Family (Part 3 of 4)

Submitted into Contest #96 in response to: Start your story in an empty guest room.... view prompt



(This is part 3 of a story written under a different category)

When I was young I realized how cruel the world could be. My father didn’t love my mother and that led to all kinds of problems. Worse yet, they didn’t love me or my sister, Amelia. One day, when I was six, my mother pushed my father in the way of a speeding train. She got thrown in jail, he got buried in the ground. 

Amelia and I were put into foster care. The first lady who housed us didn’t feed us every day, and she certainly didn’t care where we were, as long as it wasn’t the basement. About a month of us living there, the foster care agency figured out she was selling “illegal substances” from her basement, well that’s how the guy who told us put it. 

So we were put in another foster home where there was a woman and her husband who took care of us. We thought they were fine at first, but then, in the middle of the night, I heard the husband yelling. He reminded me of my father. I woke my sister up.

“Amelia, we should go stop this,” I said to her.

“No way, you’re insane,” she replied, “Just go back to bed, this isn’t our business.” Well that showed me how willing Amelia was to make the world a better place. Not at all. 

So the next day, Amelia and I went to the corner store at the end of our street. When we came out, I made sure to “accidentally” bump into her, pushing her onto the road, in the way of a car that was moving too quickly to hit the brakes on time.

The judge didn’t believe it was an accident, and he didn’t accept my explanation on how I had to get rid of her because she wasn’t doing anything good for the world.

I was put in juvenile detention when I was twelve, and all I could think about when I was there was how I’d been betrayed by my own family. I vowed to create a family that was a genuine family who lived up to the title. I escaped not even two days after being in juvie. I would say they need more security in those establishments if they really planned on keeping kids locked up there. I would’ve wasted a lot less time if I'd escaped alone, but no, I took a friend with me. Her name was Tasmeen. I don’t know what made me do it, but she seemed like a sister to me, more than Amelia ever was. I couldn’t leave her there, she was only ten and she deserved a second chance. So we left and lived under the radar for a few months, stealing from corner stores for food, and sleeping in abandoned houses at night. 

I told Tasmeen about my plan to have a real family, with parents and brothers and sisters that care about you. She was on board.

“But where will we find them?” she asked me.

“I’m not sure just yet, but we won't stop looking until we find them,” I told her.

We set out to find a new family member. We asked people in stores, in houses, and people on the street. We couldn’t find one person who would agree.

“Eric,” Tasmeen said to me one day, “I have an idea.”

“What is it?”

“I know who will agree to be our family. Jail people.”

“Jail people? You mean prisoners?

“Yeah. They’ll agree to anything if we can get them out maybe. People that are supposed to be there forever.”

“Why would we want them in our family?”

“Well, we’re sort of just like them. We came from jail too, you know,” Tasmeen declared.

“That’s different.”

“Not really,” she began, “I bet there are other people out there, just like us. They deserve a second chance, and they need a better family.” I thought about this for a moment. Tasmeen was right, and we knew exactly where we would find the rest of our family.

Tasmeen and I traveled to the juvenile detention centre in the next county. The security was a bit better there, but we managed to get through it within a night. That’s where we found Jasmine who was seventeen at the time. She was so eager to get out of there that she agreed to be part of our family immediately. Her story really touched my heart, she was only fourteen when she was driving her sick mother to the hospital. She got thrown in juvie for a while for not being able to pay the fine and she stayed a few more years for getting in fights. Jasmine’s mother was all she had as a family but she died, and now Jasmine could be part of me and Tasmeen’s family.

We had a good thing going at that point, but I didn’t feel whole yet. I needed a brother. That’s where Andre came into the mix. We’d read about him in the newspaper and backpacked to the next state just to find him. He was nineteen, so we had to break into real jail to get him.

“What do you mean by family?” he asked when we first confronted him. 

“If you vow to stay with us we’ll break you out of here,” I said.

“How could you kids break me out of here?” he laughed.

“You need proof? This is Jasmine Simpnoia, formerly Jasmine Clyde. She’s from the 

Peintner Case, you’ve probably heard of her.”

“There’s no way,” Andre said while staring harder at Jasmine, “Wow, it really is you.”

“Would you like to join our family?” Tasmeen requested.

“Well, heck yeah if you can get me out of here.”

“We should probably warn you first, if you try to leave our family Eric will kill you,” said  


“That’s sort of a deal-breaker for me, my dudes, see I’m all about freedom.”

“You’re not really free in here,” murmured Tasmeen.

