"What have I told you about talking back, boy?" He said, his fierce blue eyes burning into the very core of my being. Slowly, I inched toward the door which was only a few feet away, but it felt like an impossible distance. I wanted to bolt for the door right then and there, but I knew I'd never make it, not with him standing so close. If I tried to run, and he caught me I'd only be making things worse for myself. This is a lesson I learned a few years back and never have I tried to leave the house again, but now I'm more desperate than ever before.
The last time I had tried to escape I got one of the worst punishments of my life. That night he had left me with a scar that I'll wear for the rest of my life, one that starts just bellow my chin and runs down my neck and a jagged line. This is a scar that will keep that night forever in my memories; I will never be allowed to forget what he did to me.
I wanted so badly to feel the warmth of the sun upon my skin, to smell the fresh scent of the coming winter, to be free. In all of the seven years of my life I have only been aloud outside twice.
Once a very long time ago, when I was but a babbling infant my parents had taken me with them on a picnic, both of them. I think this was the one time my father didn't despise me, didn't wish me dead. Of course I don't remember this day but I do have proof it happened; a picture. Often times during the night, I'd be jolted out of my sleep by the sound of loud booming voices which argued over only what I could assume was money. The crashes of glass upon wood, chairs upon floor, flesh upon flesh and even the loud crack of a gun from upstairs would cause my blood to turn. I knew they were beating him, threatening the fat, lying, cheating bastard for the money he owed them. I knew that I shouldn't but, for some reason I can't understand I was scared for him in these moments, perhaps I was scared that they would kill him, and I'd be stuck in the basement; starved to death.
When I'd wake in the middle of the night, the loud noises penetrating the thick cement walls of the basement I'd dig the picture out of the hole I kept it in. With the picture clutched to my chest, its image burned into my mind, I'd pretend I was there again. Gone would be the deafening cries from upstairs, and gone would be the fear in my heart, instead it'd be replaced by joy, an emotion I know longer know how to feel. In these short moments I was no longer the trembling child in the basement, but I was the happy child nestled in my mother's warm embrace, the voice of my father a soothing and reassuring tone, and not one so filled with anger and hatred. His voice…
"I asked you a question damn it!" He roared, bringing me back to the present.
"I'm sorry sir." I apologized. I kept my eyes locked onto the door, struggling to keep my composure. Stay strong! Don't let him win! These six words repeated themselves in my head; an uninterrupted rhythm of reassurance.
"Sorry doesn't cut it boy. I told you what I would do if you talked out of line again." He hissed, taking slow taunting steps forward. I held my breath as his large silhouette inched closer, and closer until his shadow devoured me whole. I shrank back against the wall, my hands reaching its surface first fallowed shortly after, my back and eventually my head which I pressed as close to the wall as I could get, as if somehow I could force myself through the wall to somewhere safe. I knew I wouldn't make it through whatever he had planned for me tonight when I saw his eyebrows pull together slowly and his eyes glaze over with a predatory gleam.
"You remember what I told you would happen if you disobeyed me again, correct?" He said in a menacing voice, the rhythm of my chant faltered and I flinched. His sinister laugh filled the room, and bounced off its walls before leaving a ringing echo in my ears. I swallowed hard as he leant in closer, his nose barely brushing up against mine, but it was enough to make me shutter.
"Yes sir! I'm sorry…I I didn't mean to! Please don't beat me again!" I cried out in remembrance of the beating I received the last time I spoke out of line. I could still feel the unbearable pain, and still hear my own screams ringing in my ears. A wide grin slowly spread across his face making his expression all the more terrifying. I held a tiny hand in front of my face in a vain attempt to protect myself.
"Tsk tsk tsk, don't make this harder than it has to be boy." He said, shaking a finger at me.
"Move your hand boy" He commanded, but I was unable to move. I knew that if I didn't obey him I'd only be making things worse for myself but my limbs protested; I was glued to the spot. When I didn't move he gave me an angry look, notifying me that whatever he had in mind this time, would make the punishment I received last time seem like a simple slap in the face in comparison.
"I said move you damn hand!" He shouted, his face flushed an angry red and the veins in his neck swelled up rapidly. It seemed that at any minute now they would explode. He glared me down with blood shot eyes under a thick sheet of dirty blonde bangs. A part of me wanted to obey him, knowing I'd only make things worse, but I couldn't force my body to make a move, I was so scared. In a matter of second a large hand lashed out of the darkness and grabbed a hold of my own and shoving it out of the way with such forced the back of my hand smacked up against the wall. I squeezed my eyes shut and turned away from him, anticipating what was to come next.
