl in the new area.

Brooks wasn’t really a morning person but Thompson had been up helping with the food preparation earlier so he must have been used to getting up that early. We were in a completely different type of terrain compared to the first day. It had just as many trees but there were a lot more hills and small streams. It started to stretch the search party out because of the narrowing of trails and the rough terrain. After a little while of looking, Brooks found a piece of lumber that had washed down the stream during the last big rain. Thompson knew about an old mine nearby so we split off from the main group to go and check it out.

That piece of lumber had been broken off of the entrance that kept people out. The only problem was that when we got to the entrance, there were a few large openings. It looked like someone had just ripped the lumber off with tools to get inside. I doubted that the missing girl could have done that. However, when I mentioned that idea to Thompson and Brooks they thought it was a bear that tore it down to get inside, or even that it could have been trying to mark its territory and just tore a couple pieces off. I still don’t know that much about bears so I just took their word for it and kept looking for any sign of the missing girl.

What if the girl got inside after it was torn up? Can we go in there and check?”

Mine shut down because of bankruptcy not a gas leak, but I still wouldn’t risk it. That mine had a tendency to cause accidents.”

Brooks interrupted and laughed off the concern. “Why is everyone around here superstitious? It’s a hole in the ground and people are bound to get hurt if they work for 10 hours straight...the real problem is that gas might have started leaking after everyone left the mine alone for too long without maintenance.”

You just don’t get it do you Brooks? There are reasons we do things here, and them things keep us alive. It might be superstition but it works for us.”

Are we really going to get into that because you moved you aren’t one of us anymore argument again?”

No we ain’t, I’m just saying there are some things you don’t tempt in life...where’d Anna go?”

Brooks and Thompson were so distracted arguing they didn’t see me crawl in through one of the holes in the barricade. It was so dark in there I felt like I went blind after a cloud blocked the sun, the small amount of light coming in through the broken lumber barring the door was the only light I had, and the farther in I went the darker it got. After a few minutes stumbling around I kicked a small rock and it made a tink sound when it landed up against something. I felt around a bit with my foot to see if there was anything in front of me I might trip on before I took another step. Unfortunately I slipped and fell hard on my butt when I lost my footing on some loose dirt. I felt around to get my barrings and found a chain from a necklace. I couldn’t tell what it was at first but I decided going further in wouldn’t help my situation, so I just went back up to the barricaded entrance.

Hey I found something!” I crawled out of the lowest hole and returned to the outside world. “It’s some kind of chain.”

Thompson helped me stand back up so we could look at it. On the small chain there was a pendant with something written on it. Forever yours. Always.

Where did you find that?”

I had just enough light to see the entrance but not enough to see my feet.”

Thompson stood staring at the necklace for a second before muttering, “What’s that slimy stuff?”

No clue, but it smells bad in there. Like, really bad.”

Brooks decided then we needed to go back to the main group and show them what we found just in case it meant something to the search, although it could have been something left behind by a miner. So we made our way back to the warden and showed him where and what we found. He took a large flashlight with him into the mine though. When he finally came back out he signaled for help from anyone who was nearby, a few of them had rope so they tied it around the barricade and we all pulled it down. Then the warden made a call on his radio for the local coroner to come out and bring whatever he might have needed. The necklace was taken as evidence and a murder investigation began shortly after that...I found the missing girl and didn't realize it.

I stayed in town for a few days after that just in case they had any more questions for me. They didn’t have many but I really wanted to help where I could, that’s when it took a turn for the worse. I was supposed to meet up with the girl from the tent before I left town but I guess fate decided that wasn’t supposed to happen.

As I was walking to a small diner in the town someone knocked me unconscious.

Now for this next part to make sense I need to go back to earlier in my childhood; this would have been around the same age as you are now. I was a runaway, my mom died when I was little from a car accident and my dad started drinking because of it. He was hardly ever there, even when he would be awake his attention was always on the past. So I just ran away and started a new life going from place to place, staying with sympathetic family members or homeless shelters until I was old enough to just go to a youth center and stay there at night on a regular basis. I have seen very good things and some of the worst. This...this was different from those other times.

