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Rated: E · Novel · Emotional · #1664657
This is a story I'm working on. Let me know what you think.
Chapter One

Awake

My eyes snapped open. A car door slammed outside my window on the street. Heavy footsteps slammed up the walk way. Oh no I thought to myself. Who is it? Are we in trouble? I look beside me at the lump beneath the sheet, my sister, Alyssa. Her small chest quickly rose and sank as she breathed.. I looked around her and saw my brother Dustin sleeping as well, curled up in a small ball. They both looked so peaceful in their sleep.

Again, I heard walking outside, and automatically I froze, my breath stopped halfway into my throat. I didn't breath or move, and finally the footsteps stopped. I began to breath again, slowly and as quiet as possible.. I looked around the small room I was in. The walls were paneled with fake wood, and the floor was carpeted. A thin wooden door stood cracked open on the other side of the room from me. I slid off the queen sized bed, trying not to wake Alyssa and Dustin, and tip toed to the door. I peaked outside, then pulled it open just far enough for me to slip through.

I turned right outside the door, toward my mom's room. Fear made my thoughts cloudy, I hated being by myself upstairs. I opened her door and poked my head inside. Her bed stood empty in the far right corner of the room. I sighed, and went back into the hall.

I stood in front of the door for a minute, thinking. She isn't in her room, that means she is sleeping on the couch. That means...

I shuddered and tried to stop the thought, but it slipped through.

...that means she's sick again.

A silent tear trickled down my face. Why does she have to get sick? Why do I have to be the oldest?Why do I have to take care of Alyssa and Dustin? Why... Enough!!

I cut myself off. Those were such selfish thoughts! How could I ever think that? I wiped the tear away, glad that Alyssa and Dustin were asleep in the other room. They didn't need to see any sign of weakness from me. They shouldn't have to worry, not if I could help it.

With a sigh, I calmed myself down, my tight muscles loosening, my alert eyes drooping again from sleep. I forced my feet forward, back to our room.

Actually, it was supposed to be just Dustin and Alyssa's room. Mom said that I, at 6 years old, was old enough to have my own room. Dustin was 3 and Alyssa was 1, mom said they were too young to even want a room to themselves. But, I was afraid to sleep alone in my room, so close to the bathroom... So I slept with Dustin and Alyssa in the queen sized bed in their room. Most times, mom slept with us. When she wanted to be alone, she slept in her room, and when she was sick, she slept on the couch in the living room.

Before I was halfway toward the bed, I heard another noise from outside. It reminded me why I had gotten up in the first place. Again my breathing stopped, and my body tensed up, freezing in place. That was an instinct, and not what I wanted to do, so I forced myself forward, though my breath remained sealed behind my lips.

I inched toward the window, making no noise. Using the bed right beside me, I crouched down in front of the blue curtain. I reached my shaking hand to the curtain, getting a grip on the side. My hand looked bone white in the black of the room. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to pull the curtain back. I stopped suddenly, though, when I heard a voice from outside, right below me, on the front porch. I gasped loudly, then threw my hand over my mouth. I knew the people outside couldn't hear me, I didn't want to wake Alyssa or Dustin up. If someone was trying to break into the house, the last thing I needed was for one of them to be screaming because they got woken up.

I slouched away from the window, my hand still on my mouth. I took breath in through my nose, focusing on the motion of my chest. In, out, in, out. Adrenalin coursed through my veins because of the threat outside. I could feel my muscles ache to be used. My brain kicked into high gear, washing away all the sleep from my system. My survival instincts kicked on, and I began going through plans in my head, trying to get us hidden.

Oh no, what about mom?

The thought came out of no where. It brought tears to my eyes. I blinked them back. Crying wouldn't solve anything. I had to go get her, she had to hide with us. What if there isn't someone out there to kill us, or trying to hurt us? Am I just over-reacting? I thought.

Suddenly, I wanted to laugh at myself. The chances of this being someone bad are small. I was over – reacting. But my mind wasn't happy with this conclusion. What if you're not over reacting?

I wasn't sure what to do. My thoughts were bouncing around, I couldn't focus. I remembered I hadn't taken my ADHD pill this morning. Well that helps me out a lot I thought sarcastically. I turned my head and looked at my brother and sister sleeping on the sheet less bed. I twisted my hair anxiously. If I was over reacting, then we were fine. But if I wasn't...

