Hello everyone. Thanks for giving my story a chance.
There are few things you should know before reading. It might get very angsty at times and things may look dark, but it all goes towards a well deserved HEA.
Bella in this story is meant to have bad grammar. So some non words like "ain't" and the double negatives are on purpose :)
See you at the bottom…I hope.
Chapter 1- Run
My cheeks sting and keep me awake. They are cut and in pain, victims of Seattle's cold winds.
I don't open my eyes. I only slept for a few minutes. Can't keep both eyes shut for too long out here.
I'm determined to sleep a little longer. Crawling around sleepless and tired is not the way to survive these streets.
But my head hurts.
My stomach growls in anger. I haven't fed it in two days. I just can't. I don't have any money.
My lips are chapped, my clothes are uncomfortably damp and dirty. My scalp itches and my back hurts from sleeping on the hard pavement.
But this is my life.
I've lived it like this for the past five years.
I hear a man laugh from the distance. I automatically sit up and look around. Living in the streets as a girl, you learn quickly that you can't trust dudes. They either wanna grab ya or poke ya and some even just want to hit ya for fun. Sick bastards. I ain't up for none of that.
I scrub my eyes with my filthy hands, trying to convince them that its time to get up. I know I'm hidden well from view, but you can never be too careful, so I crane my neck in all directions, making sure I'm safe. I sit against the wet wall, shove some strands of my greasy hair into my beanie and try to come up with a plan to get food.
I could beg. I could sit outside that one church with the scary statues. I could come up with a few dollars there. People around that area always seem to be nice or at least pretend so they can be in God's good list.
Give the dirty homeless girl a buck.
But it's been hard lately. It gets harder every day. It seems the older I get the less pity people feel for me and the less money I get thrown at.
They think I'm some sort of drug addict or troublemaker.
Some teenage runaway.
Sometimes they tell me "go home, kid" and "call your mom and ask her for forgiveness and she'll take you right back." I don't ever correct them. I just nod and try to look appreciative of their advice.
If they only knew I've never had a home.
And I've never had a mom.
I've been living on the streets since I was 12. Before that I was moved from one foster home to another. It's a long story, but even I don't know most of it.
My stomach growls again.
I've been hungry all my life. One gets used to everything, even the bad. But the pain in my belly is sometimes too much.
On good days I can get up to 20 bucks. I make the most of that money so I can get more.
I'm smart…well sorta.
I buy a big meal, like a burger, that I make last for two days. Then I buy some soap and sneak into a gas station and wash my face, arms, hands and hair in the sink.
People are more likely to say yes if I look half decent. I wash my jacket too and ask around for a "quick job." I like earning my bucks. It feels better than to beg.
I also get less nasty looks from strangers.
Mowing lawns, washing cars, cleaning windows and sometimes some ladies let me clean their house for some extra cash. Most people don't trust me though and don't let me.
Those are good days.
Most days are bad though. Like the past week.
It starts to rain. Even though rain is normal around here, people still rather stay inside their homes than to be out here.
No successful begging for me. I can't say I blame them either. It ain't exactly cheery in the rain.
I try anyway and sit outside the creepy church. I get about four wet bucks, a few quarters and two lectures about life and God.
I try a dumpster outside this one hot dog place that always seems to throw away buns on Thursdays.
They're going to hell for wasting, that's what I say.
I find a few buns that look half decent, brush off some crud, shove them into my backpack and run before the owners find me. Last time they called the cops on me.
I go back to my spot under the old bridge. Hardly any other bums come around here since its close the police station. I figured, cops wouldn't think to look here. Who would be dumb enough to sleep under a bridge next to a police station?
Smart I tell ya.
I swallow the hot dog buns with desperation and drink the last drops of water in my bottle and sit back waiting for the rain to take a break. I can tell my belly didn't like the nasty bread and I'm thirsty, but I just ignore it.
I try my best to stay away from the water making its way under the bridge.
If you get wet, you get cold and if you get cold, you get sick. Being sick out here can be deadly with nobody to get food or water for you and no doctor.
So I stay dry as much as possible.
I stare at my shoes and the holes on every side of them. My feet and hands are cold.
I rub my cold hands together for some warmth.
My pants are dirty and gross. My jacket smells weird and I'm pretty sure to everyone else I smell worse.
I pull it tighter to me since it's getting colder. It's too big on me and it gets bigger every day I don't eat. One time I was staying at a shelter, the director there gave away clothes since they got a huge donation from some store. Everyone grabbed shirts and pants. I grabbed a jacket since I knew I wasn't getting off the streets anytime soon and I needed to stay warm.
