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Wake Me Up

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I sat on the bench while the thunder bellowed above me, sending more rain onto my already soaked body. I got a glimpse of the view that was hidden in the dark night when a burst of lightning struck nearby. I jumped at the flash and felt my heart skip a beat. My stomach already hurt and the jump scares weren't making it any better. The noise hat came after the lightning was so loud that I wasn't even sure it was thunder, all I recalled was the ringing in my ears it left.

The skin on my bare legs was covered in goosebumps from the ice cold water splashing on me from the people running by and through the puddle at my feet to get to their safe, warm houses. None of them bothered to stop and ask if I needed anything. They just thought the wet girl on the street was a meaningless nobody. Who wanted anything to do anything for the homeless kid anyways? They may just have to spare it a dollar to buy a piece of bread, that's all. Besides, all the rich, snotty people lived in London, right? I was only a filthy American. We have no business in London.

My frozen hands found the scar that ran from my temple to my chin. Every ugly inch of it was filled with horrific memories that I wish I could forget. But, I knew, even if I got amnesia, I would never forget the story behind that mark. I would always be reminded when anyone pointed and asked in a confident, inexperienced voice, "how'd you get that?" Wouldn't that be a story to tell? For the ones who have't experienced it, its it only something to think about for a while, then forget and move on in life. There was none of that for me, I hadn't gotten anywhere in life and it would remain that way until my life was over.

I tried my best to push the wet strand of bang out of my eye only to have it return every time. Instead I resorted to pulling my jacket sleeves over my hands and holding them there for a few seconds before my bare shoulders would get cold. The only good thing about the rain was it numbed the rest of the scratches a bruises I owned. It felt good for the moment, but they would be back tomorrow, maybe even more sore and angry than they were today.

Another flash of lightning struck even closer by, making me stand up in the puddle without knowing it. My weak legs shook under my weight, I hadn't eaten in days and the frost bitten rain wasn't making the matter any better. I felt like I was going to collapse out from under myself at any given moment, and maybe not get back up, but the racing heartbeat kept me standing. I pushed the hair out of my face again and looked over to my left where I thought I heard a voice. I thought it was maybe someone who could take me home, but all I could see was a dim street light struggling to stay alive in the night.

I flickered slightly, changing in the amount of light it gave out onto the sidewalk. I squinted to try to see the scene clearer. I started chewing in the sore in my mouth again and l felt myself lean forward as if it would help my sight. My heart began beating faster and faster with every raindrop that fell on my head, so much so that I had forgotten about being hungry and worthless for the moment.

Suddenly, the light turned on to perfect working order, and it shone down on the shadow below standing below it. I jumped back and felt my feet give from under me. I was suddenly on the cold, wet ground, my mouth was wide open and gasping for air as if I was drowning. The shadow stood under the brightness again for a few more seconds before the streetlight went completely dark again. As if on que, the memories rushed into my head, the darkness of the night serving as a chalkboard to show each vision with bright, white chalk.

The first thing to enter my mind was the yelling, the low bellows coming from the drunken man in the kitchen. Swear words poured out with each insult thrown. I shook my head to try and get rid of the images, but they kept pouring in, like the rain on the dirt, washing away all the pretty flowers and leaving room for the weeds to grow.

I saw him hovering over mom, I saw the fear in her eyes and the carving knife in his hand. She looked at me and I stared back in horror. He shouted at her, spit flying off his lips and onto her bruised face. I ran forward and was knocked down on the ground by a strong hand. I saw his face, clear as daylight, projected on the dark air before me. His teeth were black from smoking and his breath was stained with alcohol. I tried to pull away, my finger nails stuck into the wooden floor. He wouldn't let me go and held my wrists down to keep me from squirming.

"What are you doing, slut!?" He spat at me, "Your mother doesn't need you. She fine with me!" He scolded me. I remembered the tears streaming my cheeks and how they stung my eyes. I wasn't thinking anymore, I just needed to escape, get away from him, no matter how I did it.

"You'd better go to your bed or I'll put you to bed in a coffin underground," he held up the carving knife for me to glance at. I saw my reflection in the metal, my scared expression and the black eye I sported. A single tear ran down my red cheeks. My mom started screaming at him, but there was nothing she could do, unless she wanted to get killed herself. The grip on my wrists grew tighter as the knife slowly made its way down to my face.

My shoes tried their best to get a hold of the drowning concrete but nothing could lift me up, both of my hands were pressed against my wounded cheek, trying to protect it from my own reflection. The rain became hail and the lighting struck quicker. I woke up from my trance and took a big gulp of the nippy, humid air. My eyes stared widely out into the distance and a strike of lightning lit up the shadow under the street light. It was still there, looming, and staring back at me. With the next flash, I could see his face peering from the shadow, like he was waiting for me to recognize him so he could punish me for leaving.

I'm not sure how, but I was suddenly again on my feet, running as fast as my exhausted body would let me down the middle of the street, away from him and his knife. Away from his yelling, away from his face. My breathing was hard and rapid and shook at the sound of thunder. The bruises and scratches that were numbed began to ache again and only grew worse with each step I took on the hard asphalt. But nothing was going to stop me from running from him. He was my nightmare, my living nightmare. My only nightmare.

