*NOT RELATED TO THE PROMPT*
Betrayal. Anger. Fear. This is what I felt when my mother brought the heavy leather belt down on my back.
Emma Elliot. She considers herself a strong woman. She always reminds me how she raised me all by herself while my dad was off working. Well, I wouldn’t really consider it “raising” since I was the one who was taking care of her most of the time. My father rarely held a job for more than 6 months. He would pick up odd jobs here and there, anything he could find to keep food on the table. My mother had a career, at some point. She developed an addiction to alcohol and lost her job. We couldn’t afford to send her to rehab so she never got better. I’m not sure if it was the alcohol, or the fact that we were poor and had to fight to survive, or maybe a combination of those things, but I never got my old mom back.
She became cruel, and rageful. My father never heard about the unspeakable things she did to me considering he was always working and I was too scared to open my mouth. Around the age of eight my mom left. My dad was heartbroken and struggled raising me by himself. He worked as a janitor at a school for a while and met this woman named Casey. She came over for dinner one night and soon after, my dad and Casey got married. Looking back, I don’t think he ever loved her. He felt alone after my mom left and he thought Casey would be a good mother to me. Casey and I never got along. She wasn’t anywhere near as bad as my mother, but she held some type of resentment towards me which only got worse with the arrival of my half-sister.
Anne Elliot. A frail, innocent six-pound baby who stole both my parents' hearts and left me in the shadows. Casey never considered me as one of her own. She would rarely acknowledge me and put all her energy into raising Anne. She was a wonderful mother, just not to me. Dad and Anne were like two peas in a pod. Seeing him with her was the first time I'd ever seen him truly happy. As much as he loved me, I think he saw me as a painful reminder of his past.
I am so fed up with never being seen. Being ignored, neglected, abused. Treated like the second best.
With only 20 dollars I stole from that dreadful woman, I knew I had to think carefully about my choices. The money wasn't going to last long, but if I'm smart, I might be able to survive a week. I didn't have anyone to turn to or somewhere to call home, but anywhere was better than there.
I stepped on the train, the cold, steel sound at the soles of my shoes stopped me in my tracks. Was this going to be worth it? Anxiety filled my veins, I’m so torn with all these choices, maybe I should head back. Just as I’m about to turn around, I hear a deep, raspy voice from behind me.
“Move it, kid, you're holding us up.”
Startled, I flinched but quickly took my seat on the train. I sat in silence for the next hour, just taking in my surroundings and thinking of my next step. I had an idea of where I was going but was it going to be the right call?
I stepped off the train, taking in the new environment and the fresh air. It was almost as if all the trauma and pain I experienced left my body. I wasn’t shackled down to that agony anymore. I have freedom and new opportunities. I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes, this was it.
I flagged down a cab and paid my last remaining dollars. With only some change left, I had enough for perhaps a piece of bread. I didn’t let this situation faze me for too long. With where I was going, I knew it would be fine.
Eventually, the cab randomly came to a stop. I knew this wasn’t the destination, so I remained in my seat.
“Sorry but this is the furthest I’m willing to go,” said the driver. “If I was you, I wouldn’t go any further, who knows what could happen.”
“But why, my mother lives there, I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll see soon but it’s not a safe place.” He pauses. “My advice, don’t even think about it.” “But if you have to, just don’t go anywhere secluded.”
“Um… thanks I guess.”
I got out of the car and continued walking down the street. The apartments slowly turned more worn and the smell more pungent. I started to quicken my step; I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as it sent a shiver down my spine. How long have I been walking for? I stop for a moment but quickly start to hear steps behind me. Without a moment’s hesitation I made a run for it. I knew I had to be close. If I could just make it to my mom’s house, then everything would be okay. Adrenaline pumped through me as I ran by and scanned each house. Each one looked more torn up than the last.
At the very end of the street, I saw it. The front had the same old, maroon car I remember leaving our driveway 8 years ago. I ran to the front door and started slamming it. All my emotions built up inside of me leaving with every slam.