That made up my mind. If my family was in even the slightest hint of danger, I had to do something. But what should I do first?

The most important thing I had to think of was mom. She was downstairs, all alone, the closets one of us to the danger. And, we needed her. Even when she was 'sick', she did everything for us that I couldn't, which was a lot. I had to get to her, that's the first thing.



I crawled slowly to the door, not wanting to take even the slightest chance of being seen by whoever was outside. I stood up at the door and rushed out. I closed it behind me, wishing I could lock it, bolt it closed, so no matter what, Alyssa and Dustin would be safe. I pried my hand from the door and turned left this time. I walked slowly, but I wanted to run. I passed my room, and then... the bathroom. I stared at the closed door the whole time I walked past.

I found the stairs and stepped down them, counting so I could avoid the squeaky ones. The 13th stair down was the loudest, and there was no “safe” spot, as I called the parts of squeaky stairs that weren't squeaky, so I had to jump over it.

Finally at the bottom, I looked around the dinning room. It was a mess. There were toys everywhere, because we used it as a toy room. I felt bad all of sudden for not cleaning the mess up. Us kids had made the mess in the first place. I didn't want mom to be sad at me, because I was supposed to help her...

I shook my head, clearing it of all the petty thoughts. I could deal with that later. I ran past the main door in the corner of the dinning room, and stopped in the living room. Mom was laying on the couch. She was wrapped in a thick blanket, facing the back of the couch. I looked at her for a minute.

I loved her so much, all I wanted to do was make her happy. I wanted her to get better, to spend time with her. I wanted to be with her forever. And if that meant that I had to take care of Alyssa and Dustin while she was sick, then so be it.

I stood in front of the couch looking at her and getting ready to wake her up, when there were two loud bangs on the front door. I froze in shock, listening. I saw mom move a little, and I prayed that she would stay asleep. Then, four more loud bangs.

“Evelyn Banks! Open the door!” someone shouted, muffled slightly by the door. This time, I didn't stay. Being the coward I am, I turned and bolted up for the stairs, leaving my mom behind. I flew up the stairs, and halted to a stop at the top. I sat on the top stair, out of site from anyone downstairs. I peered through the railing at the door.

There was another loud bang. This time, it woke mom up. My breathing picked up as she walked toward the door. I wanted to scream to her “Mom! Please don't open the door! Come hide! With me! And with Alyssa and Dustin! Mom!” But I didn't, I sat there and watched.









Chapter 2

A Past Time



The bathroom. Of every room in that house, I hated the bathroom the most. The door leading to it was the first door to the right upstairs. Inside, there was a long, narrow, hall like part. Behind the door was a closet. Right next to that, on the right wall, was the shower. A blue ocean print shower curtain, with dolphins and fish and coral on it, was draped over the shower opening. In the far right corner was the sink, the side of it faced the the door. Then, to the right, there was a second part to the bathroom. The toilet and a long counter were in the second part. The bathroom was a very strange shaped room. It probably looked like an upside down L on a map.

Every house has things about it that creep you out. The way it creaks at night, the way shadows are thrown on the floor at dusk, when you walk down the stairs you get a weird feeling like something is following you. This happened to me, only ten million times worse. What I experience not only happened in my house, though. It happened in other people's as well. But it was the worst here, at home. In fact, this house is where it started.

At first it was small, almost unnoticeable things. Like the stuff in my room being moved around and no one knows who did it, or hearing a voice but no one will be there. Then it progressed to doors slamming in my face, things being thrown at me. But all this happened so rarely that I thought nothing of it. But then, I saw her.

I was in the shower, washing through my hair with the shampoo from the fish shaped bottle. I rinsed all the suds out, and opened my eyes. At first I didn't notice anything weird. I looked at the curtain, and something was moving on it. I looked closer, and saw a picture forming in the steam. I stared, and finally I made out the form of a smiley face. I thought I was going crazy.

Looking at the smiley face, I noticed something weird behind the curtain in the bathroom. It was a gray blob, and it was moving. Not knowing what it was, I cleared away the rest of the steam from the curtain. Then I saw what it was.

I gasped in horror and stumbled back against the shower wall. The woman didn't smile, she didn't talk, and she didn't look at me. The gray blob I had seen was her hair, she was old, very old. She just sat there, staring at the sink. I wouldn't have been so afraid if she hadn't looked so... mad. No, she didn't look at the sink, she glared at it, as if it were someone she hated.