The right side of my face met the wall with a painful greeting. Immediately after, I could feel the warmth of fresh blood stream down my face, starting just under my right eye. A numb pulsing heat emanated from the spot on the left side of my face where his knuckles made contact. I wanted to break down right then and there, to allow the tears I've been holding back to flow, but instead I clenched my teeth and dug my nails into the palms of my hands, to force my attention away from the pain in my face.
I have to remain strong, if I show weakness I'll only be giving him exactly what he wants. I sucked in a deep breath of air and turned back toward him, looking directly into his eyes and letting him know he hadn't won, not yet. He grunted in anger, and with a large hand he reached out, and grabbed a handful of my long straggly hair. I struggled against him, but that only resulted in him yanking me off of my feet and an explosion of pain to erupt from the top of my head. I cried out and clawed feebly at his hands.
"Let me go!" He laughed in spite of my pain, and pulled me forward to where I was now at his eye level, starring directly into the anger ridden face of my father. When I saw the look in his eyes I knew I had made a mistake.
"Of course." He sneered, his lips curling into a wicked smile, revealing his rotten teeth. With a forceful push he released me; the momentum sent me crashing into the wall. I cried out as the back of my head slammed into the wall, bounced forward landed back on the wall. Immediately I felt a sickening warmth at the back of my head. I fell to the ground whimpering, and clutching my head. When I pulled my hand away sure enough, it was stained red.
"Don't move, I'll be back with the rest of your punishment boy." And with that he disappeared around the corner.
Admit defeat, let him take your life; let him end this pain once and for all! The voice in my head screamed, some part of me wanted to listen, but the other part; the stronger part refused to give up so easily. I took a deep breath and forced myself to stand, forced myself to take those few uneasy steps toward the door. I looked behind me and when I saw no sign of him, I reached up with a trembling hand and took hold of the knob. Slowly I turned the knob and slid the door open, just enough for my tiny body to slip through. Once the cool outside air hit my face, my heart sped up.
As soon as my feet touched the bare wood of the front steps I knew I was free; I only needed to make it to the end of the driveway.
I was in such a hurry, my legs fumbled under me and I fell face first into the unforgiving ground. I winced when I hit the ground, scrambled back to my feet and kept running. I was halfway down the drive way when the slamming of the door caught my attention.
For a moment I turned back, and when my eyes landed on the silhouette of my father I felt my heart skip a beat. Automatically my head snapped forward and I ran as fast as my uneasy legs would carry me.
"Get back here you piece of shit! I'll send your sorry ass to the grave!" My father's angry voice rang out above my ragged breathing, causing an icy cold shiver to snake down my spine. My father's heavy foot falls followed shortly behind. I was a few steps until the end of the driveway by the time he had caught up with me; he grabbed a hold of my shirt, and pulled. I screamed, and kicked at him, but to no avail. He held me up by my shirt, my feet dangled under me, trying desperately to find the ground. I had managed to wiggle free from my shirt and landed on the ground with a thud. Before my father had even realized what had happened I was on my feet again, half running, half crawling to the end of the drive way. If I could just make it to the road, I'd be free.
A heavy sigh of relief escaped my lips as my feet made contact with the road, but I kept moving. A shrill beeping from behind me caused a wave of relief to wash over me. I turned back for the last time and watched as my father screamed, and cussed at me. He paced the ground, stopping his feet and waving his fists angrily in the air. He wouldn't be able to follow me because the bracelet he wore would shock him if he stepped foot onto the road.
His shouts, and cursing followed me down the road, but I knew I had done it, I had finally escaped his prison. A crash at my feet caused me to jump. Another crash sent me stumbling back. My eyes grew wide when I saw a glass bottle hurtling my way. I rolled out of the way, scrambled to my feet and tore down the road. My heart pounded in my chest as I ran, my legs felt like they would buckle underneath me at any moment, but I forced myself to move forward.
I kept running until my legs would no longer carry me and I fell forward. Now on my hands and knees I looked to the left and right, taking in the slummy alley ways, the graffiti covered walls. A sickening feeling came over me as I realized where I was at. Just as I was about get up I was yanked up from my spot.
"Well well well, look what we have here boys." A harsh voice shouted into the night. I tried everything I could to get away from my capture but nothing worked.
I could hear laughter all around me, accompanied by footsteps. I squeezed my eyes shut and wished for it all to just go away, knowing I'd probably die right here. When I opened my eyes next I found myself on the ground looking up at my captures dark silhouette.
