Author's Note:

To all the people still following this story, I'm sorry about the long period of silence. As circumstances in my life have changed, I'm finally approaching a period in life where I should have enough time to update this story more regularly. After a review, I have decided to rewrite these first few chapters to be more in line with how I imagined this story. I want it to be more realistic, to portray more of humanity - both the good and the bad. The dynamics of my character's relationship with Soundwave will be changed, but fear not, he will be no less important to this story.

With love,

Repenned


Chapter One - Prologue

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself."
- Harvey Fierstein


If you are reading these words, I hope they will make an impact on your life as they did on mine. I am not particularly special, nor am I particularly memorable, but let me introduce myself. My name is, or rather, it was, Hope Summers.

Heard of me? Probably not. Maybe we've met before but you probably don't remember me. I'm the kind of person that you forget immediately after meeting. Sad? Probably. Does it really matter? Not really.

I'm… I was… a chronic midget at 5'1" with a headful of unruly dirt brown hair and almond shaped chocolate brown eyes. See? Nothing special about me. But how about you tell me about yourself? Well you can't exactly talk to a diary but I mean, I'll guess your background now eh?

You're probably from a generic, middle-class family with parents that are always too busy with work to pay attention to you. I mean why else would you be in a dilapidated house exploring? But regardless of how little attention they pay you, I bet they love you anyway. At least a little bit.

I wish I had parents like yours. My parents were awful – at least my father was. My mother was alright… just a coward.

After Father lost his job at the factory, he took up drinking. And boy did Father like to drink. I don't think I ever saw him without a half-finished bottle of beer in his hand. If he only got drunk, that'd be fine. But father was an angry drunk who liked to use mum and I as moving targets for his beer bottle throwing talents. Just dodge it or hide, geez, that's probably what you're thinking. But you see, we couldn't. We couldn't leave his field of view or he'd come after us with belts… sticks… his fists… broken bottles…

You can probably guess that mom and I weren't happy living there with that vile excuse of a human, but where would we go if we ran? Mum's family never approved of father so when they married, mum lost her family – father, mother, siblings, cousins, all of them left.

Maybe you're thinking to yourself that Mother should've just taken me and gone to a shelter for abused women. Maybe you're thinking that she should've gone groveling back to her real family to take her back in – or at least to take me in. Any kind of loving mother, any kind of sensible mother should've acted to protect the precious life that was born from their bodies.

But what you don't understand is abuse changes you. It profoundly alters the way you think, the way you act and the way you see the world. My mother was in denial for a very long time. She couldn't understand that this man, this beast who was supposed to be her eternally loving husband, was destroying everything that made her, her.

I can barely remember my mother before the abuse. Just a few tidbits here and there, but I knew that my mother was a beautiful woman both inside and out. She was kind, she was patient, she was loving, she was smart. I remember opening my eyes for the first time and seeing these hazel eyes looking down at me filled with nothing but pure love. I remember getting rocked to sleep in a tattered wicker rocking chair while in her arms. I remember sitting on a soft red and white checkered picnic basket in the city park, talking about how that one cloud looked exactly like a fluffy white bunny. I can remember sitting quietly at the kitchen table in the dark as she explained my math homework to me. It was gibberish to me then and it's still gibberish to me now.

She was devoted to Father. Utterly devoted. I'll never understand how a scumbag like him managed to captivate a woman like her. Even after he began drinking and hitting the both of us, she would defend him. At first it was, "That didn't happen, it was an accident." Then after that it was, "He won't do it again, he promised." The time after that it would be, "He was having a bad day, just let him have some time alone." Over and over again, she'd make excuses for that demon. Over and over again, she forgave him for his sins. Over and over again, she'd say that, "It's okay, honey. It was my fault. I deserved it."

As I write this, I can tell you that I can finally understand why. I can understand why she couldn't find the strength to leave, why she felt she had to stay. I finally know what he would whisper into her ears, what demons had sunk their claws into her.

The fear. "No one else will love you, look at yourself. You're disgusting. No one else would WANT you." The guilt. "How could I bring my daughter into a world like this?" The isolation. "Who would believe me? Who even wants to listen to me? Who would want to help me?" The dependence. "How would you survive without me?"

I understand why she couldn't look me into the eyes anymore, why she would tiptoe across the creaky wooden floors, why her eyes would dart towards the half-rotted door of his room to see if the lights were still on.

I understand why she spent those nights alone in her room with a bottle of wine, sobbing as she stared at herself in that tarnished mirror leaning against the attic wall. I understand why she constantly had those dark circles under her eyes, why her ribs stuck so far out of her chest that she looked like a skeleton.

I also understand why she chose what she did. I understand why she chose to slit her own wrists in the rusty metal bathtub upstairs, letting the bloody bathwater overflow and flood across stained white bathroom tiles.

Even though I don't agree with what she did. I understand. I understand because I have taken her place.