Stolen Everything

I think as I go more and more through this journey in my life, I discover more and more has been stolen. Of course, I lost my innocence a long time ago, and maybe that was the worst thing to lose. Or maybe it was that I lost myself and who I was meant to be, but there are moments, things, that I never realised I had lost.
Sympathy.
Not mine. It’s a weird thing to lose. I sit here with my chest tight and my shoulders weighted down, but there is no one to really turn to. People’s dislike for my dad is stronger and they can’t see. They can’t see what is being taken from me.
When normal people’s fathers are sick, suffering with something like cancer, and the normal person sees their parent slipping away. When the adult who raised them suddenly needs help to fasten shoelaces, make meals or simply fill out a form. They talk to their friends, they get hugs and care and sympathy.
I find myself in this place I never imagined, where that has been stolen from me. I tell people my father is sick, and they say good. Inside, the child who is there, who loves his father, wraps his arms around himself for comfort. 231b6640ef7d79030ade6674b2b0185d
When I say that I am helping my dad, fixing his car, cooking his meal, I am told that I am doing more than he deserves. I end up finding myself torn between what feels right to do and what people think I should do.
When people ask me why I would help him, my answer is because he is my dad. I find myself envious of that normal person who wouldn’t be asked why, but would be asked, what help do you need.
I wish I was a normal person. Instead, he is my abuser and I am his victim. But I wish the world would see that he is my dad, and I am his son.
I never knew that this part had been stolen.

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From Victim to Parent

I asked the readers on my Facebook page a week or so ago if there was anything that they wanted me to blog about. I have tons of blog ideas, but maybe I never really hit the spot. So I thought that I would put it out there. I should really make it a place people can ask and I’ll answer. I’m going to answer the ones I have over the next week or so and in no specific order.

The first one comes from Dawn. She asked: “How you managed to overcome all that you went through to become the strong caring father & person you are today. That’s one thing I’ve never really seen explained in any books written by people who were abused as children……how do they go on & function & be able to be caring, competent adults. It has to be so hard to overcome all of that….I can’t even imagine.”

Terrie also asked: “How you were able to raise your children when your parents did not pass any skills to you?”

There are quite a few questions in there, so I’ll break it down. How have I managed to stay a strong and caring father? Father and child

I didn’t start out that way. I became a parent at 16 years old. It was way too young. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you read Scars, you’ll see that I did a lot of things wrong – a lot of bad things. I had to go right down before I could get up again. I ended up on drugs and almost lost my son to social services. My dad was going to get my child and be his legal guardian. That was the moment I looked at my life and at my son’s life and thought no, this isn’t going to happen. I had to make a choice to get clean or I was heading for prison, and my son was heading for my father’s house. This is what Scars is about; it’s the journey downwards, until I couldn’t get any lower in my life.

With my children now, I often try to judge what I am doing. They are the family I have and I try my best to make them happy. I try to give them the right guidance. I try a lot to protect them because my father is still around in my life and they don’t know my past with him. It’s easy to be a better parent. I just do the opposite of how I was raised.

Some of it is just an act, though. The functioning adult part is. I don’t think I will overcome things really. Not ever fully. A recent example is last night, at 3:30 a.m., I had to wake my friend up on the phone because I was afraid. I had had a bad dream filled with flashbacks and all kinds, and I couldn’t feel safe. I was sure the bad man was coming back. I could feel him. I was very afraid. The frightened child inside me takes over. I have so many fears because of this man. I have in the past slept outside or in my car because my fear has got too big. KCRG_news_depression-teen-boy-sad1

Every minute of every day is a fight, and my children help me with that. If they could see inside, though, they’d see I am not that strong. I suffer from OCD. Just getting up in the morning is a drama – what to wear, what to eat. I debate whether I should eat, because I have phobia of vomiting and bringing up my breakfast. I get afraid of being outside and want to go home sometimes, because I just can’t face people. At university, I can’t touch the doors, and I can’t touch people. I have to maintain a distance just so I don’t flip out. I actually have a support worker at uni and a provision that I am allowed to leave the lectures if I can’t cope. I use a Dictaphone to record all my lessons because I suffer dissociation, too, and sometimes I can miss the entire lecture. When I finally get home, it is hard to go inside if my house is empty because the children are at school or something. I look through the windows and check that it is safe.