I woke up on a bed in a rusty metal cage wearing different clothes than before. I saw a camera pointed at me from the other side of the room, and I had 3 buckets near the door. One bucket had food, another had water, and the other was empty. Before I could process what had happened or tried to figure a way out, I heard someone open a door and start walking down some creaky wooden stairs. This chubby old guy walked right up to me and said, “Hello darling...don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything.” Then he opened the door with a key and...well I don’t like talking about what happened next.

After he left I just laid there for a while. I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. For the first time in years I just wanted to go home. Then I heard the door open again, another man came down and walked right up to the door. “Girl, come with me.” He reeked of body odor and smoke.

What do you want from me? Let me go. I want to go home.”

Home? You don’t exist anymore, not here at least. Now sit on the bed and wait for me to escort you.”

Escort? What are you talking about?” I gripped on the bars on the door and starting trying to rip it off the frame.

He pulled a cattle prod out from his waist band and jabbed it into my right side. “I said sit on the bed girl. Don’t make me say it again.”

I was so shocked by what just happened that I sat down on the bed like he told me to. The man opened the door and grabbed my arm so tight I thought he was going to break it. But, I was afraid to say it hurt so I kept that to myself. He just yanked me out of the cage and tossed me into a room with a shower and told me to clean myself up.

After a few minutes I had cleaned up and the man came back to the room and took me to the cage with the bed. Then he just went back up the stairs and shut the door, I heard the door lock just after that. That camera was still pointing right at me so I just laid down and went to sleep. I was woken up in the middle of the night by that guy screaming upstairs, I assumed he was on the phone but then I heard another man screaming back at him. I still don’t know exactly what happened next but I heard a few thumps right before it went quiet.

It took a few minutes before I heard anything again, but then the lock on the door to the basement I was in made a big clack sound and the door opened again. I stayed laying down just in case but kept listening. That was when I heard a man’s voice whispering, “Wait, wait, wait… let me go first.”

Then I heard a woman’s voice, “Why?”

We don’t know who is down there...it’s just to be safe.”

Fine...but I'm right behind you.”

They both started walking slowly down the stairs; it was dark down there except for the red light on the camera. Suddenly one of them turned on a huge flashlight and started shining it around the room. I turned over and faced towards the stairs to see who it was. I couldn’t make out a face but I did recognize one of the voices.

Hey there, are you okay?”

Who are you?”

My name is Riley. We met during the search party.”

That was when I realized who she was...the woman I shared the tent with. The man who was with her had stolen the key from the man upstairs and he opened the door but because of the other men I hesitated, but Riley was the one who helped me out of the cage. After we got away from the house I was willing to talk to the man.

Who are you? How do you know me?”

I’m Luke, don’t worry I won’t hurt you, I don’t believe in that kind of thing. I just want to take you somewhere safe.”

Riley spoke up right after that because she noticed I was inching away from Luke. “It’s okay, really. We have an extended family you can stay with. We’ve all been through rough times before and will help you get back on your feet, if you’re willing.”

Yeah, ok.” At the time I just wanted to get as far away from that town as possible, I didn’t even know where I was going. I’m still not sure why I agreed to go with them after what I had just gone through but it must have been destiny.

Soon after I met Omar, Mother, and Father somewhere near the Gulf Coast. They told me their stories just like I told you mine...but I feel like to make sense of the whole situation you need more information. So I’ll let Riley fill in some of the blanks.


I’ll have to start this story back a bit before the search party began. It was probably around a week before the search was even announced. Luke and I had been driving around, looking for a sign on what to do next. I know that may sound a bit weird but at that point in our lives, that was just how we operated, going where the wind blew. We had stopped in the campgrounds near where the search party would be based at for a little bit of time off to relax and recover from the road trip we were taking. There is only so much time you can sit in a seat before you need to stretch your legs after all.

So we went on some hiking trips on the trails, got some food every night at the diner, and of course had great food off of the grill. The first few days we were there, there might have been 5 other people around. Some were loners who just wanted to get away, but there were a couple of ‘outdoorsy’ types who apparently loved to go bird watching. So a few days went by and just as we were about to leave we heard about a search party being formed, so we stuck around to help try and find the missing girl.

