***opinions expressed in the writing are not those of the author, but of the character***

June 1994

I listen to my parents arguing and wait to for the perfect moment to craw out from under the couch and raid the kitchen for food. Mom and Dad are in the bathroom, and I can hear the argument turning into pleading. Dad is making Mom do things she doesn't want too because she brought that medicine guy home after work. Dad likes the pills he gives her, but doesn't like what she trades to get them. She cries out, then begs him to stop, but he tells her she deserves it. I feel a pang of satisfaction; she hurts me, so now she's hurting. Of course, Dad always hurts me more than Mom, but no one hurts can really Dad. Dad is almost untouchable.

I shoot out from under the couch and hustle into the kitchen. Mom is screaming louder. I yank the drawers under the counter open and use them as steps to get into the counter. I open the cupboards above and grab one or two of whatever I could get. Cookies, crackers, fruit snacks, a pudding cup. I take my ill-gotten goods and move down the drawers again. I make sure to close them quietly before running to the couch. I dive back under and listen for my parents. She's still screaming for him to stop. Dad only made things really short, or really long, and I could tell this would be a really long one for Mom. But while she suffers, I'll prosper. I can go get more food.

I run out again and this time I'm gutsy enough to open the refrigerator. For a moment, I just stare at all the food. It always amazes me. Dad cusses at Mom and it pulls me back to my plan. I grab a can of pop, a bottle of water, an apple, a bag of grapes, an orange, and a can of whipped cream. I return under the couch to take inventory.

I lay on my stomach and eat the apple. I nibble off every piece right to the core. I take a sip of my water. I try to get the orange skin off, but can't so I roll it away. I eat a few grapes, squirt a bit of the whipped cream on my tongue, and decide to save the rest. I sigh happily at the food in front of me. I still have some grapes, a pudding cup, two cookies, a cracker, a package of fruit snacks, water and the pop. If I am careful, I can make it last for about four days. Maybe five if I was really careful.

I turn away from my food and debate whether or not it is worth the risk to run out for more. Mom isn't crying out now, but Dad is still calling her names. I decide to go get more, but this time only from the bottom cupboards. Just like before, I dart out from under the couch.

-x-x-x-

Half a bag of stale pretzels, a near empty jar of peanut butter, a candy cane, grapes, a pudding cup, whipped cream, a cracker, fruit snacks, two cookies, water and pop. I hit the jackpot. I could live off of this for days. It's rare that I usually can steal this much food. I keep it all together and just admire it. I'm happy, but just for a moment, because It is around. It pops into the corner of my eye. I look to my right to try to see It, but It jumps away. It returns, then leaves, returns, and then leaves again. It pops up on the left now. I throw myself over my food so It can't get it. I let out a scary growl to make It away.

I don't know what It is, or what It looks like, but It is horrible and evil. It likes to scare me and make me cry. I think my Dad knows It, and tells It to bother me when I'm bad. Dad says he always knows what I do and when I'm a bad boy, so it only makes since that he and It are partners. Now It will tell Dad that I was bad and took food. But I had to! I was so hungry. I had to do something. I have to keep my strength up. I can never make Dad happy, so he would put me in my place for something else even if I didn't get the food. I would rather get hurt but not be hungry than get hurt with an empty stomach. I could fight back if I have my strength.

It disappears and I wait for It to reappear. It likes to torture me like that. I put my knuckles in my mouth and bite down on them. I can't explain why, but I always bite my hand like this.

-x-x-x-

I scream and kick and spit and scratch and do whatever I can to try to get away from Dad. He pins my arms to my sides. I still kick for everything I'm worth. He knees my side and I cry out in pain. I try to wiggle away, but Dad is stronger than me. It must have told him about the food. I kick him in the stomach. He smacks me across my face, then pulls out three pills. I clamp my lips tight together. Dad punches my stomach and I can't help but scream again. While my mouth is open, he forces the pills in. He covers my mouth with his hand and straddles my torso. I keep trying to kick him, but it's not affecting him. I know now that I have very little leeway to try to stop him. No matter how much food I eat, I can't push him off of me. I'm still just a tiny boy and he's still a full grown man. I finally just swallow the pills and pretend that I'm not me. I do my best to pretend that I'm someone else, someone who gets to play outside and isn't hungry and doesn't have It around. It's hard because I know Dad is about to hurt me, but it's better to be unconscious than awake. Mom suffered a lot today, so I won't be suffering as bad as I could. Dad isn't up to torturing me too much tonight; he's tired from her.

My thoughts get fuzzy and I feel like I've been spinning in circles. I start to panic, just as I always do. My breathing quickens. My chest pumps up and down rapidly. I let out a strained whine.

I finally calm down, and just as I do, I know I'm gone.

-x-x-x-

I wake up against the hallway wall. The house is quiet. I sit up, and my whole body is sore. I'm covered in bruises and can feel crusted blood on my eyebrow. I rub the dried blood off, whimpering as I do. My stomach growls. I move to my hands and knees and crawl to the living room.

"You son of a bitch!" Mom screams. I look up. She standing over me with an angry glare. She has a black eye, and looks tired.

I whimper and look down.

She grabs my arm and yanks me off the floor. My feet don't touch the ground and I yell. Everything hurts so bad that I can't help but cry. She smacks me with her other hand. I scream again.

"You're the cause of all this!" She screeches at me. She drops me and I collapse to the ground. I try to crawl away, but she kicks me over and stands on my wrist. "You're nothing! Nothing! You're a useless piece if shit!"

I keep crying. It's all I really can do. I'm sore and exhausted from what Dad did already; I can't fight her abuse now, too.

"We should have killed you years ago." Mom hisses. She digs her heel into my wrist.

It pops up again. I look over quickly at It and try to see It, but can't. It makes me cry even harder. It keeps popping up, off to the side if my vision, and I keep searching for It. It's most likely spying for Dad while he's gone at work, and will tell him what Mom is doing to me. Dad will be happy that she hurt me. He always is.

"What the hell are you looking at?" She asks with a shaky voice. I avoid her eye contact and glance at It. She steps off of my arm, smacks my face, then grabs my shoulders and shakes me. "Stop! What are you looking at? Stop that! What's wrong with you?"

I'm bad. That's what is wrong with me.

"You're the reason for this! You! You ruined my life!" She keeps shaking me. My head bounces off the wall. "What the hell is wrong with you? What do you keep looking at?"

It keeps popping up, more rapidly this time. I try not to look at It, because I know that makes Mom and Dad angry, but it's hard not too. I want so badly to know what It looks like, what It's weaknesses and strengths were. If I knew, I could learn to scare it away. I twist my neck to the right to try to see It.

"What is wrong with you?" Mom kneels down in front of me. I whine and look away from her. She looks horrible, all tired and worn out, but somehow still keeps her typical beauty. Her olive colored skin may be bruised, but it still pretty. Her green eyes are clouded and worried, but still pretty. Everything from her long black hair to her painted toes are pretty. Too bad she's so mean, like Dad. "What's wrong with you?"

Hey guys! So, here you go, the new version of Directions. I rewrote it to fix some flaws that I noticed, and took a different perspective on it. I hope you like it! Please review