Rating: T (language and adult themes)
Disclaimer: Not mine, just borrowed for a few moments
Focus Character: Jack
Summary: No one wants abused, broken and angry. It's too dangerous. A look inside Jack's head days after joining the Mercer household.
Author's Notes: I haven't dabbled in fanfiction in years, but this just… well, it needed to come out for some reason. Feedback greatly appreciated.
Dedication: To all those who have had to suffer in their lifetimes. Who have gone through more then any person should have to endure. And to everyone who has risen above the hardships; beaten their hate; hid their fear; become stronger people. This is for you.
The alleyway illuminates as I press the trigger of my lighter. A short spark lashes out of the barrel, the flame cutting through the cold night air like a glowing blade. I'm unsure if the way that it flickers is due to the breeze or the shaking of my own hand. The flame dies out and I stand in the darkness once again. Before I register the movement of my own fingers, the fire erupts to life for the umpteenth time, casting eerie shadows on the ruddy brickwork around me.
Darkness comes once again. In all honestly, I've got no clue how long I've been standing here, flicking this damn thing on and off. Got to be almost an hour now. Odd how it sorts calms my nerves, the flashing of the light, the dancing of the shadows and most importantly, the movement of my fingers.
"Fuck it!" I reach into my jeans pocket and yank out my abused pack of smokes. With a practiced flick, one of the cigarettes pokes out the hole I'd made in the bottom of the box when I first stolen it. I grip it with my lips, feeling remarkably better already even as I drag it from the pack. Light fills the alleyway again as I raise the lighter to the smoke and inhale, setting the tip on fire and utilizing the lighter for its intended use.
As I suck in that first wondrous draught, I regard the cold metal object in my hand. Made of polished steel and shaped like a gun, it had been the first gift I had ever received, let alone been allowed to keep. Great memories it brought. It was a fucking hack given to me by a snotty-nosed brat in the group house as a joke. Ha ha. Really fucking funny, Mik. Needless to say he didn't think it so funny when I pushed the butt to his temple and pulled the trigger.
I, on the other hand, thought it was fuckin' hilarious. A picture perfect display of poetic justice. The highlight of my whole damn week.
Literally. As only a few minutes later – after much screaming and cursing from Mik's part – I was ushered into my Social Worker's office, the lighter was confiscated and placed on his desk and his assistant roughly helped me into my chair.
Clive was a moron, through and through. He liked to think that he was doing some big favour to society, helping us delinquents fit into the proper way of things. Truth was, if someone didn't point out the buttons on his designer business shirt, he would still be there trying to find the zipper.
"Jack, this could well be it," he had said to me, leaning forward in his seat and pressing his fingers together. "You're fifteen now; too old to find a young, childless family to look after you..."
He had intended to continue his 'I'm your saviour' speech, but I had cut it short by reaching across his desk and taking the file from under his arm. Managed to steal back my lighter in the process.
I remember flipping through the folder quickly, taking in as much as I could. Evelyn Mercer. Early fifties. An outstanding citizen. In fact, she had already adopted three first class fuck ups in her time.
"I don't play well with others." Even now I smile at the look on his face when I threw the folder back on his desk and lit up another smoke. He hated it when I did that, so I'd made a point of blowing the grey clouds all over his desk. With any luck the stench had sunk into his leather stationary holders and was still haunting him.
So, the next day I was packed and ready to go. Not that I really needed to pack as truth be told I didn't have much stuff. Not to mention that I'd only just wound up there a few days before. That hadn't given me much time to steal shit to add to my collection.
The house I'd left was more messed up then I was. Honestly, I don't know how Clive find's these guys. They say they do police checks on every host family before any of us 'kids' were put in there, but I think that's a crock of shit. If it was true, how did they not pick up that Remmy was a drug dealer? Big time. And I'm not talking a few ounces of weed here and there. The heavy shit. Coke, E, Ice. You name it, he peddled it.
Well, no, you name it, he had it and I was his delivery boy.
Needless to say I contrived a way out of there as soon as possible. The bruises can still be seen and the cuts still bleed if aggravated. Not to mention that my ribs ache like buggery, but its better then getting locked up for possession or dealing. Now that would kill me.
