Note: The idea for this story was given to me a long time ago. It's taken until now for me to get the courage to enact upon it. It will be hard for me to write, since child abuse very much offends me, so please bear with me. There will be obvious character changes. One change is the characters' ages, which are as follows:

Darry: 22

Sodapop: 18

Steve: 18

Two-bit: 19

Ponyboy: 13

Warning: Contains violence, child abuse, drug use, and profanity.

Summary: After Sodapop goes missing in action during the Vietnam war, Darry is determined to keep safe the only brother he has left. However his determination is soon turned into an obsession of control. Desperate to shield Pony from the outside world and everything in it, Darry becomes violent and overbearing. His night and day mood swings keep Pony in constant fear for his life, as Darry becomes more angry and demanding each day. Will the loss of Soda be the end of the Curtis family, or will it be just the beginning of a never-ending nightmare?


Along Came A Spider

Chapter one: Prologue


I think it is a Thursday. Lately however, days and weeks seem to melt into the next varying only in what I eat for lunch or what tests I have at school. Today I had a test in science, which is why I think it's a Thursday. I have science tests every Thursday.

I never leave the house except to walk to the local grocery store to buy something for dinner. It's really a privilege even to do that, since Darry would never let me walk there alone if he got off of work earlier. But since six-thirty is when he gets off, and he's always too tired to cook dinner, I was able to convince him to let me do the shopping.

This is how my life is now. It started two weeks after Dallas was shot under the streetlights. Steve and Soda both received draft letters from the U.S army, and were shipped out to Vietnam a month later. I was terrified by the idea of Soda fighting in a war, but Darry was optimistic about him being fine. He kept telling me that Soda and Steve would be home in no time. He was at least half right.

After two months of fighting, Steve took a bullet to his shoulder and was sent home. He had to have reconstructive surgery on his shoulder, but that was hardly his biggest concern. He had stopped eating, saying everything tasted of blood and metal. He couldn't sleep, having nightmares of war and death. And he started drinking to numb out the memories of friends he'd never see again. Of Soda.

The last time I saw Steve Randal he was in out living room screaming, "I just want to die! Why can't I fucking die?" That was two weeks ago and Steve didn't even recognize me.

Soda was announced as MIA shortly after he entered the war, and that status hasn't been changed. His commanding officer told us to be hopeful because in times of war lots of soldiers go missing. That didn't reassure either one of us. I was frightened and Darry was devastated. He started to change rapidly. At first I didn't take it seriously. He was getting stricter, but I just took it as a sign of grief. The doctors told me to be patient with him and he'd come around, but it was hard to be patient with someone who was set on dictating every aspect of my life. He was telling me who I could hang out with, where I could go, what T.V shows I could watch, and even what foods I could eat. Honestly though, I never thought I'd get this bad.

I don't do much of anything now. I read books I've already read and watch T.V show reruns. I write stories sometimes, but never anything important. I write all the important things in my head; like letters to Soda. I write letters to Soda in my head at least once everyday. Most of the time it's four or five times a day. I've even found myself praying to him at night, begging him to come home so things can be normal again. But Soda is no better at answering prayers than God is, and every morning I wake up in bed alone.


I look into the mirror and wonder how I'm going to explain the black eye. Luckily tomorrow is Friday, so I'll only have to deal with the teachers unbelieving looks for one day instead of the whole week. I think back to the first time Darry hit me after Soda went missing. I had been late coming home from track practice, and Darry had been waiting for me when I got home.

"Darry, you're home early." I said, setting my book bag down on the floor.

"Pony, where the hell have you been?" He yelled worriedly. I looked back at him with confusion.

"Dar, I have track practice on Tuesdays." I told him matter-of-factly. "I thought you knew that." He glared at me angrily.

"Don't talk back to me Ponyboy Curtis! Track practice ends at 4:30! It's almost 6 o' clock." He answers, standing over me.

"It got out a little late. I didn't think-"

"You didn't think what?" He cut me off. "You didn't think I'd be worried?!" I stood back timidly and shook subconsciously. He was a lot angrier than I'd seem him in a long time, and I wasn't sure why.

"I-I didn't know you'd even be home." I stuttered. This seemed to make him even madder, and he took another step towards me.

"Yeah well, if you can't be home on time, then you can't run track." He stated sternly. Angry flared in me as I shook my head violently.

"You can't make me stop running track!" I yelled. "I didn't even do anything wrong!" He didn't say anything. He just turned his back to me and walked into the kitchen.

"You're off the team Pony. If you keep arguing you're going to be grounded." He told me more calmly. I grabbed the lamp off the coffee table and threw it at the wall.

"You're not my fucking father!" I screamed. Darry jerked around and slapped me clean across the face, just as he had the night I'd run out to Johnny. Only this time I had no one to run to, not even Soda.

"I'm doing this because I love you Pony." He had told me as tears threatened to spill from my eyes.

"Ponyboy!" Darry calls from the living room, breaking me out of my trance. I come out of the bathroom and into the living room where he's sitting. He waves me over to him and touches my eye gingerly.

"You need to put ice on that baby."


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