I try not to have any friends because I can’t cope when they need to do things in their own life – even if it’s just something normal and simple, like shopping. I can’t cope with any kind of abandonment. I have one friend, and she has to cope very well with what to say to me and how to say it. She needs a medal some days. My fear that they won’t come back is so great. It is much simpler to just be alone.

I am a self-harmer. I have to hide that from my children too. So much of how I am with them is because I never want them to become like me. I don’t want them to have my fears or phobias. I want them to enjoy life. It really is because of them I am here. If they weren’t, I would have ended my own life a long time ago. I often wish my father had done it while I was a child and saved me from these years of torment.

Some days the only functioning I can manage is breathing. But I try.

I’m not really sure if this answers your question, but put simply, I use a lot of how I felt as a child to guide me with how to raise my own children, and I hide behind a façade of normalcy to hide what is inside. Only when no one is around do I allow myself to break down.

Scars to Bear

I’m not going to write any more books after Goodbye Teddy, however, I am going to spend some time writing the parts after and putting them available online for free, via Wattpad

scarscover

This is the years after the books. Scars to bear picks up where Goodbye Teddy left off. I chose not to put this one out as a book, but on here. However, should you feel that you don’t want to get something for free, two sites which have helped me tremendously over the few years are –

http://www.lorissong.org/ and http://www.isurvive.org/

Both of which thrive on donations.

I will upload these chapters as I write them, but I am also writing some fiction at the same time 🙂 I’ll try and update as often as I can.

Thanks for reading.

JD

Alley Kid Fifteen

The moment before I open my eyes is the most peaceful. It’s when I don’t remember. It’s when I am awake for the first time, and everything feels right. But it is nothing more than a fleeting moment until my mind does remember, and everything crashes through my head. I am awake, and I am alive. Why am I alive? I don’t understand. I don’t want to be. I want to be gone forever where nothing can hurt any more. I don’t want to feel anything.

I curl myself up onto my side, wrapping my arms around my shoulders in the only comfort I know. In a childish move that I taught myself, I hook my feet around each other, and without thinking, I rock myself and push away the tears. I’m not supposed to be here. My chest heaves from the effort of not sobbing, but in a split second, my stomachs flips and my throat contracts; I realise I am going to vomit.

I scramble from the bed, almost falling as the sheets tangle between my feet and I half slip, half run, from the bedroom to the bathroom, as my body heaves and the contents of my stomach rises into my mouth. I try to keep my mouth closed and not let it out onto the floor. I can’t even think as I launch myself into the bathroom, and over the sink, and let everything out until I can’t breathe.

I turn the cold tap on in an effort to clean the stinking mess away, but my body has more. It retches and turns my insides upside down until there is nothing left to come out. I know this. I have been here before, with my mother and her vomit-inducing medication. She made me ill even though I had nothing to bring up other than the burning bile and stomach lining inside. But, she isn’t here. I grasp at the running water with cupped hands and shove it into my mouth, and down my throat, so there is something to bring back up.

I’m cold and shivering as I collapse on the floor of the bathroom, panting from the strain of so much vomiting. I grab one of the t-shirts from the washing pile. I don’t care if it is clean or dirty. It’s an effort to put it on; each movement causes my head to ache and my stomach to threaten another round of trying to escape. I have no idea what time it is or for how long I slept. I don’t even know why I am not dead. I drag myself backwards and manage to sit up and lean against the bath. I can’t stop the shaking, and my body is clammy and tired. I wish I could close my eyes and go away. Why do I never go away?

Joanne comes to the doorway with Colin and Angela behind her. I guess they heard me being ill. I try to look away from them. I don’t want to see them, and I don’t want them to see me, not like this. I’m such a failure in all ways. I can’t even end my own life. I should be dead, not here, and I can’t keep my bottom lip from quivering. I’m so disgusting I don’t understand why they don’t see it. It’s all over my skin. I try to make it go, but it never does. I can’t even make me gone.

“Are you sick?” Joanne asks me, keeping her distance.

I would too if I was her. I don’t answer her though, not that I can. As I try to nod my head, my body crumbles at the movement, and everything spins again inside. I hold my breath, wondering if I should try to get to the sink, to the toilet, or if it will pass.

Colin gets passed Joanne and comes to me. I wipe my watering eyes and mouth. He shouldn’t see me this way. No one should.

“Shall I call work for you?” Joanne asks.