“Mom, it’s me Helen!” “Please! I need you right now!” I stopped and listened to see if I could hear any movement inside, but it seemed almost lifeless.
Just before I was about to bang on the door again, it slowly opened. I saw frail pale hands that looked like they could snap at any moment. I moved my vision up and made contact with her eyes. Empty, soulless eyes that somehow reminded me of my mother. Her hair, completely gray, untamed, and only full in certain spots. It had only been 8 years, how did so much change?
“Mom… what happened?”, my voice shook, tears forming in my eyes. She glared at me, almost like she was disgusted.
“I never wanted to see you again, why are you here? ”
The tears burned my eyes as they streamed down my face. I couldn’t make a word out, I had so much I wanted to say but I froze up.
She grunted and started closing the door.
“Wait!” I yelled and pushed my fingers between the frame and the door. As she tried forcing it close my fingers bent with each push. I was in so much pain, but I couldn’t let this be the end. “Let me help you, I can be useful, I’m sure of it.”
“Helen, how could you possibly help me?” her voice full of spite.
“Just let me in please, at least for a few minutes.”
Eventually she gave up and let me in. I looked around at everything, bottles of alcohol in every corner, drugs filling the cabinet shelves, and worst of all, used needles all over the floor.
She cleared her throat, “I used to sell them but recently I’ve been so tired.” “I just don’t have enough energy anymore.”
“Mom, then let me do it for you…I’m young, I have the energy, you don’t have to live like this.”
“Fine Helen but the moment you have enough money, you’re out of my home.”
Over the next few years, I started making a name for myself. As more money raked in, danger only grew. I had connections across America but that only meant more people out to get me. I was constantly moving locations, but I always made sure to stay around my mother. I always made sure she knew about my whereabouts, even though she wanted nothing to do with me.
I settled for now in a heavily guarded apartment building so I was accustomed to no visitors appearing at my door. However, one day I heard a soft knock at my door. I peeked through the door and saw Anne. Despite it being over 4 years, she looked identical to when I left.
“Helen, it’s me Anne, I’ve missed you so much.”
I was stunned, completely at a loss for words.
“Anne, what are you doing here, is it just you?”
“Yes, just me, are you not going to let me in?” she smiled and then embraced me in a hug,
We went to sit down when suddenly a crowd of people could be heard making their way up the stairs. I knew I was done for; I messed up by staying here this long. I ran to a window for a chance to escape but saw the place surrounded. The police started funneling their way in, I had no choice but to surrender.
I don’t remember what happened after that but of course I ended up in jail. I spent my time watching the clock every day, the sound of the ticking gave me a sense of peace. Eventually, my time would be up, and I could leave this place. Pretty quickly though, the sense of peace turned into anger. I couldn’t listen to this for the next 20 years, I had to do something.
The plan was simple. A large group of inmates would make a scene, guards would have to respond, and we would all make a break for it. Everyone was on board with it and so when I yelled out the code word everything turned into chaos.
I pushed through the crowds of people, without any regard for anything going around me. Screams bounced off the walls, blood was everywhere, and guns were going off at an increasing rate. I didn’t have time to be scared, this was either do or die.
I pushed through the last doors and felt the sunlight finally on my skin again.
Run. I felt the wind whip around me as I picked up my pace. I watched the ground whiz past me as I focused on my breathing. I’m not sure how long I ran or where I was running to, but I just had to keep going.
I bolted up, shoving the blanket off me. I glanced around at the unfamiliar surroundings and waited for a familiar voice, smell, anything to register. A woman walked in, probably around her 30’s, long brown hair flowing down to her hips. “Hey, Helen.” Who is this woman? “Hi? Who are you?” She laughed. “I’m Lillian.” Oh yeah. “I remember now. We dealt drugs together right?” “Yeah.” We sat in an awkward silence. “I have some bad news.” Oh. “What is it?”
“Well, I assume you remember you were arrested?”
