It was early morning, so Jenny thought, perhaps only a few minutes before she actually had to rise for the day. She closed her eyes tight, trying to get a few more moments of sleep. It was contrary to her normal attitude, usually she woke up before she had to and hardly ever did she try to roll over once she was conscious. But today she felt the need to sleep, not because she felt any bit of tiredness or that she wanted to return to some mystical dream that she wanted to experience to the end. No, this was some sort of survival instinct that was telling her that she needed to sleep, that she must sleep, that the world was a very dangerous place and the only sanctuary she had was not behind the closed door to her room but rather behind her closed eyelids where she didn’t have to acknowledge the world and more importantly, the world didn’t have to know her.
Jenny felt warm, in fact, she go so uncomfortably hot that she knew it would be in vein to try to return to sleep under these conditions. Though her body screamed at her to do anything but, Jenny opened her eyes. The room was dark but there was just enough light to see. Jenny looked down at her body and noticed a peculiar large green towel that was covering her. It was frayed and old and the white checkerboard designs on both ends were almost gone. There was hardly any pattern which she could recognize anymore, but she knew what it was suppose to look like. The towel looked almost like a rag except bigger.
It was no matter, Jenny kicked the towel off of her and was surprised to see herself wearing a long t-shirt. She didn’t remember wearing the shirt to bed. In fact, she distinctly remembered taking it off just before she climbed into bed with her little sister.
“Amber,” Jenny whispered as she turned her head to look at a bed that was no longer there. Jenny was confused by the absence of her sister’s bed and her sister as well. She put her hand by the sides of her hip to lift herself into a seated position and was even more perplexed by the lack of her own bed. Instead, she found herself sleeping on a blue mat, not too unlike the little children of Tiny Tot’s daycare would sleep on during naptime. The difference was that this particular mat was dirty and stained and had a few tears hear and there that revealed the darkened yellow stuffing that the plastic outer shell was suppose to cover.
Jenny didn’t recognize this place, but, at the same time, it seemed strangely familiar.
She turned her attention back upon her own body. The shirt wasn’t the pink one like the ones she and her sister chose to wear after their bath. This one was white, or at least originally it was white at one point in its existence. The shirt was now grey in some areas from dirt and a lack of washing. In other areas there were thick crusty red stains. She looked at her fingers and no trace of blood could be found. For that she was somewhat thankful, but for the bruises she saw on her arms and then on her legs, she wasn’t. She never remembered a time being so bruised after playing baseball. He lifted the shirt to her chest to take inventory and she saw a large circular bruise on her stomach that was definitely baseball shaped. It looked like it would welt, but when Jenny touched it, even though she winced at the idea, she felt no pain.
The girl returned the shirt back to a more proper position so she ‘wouldn’t show the world all she had to offer,’ as her dad would say. She shook her head in amusement at thinking of the words, but knew her father spoke of the truth he gained from his job. Since Jenny couldn’t think of one good reason to stay seated on the floor, she stood up. The heat was still bothering her and a drop of sweat trickled from her brow and landed on her foot. She walked over to the window; perhaps an early morning breeze would be refreshing. Jenny stared at the closed window, it was covered with aluminum foil for a reason the girl couldn’t fathom nor imagine. Tentatively she touched the window but withdrew her hand in haste as the tip of her finger was slightly burned by the heat.
Jenny didn’t know what to think of this place and her mind swam in confusion, yet at the same time she knew this place and knew that she was a part of it. This was, unmistakably, home. But where were the others who shared home with her, Jenny thought. She also thought that before she went off looking for them, she should at least change into something nicer.
She turned for the dresser, but there wasn’t one available. The room was completely barren of furniture and the only light was a naked light bulb that swung from the ceiling. In one corner of the room was a pile of garbage bags and Jenny knew that she would find her clothes in there.
The odor that hit her as she opened the first bag was almost life threatening. The clothes in there didn’t seem fit for wearing either and most of it looked like it was meant for her two year old brother. She cinched the bag closed and didn’t want to see what odors and horrors the other bags held. Instead, she just wanted to get some answers and find her family.
Jenny vacated the room and hoped the rest of the house would be better, though she somehow knew it wasn’t. She walked into the hallway and looked off to her right. Somehow she knew the layout of this house and where certain people were supposed to be. Down the hall was her parents’ bedroom, the door was slightly open and a faint residue of smoke danced in and out of the opening. She was about to call out for her mother, but something internally told her not to. “It’s early, let them sleep,” her mind told her. “You’ll be safer that way,” it added and it was that addition that bothered Jenny more than anything else.
The girl decided to head off to the kitchen and without knowing exactly where it was, she proceeded directly to it. The kitchen was in no better shape than her own room. The cabinets were without doors. Even if they did have doors there would be nothing hidden behind them because the cupboards were barren as well. The only trace of food was some discarded pizza that sat on a table that looked as if it would collapse under the weight of the pizza box and two remaining slices. Those two slices didn’t look too appealing either, but Jenny couldn’t deny what her stomach was telling her so she grabbed a slice.
Her mind told her to take the other slice as well; she may not want it now but who knew when food would come her way again. Though Jenny didn’t understand why her mind was sending such messages, she did as it instructed.