“Fine. Ok fine. I’ll be part of your 'family', I just want to know why she’s not convincing 

me.” He pointed at Jasmine who was sitting off in the corner, “How do I know that they

actually broke you out of juvie?” I had gotten the feeling Jasmine had started drifting away from the family, so I warned her about the consequence of leaving the Simpnoias. I came up with that name myself. Sympnoia is greek for togetherness. 

“How else do you think I made it here?” she said dryly. I knew Jasmine was going to be a 

problem. I had to get rid of her, but only when I had enough of the family there to pose a real threat. 

“So how are we getting out?” Andre asked.

“The same way we came in,” I pointed up at the square in the ceiling that was gone, revealing the late-night sky. After a difficult climb up a rope we made out of towels, my family and I escaped the jail. Andre Colton was reborn as Andre Simpnoia.

“See ya later, losers,” Andre yelled as he tried to run away. At the same time Isabella tried to use his outburst as a distraction for her to run away. Perfect timing. It came time for me to do what I’d been wanting to do since the day Jasmine joined us. I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her in the direction of a cave I’d found.

“Where are you taking me?” she shrieked.

“Away,” I said, and pushed her into the cave. I’ve got to admit, Jasmine was pretty fast. But not as fast as me or the bear that was waiting patiently for a meal in the cave. 

“How lucky!’ Tasmeen cried, “That bear was in the right place at the right time!”

“Wrong,” I said, “All of my plans are constructed carefully. As for the bear, well I know a guy.” That was the end of the conversation. Andre was seated on the ground next to Tasmeen, just like I thought. And then there were three.

We got out of the area rather quickly in case anyone had heard Jasmine’s screams. We settled down to rest somewhere in Kentucky and got up early in the morning to keep on the move. 

“Be useful, guys,” I warned them.

After a while Tasmeen said, “To have a family we need parents.” Of course, why didn’t I think of that first?

“Great thinking, Tasmeen.” I gave Andre a harsh look.

“Uh, I think there’s a jail not too far from here,” he said quickly.

“Thank you, dear brother,” I replied.

“I’ll go find us some parents while you guys find some siblings.”

“No, we'll stick together!” I yelled, “More like, that won’t be necessary. We’ll go together.” We arrived at the Boone County Jail where we found Yolanda and Thomas. Yolanda was eager to join our family, I think she’d gone a little mad. Thomas, not so much. He was a dangerous man, no doubt, but I was up for a challenge. He had tattoos all over his body, and he had an angry tone in his voice.

“No way, kid. Now get your butts outta here before I get real mad.”

I laughed. “See that security guard over there?” I pointed out the window to a guard standing in the prison yard, “He’s gonna drop dead in three… two… one…” The man dropped to the ground. It was perfect. “That’ll be you if you don’t come with us and be our dad,” I snarled. I didn’t usually force people to join us, but we had previously had a lot of trouble finding a dad, so we were going with Thomas for sure.

We left Kentucky, mostly because Yolanda and Thomas were both doing time for first degree murder.

“We need a baby,” Yoland announced that day as we were walking to yet another prison. 

Thomas stopped in his tracks. “Excuse me?”

Tasmeen stepped in quickly, “We could find one.”

“Yeah right, they’ve got a place for delinquent babies,” Andre said sarcastically.

“Hey, we’re the parents, shouldn’t we make the decisions?” Thomas asked. I gave him a cold, hard glare which shut him up quickly.

“We can get one from a group home,” Andre chimed in.

“But that’s illegal,” said Tasmeen, “Oh, nevermind,” she said quietly after receiving bewildered looks from everyone. 

“Someone find a group home,” I said, and soon enough we were on our way to Makielf, a group home not too far away. That’s where we found Lana. She was only three, but she got attached to Yolanda pretty quickly. She knew to answer to me, though.

After a while of walking we had to take a break. It was around midday and the sun was blazing, so we found a bench where we could rest for the next little while. A little while later, I heard the southern accent of an unfamiliar girl.

“Hi, my name is Daphne. Sorry to bother you but my brother, sister, and I have nowhere to go. I was wondering if you could be so kind as to give us any spare change you have.” I turned to face her, she looked like she was in her twenties.

“How old are you?” I asked her.

“I’m nineteen, almost twenty. My sister, Isabella, she’s sixteen, and my brother, Lincoln, is four.” I thought about what she said for a while.

“So you have nowhere to go?” I questioned.

“No, our parents disappeared, and I’m too old to go to foster care. I don’t want to be split up with my siblings. So do you have any change?”

“I have a better idea, Daphne,” I said to her, “How would you three like to join us?” 

“Well, what exactly are you guys?” she inquired.

“What does it look like?” Andre asked. 

“My name is Eric, and this is my family.”