I work behind the bar at a nightclub in town on the weekends.

“What time is it?” I ask her. Perhaps I will make it.

She tells me it is 5 p.m, and I know they I won’t be alright in five hours, not like this, but I hate to lose money. Its two days worth of phet money, but I don’t have a choice. I just nod and ask for my cigarettes. Colin goes to get them, and when he comes back, he takes one from my pack, lights it, and gives it to me to smoke. How pathetic I am, that a seven-year-old boy must light my cigarette for me.

I take it from him, but it tastes bitter in my mouth. The action of inhaling threatens to make me gag once more, but I persist. I hold it all in and keep myself still. I don’t say anything as Colin takes a cigarette for himself from my pack. I don’t approve of him smoking, and he might not be my son, but he is still a child. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy to argue with him.

“Leave me alone,” I say to them.

They stand, gawping; there is nothing they can do for me. Joanne takes Colin and Angela. She shuts the door behind them and leaves me to it. I lean against the side of the bath as my head swims between awake and asleep. I try to tell myself to get up and secure the bathroom door so no one else can come in.

I click the lock over eventually, but I can’t make it back to the bath. I just lie where I am. I can hear them in the other room, laughing, joking and watching television. I let myself sleep on the bathroom floor until someone knocks on the main door. My heart sinks as I listen Joanne greet my father and invites him in.

I cover my ears with my hands. Perhaps, if I can’t hear him, it is not real, and he is not here. But, Joanne knocks on the bathroom door and tells me my father is here. I mutter something, but I don’t think she hears it. She tells my father I have a stomach virus and have been in there all day.

“I have to nip and get some milk and bread,” she says to him. “Do you mind staying here while I go in case he needs anything?”

My father, the fake Samaritan, says yes, and I try to curl myself into the corner away from him, even though there is a door between us. I wish he would just leave.

Joanne leaves and takes Colin and Angela with her; a chance to stock up on alcohol and cigarettes for them, to. I listen as they all leave and the front door locks behind them, leaving me with my father. I know he is on the other side of the door. I feel him, but he doesn’t move. Maybe he is waiting until he is sure they are gone.

He knocks on the door as I expected him to, and calls my name.

“What are you doing?” He asks me.

I wrap my arms around my head and pull my knees up to my chest. I don’t want to see him.

“I’m sick,” I say, but he tries the handle.

I peek out between my arms, watching it. I hope that it stays, but it’s nothing more than a hook and a loop pushed into rotten wood.

“Open the door,” he tells me, and I am grateful the lock holds.

“I can’t move,” I respond in the hope that it is a strong enough answer and he will leave me alone.

It isn’t. He pushes against the door. Perhaps he will break the lock. It’s small, and if he wants in, he will get in. I try to slide myself back to the door and lie in front of it, but the movement, and the fear of my father causes my stomach to twist in agony. I crawl to the toilet bowl and let out what’s in my stomach once more.

The bathroom door opens, and I swallow like when I was a child, and had to push the vomit back down, or be beaten. I can’t breathe from the effort of it. Vomit stings the inside of my nose and the back of my throat. My eyes water and I cough as my father’s hands grasp onto the back of my t-shirt and pull me away from where I am kneeling. He flings me into the hallway, and my head cracks off a wooden box where we keep the shoes and coats. I don’t know what I have done wrong. It will be something, it always is. I don’t ever do things right. I make everyone hurt me.

He storms out of the bathroom, his heavy feet crashing on the floor. He comes over to me and slams his hand against my already bruised chest. I try not to say anything as he winds me and with no effort, pulls me to standing. He is big and strong, built for the bikes he rides, and I am nothing more than his half-starved junkie son. My legs are weak and don’t want to take my weight; my entire body shakes from the effort and I lean against my father without thinking for support. He pushes me away, making me stumble. The wall catches me, and I let myself sink down and rest on the floor. I know he is going to hurt me. He is angry with me and won’t stop until his temper is satisfied. This is always how it is. His blows will come until his anger is gone. When I was a child, I would pray that I would pass out just so I didn’t feel it any longer.

“Just do it,” I tell him.

I am tired of this game. I want him to hit me and get it over with; my words seem to fuel his anger towards me. He crouches next to me, takes my jaw between his fingers, and digs them in. For a second, I am sure he’s going to punch me in the face. Instead, he grips my jaw tighter to the point it might break. Pain shoots up the side of my face.

