All Wallace West could do was silently make his way home; his face ashen compared to his flaming red hair. The young boy of only seven, going on eight, had already seen great terror in his own home and sadly he had begun to grow accustomed to the yelling and screaming and hitting.
Rudolph West had been out of work for almost four years now; and Wallace remembered those four years clearly and as if he was in Hell. The drinking had started first then the yelling and then the fighting; one day he had come home and his mother was gone his father only growled at him and slapped him across the face for asking where she was.
Right now the small, skinny kid was afraid to enter the house; he was failing English because of low participation and his teacher wanted to talk to his father about how withdrawn he was.
Sucking in a shaky breathe when he found himself standing outside his front door. He stared at the peeling paint for the longest time before hesitantly grabbing the dirtied brass knob and turning it; shaking violently as he walked into the home.
Glancing over at the living room he surprised to see that there was no sign of his father; a glimmer of hope lit his face as he slowly walked toward the kitchen. Maybe he could just grab an apple and hide in his room. Sadly luck was no on the poor boy's side as he slammed straight into his father's torso.
Rudolph West was a considerably large yet equally strong man who easily towered over the trembling figure of his son. His dark eyes lit with anger when he saw the boy, "What the hell do you think you are doing, Wallace?"
Wallace trembled in fear as he slowly looked up at the man before him, "I-I…I was getting a s-snack sir?"
One thing Wallace learned fast after his mother left was that his father was an easily angered man and would question everything you are doing, and everything Wallace did was very and truly wrong.
Rudolph growled and held out his hand making Wallace flinch, "Report card. Now."
The tone in his voice showed he wouldn't wait and he had not forgotten like the red head had hoped. Wallace shook as he removed his book bag from his back and opened it slowly retrieving his folder and handing it hesitantly to the out stretched hand.
It was snatched away quickly and opened; Rudolph searching for the paper that would determine everything.
Wallace didn't dare look up in fear he would get into worse trouble then he already would be. His father hadn't taken anything less than an A+ since the day his teachers told him that he had an extremely high I.Q.
Rudolph glared at the offending D next to the English class spot and read the note at the bottom that the teacher had written.
"What is that?" He growled as he grabbed Wallace's over sized shirt and shoved his face inches away from the paper.
Wallace help back a help in surprise, not even needed to pull his head back to know what his father was talking about. He quickly stammered out, "I-It's a-an una-acceptable g-grade…s-sir."
Rudolph held the boy's shirt tightly, "Exactly, which means that you don't get any dinner tonight."
Wallace dropped onto his bottom as he stared up at Rudolph as he glared down at him. Wallace knew the cue, get out of be hit.
Scrambling up the little red head grabbed his bag and ran up the stairs to his room. Tears pricked in his eyes as he made his way up the stairs only to fall once he was in the safety of the baby blue room.
His room was his only safe haven in this nightmare of a house; the only place that didn't smell of smoke or alcohol. He curled up on the bed and hugged the pillow tightly to his chest; his bottom lip quivered as he tried to fight back sobs.
If you can't even keep good grades why should I even keep you around?
Get out of my sight you piece of trash!
If you even think about telling anyone I will make sure that no one will find you?
How could anyone love something as useless and pathetic as you? Heck even your own mother left you, you should be grateful I didn't throw you out!
This is for your own good, Wallace. It will teach you to be a better man.
Before the belt could hit him Wallace woke with a jolt and looked around the dark room.
He glanced at his clock to see it was past midnight and knowing his father's routine, the man would be past-out by the TV after drinking too many beers at this time.
As quietly as the boy could he slipped out of bed and crept down the stair case; ignoring the empty feeling in his stomach. Peeking into the living room to find the TV blaring and his dad past out in his old and worn recliner.
As quietly as he could Wallace crept into the kitchen; glancing at the dirty dishes knowing that he was going to be doing those tomorrow morning unless he wanted to be yelled at when he got home from school.
Opening the fridge silently as possible he glanced around the barely filled contraption; finally locating the apple he had been craving when he got home.
Grabbing it and stared at it like it was the Holy Grail before shutting the door silently; looking behind him cautiously before creeping out of the kitchen.
Wallace made sure his father was still asleep before ascending the stair case to his room; a trip he had done for most of his young life.
Creeping back into his room he smiled as the small victory and held the apple to his mouth; biting into it quickly. Juice dribbled down his chin as he savored the taste, this apple saving him from starvation.
He ate the apple slowly, savoring the taste since he didn't know if he would have the chance again to taste something as sweet as this little treat. Wiping his mouth with his sleeve he crawled back under the covers and said his prayers.
Wallace stared at the walls for a long time before finally closing his eyes and drifting into an uneasy sleep.