Pressure, noun, a constraining influence upon the mind or will, as a mental force. Pressure was building up inside of me, tearing at my insides, I wanted to scream. I brought out my pocket knife opening it up; the light glinted off of its black blade. I placed the blade delicately on my wrist, just resting on the skin, and then I pressed down, applied pressure. Pressure, the application of continuous force by one body upon another that it is touching. Then the original pressure is released as a small slit forms. The screaming in my head is silenced, leaving me only with the ecstasy of this pain, lacing through my wrist. Just one more scar to the collection.
I press a paper towel to the cut to stop the bleeding, and let it scab over for now. If I need it I can always pull the scab away later, and let more precious blood spill. When the bleeding had stopped I put my hoodie back on, it was black with red stripes on the cuffs. The same shade of red as my converses, and the same shade of red as the beautiful liquid that dripped from my pale skin. I ran one hand through my hair. It was long and hung in my eyes. The bangs were died red and my right eye wasn't visible under my mass of hair. My left ear had a bar through the top. My foster mom had almost yanked it out of my ear when she saw it. I wonder how much precious 'Mom', would freak if she saw the three rings I had in my belly button.
Freak, a thing of occurrence that is very unusual or irregular. I frowned, I had misused a word. I was like a breathing dictionary, full of information put into alphabetical order, carefully organized words, something that there was nothing particularly special about and that no one opened unless it was absolutely necessary. Like me, forgotten, gathering dust.
Well, not completely forgotten, I thought when I heard a voice at my door. "Chance, let me in." A voice whined outside the door. I put my knife away and opened the door, "Good morning Chance!" Camry exclaimed, smiling up at me with her arms outstretched, begging to be picked up. She laughed as I picked her up and spun her around, dropping her on my bed where she bounced happily. Camry was the only person who ever saw me smile, she was the only person who made my existence tolerable in this place.
There were three others, including Camry. One of them was a boy named Trace who was probably around ten. That was all I knew about him, he didn't talk to anyone and he looked at everyone with big eyes full of fear. The other was a seventeen year old girl named Hannah who was too loud and obnoxious. I was glad she was out of here in a year. Hannah was a baby found in a dumpster, she almost didn't survive but she made it and now she is a foster child like the rest of us. Passed around from family to family and came here hoping to stay awhile.
Camry was five years old. Her dad left them when her mom got pregnant with her and when she was about two years old her mother started drinking. Her mom was convinced that it was Camry's fault her good-for-nothing lover left her, and she screamed and beat her because of it. She came here when she was four because a neighbor reported her mother to child services.
When she came here I had only been here for a couple of months. She was led in by the social worker and she was wearing a little blue dress that was a bit too big and you could tell it was a hand-me-down. She was covered in bruises and she had a scar running across her left cheek. This little girl who had no reason in the world to be happy right now looked at me and smiled. She was always like that, smiling in the situations when most little kids would be screaming.
She still had nightmares about her mom attacking her and she would come crying to my room in the middle of the night. I would let her curl up next to me in her frog pajamas and hug her as she cried herself to sleep.
I kept my scars carefully hidden from Camry; I think they would make her cry. My beautiful white lines etching patterns across my skin, I think they would make her scream.
"Chance, Chance, guess what!" She said smiling, her big blue eyes meeting my grey ones.
"What is it Camry?" I asked her, sitting down on the bed beside her.
"I get to get a pet! I'm going to get a kitten!" Most people were shocked at how well Camry talked and her large vocabulary at her age; it was because her mother would hit her when she mispronounced words. Every time she uses a big word that I can't even pronounce, I wonder how many times she got slapped before she could say it.
"Did you know that cats have a kind of poison in their saliva that kills small animals when it gets in their blood stream?" I said.
I grimaced when I finished realizing I probably shouldn't have said that to a five year old that wants a kitten. "Really?" She asked, her eyes wide with amazement.
I smiled at her, "Yep."
"Camry!" a voice called from downstairs. "I've got to go get my kitten now. I'll show it to you when I get back!" She said smiling as bright as ever as she dashed out of my room and ran down the stairs.
Hannah walked by with her cell phone in hand, "You know it's really sweet how you're so nice to her." I stared at her, my eyes empty of emotion until she looked away, unsettled, and left. Empty, adj., void of content; containing nothing.