“You’re not worth it,” he tells me.

 

Alley Kid Fourteen

We drive. I don’t really have a destination in mind. Where I want to be is just not here. I want to be away from everything and everyone. It doesn’t matter where.

I keep to the side roads to avoid anyone seeing us. I know them so well, it will take me nothing to drive fast and get us away if the police should be around.pill_bottle_and_pills1

Karla tries to talk to me, she twitters on about something from work, but I don’t care. I nod and say yes in all the right places and she thinks I am paying attention, but I’m not. I don’t have anything to tell her. I light another cigarette and offer her one. I take it in deeply and the phet rises up my back again, in little bubbles. I smile and Karla thinks it’s for her. She squeezes my knee as if it’s supposed to mean something, but it’s just fake affection to get what she wants from me. I have no doubt that if I were important to her; it would be about more than just sex.

“Where are we going?” she asks me. I glance around and tell her I don’t know. I just drive until we drive to the junction between motorway and country lanes. I could go either way, but I chose the lanes, dark and out of the way. It feels like we’ve escaped the world and no one is around to see us.

There is a lane just near the fuelling station. I’ve been there before. At the end is a field high up, and it’s like looking out over the world. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to jump. Could I feel like I was flying even though I was falling? My dad would bring me this way sometimes, when I was a child. We would take the dog for a walk and she could run around. I always used to get scared that maybe she would run off the edge, but he said she wouldn’t. I didn’t let her go near it anyway, just in case he was wrong. I didn’t want to take the chance.

He always told me that she would die at home. She was ill and one day, we would wake up, and she would are gone to heaven. I never wanted her to die alone and I didn’t want her to go to heaven. I didn’t like heaven when I was little. It had all the people I liked.

I stop the car at the end of the lane. The field is guarded by a locked fence. No tourists at night, not when drunken teenagers can play games and fall over the edge, and kill themselves. We don’t get out of the car. Instead, we climb in the back. I’m useless on the phet for what Karla wants. No sex for her, but that doesn’t matter, it’s only for her own pleasure and not mine. I give her everything else until she lies there leaning on me, and I smoke cigarette after cigarette.

The hours go by so fast, I don’t even notice them. Karla is tired. She dozes a little and I can feel the phet wearing off. It’s making me feel heavy. The darkness tugs at the sides of my vision, threatening to take me down once again. I could get home and buy more. I’m sure Froggy would give me some phet if I asked.

Karla gets herself dressed and straightened up. Like everyone, she is pleased to have what she wants from me and I can take her home. We get back into the front seats and I start the engine. The sun is coming up, but it hasn’t cleared the night away just yet. The darkness seeps from the outside into me and I try to drive before it takes over entirely.

I don’t know what is in front of me. Its sudden; a cat or a dog? Something small, I have no idea. I twist the steering wheel to avoid it, but the front wheel of the car catches a ditch and takes control from me. We land in the hedges with the car, a hedge that is hiding concrete wall.

We both sit there, still and staring.

“What do we do?” Karla asks after a moment and I try to make my tired mind work and answer her. I can feel my hands shaking. I feel clammy and tired. I can smell the phet on my skin.

“Are you okay?” I ask her. It’s the first thing I can think to say.

“Yes.”

I know what will happen if we call someone. It’s not my car. The police will come and I’ll be arrested.

“We need to run,” I tell her. “Now.”

As I say it one more time, I get from the car and she does too. I realise I am hurt. My chest aches and so does my knee. I must have smacked them off the steering wheel and column. I can hear the sound in my head. The way metal on metal sounds, but I know that is not this car. It’s one from long ago; the one that took my mother, and one I should have died in too. All the sounds mingle together.

My knee aches as we run, but the fear of being caught, presses against my back and forces me to keep going. We get to the fuelling station. There is a couple of taxi cabs sat there. One of the drivers is just reading his morning newspaper. We stop for a second, and I catch my breath. Karla is okay. She grips my hand tight, letting me lead the way and not saying a word. She has tears in her eyes. I guess she cried, but I didn’t notice. I knock on the window of the taxi and nod my head at him to ask if he is free. He nods back and folds his paper and we climb into the back seat.

