The Hundred Acre Wood
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, Winnie-the-Pooh, or anything else that may seem familiar. In fact, I own very little.
Author: written by DracaDelirus, retyped and posted by Arwen of Evenstar
Warnings: Mention of extreme child abuse, and abuse of the sexual nature in later chapters. It isn't my intention to offend so my sincerest apologies in advance to anyone that I might upset because they didn't read this warning. And please know that no matter how dark it gets, there will be a happy ending. If you decide to go ahead and read this, and it is not yet complete, and you get worried along the way and want the happy ending now to know it all ends okay, just let me know and I will send it to you. The happy ending is already written and I would much rather share it now than to distress anyone.
Timeline: Wednesday morning, July 31st 1991
Chapter 1 – Boy
Boy curled up in a ball on his raggedy blanket and tried to become so small that he would disappear. Disappearing was Boy's fondest wish, but like everything else in his short life, he had never been gifted with it. However, that didn't mean he wouldn't keep trying to do it, especially as he felt compelled to do so, if for no other reason than to try to please 'The Family'. After all, it was what The Family kept telling him to do - to disappear as if he never existed. To his credit, he really did try to the best of his abilities to please them and make them happy, even though his best never seemed quite good enough and they were not a particularly jolly bunch by nature.
He scrunched up his eyes, wrapped his thin arms around his knees, and wished again with all his might. Was it his imagination, or did the air around him feel differently this time - warmer and almost … alive?
The sound broke Boy's concentration and his head snapped up immediately, his wide startled eyes drawn to the illuminated crack under his little door.
"BOY! YOU BETTER NOT BE GETTING ANY BAD IDEAS IN THERE! I WON'T STAND FOR IT I TELL YOU!" Ma'am's voice screeched from the other side of the door.
Ma'am hadn't actually asked Boy a direct question so he remained silent knowing it was against the rules for him to talk, unless specifically ordered to do so. An event that rarely happened, as The Family seldom wanted to hear anything he had to say unless it was an apology. However, Ma'am's accusation did make Boy think hard. She had accused him of having ideas on several occasions in the past, and as of yet Boy was still not sure just what an idea was. As The Family didn't allow him to ask questions - finding out what they were talking about sometimes was a tad difficult at best. However, using the process of elimination he could usually come close, and right now, he was fairly certain he didn't have any of the ideas that Ma'am claimed he did in his little cupboard - good, bad, or otherwise.
However, to be absolutely sure he felt around into every nook and cranny. No, nothing there that wasn't there the last time he checked. Besides the blanket he was laying on, there were few other things in his space. There was a plastic bucket with a handle for carrying, he knew that wasn't an idea so he pushed it carefully into the corner so it wouldn't slop out, and felt further. There was his tattered story book, the empty water pitcher, an old sock with a hole in the toe, a bent coat hanger, a paper clip, a used tissue, and a couple of spiders that skittered out of the way as his hand brushed them, and lastly Boy himself.
That was all.
Not a one.
"BOY! DID YOU HEAR ME? WHY DIDN'T YOU ANSWER? AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION?"
'The rules must have changed again! I was supposed to have answered!'
Boy cringed at his mistake. He was to obey all of the rules all of the time. Breaking any rule always meant swift and painful punishment, and ignorance of them was not an acceptable excuse. Because if he were good he would automatically know what they were and abide by them, it was only because he was bad, that he didn't have a clue and kept breaking them. He scooted over close to the door, and with his mouth pressed as close to the crack under the door as possible, he answered quietly.
"Yes Ma'am, I mean, no Ma'am. There are no ideas in here. Sorry Ma'am."
"YOU HAD BETTER BE SORRY BOY! I KNOW YOU ARE UP TO SOMETHING. YOU'RE PLOTTING SOMETHING BAD AREN'T YOU? WE'LL SEE WHAT YOUR MASTER HAS TO SAY ABOUT IT WHEN HE GETS HOME."
The wrath emanating from Ma'am was so tangible in the air that Boy could feel its sharp tendrils slithering under the door and stabbing into his heart. He had tried so hard to please, and once again, all he'd been was a disappointment and a burden.
As Ma'am stormed away, her angry vibrations caused the floor to shudder and the spiders to scurry to the safety of their webs. Although Boy knew he deserved to be yelled at, and his mistakes pointed out, he was still relieved when the shrill voice stopped and Ma'am left him alone. He also knew that his momentary respite would be short lived when Sir came home as promised. He already knew Sir wouldn't be any happier than Ma'am was. Boy shuddered at the thought.
