Chapter One

I didn't want to go home. As soon as I got home, I knew what I was going to get. I'd forgotten to make my dad his coffee before I left to catch the bus. I'd also forgotten to start his car so that it was warm by the time he left to go to work. I kept looking at the clock praying that the big hand would never touch the seven. Pretty soon it did, and my stomach dropped.

The whole walk home alone was a nightmare. I started developing a cold sweat, my stomach kept itching to make me hurl for the amount of anxiety I was feeling, my heart felt as if it wanted to break open my chest cavity and leave me to die. It would be a blessing compared to what I was about to face.

"...you little shit..."

The rough voice of my father had a razor blade tone to it. That meant he'd been drinking. He was more dangerous when he was drunk than he was sober. I just stood by the door with my calculus and my chemistry book clutched to my chest with my eyes on the ground without saying a word.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you!" he yelled before hiccuping.

I jerked my head up to see that he was no longer in the entryway to the living room, now he was right in front of me. I tried to keep eye-contact with him as much as could. Now the turning in my stomach had paused as well as my heart, my lungs clenched in my chest. I couldn't breathe.

"...you think your such a smart ass...look at ya? When's the last time you got laid, huh? You...sit up there with your...your damn books all day...studying...for what? Exams...for college?! You think I'm gonna pay for that shit?" he asked, his voice a drunken slur.

"I-I said I'd pay for it, if you'd just let me get a-"

I wasn't able to finish my sentence. My books landed on the ground with a loud thud as he hit me across the face with his clenched fist. I curled up as much as I could against the door, holding a hand to my head in case he'd hit me again. I could taste blood in my mouth and my head began to pound. My breathing became shortened.

"How many times do I have to tell ya to keep your God damn mouth shut while I'm talkin'...you smart ass...piece of shit..." he cursed before kicking me harshly in my side with his boot.

I had to bite my lip to stay quiet. If I made a sound, it would only get worse. My face began to redden as I fought against coughing.

"...get your ass up and make dinner..." he commanded before spitting in my hair.

When I could no longer hear his foot steps, I took deep breaths and coughed between them until tears were falling from my eyes. I wheezed painfully after my coughing fit passed, something I knew was coming. I'd forgotten my inhaler again. I gathered what air that I could, but without my inhaler my air supply was still shortened and my head began to spin. I crawled what little way I could toward the stairway, ignoring the hock of spit my dad had left that was now rolling its way off my hair to the floor. I felt something hit my side as if it'd been thrown at me.

"God damn it, boy! How many times do I have to tell you to keep that shit in check?!" my father yelled from the living room.

I felt for the thing he had thrown at me and felt my inhaler. I quickly brought it to my lips and pushed the top, a cold blast of medicine shooting down my throat. I held my breath for ten seconds to allow it to do its job before breathing slowly, my airways cleared. I felt exhausted, but I needed to make dinner and take a shower, so I forced myself up to gather my books from the floor before making my way up the stairs to my room and I set my books on the desk. I then made my way to the bathroom to clean the spit out of my hair in the sink and used a baby wipe to clean the spit that had trickled down the bridge of my nose. Finished with that, I walked down the stairs with a clean baby wipe to clean the spit from the floor before glancing into the living room to see my father asleep in his recliner with a bottle of Jack in his hand.

My father works as a construction worker, and depending on the job he has to do determines how much he gets paid and how late he comes home. He's 6' 2" with a slight muscular build underneath his black t-shirt and blue jeans. His black work boots are stained with dried mud. He's slightly tanned from working in the sun all day, though in the fall and winter he pales to a normal Caucasian. He has dark brown eyes and black short-cut hair that's always messy from wearing his helmet. He almost never shaves, so he currently has a dark stubble along his jaw, chin, and over his upper lip.

I walked into the kitchen and pulled the freezer door open to see what we had to cook. All we had was frozen fish and fries. The rest was frozen pasta. I knew what the result would be if I tried feeding it to him.

Once the fish and the fries were in the oven, I threw the empty boxes away and washed my hands of the grease and crumbs and I opened the fridge door to grab a can of soda. When I straightened myself before closing the fridge door, I looked across to the living room from the kitchen to see my dad asleep with his head lowered and his bottle still clutched in his hand as if he refused to let it go. I pulled the cooked fish and fries from the oven once they were done, then made him and myself a plate. After that, I placed his plate on the end table beside the recliner so he could eat once he awoke and I took mine with me upstairs along with my soda.

I ate and did my homework at the same time. I had a test coming up on Friday and I needed as much practice as I could since I haven't been getting enough sleep lately and it's hard to pay attention in class anymore. My grade in both classes went from perfect A's to B's in a week. I blame my father for that since he keeps me up at night, always fetching a beer or a whiskey bottle for him until he passes out. I knew better to ignore him.

I know what you're thinking: How the hell did all of this start?

When I was thirteen, my mother had had enough of my father controlling her. Before then, my mother was the kind of girl who always dressed nice and lady-like until daddy went off to work and then she'd change into her going-out clothes, usually a black short-sleeved shirt with a low V-neck, black skinny-jeans, high-heeled boots, and her hair was more wild. She always wore a lot of makeup and perfume. She'd take me and my brother with her and leave us at my uncle Jake's place while she partied until about a few hours before dad would leave to go home from work, then she'd dress nice and proper and clean herself up just in time as he rolled into the driveway. I never said a word because I loved my mother...even if sometimes I got lonely when she left us.