It doesn’t take long to get to Karla’s and drop her off. After, I give the driver my address and he takes me back there. Joanne is still asleep when I let myself in. I don’t think anyone noticed that I was gone. I dump my clothes down at the foot of the bed and climb back in beside her. My chest hurts from the seatbelt, and it hurts inside, too. My emptiness is there once again.

“Where have to been?” Joanne asks, as I let my eyes close.

“To buy cigarettes,” I say to her.

It isn’t unusual for me to do that. The petrol station near where we live is open all hours, and I don’t sleep very well. She accepts my answer and moves closer to me, resting her arm across my chest; I try not to wince under the pressure.

She is like Karla and everyone else. She’s being nice to me. I know what that means and what she wants. I just want to sleep, but to do that I have to give in. I let her hand slide down my chest and body. I don’t say no to her as she climbs up on top of me. The phet has worn off, my head is pounding. I don’t think she notices I am not interested so much.

Afterwards, she slips out of bed to take a shower. I tell her I want to stay in a bed a while. I don’t feel so well. I listen as she leaves the room and goes to the bathroom. She turns the shower on and I hear the doors open and close.

I roll onto my side and listen as she showers, the way the water falls, the way it hits the shower doors, and the low hum of the radio she has playing. My head feels heavy, as if it is too much to lift it from the pillow. I lie there thinking about the next day and wonder what the point is. What is waiting for me in the next day that is so important for me to get to?

There is a bottle on the bedside table. Joanne’s painkillers that she had been taking for a twisted ankle. I reach for them without thinking. I stare at the label. Who would really care if I took them? Whose life would it affect other than mine? Will is too young, it won’t matter. There is no one else to bother.

I haven’t swallowed tablets since I was a child. Not since I nearly choked on one of my mother’s made-up pills, but I know this is the answer. Two by two, I swallow them until my throat wont take anymore, and as I swallow the last one, I feel ashamed. Not at what I have done, but at the thought that people might assume this is a cry for attention. It isn’t. I just want to slip away unnoticed.

Maybe Joanne will find the almost empty bottle, The thought that Joanne will find the almost empty bottle, fills my mind with fear. I don’t want her to know what I have done. Not yet. I’m not stupid enough to think she won’t find me when it’s over, but I don’t want her to stop me, or call an ambulance. I stuff the bottle down the back of the bed where she won’t find it without a search. If I put the bottle back on the bedside table, she’ll see it. It feels like it would draw attention to itself and she would just know.

I lie back down after the bottle is hidden. Joanne finishes in the shower and the water goes off. I hear the shower door open. I close my eyes and let the darkness of my sleep take me. Maybe I won’t ever open them again.

Please God, don’t let me wake up.

Alley Kid Thirteen

Joanne doesn’t know that I am awake. I lie here next to her unmoving. My eyes watch the door, searching for shadows; listening in a childish way for fears from long ago. I know they aren’t real. I know what I saw was nothing more than my over-used, over–drugged mind, but I can’t shake the possibility from my thoughts.

She’s oblivious to my thoughts, not that it matters, and not that she would care if she knew.

I listen to the sound of her breathing. Each breath gets longer and slower as she falls asleep. I try to keep my mind focused. It’s been a week since I last saw my father. He wrote to me. Strange, really. Why didn’t he call or just come around again? The letter doesn’t sound like him. I wonder if he wrote it or it was his bimbo wife. The letter is long and full of caring words; the mirage of a father I long for, but not the one I have.Car-and-street-at-night (1)

I roll over onto my side with a sigh. Perhaps, it was written by him. A cruel trick. A way for him to lure me into some kind of false security. I’ve read his words a dozen times at least, but each time, it makes me feel worse than the last. His words from his last visit resonate around my head. His presence and his letter argue with one another.

I’m nothing to him, he had said. Nothing. A useless waste of space.

My mind tries to piece together the lost hours from that night, but they are nothing more than blank memories of darkness. Its hard to keep my thoughts straight when they want to spin over everything, even the blood. For that, I have no explanation. Even now a week later, my body has not healed from whatever trauma it endured.

I don’t understand what happened. I don’t remember. As soon as my mind tries to answer my questions, I silence it.

Not my father.

He wouldn’t.

Not again.

Not after the last time. The last time, he had almost killed me. In some ways, I wish he had succeeded, but then I remember Will and he would be alone if I had died. But I can’t help wishing the doctors didn’t put me back together. They should have just left me.