“Well, your sister Anne, is who turned you in. When I heard you had been taken in, I watched and listened to find your pursuer.” Of course. It all made sense now. As the memories flooded into my brain I started to feel sick. “Why, how could she?” Lillian watched me in silence. I wanted to scream. My stomach twisted into knots and I had a horrible thought. I approached this carefully, “If I could figure out a way to hurt Anne, would you help?”
“Anything for a fellow dealer.” Lillian said as a devilish grin crossed her face. My mind immediately began formulating a plan. “Lillian, I need Idocaine powder. Call Marc, he always has a supply.”
“Roger that, Helen.” Lillian left soon after, leaving me in her luxurious apartment. I wandered around and made some macaroni without cheese. I filled a glass with water from the tap, watching as the bubbles popped. I awaited Lillian anxiously, attempting to pass the time by filling my mind with useless facts that her books contained. As the clock crept towards seven, I grew worried. The gnawing feeling in my stomach grew with each passing moment.
It was around nine, when Lillain returned and I awoke to the sound of something crashing. “Lillian?” I called into the house. “Yeah, in the kitchen!” She yelled back, I raced to her side seeing that her knee was heavily bleeding. “What happened?”
“I went to Marc’s and got the powder, but ran into some… complications, on the way back.” I helped her to the couch and patched up her knee as she talked. “So much has happened since you’ve been gone, more of us caught, and less people willing to buy. Also, I have Anne’s address, for when you need it.”
We both wandered to our beds and I fell fast asleep dreaming of how I was going to kill Anne, and enjoyed every second.
I woke up to the sun peeking through the curtains, temporarily blinding me. I tapped on Lillian's door, ready for the address. She was already awake, sitting up in bed reading. “Good morning, Helen.”
“Good morning.” I walked over to her and sat on the edge of the bed. “I’m ready to see her, I need the address.” She smiled at me as she reached for her notebook and tore out a page. “Here.” She offered the page to me. I took it and started out the door, pocketing the powder. “Do you want me to come with you?” Lillian offered. “No, I need to do this myself.”
I walked down boulevard after boulevard until I stumbled onto 143 Oaklane Dr. I sighed as I reached for the buzzer. “Hello? Who is it?” Anne’s voice flooded my ears. “ It’s Helen, I got out early and wanted to see you. Can I come in?” I waited in silence for a couple moments. “Uhh, sure.” The door buzzed open and the cool air rushed onto my face. Anne was waiting with her door open. She embraced me in a hug, with a wide smile. “I can’t stay long, but I was wondering if you would meet me for dinner tonight? Seven at my place?” Anne quickly agreed and was just giddy. It wouldn't be long now. “Okay, cool, let me give you my address.” I scribbled down Lillans place and handed it to her. “Don’t be late. And it’s good to see you Anne.”
“You too, Helen.” She said in almost a whisper.
I watched as the clock ticked down, six forty. The doorbell rang. “Hi! Sorry I’m so early, I just couldn't wait any longer.” I smiled. “No worries! Come on in, I’m still cooking, but you're welcome to wander. I watched as she walked away into the TV room. I carefully poured the Idocaine into the softened butter. As I waited for the butter to solidify, I thought. Thought about jail, my childhood, and everything that even led up to this moment. My timer ran out and I laid the butter on the table, my heart began to race, thumping faster and faster, leaping into my throat. My eyes wandered to where Anne was sitting, she was quiet, reading by the light of the roaring fire. It was about time for her to go. My brain filled with thoughts as I yelled, “Dinners ready!” No going back now.
I watched her tuck her legs under the table and fill her plate with bread, turkey, apples, and last of all the butter. Anne shoveled the warm bread, dripping with melting butter into her mouth, just before her last breath escaped her lips. I caught her just before she hit the floor, and her eyes shut for the final time. I picked myself up off the floor and walked back to where I left the butter. It was a melting pool by now, but it smelled so delicious. I was so compelled I couldn't stop myself. I grabbed a handful of the warm melted butter and licked my hand clean, I fell to the ground and watched as the darkness enveloped me.