All for Hannah

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write a story about someone who's haunted by their past.... view prompt

22 comments

General

“He has been caught, and he will be going to jail”! The police officer says to one of his fellow officers as he handcuffs me. As he does this, I yell “I cannot go to jail, I have a family! Oliver, I thought you were the good cop!” “Jimmy, we are all good cops. but it’s been your twentieth time being arrested. We’re taking you downtown now!” Oliver is the police officer of my small town I am unfortunately all too familiar with, though I dare to admit he’s the one I would prefer to deal with than some of the others. Oliver is definitely exasperated after having to deal with me so much.

 “You cannot take me-I repeat- you cannot take me,” I pleaded, ”I have done nothing! I cannot deal with this anymore! My twentieth time! Are you kidding me?” In reality, guess I actually had done something: I had just been caught robbing the local convenience store, and I thought I would be able to get away with it, like I had so many times before, not including the other times I  had been arrested. I have been stealing money from the cash registers once they close the store, I steal food so my family can eat. However, today, this was not happening. Now, I am likely going to jail, and I might not be able to go home for a long time. I do steal for her to have a better life, but at what cost? I am suddenly full of regret, knowing this is the last time I will likely get away with it. However, it was all for my daughter Hannah who has nobody else since her Mom ran off. 

Sitting in my jail cell, I have many thoughts. Where did it all begin? I suppose living the criminal lifestyle it was all I ever knew. I felt like it was what I had to do, given the hand I was dealt in life: growing up in poverty with my lack of education, and the idea of me going to college was a joke, with high school itself being a fantasy. My Dad wasn’t able to support our family very well on his income alone, working at a small car mechanic shop, so he often stole cars, remodeled, and resold them before he died. My mother stayed at home with us, and my father didn’t want her to work, which she was fine with. She did the best job protecting us that she could, and she had been brought up in a family with criminals herself. I didn’t know what my Dad actually did until I was 13, and he wanted me to start preparing to go to work, so I lost my focus in school. That was my childhood, thinking that was normal. What other choice do I have with my lack of education, having not even finished the tenth grade? I was expected to drop out and support the family however I could. But, now, years later, I have a daughter to protect: Hannah. Trying to think of it in a more positive light, I think to myself that perhaps it’s actually a good thing that I did not get away from the cops, because I would be in jail even longer. With that being said, I suppose, in a way it’s a good thing that the cops caught me when they did. Besides, I could be in a much worse position.

 After all, if I were to not be in jail, learning my lesson, maybe something much worse could have happened.

As I sat, continuing to ruminate in this dank cell, I was suddenly interrupted from my thoughts with Oliver’s loud voice: “Hey buddy! Wake up. Looks like your daughter is in trouble, too. Maybe you should reconsider being a better role model. Also, I like you, but we can’t just keep letting you off the hook because of that. You gotta learn the right way, buddy!”  

I am astonished by what Oliver tells me next, though I shouldn’t be. I actually find I have tears in my eyes as I realize what has happened. Hannah had unfortunately gotten caught shoplifting for the third time...very expensive merchandise. She is only twelve! The last thing I want is for my daughter to end up just like her old man. My thoughts begin to race once more, and I wonder how I’ve gotten to this point.

I think to myself, “I should call Hannah and talk to her because she needs to know stealing isn’t the right way to live.” We never spoke in months anyways. I also plan to start doing right and to get a regular job just like everyone else as soon as I’m released...if that happens. I am luckily able to make a collection call.  I hear the phone ringing from the other end. A tiny voice answers on the second ring. “Hello,” I  hear her say. “Hi Hannah, it’s Daddy, how are you?”  She hears me, but she speaks no more after I introduce myself. I recognize that she knows I heard about what she did. She begins sobbing and hangs up without saying another word. What can I do for her if I’m in jail, though? Her mother left when she was a baby, and I don’t think my mother can take care of her once she gets out of juvy, or wherever they take her at this point. 

I suddenly awaken to my alarm clock screaming: BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. That is when I realize I have been dreaming. Thank goodness! I creep down the hall, peek in the door to  my daughter’s bedroom, and I gasp with relief to see my adolescent daughter, Hannah, sleeping soundly. I think to myself and do not want to say it out loud: how can I change my ways, so my daughter doesn’t end up just like me, a thief? It will only be so long before I get caught for the 20th time. Then, I begin to reflect: was I actually having a dream, or was it simply a premonition of what was to come if I didn’t change my ways?

July 24, 2020 22:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

22 comments

Galit Z
15:10 Jul 29, 2020

You kept me on the edge of my seat! Well done!

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:30 Jul 29, 2020

Haha.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sima Sadooghi
14:54 Jul 29, 2020

I loved the intro- such a great way to hook the reader in. Well done. Keep at it!

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:30 Jul 29, 2020

Thank youuuu!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Heather O'Dell
14:08 Jul 29, 2020

Simply awesome!

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:30 Jul 29, 2020

Haha, thanks. You taught me this :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Paula Agulnik
13:35 Jul 29, 2020

This is an amazing story . So suspenseful and beautifully written. It kept my attention throughout and especially loved the ending. Superb writing !

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:31 Jul 29, 2020

I am super glad. Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rose Zupnik
13:20 Jul 29, 2020

The story kept my curiosity going the whole time. Couldn’t stop reading as the suspense was mounting , my heart was racing. Finally the end of the story that it was only a bad dream Loved the story a lot. Very well written and suspenseful

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:32 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Adam Agulnik
02:33 Jul 31, 2020

Great story Ashley! It was so mesmerizing, I didn’t want the story to end.

Reply

Ashley Smith
02:37 Jul 31, 2020

Thx!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ranya Navarez
20:00 Jul 30, 2020

Loved this story's theme so much, Ashley!!! Good job!

Reply

Ashley Smith
20:04 Jul 30, 2020

Awwwww no. Thank youuuuuuuuu <3

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
James Gilbert
14:38 Jul 30, 2020

Good story

Reply

Ashley Smith
17:04 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you James!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Eric Zupnik
12:14 Jul 30, 2020

very interesting and suspenseful, very well written and given the story a very deep thinking.

Reply

Ashley Smith
12:30 Jul 30, 2020

Thanks.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
James Gilbert
18:06 Jul 29, 2020

Love your story so much.

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:29 Jul 29, 2020

Awwww, you are the sweetest! Thank youuu!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
James Gilbert
13:05 Jul 29, 2020

Great story

Reply

Ashley Smith
19:31 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you and miss you so much.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.