So, for the time during the search I figured it would be easier to just stay in a tent on the search grounds so I wouldn’t have to get up so early; that was where I met Anna. We shared the tent together and I enjoyed talking to her so we got to talking and just clicked. Of course, that next day was when the search ended when they found the poor girl so I didn’t get to see her again until another few days went by. I ran into her at the trails, she was walking around trying to make sense of what had happened and we just bumped into each other. So after a little while talking I got to know some of her history better. She really wanted to find that girl before something happened to her, but she never got that chance. So we just had a heart to heart…

Hey, there was nothing you could do. There wasn’t anything that any of us could do.”

Yeah, I know but...she was so much like me I just wanted to let her know she wasn’t alone...but she was...”

Honey, she had so many people looking for her it just proves she wasn’t alone. She was just lost and confused.”

No, I didn’t mean it like that; she was a runaway...maybe if she had someone else then-”

Wait, you’re a runaway? I thought you were a local, you blend in really well.”

Uh...yeah, never had anything worth talking about so I took off...never even looked for me.”

Oh honey, come here.” I gave her the biggest hug I could manage. I just wanted her to feel, and know, that there were people who cared about her. I may not have had the best life but even one person showing you what love is can change everything.

Thanks...” She took a moment but had an odd look on her face, like she was nervous, “that felt a bit weird.” She started playing with a bracelet on her wrist. I figured that was her nervous tick.

I give awkward hugs; it’s kind of my thing.”

Anna then giggled a bit. I think she may have even smiled.

Let’s meet up at the diner tomorrow for dinner. Their cook makes a mean soup.”

She thought about it for a second or two; then agreed to meet there around 5 o’clock. So the next night Luke and I went to the diner but she didn’t show up. At first we just figured she got cold feet or left town early. But when we left the diner I overheard some old guy talking on a phone to a friend of his about making a sale on prime meat. Most people would have just kept walking but he didn’t seem to know any of the terms a butcher would know when they are trying to make a sale. Then I heard him say something about the search party. So I decided to ask him a few questions about it.

Excuse me, sir.”

He hung up the phone quickly and just snipped at me. “Yeah, what do you want?”

I’m looking for a friend of mine. Her name is Anna, she’s about 5’8” and blonde, couldn’t be more than 20 years old. Have you seen her?”

No, sorry. Check the campground trails, people like taking walks out there.”

I was just there, we were supposed to meet for dinner but she never showed.” At this point Luke began walking the long way around the diner to get behind him. He was so nervous talking to me he just ignored the fact that Luke had disappeared.

Listen lady, I don’t know the girl. I saw her not too long ago, but it was near the trails.”

How long ago?”

Maybe...an hour ago?”

I was very suspicious of this guy. He said he never saw her but now he saw her near the trails an hour ago. It was obvious that he knew something. Then I noticed he was wearing a bracelet very similar to what Anna had on when I talked to her. “Is that your daughter’s bracelet?”

He looked down at it and stumbled over his words. “Well-I uh...umm...yeah...she was 5 when I uh...when I gave it to her.”

I just looked at him dead in the face. “Actually a friend of mine had one just like that. She sure as hell isn’t 5 years old.”

He drew back like he was going to hit me. Unfortunately for him Luke was already there. His face when his back swing hit Luke in the chest was priceless...I thought he was going to pee. Well that was until he actually did, after that I just burst into laughter. We ‘escorted’ him to an area nearby to ask him a few more questions. He talked fairly quickly and didn’t give too much of a fuss about it other than his incessant crying.

So we got the information we needed and headed out to the house where he told us she was being held by 2 men. It was really easy to get there but we knew they saw us coming. So Luke posed as a potential buyer and made his way inside. He was shown a live video feed of the cage with her inside. He wasn’t allowed to go downstairs and see her in person, so he decided it was best to wait and come back after speaking with me about the situation before making any decision in front of them. He made his way out to the car where I was still sitting and we talked a bit about how to handle this situation.

There is a live camera feed but only one of them is home right now.”

What is the cover story?”