I felt the scream come out of my mouth, but I didn't hear it at first. Slowly, she turned her head, focusing her glare on me. I panicked. “Mom!!” I screamed. The woman stood. “MOM!!” I was crying now, who was this woman?

The woman stopped halfway to the shower. She looked at the door, then disappeared into thin air. My eyes grew wide and I gasped. Was she... ?? Mom came running into the bathroom just then. She shut off the water and grabbed me. “What? Whats wrong? What happened?” She asked. I couldn't answer.



Chapter 3

Gateway to Hell



I thought about the first time I had seen the woman as I sat on the step, waiting for mom to unlock the heavy door and open it. I had been so scared, and I hadn't know what she was. The next time I saw her wasn't as frightening, but it still scared me. I was out in the back yard, and I looked up at the house. She stood in the bathroom window, glaring at me, as angry as she had been the first time I saw her.

I had seen her plenty of times after that, but she never got as close as she had the first time I saw her. She always was at least on the other side of a room from me. She never spoke, and she never moved. She just glared. Not always at me though. Sometimes a lamp, or the tv, or any random object that was close to her. What bothered me the most was when she glared at mom, or Alyssa or Dustin. She did get close to them, but I learned that they couldn't see her. Once, when she was glaring at Dustin, I got extremely mad at her. “Just go away!” I yelled. She didn't look at me, but she disappeared.

“Who are you talking to?” mom had asked me. I immediately regretted speaking out loud to the woman, to the... ghost. Not wanting mom to think I was crazy, I had told her that I was talking to my imaginary friend. She believed it, but I hated lying to her.

I had never told anyone but mom about anything I saw. Well, mom only knew about the first time I saw the old lady, not anything else. After about the third time seeing the old lady, I noticed that every house I went to, strange things happened. And I was the only person that saw them happen. Once in a while, I would also see a different ghost. Since then, I had tried to stay in my house at all times. At least the old lady kept her distance. The other ghosts I saw would come right up to me, and some of them scared me.

I snapped back to the present, and saw mom opening the door. She was having a hard time, both because the door was heavy and because she was 'sick'. The door suddenly opened very easily though, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw who was outside. It was the police, they weren't going to hurt us. They were the good guys. Or so I thought.

They stepped in without mom's permission, and one cop grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the living room. The other, a woman, followed. I could no longer see them, but I could hear everything they were saying. I heard the squeak of the couch as the three people sat. I strained harder to hear, not wanting to miss anything.



“Are you sick?” the man cop asked. Mom didn't reply, but I guessed she nodded, because of the next question he asked.

“What kind of sick?” What a weird question. I thought. What does it matter HOW she is sick? There was silence for a few seconds.

“Evelyn, we need you to answer us.” the woman told her. There was more silence. Then, I heard mom whisper.

“I... withdraw...” she croaked. Withdraw? What kind of sick is that? I wondered. Hearing her speak so weak made my heart ache. I just want her to get better.

“Where are the kids?” My back straitened at this question. Why did they want to know where we were? I tensed, ready to run in case they came to look for us. Mom ignored the question.

“I have to go to the bathroom.” The couch springs creaked when she stood. One of the cops said something, but I didn't hear what. I was running back to the room. I didn't want to get caught listening. I bolted into the room, closed the door behind me, and sat down on the bed. I was to wired to sleep. I listened close for anything. A minute later, there were footsteps coming up the stairs.

I heard the bathroom door slam. Then, two more sets of feet, louder because they had shoes on, came up. The footsteps stopped by the corner turning to this hallway, next to the bathroom. Their voices carried easily into the room. “I'll wait for her. You get the kids. We need to take them out of here.” the woman whispered.

My hands balled up into fists. Take us? Where, and why? What had we done wrong? I listened for them to say more. A few silent minutes passed. “Okay, I'll go get them. Poor kids. We can't let them live here with her any more, not like this.”

For once, there wasn't a thought in my head. Only shocked silence. My mouth hung open and my palms were sweaty. What did he mean “we cant let them live here with her... not like this.” Like what? We were doing just fine, we didn't need their help. “cant let them live here with her...” The realization of what he meant left me more shocked than before. He was going to take us away, but not all of us. We wouldn't be with mom any more.

