Identity Series Book 2: I Am Sarah

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Chapter 2

I woke up in a pile of snow, clothed in my dress and nothing else. I looked around me, but I didn’t recognize anything. It was very dark, but I could see that I was in between two buildings, and I was surrounded by garbage. I tried to stand up, but pain sliced through me, and I fell to my knees, my hands digging into the rocks and trash around me. I took a deep breath, which hurt, and tried again. This time, I was able to make it to my feet. Staggering toward the faint light I saw some distance away, I stumbled and fell and got up and repeated this process until I was standing on a street. A few people passed by me, but none even spared me a glance.

I looked up and down the street, but since I had never been outside our apartment, I had no idea where I was or where to go. As I started to shake, I saw something that made up my mind for me. Far down the street in one direction, lights were barely visible through the buildings, but in the other, there was only blackness. I started walking toward the light.

I fell more than I walked, but eventually, I found myself on a much nicer street than the one I had come from. There were more people here, and the ones who noticed me immediately veered away as if I were a disease. Some even brought gloved hands up to cover their mouths and noses. I stayed close to the buildings, and most passersby never even saw me. It was very cold, and if they weren’t talking to their companions, they were bundled up in their coats and hats and scarves, focusing on nothing except getting home to their families.

I don’t know how long I walked, but at one point, I was crossing a street. About halfway across, I saw something coming toward me. It was big and black, and I didn’t know what it was. I tried to run, but my legs chose that time to fail me, and I fell. I couldn’t get my body to work right, and I couldn’t get back up.

“Adam, stop!”

The man’s voice was commanding, and I curled up in a ball in the middle of the street. I started shivering uncontrollably, and I started to cry. I rarely cried as it made my mama furious to see my tears, but I couldn’t stop them.

“Oh, my God.”

It was the same voice, but this time it was hushed. Hands moved my hair from my face, and I looked up into brown eyes. They were scanning me, and I thought they looked kind. The frown on the man’s face scared me, however, and I closed my eyes tightly and waited for the blows I knew would come.

Sure enough, hands touched me, but there was no pain. Instead, I was lifted into the air, and I found myself held against a broad chest covered in soft fabric. My tears came faster, but I had stopped shivering.

“She’s freezing. St. Luke’s, Adam. Hurry!”

I tried to stay awake, but the strong arms around me, almost in a hug, and the warmth emanating off the man holding me were quickly wearing down my defenses. I had almost succumbed when the man spoke.

“Can you tell me your name, little one?”

I reluctantly pulled my head back and looked up at him, but I said nothing. I wanted to trust him, but I couldn’t. I was terrified that if I spoke, he would get angry and beat me just like my mama did. The man tried again.

“Can you tell me who did this to you?”

Again, I was silent.

“Do you understand what I am asking you?”

I tilted my head. That seemed a safe question to answer, so I nodded my head.

“Good.” He tucked my head against his chest. “Don’t worry, little one. No one will ever hurt you again.”

I desperately wanted to believe that, and I took a deep breath, settled against him, and fell asleep.

Just before we got to the hospital, I woke up screaming. I had warmed up enough that I again felt the agonizing pain emanating from my back, and the man yelled, “Faster, Adam!”

“Yes, sir, Mr. McAllister. We’re almost there.”

Minutes later, different hands tried to take me from the man, but I screamed louder and clung tightly to his coat.

“Leave her, Adam. Just help me out.”

“Yes, sir.”

I stayed in the man’s arms, and through my screams, I heard him talking to someone. Then, he tried to put me down. I clung to him tighter.

“Listen to me, little one,” he said in my ear. “I am not going anywhere, but the doctors need to look at you. They will help you, I promise.”

I shook my head as my screams became whimpers, but he peeled my hands from his coat and set me face down on a hard surface. I struggled against the hands that grabbed me, but the man continued to talk softly to me, and I eventually calmed down.

I was examined for what seemed like a very long time, but eventually, the doctors left me on the table with a woman who kept a hand on my arm, but she needn’t have worried. I was too tired to fight anymore.

“Mr. McAllister, I honestly don’t know how she’s still alive, sir. I have never seen such horrific wounds before. Especially not on a little girl.”

The words drifted away as I lay on my stomach on the table. The rest of the night was only experienced by me as if I were floating on a cloud looking down at the events happening below.

The doctors gave me a bath and cleaned the welts and broken skin on my back and wrists, but I still didn’t speak. They asked me questions and brought in the police to try to figure out who I was. When I refused to tell them, I was left with a nurse who gently laid me on my stomach and began to sing a beautiful song to me, caressing my hair as she did so. She tried to talk to me, but I stayed silent.

For three weeks, I stayed in the hospital, and everyone around me asked me questions. Many times, when I heard someone coming, I pretended I was asleep, and, even when I was awake, I often escaped into my dreams of being part of a family, being with the Matthews and Teresas of the world—parents who loved me and never hurt me.

I ate more in those weeks than I had in my life. I heard the doctors say that I was the size of a four year old, but that my teeth showed that I was probably closer to seven or eight. The man who had found me, who the doctors and police called Mr. McAllister, was always by my bedside when I awoke, and he often read stories to me until I fell asleep again.

After I had put some weight on me, the doctors were satisfied that I wouldn’t die, and the adults realized that they would get no information from me, the police agreed to release me into my future father’s custody, and he promptly took me to his spacious apartment. The moment we stepped inside my eyes went wide in shock. It was a far cry from the two-room apartment in Hell’s Kitchen where my mother had tormented me daily.

I stiffened and took a step back when Mr. McAllister knelt in front of me, but he very gently took my hands.

“Would you like to live here with me?” he asked.

I frowned, wondering if he was trying to trick me. His eyes were kind, though, and he had only been nice to me since he rescued me. I slowly nodded, and his face broke out into a bright smile.

“Good! I have to call you something, though, and since you won’t tell me your name, how do you like the name Sarah?”

I nodded again, and that was it. Within a month, I was told that I was officially Sarah Elizabeth McAllister, and I had a new daddy who showed me every day that he loved me. I had grandparents who lived in a beautiful apartment fronting Central Park and numerous aunts and uncles and cousins. I was enrolled in St. Peter’s Catholic School and given everything a child could ever want. Me. The girl who had spent her first years in terror, alone with a mother who hated her and made that clear every day.

It took me two more months to talk, but when I finally did, I told my new daddy what had happened to me, and he held me close and promised me that he would do everything in his power to make sure no one ever hurt me again.

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