You’re a madam who is looking for new young girls at a cheap price. You have specific standards. You want one blonde, a redhead, and a brunette.”

How did they respond to that?”

If you had gotten here a couple weeks ago they would have had the brunette too, but right now the blonde is the only one available.”

These men were responsible for that missing girl turning up the way she did. I was not going to let these people get away with it, and sure as hell wasn’t going to leave Anna there to rot. So I got out of the car with Luke and we made our way up to the front door. This time however they stopped us there.

So what is your decision?”

I need to see the girl first, in person. I won’t buy goods I haven’t inspected.”

No. You get what you get, that’s it.”

Excuse me? I have a business to run; I will not bow to you. Unlike you, I can give them full lives with many benefits. What can you do? Give them herpes?”

Listen bitch, I can sell my goods to anyone I want. Don’t act like you’re the only one who came knocking.”

Luke interrupted and cut in on the conversation. “I’m sorry to break this to you in this manner. The reason we are here is because another one of your...potential buyers, squealed like a pig. I’d hate to see goods go to waste.”

The man was shocked and let us inside after looking around for any movement in the wood line around his house. “Fine...get in here quick.”

After that we tried to negotiate to a better position but he wouldn’t bring her upstairs or let us go downstairs so we just had to risk a fight to get Anna out of there. Luke knocked him out of the picture while I kept him distracted. Then we made our way downstairs and got her into the car and took off. We stopped just outside of town for gas so we could stay on the road as long as possible. While we were there, we ran into someone we didn’t expect to see when I had gone in to pay for the gas.

Hello, I’m on pump 3.”

Okay, that’ll be $10.50.”

So I gave him the money and began walking back out to the car. As I reached the door another man walked in and stopped me dead in my tracks. All he said was, “Hello, Madame. Pay what you owe.” He was a younger guy with dark hair, he had a baseball hat on but it was clear he knew who Anna was. He escorted me to the back near the coolers and the cashier went out for a smoke.

You owe me some money, you pay or I will rip it from you.”

I’m sorry I think you have me confused with someone else.” I tried walking away but he wasn’t having any of it. He grabbed the back of my neck and drug me back to the cooler doors.

Listen, I provide a product and the customer pays for it. I don’t like installment plans, so pay up now or leave the girl and fuck off.”

You really want the girl so bad you would threaten me? Please, I've seen way worse than you...but, I do like a business man who knows what he wants.”

Oh yeah? Keep talking.”

I’ll be heading to the Gulf Coast soon. Know anyone there who needs entertainment?”

I know someone...if you turn your back on me...I’ll find you.” He started walking away, but I wasn’t going to have that.

I’m sorry, but that is not how I do business. Your friend learned that the hard way. If you walk away I’ll make sure you lose everything in your...business.”

He stopped and turned around, he was shocked I would ever make such a bold statement. As he took a few slow steps back I could tell I struck a nerve. “I’m sorry Madame, but if you talk to me like one of your whores again...I’ll beat you like one of them.”

Flirting with me won’t help your case here. This is business, and nothing gets in the way of that. So...I want a contact of yours I can meet with to ensure our arrangement. If you try to screw me on this deal then I can guarantee, your life will end with you screaming like a school girl who just saw a rat.”

After that I walked out to the car and waited in the passenger seat for his response. I told Luke what was going on in the meantime so he was on guard. Eventually the man walked out to the car and smiled, he handed me a business card for an escort agency and walked away.

That was when reality struck; Anna sat up from a small nap she was taking. “I didn’t know Brooks worked here.”

We said nothing at the time and just drove off to the Gulf Coast like we were planning to do from the beginning and visited Mother, Father, and Omar before we took the trip to Florida. By the time we got to Florida, Anna knew what she had to do and was very willing to do it. We had used the Madame ruse to gain access to their database of employees and found a couple of younger girls who wanted out but hadn’t gotten enough money to leave yet. That was when we helped Lita get out of the escort business, meeting Candice in the process, and invited them into the family.

When we all had met up again we were in Mississippi, not too far from the state capital. There Lita told her story and we told her our stories. Soon after however, Lita was no longer with us. Mother made sure of that…


As Mother of this family, I love every one of you equally. Candice, Anna, Riley, Omar, Luke, and now our newest family addition...Brandon. While we eat dessert I’ll tell my story. First, I will go back to when I was a teenager...”