I feel my own frustration raging at myself as I desperately keep my mind from putting pieces together the way it wants. It’s not possible.

Joanne is asleep now. Finally. I tuck my hand under my pillow and watch her. She seems content and oblivious to the way I feel inside. I hope her dreams are better than mine. I wish she understood how lucky she is.

I’m not tired. Joanne doesn’t know that I swallowed a phet bomb before I came to bed. She won’t understand I need it to take away the black thoughts, the darkness that awaits me on the side lines, reaching out to catch me.

I feel the adrenaline crawl its way up my spine. Its tiny fingers pushing in, covering and taking away my pain as it moves, and leaving a thick layer of numbness, so that I can breathe.

I clamp my jaw down to save from giving myself away. The phet is bigger than my darkness. It slips through, filling every empty cavity that I posses. My heart pounds in my chest. I wonder if it can be heard. A celebration as the phet begins to win the fight.

Every part of my body comes alive. I have to move and do something other than just lying still. I feel restless inside, but I force myself to stay there. Just for another minute, to be sure Joanne is asleep.

Her breathing is slow, and rattles in her chest. I force myself to be calm and slow, in my movements, as I try to slip from the bed without her waking. I don’t want the sudden weight shift to disturb her.

As I get free, I stand and watch for a moment at the need of the bed before pulling on my jeans and a t-shirt. I need my keys. They are on the bedside table next to Joanne. I curse at myself. Why didn’t I think to put them in my jeans pocket beforehand? Such an idiot. I step cautiously towards them, and clasp both my hands over them to shield the sound when they clang together.

I have no feelings of guilt or remorse as I stare at her from the doorway. Only anticipation of what I’m about to do. I wonder why I’m here; why I’m with her. I feel nothing for her. No emotions. Just like I am nothing to her. Just a toy for her to play with. Someone to use in her sick pleasures. I had feelings for her once, of course, but they ended long ago when she had cheated on me.

I feel only relief that she hasn’t woken as I was getting out of bed and leaving. Angela is asleep on the sofa. Colin is asleep in his bed in Will’s room, and Will is at his mother’s; away from my useless parental skills and me. I wish he had more than me. I sigh as I leave and let myself out of the flat. Locking the back door behind me, I stand for just a moment at the top of the steps that lead into the dark alley.

I put my cigarette in my mouth, light it, and inhale deeply. The smoke travels down into my chest, setting off the amphetamine even more, and I feel the rush of excitement wash over me.

Suddenly, I am alive. The darkness inside is gone. Dead and defeated in a drug haze. Nothing can hurt me. Nothing. Who cares what my dad might have done to me? It’s what I was made for. It’s why I am here.

I race down the steps and into the darkness of the alley; I don’t stop, until I reach the main street. I can see the dim lights of the fast food store Karla works at. They have begun to close down for the night. Crowds of drunken tourists walk past me, devouring kebabs and burgers, and laughing at each other as they sway and trip and share jokes about the night’s events. Tomorrow, it’ll all be some drunken memory for them, clouded by their hangovers.

They walk past me and don’t notice I am there. I stand outside the shop waiting for Karla. She sees me as she runs the mop over the floor. She smiles at me; a smile that lights up her entire face. I smile back; a smile that no doubt convinces her that I am as equally happy to see her.

In reality, she is like Joanne. She doesn’t matter to me. She is just some girl I met on my way home from working at the nightclub when I stopped to get something to eat. I’m pretty sure I mean nothing to her either.

I watch as she finishes her work and says goodnight to her co-workers before coming out to greet me. She instantly throws her arms around my neck. “I missed you,” she says to me, but I doubt that. I haven’t missed her. I hardly thought about her through my days except for the anticipation of this meeting, but its more that I am out.

“I love you,” she whispers into my ears. Her words are as empty as I feel.

“I love you too,” I say back casually repeating the words back to her. She doesn’t notice the flatness in my voice. Not that she would. People only hear what they want how they want.

People are fake. I am not someone that can be loved, nor am I capable of returning it. If I was, then Joanne and I would be happy and Will would have the perfect life. Not that I don’t love him, of course, I do. I just wish that he had better than me in his life.

I take Karla’s hand and lead her along the street. I know what I am looking for. A car, nothing spectacular, or sporty. I don’t care. I just want something to drive, to get away from everywhere for a couple of hours, and not be noticed.

