"No, please don't!" I pleaded as he came closer. His threatening form was in a rage. I had never seen him so angry. His brown eyes were burning with such intensity it was terrifying. I took another, shaking step back.

"It's all your fault and you know it! So suck it up and take your punishment!" He half yelled half growled. I knew he was drunk. He had been drinking more and more lately. It was a way to cope with his wife's death. I knew this well. I also knew very well that it wasn't my fault. Mom had gotten sick. It was out of anyone's control. To say that at the moment, however, was a death sentance.

"I'm sorry," I whimpered. He came closer to me, wobbling slightly. I turned to the side and ran out of the kitchen into the living room. This was a bad idea because I tripped over the lamp cord and fell, the lamp crashing down ontop of me, hitting my head. I felt blood trickle down the side of my head and everything was fuzzy. I tried to crawl away, my survival instincts kicking in. A rough, hard hand grabbed my ankle and pulled me back, rug burning my stomach.

"Ah!" I cried out, flailing helplessly against him.

"Shut up and stop moving!" He commanded, giving me a hard pound in the gut. I curled up, trying to protect my head and stomch while he kicked me in the ribs. He left me there and I sighed with relief. However, I should have known it wasn't over, because he came back with his old horse whip. What's worse, is that my father is strong from years of ranchwork. This would not end well.

I curled up tighter, trying not to feel.

CRACK!

The whip stung more than I expected and I had to bite down to keep from screaming. He tugged at my hands hard. I couldn't resist long, I am weak in comparison, especially with my fuzzy head. He wrapped one of his ties around my wrists and tied the other end around the table leg. This frightened me more than the whip. I tried to pull free, but he had used a knot that only tightens when you pull. I was doomed. He yanked my shirt up so that it was upside- down over my face and arms, leaving my stomach and back bare. I wasn't sure what he was going to do, but if he went anywhere near my bra I would-

CRACK!

I screamed this time. The whip had come in direct contact with my skin. I bit down hard, trying not to feel, but knew it wasn't going to happen.

CRACK!

This time, I yelped. He had gone harder this time. Each time after that was worse and worse. I could almost see stars. When he was satisfied, he dropped the whip and left. I couldn't move. Even if I wasn't tied down, I was in too much pain to do more than breath.

This was everyday for a year. When I turned seventeen, I finally had the guts to tell a professional about the beating. I was taken from my father and sent to a foster home with about five other kids, all younger than me. Lily, who is fifteen, is a little snot who thinks she knows everything. She even goes for the blonde pigtails and glasses look. Somehow she thinks this makes her look smarter. Dustry is a twelve year old boy with a passion for the Beatles. He is a cool kid with a nice sense of humor if you don't mind a lot of sarcasm. Jen is a shy little nine year old who likes to go off and draw her advanced pictures. At least for her age. However, the things she draws worries me. Sometimes they're a little gruesome for a kid her age. It would help if I knew her story, but I didn't ask. Next there's Miles. He's the rowdy boy of the bunch who likes to make new things up. He tried to make a robot out of paper towel rolls, didn't work out too well. And last but most certainly not least, is Amy. The sweetest little six year old you'll ever hope to meet. She has one of those imaginary little worlds full of rainbows and unicorns. She often plays with her ponies and tells stories about the princess castle where the prince was a magical dragon. I never get tired of hearing her tell her story. The way her eyes grow wide when she really gets into it cracks me up.

The foster parents aren't like those scary, fighting people you hear about, but they've seen people like that before. Adrian is a sweet, older woman with short red hair that is so obviously dyed and wears a little too much make up. Her husband, Joe, is a funny old man with a large belly and a thick, grey mustache. Despite my misfortunes in life before, I can have my happy moments here. Of course there are those times when my mind wanders back to my year with my father. I still have nightmares and often wake up screaming. This never ceases to anger Lily, but Adrian and Joe are understanding and try to help. Unfortunately, I am beyond help. My scars are so deep I don't know if I'll ever fully heal. My worst times during the day, is at school. I just walk with my head hung and hope no one notices me. Luckily, no one really does. I don't even get called on in class. I just go through my day and do the work. I never do extra activities or stay after for any reason.

Adrian and Joe have tried to get me into activities. Joe tried to get me into soccer, saying that the local team could use my long legs, but I just wasn't coordinated enough. Adrian tried musical classes, but the notes were more confusing than numbers in math problems. I didn't want to disappoint them, but I just wasn't cut out for that stuff. I just focus on keeping my mind busy and not remembering my past.

I was, at the moment, sitting with my councelor, Ellen. She is a young woman with glasses that she never wears on her eyes, just her head. Her shoulder- length blonde hair and business suit gives her that professional look, but she is far from that in personality. She isn't afraid to give an eyeroll or say, "Oh my gosh," in response to a rediculous story. She is more like a friend who gives educated advice.

I had just told her about my latest nightmare. It was more like reliving a memory. I told her about how I awoke shivering, to freaked to even scream. It was wose than the others.

She nodded, listening intently. She held her hands clasped in front of her, her elbows resting on her knees, "I see. Is this the first time this has happened?" Her hazel eyes showed concealed worry. I knew her that well.

I nodded, wondering what It could mean to have her worrying so badly.

She straightened, "Well, this could be due to you thinking about it before you fell asleep, or perhaps you're worried that he'll come again?"

I shrugged, I didn't really remember. I had been thinking about my father a lot lately, so that could be the reason.

She stood up and poured herself a second cup of coffee, "So, Adrian and I have been talking. We came to an idea of trying something new for you."

Oh boy, here we go again. This is just like soccer and music classes.

"I think you should try dancing. There's a great program that teaches more than one style. What do you say?"

I chewed on the inside of my cheek, "Well, I-" I sighed, not sure.

She smiled, "Well, you don't have to make up your mind now. We can discuss it next week, because we're out of time," She set her coffee cup down as I stood up before giving me a warm hug, "You should just try it. What can it hurt?"

I sighed inwardly, "I guess I'll try it."

I know, not too exciting. I'm just trying to get it rolling. I promise there will be longer, more interesting chapters. Please review and tell me what you think.