With the two slices in hand being kept safely between two paper towels, Jenny went into the living room in order to eat them and avoid some of the odors that seemed to linger around the house. She looked at the couch; something told her to avoid sitting on it. Perhaps she should hide in it, her mind suggested. Jenny shooed away the idea, her clothes were dirty enough and she didn’t think she could fit under the couch as it was anyway.
All thought became mute anyway. Melissa came barreling through the door in a completely obvious intoxicated state. She staggered as she shuffled her feet and had to hold onto the wall and various bits of furniture as she made her way to the couch were she promptly plopped down and slumped.
“Mom,” Jenny asked in surprise and confusion, never in her life had she seen her mother drunk.
Melissa looked at Jenny through cold eyes as if struggling to remember exactly who it was that she was looking at. She opened her mouth as if to say something.
The words never materialized as Chase ran into the room and grabbed his wife by the shirt with both hands. “Okay, where is it?” Chase shouted.
“Where is what?” Melissa stared at her husband in a daze.
“You know full well what I’m talking about, bitch.” Chase slapped Melissa hard across the face with the back of his hand. “Where’s my stash?”
“Dad?” Jenny was shocked by her dad’s behavior and language, he never spoke that way.
Chase turned to face his daughter and looked at the child with such an intense hatred that it forced Jenny to take two steps backwards in fear. “Now, let’s try this again.” Chase turned his attention back to Melissa, still holding her down with his hand. “Where is my stash, bitch?” Chase asked in anger, saying each word slowly, enunciating them fully through gritted teeth.
“I don’t know,” Melissa answered in an equally slow voice to mimic and mock her husband. “Maybe the mistake flushed ‘em down the toilet again.”
Jenny knew that her mother was referring to her as the mistake and felt wounded.
Chase looked at his daughter once again, but seeing the confusion on his face, he must’ve doubted the story that Melissa gave him. “There’s an easier way to settle this,” Chase sneered as he pushed his wife into the couch before he stormed out of the room.
It didn’t seem like any time passed at all before Chase returned, this time with a gun in hi hand as he walked in front of his fife in a cool, cocky manner.
“Now,” Chase waved the gun in front of his wife’s face. “Where is it?”
“Dad!” Jenny admonished, trying to bring the man back to his senses.
“Shut up you little bastard,” Chase yelled at his daughter but never took his eyes off his wife. He stared at the woman, waiting for an answer. “Well?”
“I don’t know,” Melissa slurred her response.
“Not good enough.” Chase swung the gun at his wife, making contact with her head.
Jenny was frozen in place, she knew she was in shock but could do nothing about it. Everything was going in slow motion and Jenny found herself wishing that time would stop. She stared at Chase as he regained his footing from the blow he delivered to his wife. His right arm raised, his elbow bent so that his upper arm was parallel to the floor and his forearm was at ninety degrees to it. The gun was facing the ceiling but only for an instant if time was traveling at its normal speed. Slowly Chase lowered the gun, going at an agonizing pace. It finally settled at Melissa’s forehead.
Chase pushed the gun against the woman that he was supposed to love’s head. The indentation on Melissa’s forehead made it clear that Chase was pushing the firearm with all his might. “Now, one more time, bitch. Where is my stash?” Chase asked in red hot anger.
Inexplicably, Melissa laughed right in her husband’s face.
Chase moved his body ninety degrees to the side. With him standing sideways to his wife, he gently pulled the trigger. A loud crack bounced off the walls at the same exact time that blood splattered on them.
“Dad!” Jenny screamed in shock and horror.
Chase deliberately turned to his daughter. Jenny found herself frozen on the spot of the floor where she was standing. There was nothing she could do but look at the cold black stare that her father had rested on her.
A siren was heard in the background. It momentarily distracted the terrified child.
“Now guess who’s next,” Chase said as he wrapped his hand tightly around his daughter’s neck.
“Why?” Jenny asked in a whisper as a tear fell from her eye to her dad’s whitening knuckle.
“Because you ruined my life, all of our lives. What are you? A nothing. Who are you? Certainly not anyone I give a damn about.” Chase put the barrel of the gun up to his daughter’s temple, the cold metal sent a chill down the child’s spine.
Jenny could hear the sirens in the background grow louder. She knew that there was little time to do much of anything, but she had to try. An officer was nearby, she knew it’ Perhaps her Uncle J.D. or even Coach Sweet. She took in as much as she could.
“Help! He’s going to kill me,” She screamed as loud as she could.
Author's note 1: This is the first third of the chapter, believe it or not there is more action to come. This is a dream sequence, I can't stress that enough. But the dream stands on its own, and the rest of the action may be too much to take in one sitting. Also, I wanted a chance for people to comment on this section without having to comment on the whole chapter as one, because a lot happens.
What I hope to accomplish in this chapter: The floodgates are beginning to open to Jenny's past. Though there is some transference (Curtis to Chase, Sheila to Melissa, Jeremy to Jenny) Jenny is given a glimpse into a life that she had forgotten. I find it interesting, she never realizes in the dream to check gender.
Author's note 2: If you are one of my 12 fans, you know that there is hardly a story that goes by that does not contain a dream sequence. I like dreams, because they open a whole world to explore the subconscious. Also this event parallels my own experience; I was a freshman in my second semester of college when I had a flashback dream of when my stepfather dressed me up as a girl and took me to Toys-R-Us to show me off and humiliate me. Oh well.
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