“I’m not sure about this,” Karla says to me as I fight with the lock on a plain car, until it gives way and opens.

I shrug.

“You can go home if you want to,” I say.

I don’t really care about that either. She can come with me if she wants. It’s her choice. She stares at me for a moment as she makes her decision.

“If I go home will you come with me?”

The car door is open, my foot is inside already and I am about to sit down. I look at her and shake my head. I don’t want to go to her house and play happy families. I want to be in the car. I want to be on the road. I want to feel the speed of it.

I get into the car properly, crack the barrel on the ignition, and glance at Karla through the mirror, waiting for her decision. I’m not going to wait long. If she doesn’t decide, I’m going to drive away. I won’t force her to come with me, but if she wants me to get out of the car and beg her, she’ll be waiting a long time.

After a moment, she slips into the passenger seat beside me. I start the engine and smile at her, but she doesn’t smile back.

 

Alley Kid Twelve.

I don’t normally post warnings on my posts. Especially not Alley Kid, but I think the contents of this I should. If you have read my books, you’ll know what to expect, except. this isn’t so graphic, but there are details of abuse.

 

I don’t know how much time has passed. It feels like hours. My head is heavy inside, and it’s still daylight. I’m laid on a makeshift bed on the floor with my mattress from my room. Maz is laid with me. She is asleep. I don’t know what woke me. I look around and try not to wake her too. The place seems quiet. It takes me a moment to realise he is still here.

I can see the door. He’s waiting. Hiding.  I see shadows and darkness; it’s where he likes to hide. I see his eyes in my mind. The wide open discoloured whites of them. The way his skin wrinkles underneath. The dark spots on his cheeks. I can see them like he is right in front of me.

Something touches my foot. It’s soft, like a feather.  I don’t know what it is, I have a cover on me. I lift it and look down, but there is nothing there. I put my foot back down, but it’s there again and I move my foot, reach down and brush off whatever invisible thing it is. I close my eyes and then open them again. I can’t keep them closed. He’s going to come at any moment. Maz is asleep, she won’t know and no one will hear me, no one will help, just like always.

Maybe it’s his hand on my foot. Maybe he’s about to grab me. I can feel it. Next will be his nails in my legs like when I was little and he would drag me down and claw at me. I try to move and get away. I can’t. Inside I feel dead and heavy. My mouth is dry and I can’t take in enough air. My throat feels constricted; my lungs won’t go deep enough. I start to gasp and Maz wakes and sits.

“What’s wrong?” she asks me.

I try to talk. I say the words. I hear them perfectly, but Maz doesn’t understand. She asks me to repeat them and I do, but still she doesn’t know what I am saying.

“You’re slurring,” she tells me.

I try to speak clear. I try and tell her that he’s there. I try and move back and get away. I’m shaking and crying because I can’t tell her, all I can do is make sounds that aren’t even words. I try and push myself back, but just hit the front of the sofa. I am trapped.

“There’s nothing there,” she says to me. “It’s just the phet, you took too much.”

Joanne comes into the room. She must have heard me. She has a bag and Froggy is with her.

“Is he okay?” She asks Maz.

Maz nods. “He needs to sleep it off, but he won’t.”

Joanne has cans in her bag. She pulls one out and passes it to Maz, Maz offers it to me, but I don’t want it. Maz tries to put it to my mouth and I try and push it away.

“You need to drink,” says Joanne. “It’s been days you haven’t eaten or drunk at all.”

“If you don’t drink something your body is going to shut down,” says Maz.

I take the can from Maz, but she holds it with me. My hands are unsteady. I put it to my mouth and as the drink hits my mouth I realise how thirsty I am. I don’t waste time. I don’t sip it. One gulp becomes another and another, each one is not enough. I can’t take enough to make the thirst go away and within seconds, the can is empty. I need more. I hold my hand out and try and say the words, but I can’t. Joanne knows what I want though and she reaches in her bag for another. She passes it to Maz and Maz opens it, but my stomach flips over. I feel the heat of it inside as it sloshes the juice I have just ingested. I retch but nothing comes out.  Maz gets off the mattress fast and I try to move.

She tries to help me get up, but in her position she can’t. Joanne tries to help, but its Froggy that gets me to my feet and I know that any moment the drink is going to come right out. I can hardly move. I try and steady myself on all of them and in a rush, they manage to get me to the bathroom. I vomit in the sink and collapse on the floor. My body hasn’t finished though, but I don’t have the energy to get up and vomit in the sink or the toilet. It’s down my clothes. I can smell it.