He was still hurting all over and limping from the lesson against wanton gluttony that Sir had taught him before he left for work that morning. Normally Sir's impromptu lessons just left him with welts and bruises, but this time he had made the mistake of accidentally jerking in pain and kicking Sir instead of staying perfectly still while it was being administered. Sir reminded him never to do that again by twisting the offending foot until Boy begged him to stop. Boy was not sure if he could take another lesson of that type so soon and still be able to do his chores effectively, but he knew it was useless to beg Sir not to beat him for sinning, just as it had been useless that morning to beg for some water for his empty pitcher. He shouldn't have been greedy then, and he shouldn't expect forgiveness now. Besides, he didn't have any choice in the matter - it would happen whether he was ready or not, because he had no rights. He was a nothing.
When the fates had first rudely thrust the unwanted baby boy into their home, The Family had to decide what to do with him that wouldn't impose on their own space. However, wherever they put him, they could still see him, and what was worse - he could see them. He wouldn't fuss, but he would stare at them with his unusually vivid emerald green eyes as if he knew what they were thinking. It was unsettling. Anything unusual and unsettling was 'abnormal', and being abnormal was most unacceptable in their very normal household. To remedy the situation, Sir and Ma'am finally hit on the idea of partitioning off the tall roomy part of the under stair space under the upper steps. This created a useful closet to store cleaning supplies, leaving only the small cramped awkward space under the lower steps (where they couldn't conveniently reach anyway), that they allowed the boy for his personal use. As Boy was barely fifteen months old at the time, and quite small, the space was more than roomy enough. Very fitting, they laughed as they shut him inside and thus made the green staring eyes go away - 'wasted space' for the 'waste of space'.
As he was so young when the door first closed him in, Boy could barely remember any other way of life. Any thoughts, feelings, or memories of the time before the darkness enveloped him, were just lovely bright scraps of dreams. So lovely that Boy knew they couldn't possibly belong to him. For as far back as Boy could remember his life had not been lovely at all. It had always been very dark and about one metre square. That was as far as he could reach in any direction, including up, before he touched a wall. If he lay in the centre catty-corner and stretched out his legs and arms, he could touch all four walls at the same time. He knew this as he did it quite often, as there was really no other entertainment to be had in the small space. If he lay straight-wise, his head touched the back wall and he couldn't stretch out without curling up his knees - his feet barely finding room in the space created by the bottom stair.
The cupboard under the stairs may have been roomy when The Family first put him in here, but if he grew any more he wouldn't be able to do anything but curl up no matter which way he turned. He laughed at this thought. To grow would mean being well fed, and that was highly unlikely to happen. That meant he wasn't in danger of completely outgrowing the space anytime soon he thought ruefully. eHe Which was good as he was very seldom allowed out of the cupboard, and then only to be punished or to do chores. As much as he was afraid of the dark, he would rather just stay in his cupboard, because at least in here he wasn't hurt or overworked. However, he didn't have any choice in that either.
'I wish I knew how to be good. I wish I knew what good was.' Boy thought in frustration. 'All I was trying to do was disappear as The Family wants me to, and Ma'am said I was being bad even though I wasn't breaking any of the rules! I wasn't making any sound, I wasn't asking questions, I wasn't moving, I was just pretending I didn't exist. I thought that was what The Family wanted.'
He wiped away the silent tears running down his cheeks with the back of his grubby hand. Then wrapping the small blanket around his trembling shoulders, he cradled the tattered book carefully in his arms. Opening the pages in the dim light from the crack under the door, he tenderly traced his finger around the charming characters on the pages. He wondered what the real story was that went with them. He had seen Ma'am read storybooks like this to Cousin but she had never read this one to him. Therefore, since he didn't know what the words said, he had made up his own stories in his mind to go with the pictures, but he was sure that the pitiful fantasies he could think up were probably not nearly as exciting as the real story. To him the characters were very exciting. They could do all sorts of things, many more than Boy himself could. But then Boy had had very few happy experiences in life himself, so it was hard to think up adventures he thought worthy of the colourful happy characters he considered his only friends. That meant the characters had to make up their own, and they did – they were all so terribly creative! The thought brought a small smile to Boy's face even though he was quite envious.
Boy then touched the black squiggles on the page, his index finger mimicking the shape of the loops and lines. Ma'am said things that looked like this were something called 'words' and you read them. So many words … only Boy didn't know how to read and Ma'am said he was too stupid to learn. If only he could, he thought, then maybe he would also know how to disappear just as his friends did whenever The Family pounded on his door. Then again, if he knew how to read, he might also get 'ideas' and possessing even one idea was strictly forbidden.
Boy sighed. There was just too many ways to break the rules. The disheartening thought finally made Boy's head droop onto the open pages and he drifted off to sleep while he awaited the promised punishment.
'I wish I could live with my friends in The Hundred Acre Wood …'
In the dark of the little cupboard, the pages of the tattered storybook gave off a momentary soft blue glow at his words.
'I wish …'