His footsteps seemed to echo endlessly in my head, and they seemed to last forever. My head spun, and I felt dizzy. He was coming for me, for us. There was no where to run or hide. The good guy was now my enemy. My breath was coming too fast. My vision grew dark, and I felt the air swoosh under me, as if trying to catch me, as I fell down. I landed with a muffled thump on the bed. I tried to fight it, to get back up, but the force of the darkness was too much. I lost my breath when I landed, my eye lids snapped shut, and the darkness consumed me.

***



Someone was shaking my shoulder, trying to wake me up. This annoyed me to no end, I was trying to sleep for heaven's sake! But it also relieved me, to be out of this mind numbing darkness, and away from the bad dream that had put me there in the first place. That's all it had been, was a bad dream. When I opened my eyes I would be laying next to Alyssa and Dustin and mom. She wouldn't be sick, the cops wouldn't be here, and everything would be normal. It wasn't real, it was just a dream, and dreams don't, CANT change reality.

My shoulder shook again, and this time it pulled me completely from the darkness. I groaned. “Okay, Alyssa, I'm up” I whispered. There was a chuckle from the wrong side of my head, Alyssa was to my right. My eyes popped open, and I closed them immediately as I saw who had laughed.

The man cop from my dream stood over me. I groaned again, realizing that it hadn't been a dream. I remembered everything clearly, up until the darkness. It wasn't darkness, I had... What had mom called it? Passed out. I had passed out. I suddenly yearned for the darkness that came with passing out again. There, you could feel nothing. No pain, no fear, nothing. You could be alone with yourself, but never have to think. The darkness was numbing, not to physical pain but to mental and emotional pain. Although, I was pretty sure you couldn't feel physical pain there either. It was the perfect place to escape.

I desperately tried to force myself back into the darkness, but the door had closed. I was trapped in consciousness. The cop touched my shoulder again. I wanted to smack his hand away, but I couldn't make my arm move. He smiled at me, and I glared. “Come on sweetheart, lets get you out of here.” My mind screamed at him, telling him to leave, we didn't need his help. But my body had other ideas. Without any command from me to do so, my legs swung over the side of the bed and touched the floor. I realized I couldn't control anything but where I looked.

My eyes frantically swept across the room. My body moved me toward the door. The cop held my back, leading me down the hall. Inside my head, I screamed at myself to stop. I thrashed wildly at the walls that blocked me from controlling my movements. We headed toward my room, and the cop took us in. He led me to the dresser. “Let's get you kids some clothes.” He said. I realized I was in my underwear. I wanted to try and cover my body from sight, but my arms stayed locked against my will at my sides.

The cop gave me a shirt and some pants of mine that my body automatically slipped in to. I hate this shirt! I screamed, trying anything to get control back. I slammed into the walls in my mind again. Suddenly, there was a voice. It wasn't a real voice, it was in my head. But it was loud and clear, like someone really had spoken it.



*Don't fight it.* The voice ordered. My eyes searched the room for where the voice had come from. The cop had left me in here alone to get dressed, so I should have been alone. Suddenly, I saw a dim gray light in the corner of the room.

This was the first time I had ever gotten a good look at her. She was well into her 80's. Gray hair, wrinkly skin, she wore a white flowey night gown. Also, for the first time, she wasn't glaring at anything. She looked at me, dead in the eye, and she... smiled!!

She stood still, smiling at me. Then she began to glide forward. Her feet did touch the floor, but she didn't move them. Again, I heard her soft but firm voice in my head. *This is all for the best. After all of this, your life will be much better. When you are safely in a car, driving away from this place, then I will give control back to you.*

I stared at her, not blinking. She was only about two feet away from me now. She reached out her hand toward me. I wanted to cringe away, but she had control of me. She put her hand on my shoulder. I didn't feel anything. She smiled again. *Good luck dear child* Her voice now sounded far away, it faded more with each word. She was leaving, I could see her figure getting dimmer and dimmer.

*Wait!* I screamed. I didn't know why I wanted her to stay, I didn't know what to say. But the way she was acting made me feel safe with her. A tear fell from my eye, and my hand reached up and wiped it off. I guess she wanted me to be strong as much as I wanted myself to be.