I was madly in love with a wonderful man, had a great sister; but my parents weren’t exactly happy about me or my choices in life. They beat me often so I decided to run away with my boyfriend. However, fate would keep me from obtaining that opportunity for quite some time.

I had been sick and was throwing up for a few days before my father took me to the hospital. The doctor told me it was morning sickness, I was so happy. I would have a family of my own and be able to care for them with everything I had. When I got home I nearly ran into the house to tell my mother the great news, my father slowly walked in behind me. My sister heard me run in the house and came down the stairs to try and figure out what was so important.

Melinda! Keep it down, I’m trying to study! What are you so happy about?”

I’m pregnant! I’m going to be a mother! I haven’t told Daniel yet though, so please don’t break the news to him before I have the chance.”

Oh come on, I have loose lips.” She was always a sarcastic one. But I guess that was one reason I loved and hated her from time to time.

No, I’m serious! You’d better not. I’m going to tell him tonight when he comes over. He already knew I was at the doctor today and will want to know if I’m okay. So I’ll tell him then.”

I was just so excited I couldn’t believe it. So later that night I watched out of the window for him to get off of work and come over to check on me. He had always been faithful and caring, so I knew tonight would be a big one for us both. When he pulled up I walked as calmly as I could towards his truck, though I do admit I had a pep in my step and he noticed that immediately.

Hey honey, how was work?”

Uhh, good I guess. I take it you are feeling better?”

You could say that. I have some good news.”

I take it the doctor visit went well then. So...what’s the verdict?”

I took his hand in mine and lowered it to my belly. Then I smiled and looked into his eyes, “I’m pregnant.”

He was stunned for a moment but then this smile began to creep out and in no time after that he was grinning from ear to ear. He picked me up and we twirled around like it was a school dance, we just giggled in excitement. After he set me down we started towards the house to sit down on the porch steps. We couldn’t believe it, starting a family so soon, and madly in love with one another. We talked about our future together, and began planning for the next few months ahead.

After a few hours of talking he had to go home and get some sleep for work the next day. We promised to get together after he got off of work and go catch a movie and get some dinner. So he left for home and I went inside and up to my room. I had dreams of grandeur, and never hesitated for a moment; I was on top of the world.

In the morning I made my way downstairs to the kitchen to attempt to get some breakfast. My mother was already awake and making some pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. I helped out where I could, after the food was ready I went and woke up my sister for breakfast. My father wasn’t home for some reason, so we decided to eat without him. During breakfast I asked my mother why he wasn’t home and she said he left sometime last night, but not to worry about it. She was always hesitant to come forward without making sure it was okay first.

Around the time we were cleaning up our dishes he came in the front door and was stepping fairly heavy with his work boots still on. It sounded like a horse was jumping through the house for a moment or two. He stomped into the kitchen and looked around. He smelled the food and made himself a plate. I was about to go back up to my room to read and relax a bit before I went to my summer job, but as I was passing by him...his temper got the better of him.

What, no hello? Good morning?”

I’m sorry daddy, morn-”

He reached up from his plate and backhanded me right across the face. The fork he had in his hand scratched my cheek a little bit when it scrapped across my face. I was stunned and just put my hand over my face. He just kept on looking at me like it was my fault. I was as quiet as I possibly could be, then he stood up from his chair.

Suck it up girl; you’re going to be a mother soon. Better get used to disappointment as a parent.” He was staring right at me, he didn’t even blink once. “Go to your room, and don’t come out until I come to get you. Maybe this way you will learn some discipline.” Then he sat down and kept eating. I just walked up to my room and sat down on my bed trying to figure out what I did wrong.

A few hours later my father came into my room and told me we were going to the store to get some groceries, so I got up and followed him down to his truck. We drove to the store and got what we needed, but on our way back I noticed we weren’t going straight home. I stayed quiet; when he was mad it was better to keep that way to avoid anything unnecessary.