Joanne runs out of the bathroom and comes back seconds later with a bowl. I ask her for a cigarette, only managing to get the word smoke out. She reaches in her pocket for her pack and gives me one, but I can’t even light it. Maybe this is death.

My mind wants to sleep. It wants to shut down. I feel it pressing on the inside making my skull ache. My eyes try to close but I fight them. I smoke my cigarette and sit forwards to wake myself up, but then he is there. I see his shadow out in the hallway. I lean back and he moves too. I lean forward and so does his shadow. I do it over and over.

“What are you doing?” asks Maz.

I try to talk but say nothing.

“You’re rocking.”

I still don’t say anything. I stop rocking, but I don’t take my eyes off the shadow. Maz has the shower running. For me I guess. I just keep my eyes focused on him, but they keep closing. They close for minutes at a time and I don’t realise. I don’t want to sleep. Maz and Joanne are there. They take my top off and I don’t stop them. Joanne tells me to stand and I have to lean on them and she tries to unfasten my jeans, but I don’t want her to, not with him out there.drug

Somehow I am in the shower and I don’t know how I got there. I’m leaning against the wall and sat in the base. Time slips in and out and I don’t see it. I try to ask, but they don’t understand and my words won’t come out. I keep still as they clean me up, get me out of the shower and put me back in bed.

I try to protest at being in just my underwear. I am cold. But Maz gets in with me again. They throw more covers over me and I can’t fight it. Sleep takes me away and I am gone.

I see flashes of moments. I open my eyes and people are in different places. Joanne on the chair watching the television. Maz on the chair. Froggy sat playing my games console. I don’t speak, just reach for a drink each time. The bowl is next to me just in case, but I don’t drink so much.

Someone is shaking me. I feel them and tell them to stop it.

“Wake up,” he says and I realise it’s my father. I didn’t know he is here, I didn’t remember. Did I let him in? I don’t know. No one else is there.

“Do you have the money you owe me?” he asks.

“In my wallet,” I try and say, but my words don’t come out.

“What?” he asks me to repeat and I try. “I can’t understand what you’re saying,” he tells me.

He kneels down to me and I try and tell him again. He grabs my hair in his fist, pulls my head up to him, I can’t move. I try and get out of his grip but I can’t.

“You’re such a waste of space,” he tells me. He clutches tighter, pulling my hair and I can’t fight him off. “You’re nothing to me.”

There isn’t anything I can do. It all goes dark and I fall asleep again. I forget my father is there and when I open my eyes he is gone. It is dark again and Joanne is watching the television with Angela and Colin.

I need the bathroom. Something feels wrong. It feels like I got turned off for a few hours as though I were a machine. I didn’t dream. Just darkness. I ask Joanne what time it is, she tells me. It’s been hours and I don’t remember them.

I try to stand, but my legs are shaky. They haven’t stood for I don’t know how long. My underwear feels wet. I look at Joanne and Angela and Colin, but they aren’t looking at me. They have a film on and I wonder if somehow I managed to wet myself. I don’t want them to know I slept so much I wet the bed.

I pick up a towel that’s laid on the arm of the sofa and wrap it around my waist so I can go to the bathroom.

In the bathroom I take the towel off and then my underwear. I just stare at it. My mind expected just to see wet clothes, but the red glares at me and I stare at it as though I have never seen blood before.

I feel nothing. No pain, no bruises. I don’t know why it’s there. I don’t feel ill. I feel panic inside. Fear. I don’t want Joanne to see. I don’t want to know where it came from.  I get in the shower instead. I don’t care that it isn’t heated yet. I want to hide from my blood soaked shorts. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe they aren’t there. Maybe it’s from the phet. I shower, but I can see them through the door. I have to get rid of them.

They are still there when I finish showering. Part of me wonders why. Why didn’t they just vanish? I can’t sneak them out. I’m sure that Joanne will see them. She’ll come out of the lounge the moment I come out of the bathroom with them in my hand. I get the envelope that holds my needles instead. I tip those into Joanne’s makeup bag and then I put my shorts in the envelope.

The blood is wet, it marks my hands and I just stare at it. I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t understand why I am bleeding.