I thought she was gone, I couldn't see her any more. But then I heard her voice again. *Yes child?* It was clear, but this time is sounded like a thought, and not a voice. I was surprised at first, but I recovered quickly *Why are you here?* I thought. It was the first question I could think of.

*Me being here was a mistake. I was trapped in between worlds, on a plane parallel to your's. I was angry, there was no way for me to get out. I have been in this house for 90 years as a ghost, trying to get people's attention, trying to get their help. When you saw me, I knew I had to help you, in some way you'd be able to free me. And so, now I am helping you to have a better life.*

I had no clue what a “parallel plane” was, but somehow I understood everything she had said. *Have a better life?!* I thought angrily *My life was FINE!*

She was disagreeing with me wordlessly before I was finished speaking. *No child of 6 years should be a mother to two younger children. When your mother is better, then you will see, she needs to be the mother, not you. You, you need to be a child.*

I was emitting wave of wordless fury. I didn't want her help, or things to change. But, I knew she was right. It wasn't my job to be Alyssa and Dustin's mom. I knew she was right, and I hated it. I wanted so bad for things to be normal, maybe this was the only way. No. I thought as hostile as I could manage in a thought, but she knew everything I had though. She knew I was just afraid of change.

*I'm sorry for any pain you go through.* She added. I suddenly had a deep love for this strange old woman, or ghost, or whatever she was. For some irrational reason that I couldn't see, I loved her. Not the way a mother loves her children, or a sister loves her brother, but as a friend. She was a dear friend that I loved immensely.

She understood the feeling, she felt the same way. Apparently over the months she had spent watching me and trying to get my attention, she had grown attached to me somehow. But she still wanted to be free, the attachment was nowhere near as strong as the desire to be free.

I was suddenly aware again of my surroundings. I blinked, it was the only thing I could do, and looked at the door. As if on cue, the cop walked in and smiled at me. “Ready?” he asked. My head nodded. We walked back into the hallway together. The cop led me down the stairs, as if I didn't know the way around my own house!

The other cop, the woman, was standing at the bathroom door. She knocked on it. “Evelyn! You've been in there long enough! Let's go!” She yelled. From inside, I heard mom.

“Can I just go to the bathroom?” She yelled back. I glared at the cop, wishing she would leave mom alone I imagined hitting her. *Be nice.* The old woman scolded in my head. I sighed but pushed the image out of my mind.

As we walked further down the stairs, I noticed that I could twitch my fingers. I was gaining a little control.* What is your name?* I asked suddenly. I didn't want to know her as “the old lady” from now on.

Her voice smiled. *I forgot my real name years ago. You can call me whatever you'd like.* She mentally cringed away from “the old lady”, and I laughed out loud. I had control of my lungs again. I sucked I n a deep breath. The cop looked at me weird, and my body shook it's head, dismissing my strange behavior. The cop shrugged. *Grace* I told her. Again, her voice smiled.

*I like it. Then my name is Grace.*

The cop tore my attention away from Grace. He grabbed my under my arms and set me down on the couch. “Stay here... Summer while I go get your brother and sister”

“No...” I said to quiet for him to hear. I could talk again! I hadn't said no to staying here, I had said no to him getting my brother and sister. I didn't want him anywhere near them. He turned and walked back up the stairs.

*Grace, where are they going to take us?* I asked her. She didn't respond, but I could see that she was wondering the same thing. Finally... *I don't know.*

I frowned, a new thought coming into my mind. She saw the thought before I could form it as a question.* No, Summer, I wont be coming with you. When you leave, I will wait here, for you to return. When I see your life is better, I will be free.* She wanted so badly to be free, and I wanted that for her too.

*Why can't you come with us?* I wanted her to. She made me feel safe, even when I didn't know what to expect. And, if she did come, I wouldn't have to go through anything alone.* I am bound to this house.* She replied.* I can't leave even if I wanted to.* I understood. I swallowed hard. *You have to be brave Summer. Whatever happens, it will be for the best.*

*I know* I replied.* I know.*













Chapter 4

Gone, Goodbye



I now had almost full control of my body again. Grace knew I wouldn't do anything stupid. I understood that this had to happen now. The cop walked down the stairs with Alyssa in his arms. She was half asleep. The other cop walked down carrying Dustin, who was wide awake. They reached the bottom of the stairs and walked toward me. Dustin saw me and struggled to be free of the cop's hold. The cop realized what he wanted, and she set him down. He ran to me, and I pulled him onto my lap. The other cop put Alyssa down on the couch, and she cuddled close to me.

