Hey guys! Sorry for my lack of updating,
there really is no excuse as to why I haven't uploaded. I've been very busy with school, work, and my band. So I really haven't been writing too often. I decided to check the site on a whim and saw that there were a few new comments to the story! That really made my day and encouraged me to hurry up to write and upload this chapter. I hope you all enjoy, and please keep commenting! It might not mean much for you, but to me, it means the world! It encourages me to keep the story going, and nothing's more exciting that that! Anyway, enjoy another chapter of Z's life and leave a comment to let me know how you're liking the story!

Chapter Twelve

I stared out of the window somberly. It was bright outside, the trees were nearly glowing with health, they had strong velvet brown trunks, and delicate emerald leaves. The sun glinted off of every edge, making me squint as I studied the thicket. Sarge jumped up suddenly, making me yelp in surprise. He leapt off of the bed then ran down the hall.

The palms of my hands started to sweat, but after a few moments of silence, I convinced myself to relax. Sarge was a dog, dogs do things like that. I sighed, Sam said I was safe here, and I had to trust him, he felt like the only other person I could trust. But I didn't feel safe here. I was always expecting someone to come out of the closet across from my bed, or someone to come down the hall, or through the window.

At least when I was with my father, I was already captive, I didn't have to be looking over my shoulder all of the time. And in a weird sense, not having to watch my back came as a great relief. But I suppose the taste of fear always at the back of your throat is the price of freedom. I was starting to become restless, Sarge was still after whatever had made him wake up suddenly, and I couldn't stand being alone.

I reached for the crutches I had placed at the foot of the bed. Though the pain medication had helped immensely, I was incredibly stiff, I felt as if I had aged fifty years. After slowly righting myself with the crutches I pushed myself off of the bed. As I exited the room I started to feel paranoia settle around me with the thickness of dread. The house was eerily quiet. It was still, I couldn't hear anything, not even Sarge's heavy breathing and wagging tail.

I crept down the hall with extreme caution, expecting to be attacked out of nowhere. As I turned the corner of the hallway to get into the living room someone grabbed the collar of my shirt and my left shoulder and threw me to the ground. I landed on my back with a painful scream. My ribs throbbed and new bruises bloomed on my back.


"What the hell was that for?" I cried, trying to get rid of the black dots swarming my vision.

Sam grabbed my arm and hoisted me up into a sitting position. "Sarge warned me, I thought someone was in the house."

"Yeah, me, you asshole!" I cried, not accepting his other arm. I protested as Sam heaved me on the couch. "Don't touch me!" I growled as he stepped away from me. "What do you mean you thought someone was in the house?" I asked after I had collected my thoughts. "Is there?"

"No," Sam assured me quickly. "Everything's fine, I was only prepared in case things weren't."

"God, Sam, you scared me." I huffed, pulling down the hem of my shirt. "I don't appreciate being attacked." I sighed. "Been there, done that."

"Calm down," Sam put his arms up in a defensive position. "Sarge heard a car that got too close. It wasn't your father; it was just someone who needed to turn around." He put his hands down. "I told you, Z, you're safe here." I stared at him steadily, he held my gaze.

"Next time you think someone's in the house will you tell me?" I asked. "I could've hid in the closet or something."

"If I really thought someone would be in here, you would know." He said steadily. "What did you come out here for? You really shouldn't be on the crutches."

I looked down, my face had a tint of pink to it, but I said what I had to anyway. "I… I didn't want to be alone." I mumbled quietly. I sounded about ten years younger, but I didn't care. I was scared, and for good reason. I wasn't going to lie about it.

Sam sat down next to me. "It's okay to be scared, Z. You've been through a lot. But don't worry, you won't have to be scared all the time anymore."

"Are you…" I stopped, scared of my own words. Sarge walked in the room from the kitchen, he wagged his tail as he saw me and laid at my feet. "He's the reason I'm scared, he causes the nightmares. The only way to make it stop is if he's gone." I looked at Sam, hoping he would understand what I meant so I wouldn't be the one to say it.

"Do you want your father dead?" He asked emotionlessly.

"I want the nightmares to end." I mumbled, words shaking on my lips. "I… I… no one deserves to die, but if anyone did… he'd be the one."

"Do you really think that?" Sam's eyes softened.

"I don't know." I sighed. "Sometimes I see him as a man who just wants his kid back." I slouched my shoulders, making myself smaller. "But other times, I see him as an evil bad man, like the main nemesis of Superman or something. Really, really bad." I sighed. "He tried to make it up to me, but nothing can bring my mom back. Any good he does won't bring her back, it won't make my scars disappear, or my memories, or nightmares. I don't get why he even tries."

"There's no doubt that your father cares deeply for you, Z. You're right, he does just want his kid back, but he's also a very, very bad man." Sam put his hand lightly on my shoulder. "It's not just what he does that makes him bad, it's how he thinks, how he is. He hurts you, he wants you to care for him too, and because he realizes that you don't, he'll force you, by any means possible."

I shivered. "Isn't it just easier to let me go?" I asked. I couldn't help but feel like I fly lost in the intertwining webs of hundreds of spiders.

"Not for him, Z. You're very special."

"I don't understand a lot of this, Sam." I sighed; I put my head in my hands, kneading my fingers through my hair.

"I don't expect you to, Z. No one can understand this, your father has a lot of power; he can do whatever he wants, no matter how crazy it is." Sam let his hand fall harder on my shoulder. "I need you to understand this though. Your father is very powerful, he has a lot of resources, a lot of money, and he will use it to get whatever he wants. He is not to be underestimated."

"I already know that." I sighed. "It's what I've been running from all of my life."

"Z," I looked up at him, letting my hands drop from my scalp. "It's very important that you understand how reckless your father can be. He will risk everything to get to you, and that's very, very dangerous."

"How…?" I started but let the words die on my lips. I didn't understand my father at all, how would I understand what he would risk. I understood he was dangerous, but what Sam was telling was that he can become even more dangerous than I ever saw him. That thought was enough to make my brain and thoughts turn into a meaningless puddle of fear.

"Get some rest, Z." Sam got up and held his hand out. "You don't have to understand all of this completely. It's a lot to take in, but I hope you understand it before you have to be a victim to it."

"I'm not sure I want to understand it… it's scary. Terrifying." I mumbled as I grasped onto his arm. He hauled me up to hand me the crutches.

"The world is terrifying, Z." He mumbled monotonously. Sam was hardened, he was probably ex-military or CIA or FBI or something, he had seen a lot, and even he was still afraid of the world. With all that he had seen, he was still wary of my father. "But don't worry too much Z, with any luck you won't have to see much of it."

"Yeah," I mumbled thoughtfully. I had made it to my room, Sarge following close behind. I plopped myself heavily on the bed, after I had gotten settled Sarge jumped up and made himself comfortable.

"I'll be two rooms down if you need me." Sam mumbled then quietly closed the door.

I was left with heavy thoughts. The world was terrifying. I knew that… and Sam wants to keep me from seeing it. But did I want that? Sure I want to be safe from my father, safe from people who wanted to hurt me. But did that mean I would have to spend a life in solitary with Sam watching over my every move? I wouldn't have to watch my back, but Sam would.

With a stark realization I grew pale. Sam wanted the same thing my father did. He wanted to watch over me with a careful eye and make sure I wouldn't leave his sight. But that wasn't all true, was it? Sam doesn't want to hurt me, he doesn't want my affection, or to keep me prisoner. All the same, the similarities chilled my bones, and if it wasn't for Sarge sleeping so close next to me I would have been too terrified to fall asleep.