Now that Camry was gone the quiet was back, but this time it was too loud, blocking out everything else, suffocating. I reached under my sleeve and pressed on the scab, allowing myself a subtle throb of pain. My own reasons for being here stir in the back of my mind, a distant voice screams, "I hate you!". I press harder so that the throb turns into a soft ache. The voices and memories subside, settling back down in my mind, burying themselves away from sight; gone for now at least.
I sighed, there wasn't really much to do here, not when Camry wasn't around. I went down stairs to fix some breakfast. Our foster mom, Stacy, was talking on the phone in the dining room. She had a concerned look on her face and from what I could hear of her whispered side of the conversation, it was an argument. I poured myself some cereal and sat at the kitchen table trying to catch snatches of what she was saying.
"How do you know she is safe for her now?" She whispered angrily. "She is just fine where she is there is no need for her to leave…Yes I am fully aware of what the judge said." I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she fidgeted with the necklace she always wore. She always did that when she was troubled or angry. She glanced up at me and motioned for me to leave. I dumped the remains of the cereal out and returned to my room.
There I collapsed on the bed and turned on my TV but I wasn't really paying attention. I let my mind wander to guess at what she had been talking about. It sounded like she was talking about one of the girls. Maybe they wanted to send Hannah somewhere else. Of course 'mom' would fight that since she only has eight more months before she is eighteen; she probably wants to keep her here for that last little while. It made sense I guess, I decided to settle for that explanation.
I pulled down my sleeve and looked at my artwork, the little red line crossing over all of the old white stripes of skin. These little marks I've hidden away are as much a part of me as the wrist they stretch across. The first cut I ever made, I can tell it apart, its more crooked, rushed, I still remember the way it felt.
I had been cooking dinner because my mom was sick again. I was in the middle of chopping the vegetables when I heard it…the yelling. It wasn't the first time they had fought, and it happened increasingly now. Their voices carrying down the hall as meaningless shrieks. Their harsh tones grating me and causing me to tense up.
Mom was so sick and dad would go out and drink, he would come home drunk. Mom would yell at him and get out of bed and then he would yell at her and it would go back and forth for a while until…suddenly I heard a loud crash. He had hit her she had fallen, and the yelling had stopped. But the silence was worse, I didn't know if she was okay.
When I came back to myself I found that my left hand was clutching the cutting board and my right hand was holding the knife, poised over my hand. I carefully turned my left hand over, exposing the little blue lines that carried beautiful blood throughout my body. I carefully let the blade rest on my arm, by then I was shaking and I could hear my mother crying and my father cussing at her as she lay battered on the floor. I forced myself to press down, I saw the blood before I felt the pain, my hand jerked causing the line to curve. Then came the pain.
Hot pain shooting up my arm as red ran down my fingers making little drops on the table. Like scarlet rain drops falling from my wound. The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced, it blotted out everything, the yelling, the unbearable silence, the sobs, the horrible feeling of uselessness that I couldn't help her. It was all blotted out by the pain, that was when I first found my escape.
My second cut was about a month later, I tried so hard not to do it again because I knew it was bad. But it was such a temptation, every time they would start to fight I would feel my veins ache, it would have been so easy to just make it all melt away. But I resisted for so long. Until one day when my mother was feeling better she was even cooking that night. I didn't talk much there was one question that I had to get out. "Why?" I asked, my voice quiet.
She turned from the pot she was stirring, "Why, what sweetie?" she asked smiling at me, only her eyes betrayed how tired and weak she was.
"Why, do you stay with him?" I asked solemnly. The smile fell from her face and suddenly she looked so much older.
She gave a sigh, "He's not a bad man Chance. Its just that my illness is hard for him to cope with. He really is trying really hard, just give him a ch-"
"No." I interrupted, "Stop making excuses for him!" I yelled.
" You don't understand, I love him." I shook my head and stomped back to my room.
If that was love I didn't want any of it, she was so blind to what he was doing to her. Couldn't she see he was hurting her, killing her? I was so angry at her for putting herself through this, for putting both of us through this. I took out the packet knife I had bought for my fourteenth birthday and made a small cut on the side of my wrist that grew and curved around the skin. The anger dissipated leaving only the pain to fill my mind, as the blood stained my sheets.
After that I cut pretty often, whenever I needed a release from the pressure. I started wearing my hoodie all the time to hide the scars and when it was too hot outside I would wear a wristband. My mother was too sick to notice a change in my wardrobe and my father was too drunk to notice much of anything.