Both cops went back upstairs. “Stay.” they had told us, like dogs. Where are we gonna go idiots? I wanted to say, but I knew better. And Grace would have taken away control again if I had, so I kept my lips pressed together until they were out of site. Dustin pulled on my shirt to get my attention. I looked at him.

“Whats happening?” he asked, his little voice crusted from sleep. I tried to smile, but failed. I looked at Alyssa. Her eyes were open, looking at me, as if waiting for an answer. I blinked and looked away from them, fighting tears.

“These cops are going to take us away from here, so mommy can get better.” I whispered, not because I didn't want the cops to hear me; I knew they couldn't, but because my voice couldn't break if I whispered. Dustin was quiet for a minute, thinking?

“Where?” he asked, his voice sounded scared. I squeezed him tighter to me protectively. What was I supposed to tell him? I didn't know where we were going. I had no idea what was going to happen, and it scared me. I didn't want it to scare him too. I bit my lip anxiously. *Tell him the truth.* Grace whispered to me. Her presence in my head was shrinking, I didn't like it. I knew it was best to listen to her. I looked at Dustin, then Alyssa.

“I... don't know where we are going.” I told them There, the truth. No matter what damage it may cause, it was the truth. I looked at them for their reactions. Alyssa didn't seem to understand much, but Dustin looked worried. Or was I imagining that? I couldn't tell, but I hoped he wasn't worried or scared. I sighed.

The cops came back down, talking quietly to each other. They came into the living room with us, but sat on the couch on the other side of the room from us. They continue to talk in hushed voices until suddenly, a car door slams outside. The woman stands and rushes outside. The man stays and looks at us.

“You guys are going to stay with your grandma until we can find you a foster home.” he said. I sighed with relief, but Grace groaned. Foster care... she whined. I didn't know what a “foster home” or “foster care” was, so I didn't know why she seemed upset. But, I now knew where we were going. At least, for now. To be with grandma. We could deal with the foster thingy later.

Grandma walked in, followed by the woman cop. She saw us and rushed over. She gave us all a huge hug. “I'm so sorry kids.” she told us over and over. She picked Alyssa up and motioned for me to come with her. The woman cop took Dustin from my arms, and the man cop grabbed my hand and led me out the door.

It was cold outside. The wind shook the huge pine tree in the front yard. I shivered, and the cop gently squeezed my hand reassuringly. We walked to my grandmas car, and us kids were put in the back seat. Grandma stayed outside to talk to the cops.

I looked up at the house. In the window on the top right of the house, I saw the door to mom's room. It was closed. The light was on. A figure stood in the light, and at first I thought it was Grace. Then I saw that the person wasn't gray and see through. It was mom.

I stared up at the window thinking of just a few..minutes, or hours ago that I had stood over mom, watching her sleep on the couch. I wish that I had hugged her. I wish I had been able to talk to her one more time. I wanted her to know that I loved her. I wanted her to hold me, and to tell me that everything was going to be alright. I wanted the chance to say goodbye, because I didn't know how long it would be until I saw her again. Mom's figure twitched, and then moved out of view. I fought the tears welling in my eyes.

Grandma got silently into the car. *Grace...* I said, knowing she had to leave now. *I know, thank you. Goodbye, Summer Banks. Good luck.* And she was gone. I hadn't notice that the car was moving. I looked behind at the house. *Goodbye... * I thought to no one.





Chapter 5

Train Bridge



When mom was in high school, she and some friends went to the train bridge. They thought it would be fun to jump off into the water below. When mom tried, it didn't work out at all. She fell off the bridge, landed wrong in the water, and messed up her back. So, throughout the rest of her life, she had back problems. When her back acted up, she had to take pain medication for the pain that it caused her.

That is how the 'sickness' started. My grandma Diana, not the one who picked us up, ran out of some of her pills. She asked mom to borrow some of hers. Mom didn't want to, because she needed them for the pain. But, grandma promised she would get them back to mom. So, mom agreed.

Grandma Diana was true to her word, she got mom some pills back, just not her pills. Grandma Diana said that they were the same thing, just a little stronger. Mom took them, desperate to have something to ease her pain.

