My life has been my parents trying to get my sisters and me correct. Because apparently their parents never did anything correct with them. Personally, I never saw it, I was raised to be like my father. The leader of a gang, my mother didn’t mind until I ended up getting shot. That’s when she drew the line.
My mother grew tired of him. She raised three daughters at once. Triplets. I watched as my sisters and mother turned their back on my father and his gang, rather wanting to have friends and go shopping than train and learn to protect ourselves. I could understand that as well. But at the same time, I knew what lurked in the shadows, and in the corners. I knew that people lost their lives to friends that turned their backs on them. I couldn’t risk that. So I grew with the gang, my father’s gang, the Kings. I knew that one day I would have to take the gang from him. My half brother after all wanted it as much as I did. But I was born before him. I got the gang before he did, unless I died before having any children, but that wouldn’t happen, so I did what anyone would do, I shadowed my father. Though my mother didn’t quite approve.
Over the years I took on small side gigs. Earning myself extra cash well I was at it. My father would use me as bait, luring out the people that he knew would betray us and who had to go. At age sixteen my sister’s and I got the same matching tattoos, only we got different colors. Each on the back of our necks, easily hidden by our hair. My sister, Anna, chose the color green, My other sister, Renee, A deep blue, and I chose a deep blood red. Each color was a crown, befitting the gang’s name, The Kings. Though my sisters grew apart from the gang I convinced them that if we ever needed help that the tattoos would prove who we were and help us, that was the only reason that they got them.
My mother and sisters wanted out, and I failed to realize how much. My mom took the opportunity to leave with me the day that I got shot. A deal that had gone wrong, a big deal. One thing led to another and I was on the ground bleeding from my lower back, better than my head though. We left after I had gotten out of the hospital, me being a minor had no choice, and my father, being a criminal, couldn’t do anything.
We drove up north, taking back roads and keeping ourselves off the radar. I was under high security by my siblings and my mom, seeing as I tried running the first night we stopped. Damn wound.
I finished up in the bathroom thinking back to everything that had happened in a week. We stopped less frequently, my mom telling us that we had a place up north, somewhere my father never knew about. I could see her heart break each day, for she loved my father but she couldn’t put up with losing any more family members, and worrying about him each night that he was gone. Though my mom was in her mid-forties you couldn’t think so. Her dark auburn hair was fading into a white-gray at the roots, and her face held many wrinkles. I stopped resisting her after the first night. I knew that she just wanted us to be safe from harm. That I could respect.
I reached up and touched the back of my neck, my fingers going over the tattoo. I stood in front of the mirror, preparing as we were leaving to go back into the car for another twelve hours before arriving at the place that my mother kept so secret. I wore a dark flannel with a black undershirt, my attire appearing dark, my pants and shoes a following dark appearance. I wore plain tennis shoes, anything else would just be pure evil and useless to run in. I walked out to the parking lot as my siblings got inside the car, my sister Anna wearing a deep blue sundress to complement the summer breeze. My other sister Renee, wearing a sports shirt with long basketball shorts. Anna sat in the front with my mom as Renee and I sat in the back.
Nearly twelve hours later we arrived at the small town in southern Minnesota. A small town that my father wouldn’t think of looking too. The town was called Kenda. My stomach growled in hunger as we pulled up to a two-story house. It was painted a light gray, with a white banister. The deck was made out of a dark red oak. The door is a bright yellow and the roof a simple coal black. My mother stopped the car, getting out nearly immediately to stretch her legs. I followed along with my sisters. I grabbed the cane that I was stuck with for the next week or so, just until my wound fully healed. It was a flesh wound but to avoid further damage I was placed with a cane to relieve pressure from my left leg. The bullet was a millimeter from my spine, a little more and it would have shot into it, most likely leaving me paralyzed.
I made my way slowly up to the house, carefully going up the steps, careful to not move too quickly so my stitching wouldn’t come undone. Mom would have to take them out later this week.
My mom walked in further, leaving my sisters and me to observe the house. True to her word the house was fully furnished. A gray couch in the small living room, complementing the gray walls, the floors were a dark brown, with a tint of red. A large television sat across from the couch, hanging three feet above the floor.
The walls hung bare since no photos claimed the spots. My mother’s voice floated in from the kitchen to the living room.
“What do you think? Your rooms are upstairs, I’ll show you,” She said coming back into the room, her smile forced. My sisters nodded and walked skeptically up the steps. I was a couple behind them as my mother made sure that I made it up okay.
“Ashtyn, this is your room.” She said and opened the first door on her left. The room was medium with white walls and a queen bed tucked away in the corner, the bedding red. My rug was a deep blue with white carpeting underneath it. A vanity was in front of me no more than three feet, carrying school supplies. The closet was nothing more than normal and another door led to an ensuite bathroom. A window held black curtains to block out light.
“I hope you like it, I tried to get everything set up,” She said. I nodded walking over to the bed, setting the cane down.
“How did you get this?” I questioned, she smiled sheepishly. “An old friend lives up here, I just called in a favor that she owed me,” She told me. I nodded.
“I’m going to help your sisters get situated in their rooms, then we can go out for dinner,” She said. I nodded her way but kept my focus on my feet. I heard her sigh but leave, closing the door behind her.
I tried to keep an open mind but my mother had prepared, it only made me wonder how long had she planned this out?