So I had arrived in style at the Mercer home. Ripped jeans, a leather jacket and smoke in hand, I'd walked up to the door like I already owned the joint. Instead of knocking, I had simply thrown my bag into the bottom of the door and stood there, one hip jutting out as I took a deep dose from my smoke, my eyes cast heavenwards.
I'd seen rock stars do that pose countless times.
I don't know what they expected. Obviously not me; not what they got. I could see it in their expressions as soon as they opened the door, read it in their eyes as I casually exhaled a puff of smoke into their faces.
I gave it two weeks, three if she was really patient, and then I'd be back at the Group Home. Either way it wouldn't last long. She was old, and no matter what sort of kids she had saved in her lifetime, I was something different. A smile crept to my face and I contemplated all the things I could do. Damn, if I tried hard enough I could be gone by the end of the week and break my own record of ten days.
That was two homes ago; as in, ten days. Lovely couple, just married and madly in love, picket fence sorta of stuff. Too bad the chick was barren. Probably best for the both of them in the end. Needless to say, she wasn't so happy when she realised that her darling husband had an unhealthy passion for young boys. Not that I in any way encouraged that. Not in the slightest. Not at all.
Remember, I'm the victim in all this. The poor hapless, abused child. I would never encourage someone to come onto me in order to break my own record of fifteen days... that would just be twisted.
But as I casually lowered my eyes and took in this family, I could see that they were different.
The impression I got was that Evelyn Mercer wanted some poor kid to baby. To pet and look after. Give the scared kid a treat and a scratch behind the ears and they'd be purring in no time. Right?
To hell with that.
That's the thing that most people don't get about me. 'Oh look, the poor kid just needs love. Needs someone to look after him.' Fuck off. I don't need love, and I don't need attention. God knows I've had enough of that in my few years to last me a lifetime.
Yeah, I had a shitty childhood, if you can even call it that. I prefer to call it the 'epoch' though I can't for the life of me remember where I got that word from. Probably the gay history teacher who took me in for awhile… Anyway, you know the 'epoch', that time in your life where you are trapped in a child's body despite the progression of your mind. Well yeah, that was my childhood; one big fucking trap where I was too little or too sacred to do anything.
Sure, by the age of six I'd had more broken bones than even the most accident prone of adults. But hundreds of kids had been beaten to within an inch of their lives, starved and tormented; kept in the dark for days on end. It happens. Tens of them have seen their fathers shoot their mothers in the head in fits of rage, or sat under a table as their dad laid into their mother, time and time again until his fists were red with blood. And don't even get me started on how many kids have been molested and raped.
Oh, poor Jack indeed. None of this makes me special. I'm as special as every other fucked up kid in this country. It's the way of the world – the strong preys upon the weak, and the weak let them. It's no big fucking deal.
Chances are that even if those things hadn't happened to me, I'd still be fucked up. Some people are just born that way. They come out all messed up, or with voices in their heads, or compulsions and urges they can't deny.
Look at it logically, for every abused kid, there is a messed up adult who did it to them. It had to start somewhere, didn't it? I mean, the bible has no story that I know of telling of an abused kid who grows up to abuse his kids, or his kids' kid. You know what I mean? It is all too easy to say that an abused child will grow into an abusive adult… but how did it start? Where did the first one come from?
See, that's what I learnt. You can have a fuckin' picture perfect family, with a squeaky clean past and background. Nothing but puppies and daffodils all the way and yet still get the odd black sheep who screws everything up.
People like me and that shit head kid who gave me the lighter. There's no hope for us. Not for what we have been through, but for what and who we are. Great fucking joke, Mik, give a gun shaped lighter to a kid who was already screwed before he witnessed his mothers death. What, Mik, you want me to follow in my fathers footsteps? Would it make it easier for me, or for others looking in on my life? Oh, he just killed that girl, but hey, he had a horrible childhood. Let's give him a slap on the wrist and a cookie.
I may be fucked, but I don't buy that. I'm far from the perfect citizen, but I'm not like one of those shitheads either. I don't ever want to kill a person. I fight if I need to, steal what I want, and I'll pick on someone if I need to assert my authority, but that is the way of things. All boils down to survival of the fittest. Make the first move, throw the first punch and hope to god it is a good one and then they'll leave you alone after that.