And, she got hooked. After taking those pills, thats all she took. But, when she didn't have them, not only did her back hurt, but she went through withdraws, or got 'sick'. When she was sick, she couldn't take care of us right. So, someone called CPS, and the cops came and took us away.





Chapter 6

Away from Home



I'm now 8 years old. I now knew what a “foster home” was. Alyssa, Dustin, and I were living in one. A foster home is a place where a family takes in kids who aren't living with their parents. I hate it here. Mary and Jack are the names of the people who “took us in”. They have a 7 year old daughter, named Elizabeth. I hate her too. I hate everything about this place, and two years hasn't change my opinion.

After the first night at Grandma's house, CPS (that stands for Child Protective Services) decided that we couldn't live there. So, they moved us to a temporary foster house. There were too many kids there, it was crowded and noisy. Me, Alyssa, and Dustin had to share one room, and that room is where I tried to keep us most of the time. I wanted nothing to do with any of the people around us.

It took a while, but finally they found a foster home that was willing to take three kids. The house was in a small town called Mesic. We were rushed out of the crowded house, to make room for new kids. I was glad to be out, and thought that this new place would be better. It wasn't.

All three of us again had to share one room, but we didn't mind. The house was small, but not too small. Mary and Jack seemed nice, but I still didn't like them too much for no reason.

I sat on the bed, crouching my head so I wouldn't hit the ceiling. I have the top bunk of the bunk bed me and Dustin Share. I chewed on the wooden pencil, looking at what I had written. I nodded, and shut the pink diary. I didn't like that it was pink, I'd rather it be blue, but oh well. I jumped down, and opened the door. I started to walk out, but stopped suddenly, because Elizabeth was standing in my way. I sighed. “Move, Elizabeth.” I told her. She didn't move. I sighed again. “What, do you want?” I forced myself to ask, saying each word slowly. She smiled.

“Come outside and play with me.” It wasn't a question. I shook my head.

“I don't want to.” She still didn't move, I glared at her. I stepped to the side to go around her, but she stepped to the side with me, blocking me again. It came on fast, the rage. It shook through me, my fingers curled into claws. Without thinking what I was doing, I grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her to the floor. She looked up at me, shocked. I had never done anything close to violent to her. She thought that meant she could boss me around, make me do whatever she wanted me to do. I glared down at her.

“I'm sick of taking your crap!” I screamed. She look scared. I went on. “From now on, stay out of my way, don't talk to me, and don't tell me what to do!” Still filled with rage, I kicked her.

My foot hit her right in her stomach. The breath was knocked out of her, and she curled in a ball on the floor. I wanted to kick her again, but I stopped myself. She was out of my way, right? She got the message. That should be enough. I stepped over her, and headed for the front door.

Outside, the cool air felt good on my skin, which was still burning from being so furious. I walked to the far side of the yard, and sat down in the grass under the tree that was there. I looked over to the other side of the yard, and saw Alyssa and Dustin playing on the swing set. Dustin was now almost 5, and Alyssa was 3. Two years, we had all been here. Alyssa barely remembered mom, it made me sad. I missed her so much. I hadn't seen her in two years.

And also, I hadn't even heard anything about her in two years. Elizabeth, to be mean, had told me things like “she's dead” and “she went to Mexico, and never wants to see you brat again.” and retarded stuff like that. Of course I didn't believe her. But I did worry, all the time, that we would never be with her again.

I sat, watching Alyssa ans Dustin and thinking about mom for a good half hour before Mary came out of the house. She looked around the yard, saw me under the tree, and started to walk toward me. Oh great. I thought. Here we go.

She slowed her pace when she got close to me. I didn't acknowledge her, I kept looking at the swing set. She was standing in front of me now. “Can I sit with you?” she asked. I nodded my head once. She sat. Nothing was said for a few short, awkward (well, for her) minutes. Finally, she sighed. “Summer, I know how hard everything is for you. And I know you get angry, but you shouldn't take it out on Elizabeth.” I said nothing, I hadn't spoken to either Mary of Jack in over three months.

She sighed again. “What did she do to deserve getting kicked?” she asked. I took deep breaths, trying to calm myself. The rage was coming back. “I wish you would talk to me.” she said quietly. “She didn't do anything to deserve that treatment. I want you to go apologize to her.”