I was right. On the streets I live.
Everyday I wonder when something will change for me. When will I get off these streets?
I don't have a social security number that I know of or a birth certificate so I can't get an ID or a job.
I open my back pack that holds another t-shirt, a very thin blanket, my water bottle and my rag doll, Dolly.
They told me that my real mom left Dolly with me when she gave me away as a baby, so I kept it even though she didn't keep me.
I sit Dolly in front of me and run my fingers through her hair. It's supposed to be blonde but with the dirtiness of my life, its looks gray.
"Hey D-D-Dolly. Are yo-you-you hungry?" There is another obstacle. Well I have three actually.
I stutter. I stutter really bad. People think I'm stupid or one of them "special" kids. But I ain't.
The other two obstacles?
I can't read or write.
I never made it to school.
That's a whole different story.
Dolly has been my only friend. Ever. She also doesn't think I'm stupid.
She don't say much. She just stares at me with her button blue eyes. I talk to her all the time. I try to get rid of my stutter while I talk to her, but it doesn't work.
I tell her about my day and what I'm thinkin. She never responds, so I just shove her back into my backpack or sleep with her tight in my arms dreaming she's real.
A real friend or sister.
"Mah-mah-my cheeks are red you s-s-say? Well its co-co-cold, Dolly." I caress her face and smile at her. "I'll keep you wa-wa-warm."
I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to be hugged warm. When I was a little girl, I would see how my foster parents would hug their real kids and then I would sleep real close to the wall and pretend my mom was hugging me.
I bet it wouldn't feel hard and cold like those walls.
I bet it would feel nice.
I guess I'll never know.
Who the hell would want to hug my filthy self?
Dolly stares at me while I stutter away about what I wish I had for dinner.
"A big stah-stah-stake with pota-ta-toes and a Coke. How about yo-you? Fish? Th-tha-that's gross."
Some bums think I'm crazy for talking to a doll, but it helps me not feel so lonely.
The rain finally stops and I shove Dolly back into the backpack. I run over to the gas station at the corner and check out the time. I go there because their clock is one with big red numbers and I've learned to read time like that.
It's almost five, when work lets out.
I rush over to the end of the next street, hoping someone will give some of the loose change in their pockets.
By six in the afternoon, I have 8 bucks in change. I buy a sandwich and only eat half. I save the rest for when I'm real hungry again. I fill up my water bottle from the sink of the sandwich place and run towards a women's shelter hoping there is a bed for me.
Sometimes when there aren't a lot of women there, they let me have a bed. They save them for women that are beat up by their husbands and for their kids, but since they don't all always get full, the lady in charge there lets me stay the night and lets me have breakfast.
That's twice or three times a month, but I try every night.
It's a no tonight. It's full.
I don't like going to regular shelters because there are mostly homeless men and drunks and I ain't getting near them. I'd rather sleep in the rain.
It doesn't seem like it's gonna rain tonight, so I head over to the park. Sleeping under the slides on the grass is more comfortable than the pavement.
On my way there I see Jessica standing at her usual corner. Jessica gets money from men, because she lets them touch her and do nasty stuff with her. She's nice sometimes and gives me some loose change she's got on her and even waves at me when she sees me walking by.
But I know not to bother her when she's on "business."
It doesn't seem like she's got any business so far, so I walk to her.
Everyone that I know on the streets or knows of me calls me Kid. When I was five, my foster mom at the time couldn't remember my real name, ever, so she called me kid. I thought this was supposed to happen, so from then on I would tell people that my name was Kid and it stuck.
"Have yo-yo-you been getting good mo-mo-money?"
"Always, Kid," she says dryly and lights a cigarette. "But I can't give you any now."
"No, I did-di-didn't want any. I wa-was just askin."
She looks at me and then quickly looks away as if she's trying to avoid looking at me in the eyes.
"Okay, I'll se-se-see you later," I mutter and start walking away.
A few steps away, I hear her curse and take a deep breath. "Where are you staying tonight, Kid? Maybe if I don't get any clients or finish early, I can let you stay on my couch?"
I think she feels bad for me sometimes.
"I'll be un-under the sli-slide at the park."
I sleep okay, until a noise wakes me up. At first, I try to ignore it and squeeze my eyes shut, but it continues. I realize that it's a man screaming.
Screams and curse words fill the night.