He drove all the way out to a doctor in a nearby town. This doctor was some kind of old school country type of doctor; not very good in modern techniques, but cheap. We walked up to his door and my father knocked a few times. The man came to the door and welcomed us inside, he already had everything ready for us when we got there.

I hear you have been having some morning sickness young girl. I just may have something to help you with that.” He walked over to his kitchen and picked out a type of tea and added in something that was supposed to help me with my nausea. It was some kind of special tea for morning sickness, he gave me a few extra tea bags and some other ingredient that didn't come with the tea for added help. My father paid him for the help, he must have helped with this kind of thing before because the tea really did help my nausea very well.

I always felt that my father did care about me but he was just so easily agitated, this was one of those moments where I knew he truly cared for me...unfortunately that feeling didn’t last. He made me quit my job on the way back home, nailed the window closed, and put a lock on the outside of my door so I couldn’t leave. I was now a prisoner to my own father, I swore that if I got the chance to run I would, and never look back. So one day when my boyfriend came over, he was allowed to come up to my room and say hello, as long as the door stayed open.

I had written a note for my sister and mother in all of my spare time; it explained why I had to leave. I left the note for my mother on my bed but made sure to leave the note for my sister inside of her pillow case. After that, we took the chance and ran for it once we reached the stairs facing the front door. We barely made it to his truck when my father came running out of the house after us, but the keys were already in the ignition. He put that ruck in gear and slammed on the gas pedal. The tires squealed and shrieked as we took off. We had gotten away from everything that was holding us back and started off on the road to start our lives together.

After a few months had gone by I began feeling ill, so we stopped in a hospital to get some help. I was around 7 months pregnant at this point in time, and I was feeling every bit of it with pride. I was scared because there was a complication with my pregnancy, but I would do anything to keep my baby safe. So we did every home remedy that we could and every precautionary measure possible to ensure my baby’s health. That was when the worst happened, we were on the road heading to an area that promised temporary work for my boyfriend, and soon to be husband.

It was around 2 a.m. and it was quite dark where we were. I was asleep when it happened, but I came to….in a ditch with the truck upside down. I still don’t know exactly what happened to this day. But, by the time we reached the hospital they had to perform an emergency c-section to try and save the baby...but they wouldn’t tell me what was going on. After a little while longer they told me that my son died...and...I couldn’t see him.

That was the worst day of my life…

I spent the next few weeks in a daze, wandering haphazardly. I had little direction and just gave up. That was until I found my sister working in a grocery store one day, she was the cashier. She told me all about she ran away a short time after I did. She had a wonderful husband and now they were expecting a baby of their own. I waited until after her shift was over to tell her what happened to me. I was devastated, and she was shocked and horrified; she held her belly like I held mine. We stayed in town and got odd jobs and temporary work until we got back on our feet. By then it was time for my sister to have her baby.

He was a beautiful baby boy with light sand colored hair, a beautiful smile, gorgeous eyes, he was just so perfect. After she had time to recover and went back to her apartment we joined her to help with the rent. It had been a while since we were able to live under a roof that wasn’t on wheels. After a couple months we had agreed that I would stay and help raise the child while my husband, my sister, and my brother-in-law all got jobs. I was always better at cooking, cleaning, and childcare than she was so it just made sense. I felt a great sense of relief being able to care for this young boy. Then one day my father found my sister and drug her back home against her will, her husband tried to take the baby with him but knew it would be hard to have the baby around our father so left him in my care until she could once again escape. Being unable to keep the apartment I decided to leave with my husband and go on the road again, there were group homes we stayed at to make sure the baby wouldn’t get sick and had a consistent amount of food.

By this point in time the little boy’s hair had already begun to darken to a brown, he was sociable but sometimes a little too active. I did my best to raise him right, I only knew tough love and I feel it did him good in the long term. He had always known who to respect the most, and even called me Mother. I loved that feeling so much I wanted to protect other children; that was when I began to help others get the help they needed to escape from their horrible parents and achieve a better life. After quite a few years we built this family, with me as its Mother, and my husband as its Father.


Now...dinner is over so let’s all clean up and get some rest, we have a big day tomorrow.

Submitted: June 09, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Michael Hall. All rights reserved.

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