That was all I could take. I snapped, finally. “She didn't do anything?! If that little brat told you half the things she did, you would hate her like I do!?” I screamed. “You want to know what she does? She is Satan in a human form! I hate that little bitch!” I stopped yelling, surprised with myself. I had never sworn before I in my life. Hearing it come out of my mouth sounded weird.

She stared at me, also surprised. I was still furious, and over my surprise, so I kept going. “I hate living here. I wish none if us had come here. And just for the record, I'm glad I hit the little...” I was careful with my words this time, “twit. I would do it over again. In fact, I still want to hit her now! She's a little...”





But Mary had heard enough bad about her daughter from me. “Enough!” She yelled. She jumped up, glaring at me. “You want to leave? FINE! But until then, go to your room and don't come out!” She grabbed my hand and dragged me back to the house. She pulled me up the porch stairs, through the living room and into my small room.

Elizabeth was in my room, reading my diary. I jumped at her. “That's mine!! Give it back you little moron!” I thought I would have to fight her for it, which wouldn't be hard to win, but Mary grabbed my little pink book and threw it at me. She pushed Elizabeth out the door.

“I don't want you going near her any more.” She told Elizabeth as she shut the door.

I stood there, like an idiot, staring at the door for what felt like forever. By the time I moved, it was dark and my feet ached. I climbed stiffly up the ladder to my bed. I fell flat on my stomach, and didn't move.

Tears rolled hot and heavy down my cheeks. My eyes burned and my head throbbed. How long had I been crying? I had just now noticed the tears, but it felt like it had been hours. Between sobs, I lifted my head. “God, please.” I whispered. “Please, get me out of here. Let me go back to mom, please God. I'll do anything.” How many nights had I said that same prayer? Begging God to let me go home. I couldn't hold my head up any longer, so the rest of my prayers were muffled.

I heard the door open. I pretended to be asleep, and listened. “Goodnight kids” Mary said. I snarled silently at her. I felt Dustin crawl into the bunk beneath me.

“Goodnight mom” This time I growled audibly, and Mary rushed Alyssa over to her bed. “Goodnight” she said, sounding rushed. Alyssa got in her bed and, hearing my growl, said goodnight without “mom” in it. Both Alyssa and Dustin knew I hated it when they called Mary “mom”. She wasn't our mom, so we shouldn't call her that. Mary left quickly, and as soon as the door closed I let my eyelids fall shut. I hadn't realized how tired I was. I listened to Dustin and Alyssa's breathing. And as soon as I knew they were both sound asleep, I let myself drift off with them into unconsciousness.







***









The next morning I woke up with the sun in my face. Weird. I thought. It was a school day, shouldn't Mary have woken me up earlier? I opened my eyes, and turned my head to look around the room. Alyssa, who's bed was at the end of me and Dustin's, was still asleep. I looked down at the bottom bunk, so was Dustin. Really weird.

I climbed slowly down the ladder, trying not to fall. I inched toward the door, trying to make no noise. Finally I made it to the door. I put my ear on it, it wasn't cold the way it usually was early I the morning, and listened.

At first, there was nothing. No noise at all. But then, very faintly, I heard a car engine outside. Then, two doors slammed shut, footsteps up the porch, and finally the door closing behind whoever just came inside the house. “We don't know what to do” It was Mary. What was she talking about?

“Well, I completely understand if you can't handle them any more. It has been a long time.” This voice was a man's. It sounded very familiar.

“I feel bad, though, just giving them up. The two younger ones are fine...”

“Well, everyone thinks it's best that they stay together.” I suddenly realized they were talking about me, Alyssa and Dustin. I squinted my eyes suspiciously.

“Yes, I know. Then, I think it's best for my family that they be placed in a different home.”

“Well, lucky for you a house just opened. Woman says she's willing to take them.”

“Thats great.”

A new house? I bit my lower lip. I would be so glad to be out of here. But, I would be faced with the problem of once again not knowing where we would end up. I hated not knowing.

“Okay, well have them ready by tomorrow, and we will swing by and get them.” the man told her.

“Thank you, really. For everything.” The door opened, and the man left. I heard footsteps coming toward the door. I bolted back up the ladder and was laying still just as Mary opened the door. She walked over to the bed and shook me “awake”. “Wake up you guys.” she said. She moved down to shake Dustin awake. “We gotta get you packed. You have a new home.”

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