I crawl out from under the slide and look around. Something bad is happening. I can feel it in my gut. There are no stars in the sky and besides the screaming man it's strangely eerie and quiet.
"Help! Please! Someone help me!'
I take a deep breath and crawl back under the slide and hope the noise goes away, but the shouts continue and they seem to be closer and closer.
I get up. I take a deep breath, bite my lip, grab my backpack and run. I don't know where to. I let my feet and heart decide. All I know is that the shouts for help are still getting closer and closer. I can hardly see anything. It's still late in the night.
I see a car's headlights on and for some stupid reason I run to them.
I freeze when I see what's going on.
There, in front of the car and on the ground, lays a man and around him a group of men and a woman.
"Get up rich boy!" the red headed woman screams.
"Fight back!" another man shouts.
"Fuck you!" The man on the ground manages to growl. He's holding his lower body in pain with one arm and trying to crawl away with his free arm, but they continue to beat him up. I stare on as the gang continues their cruelty with no idea of what to do.
It's not until one of the men kneels down on the poor guy's chest and pulls out a knife.
They are gonna kill him!
I don't know why I feel bad for the stranger or why I feel the need to do something. It's not the first time I've seen someone get their face smashed in or get stabbed, but for some unexplainable reason I don't want it to happen to this guy on the ground.
I grab the closest thing I can find, which is a brick from an alley and with all my might throw it at the man with the knife and shout "po-po-police!"
The man with the knife moans from the pain.
I hit him!
I hit him on the head!
But now I have four men and a woman staring at me with anger and the air has left my lungs.
Shit! What did I get myself into?
They all take a few steps towards me. Before I dash and make a run for it, I catch the man on the ground staring at me.
He's young. With the help from the headlights and through the blood and already forming bruises, I can see his eyes, burning with a fire that I don't understand. I can tell he's asking why I've helped him. I don't stick around to give answers.
Before I know it, I'm running.
I'm running so fast I feel like I'm floating.
I can't feel my feet hit the ground.
I hear the footsteps of the people running after me.
"We're gonna get you!"
"We're gonna kill you, you fucking bitch!"
I don't want to know if they are telling the truth and run faster. I can't breathe and my chest is hurting, but I can't stop.
I cross a street without looking and after I reach the other side of it, I hear a screeching car. I don't stop to see what happened and continue, taking a left turn.
I can tell I've lost them, but I don't slow down.
I find an alley and run into it. There is a dumpster. I'm small so I can squeeze behind it to hide.
"Where is she?" I hear someone whisper.
My face is against the cold and dirty dumpster. I cover my mouth with my hand.
"I don't know I think she ran that way."
"You okay, Jimmy?"
"Yes, Vicks. It's just a little blood. Let's find this little cunt."
I'm trembling. I can hear and feel their voices. I bite my lip and try to hold my breath. I hold myself, trying to stop the trembling.
They are close.
There is a shadow on the wall I'm leaning against.
He's right in front of me.
He knocks on the dumpster. He whistles and chuckles.
"I know you can hear me," he whispers. His voice is icy and thick with evil. "You can run on for a long time, but sooner or later we're gonna find you and when we do…" He pauses and clicks his tongue a few times. "You'll finally have a home, but in God's paradise, little one."
After a few eternal minutes, I can hear their footsteps disappear but I don't dare move.
The ground and dumpster smell like piss and are wet. I lay my face against the wall and wrap my arms around myself.
I don't think it's because I'm cold.
I'm really scared. I can feel it deep in my bones.
I'm scared that they will find me and kill me. I don't wanna die. I wanna get off the streets one day.
All these years I've stayed away from gangs and men. That's what Cara, the 14 year old I met when I was 12 and a "new homeless," told me.
"You gotta be smart, Kid. If you wanna live, you gotta be smart. Nothing in these streets will be brought to light. If you get hurt, you're gonna die. Don't cross nobody and stay away from men."
I promised. But now here I am. All because of that stupid boy.
I wipe the one tear that escaped and close my eyes. I know I have to sleep. I didn't sleep at all last night, I ate once today and I'm cold. I'm gonna get sick and I can't afford that.
I know I'm gonna have to find a good hiding place for the next few weeks. I know they aren't gonna give up. If I don't find a good place to hide, they are gonna find me and kill me.
But I need to rest.
I'm not gonna sleep much, because all I can think about when I close my eyes is that boy. That beaten boy with the fire in his eyes.
How are we after that? Review? Yes? No? You hate me for making poor Bella/Kid live this life? Let me know about it…
Next update soon.