“Hey, I’m Thomas, the dad.”

“I’m Tasmeen.”


“My name’s Yolanda, and this is Lana.”

Daphne looked lost in thought. 

“Daph, we could have a family again,” said Isabella, “Come on, let’s do it.”

“Uh, sure. As long as it’s ok with you.” Daphne looked at Thomas and Yolanda.

“Okay,” said Yolanda.

“Yeah, whatever,” said Thomas.

“Great! Welcome to the Simpnoia family!” I began, “by the way, I’m in charge, and you can’t leave. Tell ‘em Andre.” 

Andre’s face was serious. “You can’t leave.” I think they got the message.

We left the area in case anyone came looking for Daphne, Isabella, and Lincoln. We got to know them a bit better. Daphne always seemed to talk at the wrong time. Isabella was a bit of a jokester, and Lincoln was painfully shy. They didn’t really seem to match in any way. A few hours after walking a bit more, Thomas asked, “So are we finally done assembling this family?”

“Not just yet,” I replied, “We’ll get one more to make ten. Ten is perfect.”

“Let’s go back to juvies. Those were fun,” Tasmeen giggled.

“Someone, find a juvenile detention centre close by,” I ordered.

“Excuse me, did you say juvie?” Daphne said, awestruck.

“Yah, he did,” Andre chimed in. Daphne shivered. 

“Why would we find a family member there? And why are we looking for more family anyway?” she asked.

I looked into her eyes, “It’ll be perfect,” I said.

“Maybe my siblings and I should be going now. Thank you so much for your kindness,” she said while grabbing the hands of Isabella and Lincoln.

“You mean our siblings. And no, you’re not going anywhere.”

“Oh, that won’t be nece-”


“You’ll regret leaving,” Andre threatened.

“You’ve been very kind, but-”


“Stay right where you are,” Thomas warned. That did the trick. Daphne stepped in the direction of us again, but she didn’t let go of Isabella and Lincoln.

“I’m so sorry,” I heard her whisper to them.

“Perfect. Now, all we need is a tenth member, and a house, and a car. Maybe a dog,” I said. Daphne flinched.

“Daphne’s scared of dogs,” Isabella whispered to me as soon as she was able to free herself from Daphne’s grasp, “There was a dog that would come by our old neighborhood, he would scare the life out of her.” We both laughed.

“So you’d be okay with getting a dog?” I asked her. She went silent.

The next day we arrived at a juvenile detention centre in Illinois. 

“I’ll go by myself,” I declared.

“I thought we always stuck together,” Andre argued, but I knew he couldn’t care less.

“There are too many of us to possibly be stealthy, so I’ll go in alone. Stay right here, you know I’ll find you no matter where you go.” I chuckled, then used a new trick that I’d learned to break in. Of course there was word going around that criminals were disappearing from their jails and juvies etcetera, so the security at these places was more intense. Before I could even enter the building, a girl in an orange prison uniform bumped into me. She scowled at me.

“What luck, I’m Eric. Who are you?” She shoved past me and moved on forward. Luckily my family was there to have my back.

“He asked you for your name,” Andre sneered.

“Don’t make him repeat himself,” Thomas snarled.

She flinched, “My name’s Evie,” the girl answered quickly, “I just escaped, take me back if you want to.” She held out her hands.

“I have a better idea,” I said, “Join us, and we’ll go far, far away from here.”

“Dude just say yes, I’m so sick of family searching,” Andre said. 

“Uh, okay,” Evie said, looking regretful. 

“The Simpnoia family is complete. Welcome, sister,” I vocalized.

“Uh, thank you.” Evie curtsied awkwardly.

“Be useful, Evie,” I said to her.

“Is this helpful?” She held up a cellphone. 

“How did you get that?” Isabella asked.

“Guards didn’t find it I guess.”

“Wonderful. Dad, Andre, tell Evie here the rules. And let’s get going, shall we?” And we were off.

I spent two years running from the law, and backpacking, sometimes getaway driving, from place to place with my new family. The day I heard about the greatest opportunity yet, I was getting our fake birth certificates and IDs printed by my buddy Rico in Rhode Island.

“Yo, I heard about an island not too far from here called Jimonrat, they’ve got barely any security. They don’t even send the criminals there to jail, or so I’ve heard.”

“Are you serious?” I asked him, “You think you could get us there? I’ve been thinking long and hard about where we can go next anyway.”

“Yeah, literally no one’s heard of it. I know a guy who works at the sailboat company that’ll take you there. I’ll give him your name.”

“I owe you yet another one, Rico.” Looked like my family and I were moving to Jimonrat.

June 05, 2021 03:11

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