I asked her why she did these things and she said it was a stress-reliever from dad. Before my mom left, he was a successful business man in charge of a major construction agency that dealt with heavy projects like banks, businesses, warehouses, stuff like that. He disapproved of my mother's life-style. He was strict then, and he still is now. He wanted a normal family life without any extra added to it. My mom on the other hand wanted it all, partying and kids at the same time. My thirteenth birthday was when she had finally had enough. They were arguing over something, but I couldn't hear all of it because I was in the backyard watching them through the kitchen window with my younger brother who was only nine. My dad finally said something that made her snap. She grabbed my brother and walked away as he began to cry.

"You can keep YOUR son, then! At least he'll grow up to be just like you, you BASTARD!" she shouted as she got into her car after strapping my brother into the back-seat.

"I don't want to ever see that filthy wretch around here again, and I won't complain if I never have to see your disgraceful self either! Just go!" he yelled back from the front porch.

I was too stunned to try and stop my mom from leaving. I wanted to cry, but nothing came as I watched her drive away with my little brother crying as he struggled in his seat as he tapped on the glass while looking at me. I just stood there with my eyes widened a bit and my mouth gaped open. My father let out a heavy sigh as he walked back inside before slamming the door. That day, everything I'd ever known went to hell. My mother sent divorce papers and my dad signed them without even reading them completely. She kept full custody of my younger brother, so I never get to see him, and my dad kept full custody of me to keep me away from my mother even though she'd fought so hard to take me too. At first, I didn't want to leave my dad...now I regret it, because in the four years that passed my father began changing into a monster.

He got fired from his job and started drinking. He got hired onto a less-paying job where he started early and worked late until he was promoted, now he usually gets home an hour or so before I get out of school unless something goes wrong or something doesn't get finished.

Between trying to get my grades to stay the way they are and trying to get myself into college, the abuse I get from my father is only making what I'm doing to try and ensure myself a better future more difficult than it is. Besides Calculus and Chemistry, I have straight A's. I'm a well-liked person in school. Teacher's love me. I only have one friend, though. I figured having one friend couldn't hurt. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be able to continue living because I can't make myself smile, but he always seems to find a way to make me.

"Hey, you little shit, get your ass in the shower so I can take mine!" my dad shouted from downstairs.

I sighed and closed my book before standing up from my desk chair to leave my bedroom for the bathroom. While I showered, I kept thinking about the test coming up. I needed a good grade to bring my grade in Chemistry to go up to an A where it was before. Maybe if I mix a few of his liquors, he'll pass out quicker. If he catches me...I'll take the punishment.

I stepped out of the shower and walked out of the room after wrapping a towel around my waist only to freeze seeing my dad standing at the end of the hall by the stairs. A chill ran down my spine.

"Look at ya...your skinny as fuck...no muscle on ya whatsoever...you got that...damn...face...like your mother...that whore..." he grumbled before taking a drink from his bottle of Jack Daniels before he lowered it to look at me. "You know what I hate about you...boy?"

I stayed silent.

He walked his way over to me slowly, having a drunken limp in his walk. "...I hate...those...fucking...eyes...that you got. Those...fucking eyes...I gotta look at 'em every fucking day...they're just like hers." He grabbed me by the throat and harshly pressed me against the closed bathroom door while I grabbed for his wrist. "I shoulda let her take your worthless, pathetic, smart-ass bitch self...I wouldn't have to look at your fucking face anymore..."

I closed my eyes tightly and my mouth opened to silently scream as he tightened his hand around my throat, almost completely crushing my air-supply, and I clawed at his wrist. My whole body went cold with fear and my head quickly began to pound, I could feel another asthma attack coming and I didn't want to pass out. If I passed out, God only knows what he'll do with me.

"Go ahead. Scream. Call for help, you little bitch. No one's coming to save you...not even that friend of yours..." he said hatefully.

I tried to scream again. All that came out was a pitiful whimper and a hacking sound.

"...such a worthless shit..." he spat before releasing my throat, watching as I sunk to the ground on my knees. "Go make yourself useful and stay in your room so I don't have to look at your face."

I coughed harshly while holding my throat before quickly forcing myself to stand to make my way into my room before I closed the door. I collapsed to the floor while gasping harshly for breath and I crawled to my desk to reach for my inhaler that I loosely grabbed between my fingers to bring to my lips. I pushed the top for another blast of the medicine before pulled the inhaler away while holding my breath and I let it go slowly, then I pulled myself to my feet and made my way to my bed to collapse without putting my pajamas on. My head was so heavy that I almost fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

'...Emmet...Emmet...'

I opened my eyes and lifted my head from the pillow. "Mom...?"

I looked around my room to see nothing before lowering my head.

"Of course you're not here...when are you ever here?"

Tears began forming in my eyes and I shook with the force of my sobs that I fought to keep silent against the pillow. I was close to suffocating myself with how deeply I dug my face into the pillow with my hands gripping the sides out of anger and spite that I felt toward my mother for all these years. I wanted someone...anyone...God, send me an angel if you can...send anyone. Help me. Someone help me.