She lived in a house of stress, anger, and anxiety. The house was full of arguments. When the voices were not loud enough to convey their anger, physical violence was used. The child hid in her room, trying to block out the anger, the blame. The pool of worry under her grew.

Coming home from school, she pauses at the door before going inside, listening for a sign if it was safe to enter. Something crashes into the wall and breaks. She decides to take a walk in the woods for a time before coming home. She keeps checking the time, making sure not too much time had passed. If too much time passed, it did not matter how angry her parents were at each other. If they were still in the mood to fight, they would turn on their daughter.

How could she get home so late? Didn't she realize that she hadn't cleaned her part of the house yet? The lawn also needed mowed. Didn't she know she was needed to help mow the lawn tonight? Now it's too late to mow.

The accusations would get twisted and put on her. She caved in on herself and sobbed.

But that did no good.

Her parents only became more angry that she 'put on a show of tears'. It was the child's responsibility to help the parents, and the child should not question the parents.

The punishments for not complying became worse, and the more that the little girl felt, the more personal the punishments became. Anything that the girl liked was taken away. She loved reading. She was building a nice little library for herself. Whenever the girl got in trouble, her books were taken away from her. After so many times of this occurring, the girl tried to develop a new hobby so that maybe she could keep her books. She started playing PC games. She meant it only as a ruse, but it grew on her and she truly started to love staring at that screen, moving her characters in accordance with the game's rules. Just as she started to develop a real profile online, it was taken away from her. Now, confined in her small room, away from the computer, she tried turning to her books again, but they no longer held the same appeal. She quickly remembered her love of reading again, but then the books and games were taken away at the same time. The girl learned to love nothing at all.

She started masking her feelings. Showing emotion on her face that she didn't really feel. The mask held up well out of doors with people who did not know her well, but it was seen through at home. When she was paid attention to.

But apparently a girl with no feelings would not do either.

That realization occurred when her father, angry at her for something-it was pointless to know what, there were too many options-only grew angrier when she did not respond. She responded verbally, saying all the right things, but the feelings were not there. The girl simply did not possess them anymore. Her father could not believe that a child of his could have no emotion, so he slapped her, knocking her glasses off her face. Her head turned with the force of the impact, but she did not move. She did not flinch as the hand came at her face. She did not wince as the red mark started to appear on her cheek. She did not even look toward where the glasses had fallen on the floor.

Her parents stood in shock looking at their daughter who had not responded at all during the whole incident. Her father asked her if she felt anything at all. It was only then that she looked up at him. Her eyes were devoid of emotion. He grabbed her shoulders and started shaking her, desperation beginning to show on his face as he tried to force some, any, emotion out of his daughter. Her mother grabbed his arm, begging him to stop, tears forming in her eyes and making their way into her voice. When the father let go of the child, the mother ordered her-with that wobbly voice-to go upstairs to her room. The girl complied, feeling nothing even as her parents unraveled below her.

As she sat in her room, waiting for what she knew was going to be a talk, likely followed by punishment, she tried to form some thoughts about what had happened. She realized that her parents had likely wanted some emotion, and that she was supposed to show emotion. She realized that it had been quite some time since she had felt anything. She would have to try to show some emotion in order to prevent future disasters like what had happened that afternoon. Her glasses could have been broken.

But she did not think any of these thoughts with emotion. If her glasses had been broken, it would have meant more punishment for her, but since they were not they were merely an inconvenience for her parents-lying on the floor so casually-, which meant annoyance against her. Those were just the rules of the house. The girl did not have feelings about it one way or another. But she was going to have to show emotions if she wanted to avoid the worse of the punishments. Not avoid the punishments because they hurt her, but simply because she knew that they were the worse punishments, and if she was to ever feel again the conditions would need to improve. She could not allow herself to feel anything when the living conditions were like this.

But as she sat and thought about how she was going to fake feeling something, she realized. She didn't know what it meant to feel anymore. She tried to remember the feeling "happy" but could not conjure up any memories in her mind. She scanned back through dusty files in her brain, searching as a computer would for anything with the keyword "emotion", but then she heard her mother's footsteps on the stairs.

Finding her feelings would have to wait. She had to endure this first.