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5. Crystal


That’s the name of today.

ME: Hey you.

JOHN: Hey :) how’d it go last night?

I’d told him about Dahlia the day I’d met her and mentioned she’d be, surprisingly, coming over for dinner.

ME: Better than expected. But she kept calling me

Barbie and Plastic.

JOHN: Hm. Why?

ME: Idk...

JOHN: Well you’re not. You’re one of the realist, sweetest girls I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I have you.

A smile spreads across my face as I read his text.

JOHN: Hey you wanna go to the movies tonight? We haven’t been on a date in forever.

ME: Yeah :D what movie?

JOHN: Idk. We can choose when we get there :p

ME: Haha okay.

We work it out to where he’s going to pick me up at around fiveish.

I lay back down on my bed, the morning sun streaming through my little window above me. I glance over at my calendar and a wave of relief washes over me. I have nothing to do today. This kind of rare occasion always calls for a celebration, and I think the movies are good enough to call it one.

Going down to the second story, there’s no noise from my brothers room. It’s either he’s gone, or he’s sleeping, which I wouldn’t doubt either of them. Both are great candidates.

The first floor is quiet as well, except for the soft shuffling around in the kitchen. Must be my mom. My dad leaves for “work” all day every day, Sunday being his day off (or partial day off due to church).

“Good morning, Amabel,” My mom forces a smile.

It’s bothering her again. My dad…

I throw my arms around her, the smell of alcohol clinging to her shirt.

“I love you mom,” I say quietly.

She wraps her arms around me, seeming surprised.

“I—I love you too Amabel. Are you alright?”

I pull away and wipe my eyes. “Yeah, mom. I’m fine. Just wanted to let you know that.”

She smiles sadly and turns to pick up her purse.

“Well alright.” She pauses, as if she wants to tell me something. Shaking her head, she says, “I’m headed off to the bakery. I’ll be back around five.”

I nod.


She hesitates before leaving the kitchen and I watch her walk out the front door. Opening her car door, she looks back at the house longingly and shakes her head. She slides into the drivers seat and starts the car. I watch her back out and leave, escaping the horrid life she’s stuck in, pretending like nothing is the matter and everything is perfect when, in truth, it’s the farthest thing from it.

My mom’s car disappears around the corner and I spring into action, running into her room. She keeps her stash of alcohol locked in a trunk in the deepest part of her closet. I know, because I’ve had to help her put one of her bottles back when she was so drunk she didn’t recognize me.

I dig through her dresser and grab the metal key and shuffle over to the brown closet door. Throwing the clothes aside, I pull out the heavy trunk. I don’t understand why she keeps them in a trunk…

I have to jiggle the key a little bit to get into the box, but once it’s open, the smell of alcohol makes me turn away and gasp for fresh air. How does my father not know about this?

I take a handful of bottles—heavy bottles—and walk them outside to throw them in the garbage can. I make a second and third trip before the trunk is empty.

“She’s going to see it…” I mutter to myself, peering down at the broken glass and liquid.

I decide to take out the trash to hide it. She’ll probably get more, but for right now, this is the only option.

Then I creep up into Tobiah’s room and start to snoop. I find his baggies of weed and add them to my collection of alcohol in my trashcan. I keep looking around, just in case I’m missing something.

And then I see crystals. No, not the type of rock or whatever…


I stand staring at it for the longest time, trying to get my brain to function. How does he still have a scholarship? When did this start happening…?

I pick up the baggie and look at it, my heart racing at the dangerous substance I hold. What could drive him to do this to himself…? And how does he keep it secret?

I hear the front door slam.

I race to the top of the stairs, shoving the bag in my pocket, just in case.


He starts coming up the stairs, a scowl on his face.

And a bruise.

“Tobiah, are you o—”

“Shut up, Amabel. Leave me alone.”

“But Tobiah—” I start as he shoves past me. The bruise covers his entire cheekbone and it’s starting to swell.

“I said, leave me alone!”

He slams his door shut. The force shakes the walls and a picture frame falls to the floor, breaking. I look down at it, our four smiling faces looking at the camera. It’s from maybe four years ago. Before any of this ruin entered our life.

I hear things topple over in his room before he bursts out, as ball of hot air. His face is red and his veins are sticking out from his neck.

And suddenly, I feel scared.

“Where is it, Amabel?” He shouts, and I feel the step beneath my heel as it cuts off. “Where is it?!”

“Tobiah, I don’t—”

“Oh, don’t play stupid with me! Where is it?”

The crystals feel like they’re burning a hole in my back pocket as I realize what he’s looking for.

“Tobiah, I don’t—”

Where is it, Amabel?!” He screams, taking my shoulders and shaking me.

“Tobiah—ow! You’re—”

“Tell me!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I scream, tears streaming down my face. How? How did he get like this? I don’t understand—

Fine,” He hisses through gritted teeth and lets me go.

I feel myself lean back.

“Tobiah!” I scream.

I can feel each step as it bites into my body. It’s only a three second fall, but it feels like forever.

I lay at the base of the stairs, still and staring up at the ceiling, pain taking me over. I can feel the tears falling down my face as I try to move my head. Tobiah is standing over me now. His face is twisted with worry. The bruises and bumps and cuts and scrapes sting and throb and hurt.

I can barely hear Tobiah over the ringing in my ears, and I don’t want to hear him. I want him to go away. I want him to stop what he’s doing. Then he can come back. Then he can help me.

His hands help me sit up and I cry out in pain as my body screams at me. I sob and cry, letting it all out. I can’t take it any more. I can’t take these secrets, these betrayals, these stupid decisions…

God help us… I think. Help them. ‘For they know not what they do’… Help me… ‘I do not have the strength of stone; my flesh is not bronze’… Please help…

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