I sighed rolling over in my bed trying to rid myself of this recollection. I wondered when Camry was coming back. I buried myself in my pillow and drifted off into a deep sleep.
I woke up to Camry pounding on my back with one fist and holding a kitten in the other. The kitted was splayed out its claws grasping for something to hold onto as it dangled from Camry's small hand. I sighed, "Camry, you can't hold it like that." I said taking the kitten from her and setting it on my lap.
It curled up and looked at me with big grayish green eyes, letting out a piteous mew. "What's it's name?" I asked scratching the kitten behind its ears.
"I want you to help me name it!" She said beaming at me.
I sighed looking down at the purring kitten in my lap, "Why don't you just name it yourself?" I asked handing it back to her and showing her how to hold it.
"Because," she said in a begging voice, "I want you to help me…." She gave me a desperate look, complete with puppy dog eyes. I looked away determined not to be guilt tripped into this.
"Just name the cat yourself, Cam." I said giving her a warning look.
She paused a moment, thinking, "Thanks Chance!" she said hugging the kitten closer.
"Um, for what?" I asked, I was totally lost.
"I'll name her Cam! That way our names are alike, and all three of our names start with C!" She was naming the cat after herself? I shook my head, giving up on making sense of her.
There was a sudden knock on the door and Stacy came in, "Camry, sweetie it's time for bed." She looked like she had been crying. Camry got up and left waving goodbye to me as she went out the door. "Chance did you finish your homework?" Stacy asked me, leaning tiredly on the door frame. I nodded, we had two weeks vacation and I had finished my assigned project two days ago with a whole week left with nothing to do. "Chance?" I looked up at her waiting for her to continue. After awhile she just left without another word, wonder what that was about.
A week later, school was starting back the next day and I was lying in my room. I forced myself up and laced up my shoes, heading outside. Camry was running around the back yard and her cat was curled up in the flowerbed. "Stacy, Stacy, look at me!" Camry cried as she attempted a handstand.
"Good job Camry" Stacy called from where she was sitting on the porch. She seemed fidgety and she was constantly checking her watch.
A car drove up into the drive way and Stacy stood up angrily. "Damn it. They're early." I stared at her. Stacy had never cussed before to my knowledge. Something was extremely wrong here. I watched as she walked over to Camry intercepting the social worker that had gotten out of the car. Their voices couldn't be heard from where I was standing but it looked like an argument. I hear a door shut and looked to see that a woman had gotten out of the passenger seat of the car.
I had only seen the woman once in a picture in a newspaper but I recognized her immediately. She was Camry's mother. Camry ran across the yard and clung to me looking up at me with eyes wide with fear. "Tell them I won't go, don't make me go with them. Tell them I'm staying here." She pleaded with me, her voice trembling. Stacy and the social worker walked over.
"Camry, can you go get your things now?" the social worker asked in a fake sweet voice.
Stacy glared at her, "Camry, honey? Your mother was…sick, but she's better now, so you get to go home, ok?" Stacy said the pain evident in her eyes.
Camry held me tighter. "No, I don't want to go. I won't. Chance, tell them Im going to stay here with you."She said looking to me for support. I looked at her; her big blue eyes so full of trust, believing that I could save her. But I couldn't, I could never save anyone.
I looked up at Stacy, she refused to meet my eyes, "Don't let them take her, say she can't go."
She bit her lip, "There's nothing I can do Chance. They'll take us to court and her mother has been through rehab. Supposedly she's cured; the judge wouldn't want a child that didn't have to, to stay in foster care. I tried, but there's just nothing we can do."
"Chance?" Camry's voice sounded so lost and confused. I looked down at her, "Tell them I won't go, Chance." She said her voice sounding uncertain.
"Camry…You have to go." I said, my voice barely audible as I forced the words from my mouth, leaving a bitter taste. Her eyes widened with shock and she let go of me stepping back. She looked as if I had slapped her, and in a way, I might as well have. "N-no" she stuttered.
The social worker saw this as an opportunity and grabbed Camry's arm, hauling her back to the car. "I will be back for her things tomorrow." She called over her shoulder.
"No!" Camry started to scream, trying to pull away. Stacy couldn't watch and I couldn't look away as Camry screamed for me. "Chance! I don't want to go back. Don't let them take me, please! Help me; don't make me go back, Chance!" Her screams became more desperate as she began to cry, "Chance, please!" She began to hit the social worker. "Let me go!" The social worker managed to get her in the car and drove off. Leaving me frozen, I could still here her screaming, pleading for me to save her as the car disappeared. Frozen, Adj. Congealed by cold; turned into ice.