Don't ask me who they are as I have no frigging clue. But you get the picture.
Maybe it's Evelyn's kids. They haven't been overly inviting but I ain't making the effort either. No point. We all know it won't work, so why bother with trying to establish bonds that will only hurt us all later.
I'm smart enough not to go sniffing around there unless absolutely necessary. The less I know about them and the less they know about me, the better. Fuck, I still keep my toothbrush hidden in my sock draw just to be sure.
Besides, from what I can gather, they're pretty fucked up too. The eldest, Bobby, is a fucking maniac. Not the sort of guy I want to piss off unless I know that it will get me out of this 'twilight zone' once and for all. Not much to say about Jerry. Guessing he's a drug-o or just unlucky in friends as he seems pretty clean apart from that. And Angel, well being a pretty boy and a womanizer don't exactly find you in Evelyn Mercer's household. The fact that he's thinking of joining the army suggests that he has at least one other skill and it is not so suburb friendly.
They're exactly the type of people I make a rule of staying away from. They respect strength, brawn over brains and all that shit. Sure, I could live by my other philosophy and attack first, but even I can see that for the stupid idea that it is.
And so I keep my distance. I remain quiet, I brood and expose as much anger as possible, and I work at keeping my cool.
I think that is why the Mercer's are so startled by me. They wanted abused, meek, raped and broken; weak. Someone they could protect and shape for extra credit points or discounts on their taxes. Whatever. Everyone does.
No one wants abused, broken and angry. It's too dangerous.
Maybe it would have been better for me if I had turned out more like the others. You know, the other kids that had gone through the shit I had. Everyone knows the ones; they jump at their own shadow, hide in the dark and pray for the light of day. A door slams somewhere in the neighbourhood and their sixth sense has them flat against the wall, shaking and crying.
Admittedly I used to be like that. One of those big eyed children who snuck around in utter silence while being scared of their own breathing. The Mercer's would have loved me back then. I can see it now. Evelyn would have sat beside me, given me a piece of candy and a big bear hug and told me everything would be ok. I was safe now.
But that's not me. I grew up, I got strong and I survived.
So maybe I am special. Maybe I am different because I'm sure as hell nothing like that anymore.
True, I don't like confrontation, and I know when to cut my losses and my pride. If the guy's too big, or there's too many of them, life has taught me how to make scarce and how to hide. And yeah, I may jump a bit but it is hardly for the same reasons.
Clive told me I had problems. That somewhere in my brain there was a chemical imbalance which made me 'unstable'. A little causeway that allowed too much or too little of a chemical into my system and caused me to drop in and out of focus and lose attention. He'd given some letters to it, something with A's and D's but fucked if I remember what it was.
When he told me about my 'mental illness' I could've killed him. How dare he sit behind his flashy desk with his name on a plaque and make such assumptions about me! Needless to say, as his 'lap boy' assistant restrained me in my chair, I could almost see his point.
See, I was fucked to begin with. Short end of the straw from birth.
And so it is here that I find myself, in some darkened alley in the back streets of shitty old Detroit while playing with a lighter that hits all too close to home for my liking. Not to mention thinking like a fucking scholar or philosopher. Jack on life. I can see it now, top of the charts, a best seller. And hey, I'll make it a packaged deal with my first album. Sounds like a great plan. Rock star and writer. Way to go, Jack!
But that's not the main thing on my mind at the moment. Somehow the air has gotten even colder while I've been thinking. I glance down at the cracked face of my watch and see that it is past midnight.
"Shit!" My voice sounds loud in the stillness of night. So loud that it drowns out the frantic beating of my own heart.
It's been eleven days. Eleven fucking days and she still hasn't kicked me out. I don't know what the hell is wrong with her. Why she won't just quit and admit defeat.
But then, I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me either. I actually forgot to hide my toothbrush before I left.
Now hopefully it is out of my system. If not, I may find a way to continue it. It is kinda nice to 'borrow' someone else's character for awhile again. My own are starting to stress me out big time.
Take care and cheers