"What you say we do wit 'im?" A deep voice boomed from my right.
"We could always bring 'im into the gang, he's young, we can make him into the perfect thief." Another voice replied. I felt myself being lifted from the ground then slammed into a wall.
"Look at 'im! He's scrawny! And he….wait a second…." The voice trailed off. I felt a warm current of air on my face before the rank smell of alcohol found it's way up my nostrils.
"In't this Jaeger's kid? That lard ass still owes me money! What do you say we mess with the guy, kill his kid, and leave 'im on his front steps?" The guy laughed, taking a step back from me, and turning toward his friends who laughed in agreement. My eyes grew wide as I listened to them trade off different ways they could kill me.
Soon the talking stopped and they turned toward me. Large hands lashed out of the dark and I was spun on the spot then slammed once again into the wall face first. I grunted in pain as my face collided with the wall, then a tearing sound from behind me caught my attention before I felt a cold breeze on my back side.
An overwhelming fear crept over me as I realized what they were doing, and not a moment later did they yank my pants down.
"No don't! Please stop!" I yelled, choking on my own tears. I tried to get away from them but was slammed into the wall again. The sound of a belt being unloosed echoed throughout the alley.
"No!" The boy screamed at the top of his lungs, pulling himself from the nightmare. He was hunched over on his hands and knees, nails digging into the ground, face contorted in fear. He took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. When he stopped shaking he propped himself up against the wall and wiped at his tear stained face.
"It was ten years ago! Forget about it already!" He yelled in frustration.
He sighed heavily and instinctively grabbed for the handle sitting at his side. In one liquid motion he was standing up, guitar case gripped in his right hand.
Where to now? You can't keep living like this! Your going to get yourself killed!The voice inside his head screamed, and he knew it was right.
I've survived this long haven't I? It'll be ok...stop worrying He replied to the voice.
"You are crazy you know this?" He asked, taking off his top hat and twirling it about his forefinger and he walked to the other end of the alley way.
"I don't think I've noticed...why whatever do you mean?" He asked, thrusting his hands upward and sending the hat flying above him. Taking a step forward and nearly loosing his balance he caught the hat softly on his finger, with one foot poised in the air.
"Your talking to yourself for crying out loud!" He yelled, regaining his balance and walking forward.
"Oh, I guess you are right. I am talking to myself!" He laughed, ignoring the gunshots and cries in the near distance. Then, jumping into the air and clicking his heels, he rounded the corner. The sidewalk was vacant with the exception of a few people, which is normal for this time of night. Most people are in their houses hiding away from the horror that took place outside.
The boy didn't blame them, with the government receding as it did, no longer was there order, and no longer were there laws. People are killed everyday, be them human or mutant, and no one did anything to stop it. Everyone is so driven to kill the other race off that they have forgotten who had started the war, what side provoked the other. Not even the boy remember this, and that he thought was truly sad; when two races have been fighting for so long...
As he walked he took notice of a large burly man walking down the sidewalk. As the boy passed the man, he did a u turn and wound up right behind him.
The boy hunched over and began to kick at the ruble as he walked. A low muffled grumble could be heard from the man in front of him over the sirens in the back round.
"Grumble grumble grumble" The boy repeated the man softly as he fallowed the man.
"Excuse me? Did you say something?" The large man asked as he turned around and the boy smacked into his back. The boy stiffened and straightened out his top hat.
The man cleared his throat, waved the boy aside, and began walking again.
Anchoring his elbow back and hunching over once more the boy began to fallow after the man.
"Grubmle grumble grumble" The boy said under his breath, once again gaining the man's attention.
"What"" The man turned around, slightly agitated by the kid. This time the boy pretended to be startled.
"Do you have a problem?" The man asked but the boy remained silent.
"I asked you a question." The man said after a moment.
"Oh!" The boy piped up and and took his top hat off then placed it atop the man's head. Shaking his head, he fixed the top hat, then stood back to admire his work.
The man's face contorted in anger, then in one swift movement he snatched the hat and tossed it onto the ground then walked away, but not before stomping on the hat.
"You some kind of nut job!" The man yelled as he walked away. The boy picked his hat up with with a frown and delicately patted the dirt off of it before placing it back on his head.
"What's wrong with you?" The boy whispered, his eyes turned toward the ground.
"I'm crazy remember..." The boy trailed off as he took notice of a shop window. He placed a finger on his chin and shook his head at his reflection in disapproval.