Mama wasn’t here anymore. She’s gone… that’s what Dad said. I asked him where she went, but he didn’t tell me. I woke up, Mom was gone, and Dad was mad.
“Dad, it’s time for school,” I say, walking into the kitchen. Dad looks down at me from the table and glares, “This is your fault, boy,” he growls. He grabs the front of my shirt and throws me down. I land on my arm and it starts to hurt.
Tears fill my eyes as I sit up. Dad stands up and grabs my hair, “She left because of you,” he tells me. I cry out as he pushes me against the wall. His fist hits my face and I start crying. My cheek hurts and my arm hurts.
“You little brat,” Dad spits, shoving his foot into my tummy. I cry again as my tummy starts to hurt too. Dad walks away to get his phone. He picks it up and calls someone. I lean on the wall and curl my legs up to my chest. I hide my face in my knees as Dad yells into his phone.
He sounds scary and mad. He yells at whoever he is talking to. When he gets off the phone, he glares at me again and stomps out of the room.
When he’s gone, I run to my room. I close the door and jump on my racecar bed, grabbing my pillow. Dad was never that mean to me. He hurt me and he never did that before. I roll over and grab the picture from beside my bed. The picture is me, Mom, and Dad. We all have smiles on our faces.
The picture was taken at my racecar birthday party when I turned eight- a few months ago. Mom was here, and Dad was nice. Why did he hurt me? Why did Mom leave? Where did she go?
I put the picture back by my lamp and lay down.
A bang comes from downstairs, so I get up. I walk to my door and open it. Dad is standing there with another man. The man looks dirty and mean. “Get out her,” Dad tells me. I walk out and the man grabs me.
“This him?” He asks, shaking me. My arm starts to hurt again and tears fall down my cheeks.
“Yeah,” Dad says. The man looks down at me and nods.
“He’ll do. You gonna get payment at the end of the day,” he says. Dad nods and the man starts dragging me. I try to pull my arm out of his hand, but it only hurts.
“Dad!” I yell, confused. Dad doesn’t do anything. “Dad!” I yell again. The man pulling me stops and swings his hand. Pain hits my cheek and I cry.
“Shut up or you gonna get a beatin’ comin’ to ya,” the man growls. I close my mouth. I don’t want to get hit again. The man drags me out of the house and to a truck. “You gonna learn to fight, kid,” the man says, pushing me into the truck.
Fight? What does he mean?
Mom and dad glare at me. “Can’t you do anything right?” Mom sneers, throwing my papers on the ground. I just got home from school and came to show my mom and dad my report. They didn’t like it.
“We’ve done so much for you, and this is how you repay us?” My father yells, shoving the paper in my face. I flinch back and lower my head to look at the paper. In my teacher’s writing is three A’s and two B’s.
My mom wipes a hand across her nose, wiping the white powder that is still there. I know what they’ve been doing, and it’s not working. She storms out of the room and my father narrows his eyes at me, “Go to your room!” I jump and run off to my room.
When I get to my room, I lock the door and lay on my bed. I bury my face in my pillow. I didn’t think they could be mean to me, but I was wrong. They’ve been different the past two years, and I think it has to do with dad losing his job. Mom was doing stuff with the white powder and dad was drinking a lot. They send me to school and get mad when I don’t make 100’s on everything. Sometimes, they get angry at me for nothing.
They didn’t even let me have a birthday party when I turned twelve a few months ago. They said that they didn’t want to spend the money, but I know my mom meant that they didn’t want to spend the money on me. They spend a bunch of money on their drinks and white powder.
Sniffling, I roll over and hug my stuffed dog to my chest. He has a missing eye and a torn up leg. His nose is falling off and one of his ears is missing the stuffing. I found him in the park one day when I was walking home from school. I call him Beasty. He’s the only thing I have. Mom and Dad had a sale and got rid of all my toys to get money for their drinks and white powder.
My door jiggles, so I sit up and look at it. A second later, it stops jiggling. I crawl off of my bed and quietly walk over to the door. Being quiet, I put my ear on the door.
“Yeah, it won’t be a problem,” I hear my dad’s voice.
“How old is she?” A woman asks. I don’t know her voice. She sounds different than my mom. She talks funny.
“She’s twelve,” Dad answers. The woman hums in response.
“Well, if you go to my guy downstairs, you’ll get your money,” the woman says. Money? Is this lady giving my dad money? Why would she do that?
Dad didn’t say anything for a minute. “Okay, you can go in and get her,” Dad says before the door jiggles again.
“It’s locked,” the woman says. I crawl away from the door as it jiggles harder. I hear a sigh and then there’s a bang. The door opens fast and my dad steps into my room. I hold Beasty to my body and stare up at my dad.
“Sarah, get up,” he orders. I stand up and look at the woman who is standing behind my dad. She’s tall with long dark hair and brown eyes. She’s looking at me with squinty eyes. Dad grabs my arm and pushes me toward the woman. I almost fall over, but I don’t.
The woman walks around me in a circle. I look up at my dad, but he’s not looking at me. He has his arms crossed on his chest and he’s looking at the door. Dad stands there, the woman watches me, and Mom comes in the room, “You gonna take her or what?”
The woman looks at my Mom and smiles, “Yes, I believe we have a deal.” I look at all the adults in the room. What are they talking about? What deal?
“What’s going on?” I ask, looking at my parents. They ignore me as Dad grabs my arm, dragging me out of the room. I try to pull away from him, but he’s bigger. We stop in the living room and another man comes into the room. He has a bag in his hands.
“Payment,” he says, throwing the bag on the floor. I watch as Mom picks up the bag and unzips it. She moves the stuff around that’s inside the bag and smiles, “It’s all here.” My dad smiles and looks at the woman, “It was good doing business with you.”
The woman nods and turns to the man, “Let’s go,” she says. The man nods and grabs me. I squeal as he lifts me off the ground and throws me over his shoulder. I kick and hit his back, yelling.
“Shut up!” He orders, shaking me. I fall forward and shriek. Before I can fall though, the man catches me and carries me outside.
“No, no, no!” I yell, hitting his back. “Let me go! Mom! Dad!” I scream for help. They don’t do anything. Mom and Dad close the front door, letting the man and woman take me away. Tears fill my eyes and run down my small cheeks, “No!”
“I said shut the fuck up!” The man growls, throwing me in a car. I reach for the other door, but he grabs me and buckles me in. I whimper at the pain in my arm as he pulls on me. He glares at me again, making me scoot as far away as I can.
What is happening?