"Chance?" I gasped, this voice was not a scream, it was a whisper; a memory. The buried memory flooded my mind.
Mom was lying in bed. Too sick to even stand. "Chance say something." She pleaded, "You haven't even spoken to me in so long." The weakness in her voice disgusted me; I was filled with anger as I saw her shaking.
"I hate you," I whispered.
She gaped, and a tear ran down her face, "I can understand that." She said, in that despicably weak voice. "I'm sorry Chance, I love you." The tears were streaming down her face now. "I'll always love you." I scoffed and left the room, left her alone in the darkness.
Stacy's voice brought me back to reality, "I'm so sorry." And she went back inside. Leaving me standing here and staring into empty space.
A couple of months later, I hadn't heard anything about Camry. The social worker wouldn't give us any way to contact her, she just took Camry's stuff and left. She left the cat, it had been living in my room, and sometimes I wonder if Camry misses it. I keep myself busy with school work and other than that I just stay alive. I had two new cuts, just more bad memories etched into my skin.
I came home from school to find Stacy crying in the kitchen. I didn't even want to know what was going on; I tried to hurry up the stairs, "Chance?" she called out between sobs. I considered ignoring her but the next sentence stopped me cold. "Something happened to Camry." I walked back to the kitchen a cold dread settling in my stomach.
"Her mother went back to drinking. She was admitted to the emergency room yesterday evening." She paused a moment to wipe her eyes.
"Is she coming back?" I asked softly.
Stacy went into another wave of sobs, she shook her head "This morning, she died of internal bleeding" I couldn't breathe. "The doctors said that she gave them this number, and she kept asking," Stacy paused considering her words, "she kept asking for you." I clenched my fist, pressure welling up inside of me threatening to explode.
I ran up to my room, slamming the door behind me. It was all my fault, she had begged me not to let them take her and I didn't do anything. I took out my pocket knife and made a small cut. "Chance! I don't want to go back! Don't let them take me, please! Help me, Chance!" I pressed down harder making more blood well up. "I hate you! You killed her!" So many voices, so many horrible memories. I pressed deeper feeling the blade bite into muscle sinew.
Suddenly I was back in my living room one year ago. She was dead, he had killed her, he had killed my mother and I couldn't do anything to save her. The police were coming by later to question us. "It's all your fault." I whispered to my father who was standing across the room.
"No." He whispered.
"You killed her" I said louder. He just kept shaking his head. "I hate you! You fucking killed her!" I screamed at him.
My father lunged at me. He was on top of me his hands encircling my neck, his eyes wild. "I didn't kill her, Shut up! Just shut the fuck up! I didn't kill her!" He screamed. My hands clawed at his arms and my lungs begged for air. "I didn't do it damn it! It's not my fault!"He screamed shaking me. I was seeing spots and his voice was getting fainter. Everything went dark.
I woke up in the hospital just long enough for a doctor to tell me that when I got out I would go into foster care.
I came back to the present lying on the floor covered in blood. So much blood, and I was so cold. I couldn't feel the pain anymore, and the pressure wouldn't go away; this horrible guilt wouldn't go away. I heard someone scream my name but they were so far away I didn't bother to answer. I closed my eyes and let oblivion come.
I woke up in yet another hospital bed. A doctor was standing over me, "You have a visitor." They said and then left the room. Stacy came in looking a lot older than when I had last seen her. "Hi sweetie." She said in a tired voice. "You've been out cold for three days." She said. "Chance I'm sorry."
I stood up carefully and hugged her. "I know."
She patted me awkwardly on the back. "She really loved you, you know."
"Which one?" I asked.
"What?" Stacy asked, confused.
"My mother, or Camry?" I asked clarifying.
"Oh sweetie, both of them." Hot tears fell down my face. I hadn't cried in years. These tears were a little bit for mom, a little bit for Camry, a little bit for my father, and maybe even a little bit for me. And as each scalding tear fell a little more pressure disappeared. Disappear, verb, to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually.
A/n: This is a commission I did for one of my friends. I wrote it like a year ago so it's not my best work. I've had it posted on DA since I wrote it and figured I should probably put it up here too. Yes it's not a very happy story, but my friend loves "Kick-in-the-face" endings as we call them, so that's what I gave her. Tell me if you like it.