I'm not sure how long I had been running before the pair of headlights broke the darkness and rain and were quickly gaining on me. My arms were held out towards the light while my feet slipped in the rain. I wanted the light badly, so badly that when I fell to the ground I kept crawling towards them. Somehow I knew they would help me, and I would do anything for them to be mine.

Only seconds passed and the steady sound of a motor filled my ears and cut over the sound of rain. I held up my hand to be sure they saw me. The headlights were now so close that I was being blinded, but I stared back like a deer about to be hit. To my relief the motor slowed down the the lights stopped just in front of me. I felt the smooth bumper with my shaky fingers and tried my best to hold onto the slippery surface while I puked on the road. I was so weak, but I could wipe off my lip and look up at the new shadow that came running out of the car. Without saying a word, the stranger lifted me up and off the ground like a wet rag doll and dragged me over to the car. I was lifted into the back seat and laid against the warm leather interior.

Heat rushed on my face and nipped at my frozen fingers while I laid against the soft interior of the car. I was staring at the mirror that perched above the windshield and a pair of blue eyes looked back. I opened my mouth to try to say something, but the eyes left me speechless. They were comforting, and just the sight of them made my heart calm down to a steady heartbeat. As the ringing from my ears began to fade away it was replaced by the soothing melody of a piano and a voice singing in time with each other. I coughed and felt a warm liquid run off my lip, but I wasn't worried about what it was at the moment.

As my thoughts grew lesser, I began to hear another voice, similar to the one with the piano, but it was more demanding, but just the way his voice sounded kept me calm, the way words came out of his mouth and tumbled through my ears. I didn't understand what was being said, all I remember hearing was:

Cause maybe you're lovable, maybe your my snowflake. And your eyes turn from green to grey in the winter I'll hold you in a cold place. And you should never cut your hair because I love the way you flick it off your shoulder. And you will never know just how beautiful you are to me. But maybe I'm just in love when you Wake Me Up...















~*~

I could see the sunlight through my eye lids when I woke up, I didn't dare open them in fear what I would see where I was. Maybe I was sent back to where I came from. Maybe it was all a dream and I never left my house. Maybe I was back in the loft where I slept and I would wake up to see the picture in the broken fame on the wall opposite to my bed. Maybe he was waiting for me to wake up so he could cut my other cheek. Or maybe I was in a fancy hotel and everyone was waiting to throw me a party. Maybe I was in a new outfit and seventeen butlers were waiting to serve me seventeen different cakes. Then later on I would swim in a golden pool. Maybe I was laying in a king sized bed with silk sheets and velvet pillows. Maybe my nightmare was over and I would have a party thrown in my success.

Expecting more now, I opened one of my eyes and immediately saw a ceiling fan whirling over my head. My other eye opened quickly after, and I looked around to only be bummed not to see butlers with cakes. There wasn't even a single cake waiting for me to try a piece of its delicate sugar frosting. Instead I saw a simple wooden nightstand with a clock on top. It was 8:37 and judging from the sunlight that streaming in through the window on the wall, it was only morning.

I shifted my feet under not silk sheets, but some sort of fabric. I weakly pushed a light comforter and sheet off my body. I wasn't wearing any shoes or socks, or a jacket. I still had on my jean shorts and tang top on though. They were dry and so was my hair. I sat on the edge of the bed so my legs hung off the side and I looked at the rest of the room I was in. It was a small room with a single window looking out to a park of some sort. There was a dresser against the wall opposite to the one that the bed was against. Leaning up against it was a guitar, smaller than most I've seen. It looked like it had been used judging from the bumps and scratches it wore. I got up and stood on the soft carpet with my bare feet and stepped silently to the dresser. I ran my fingers up and down the guitar's strings and played with the knobs at the top of it.

After checking out the rest of the room, which wasn't as interesting, I came to the door with the golden knob. I could I see my reflection in the gleaming metal and covered my sad face with my palm. I pushed the door open to a hallway with a few pictures hanging up on the walls. I peered my head from the door and looked out into a living room. I took a few cautious steps out into the open knowing there was someone else in this house with me. Maybe it was the person with the blue eyes and the nice voice from last night.

Before reaching the living room I passed by another door that was slightly cracked open. I leaned over and looked inside the crack. Inside was another small room like the one I woke up in, but it was even more bare. There was only a single nightstand and a pull out bed that extended from a couch. I squinted my eyes to see someone laying on bed under a single sheet. I could only make out distinctive red hair poking out from under the sheets and sitting in the pillow. The person was facing the other direction and the only other thing to be seen was the rest of his body under the sheet and yet another full sized guitar leaning up against the wall.

I pulled away from the door and made my way into the living room that I quickly passed through and found the kitchen that connected to it. The first thing I found was my jacket on the counter. I pulled it off the marble and threw it on, feeling more comfortable. Without thinking I began rummaging through the cupboards in the room. I found lots of food, many of which I shoved into my mouth. It felt good to have something in my body, I didn't feel quite as empty. I kept pulled things out and trying my best to hold them in my arms. I didn't know what most of them were, I just knew that I could eat them, that's all that mattered.

With the more food I pulled onto myself I hoped I could find a bag or backpack to put them all in, if I was going to leave with it all and more. I planned to take all the food I found, it would last me a few days before I could maybe get a job and start buying my own food.

By the time I had scoured all the cupboards I had food laying all over the counters that I was going to steal. There was only one other cupboard that I hadn't looked through. I could see how all the food kept the wooden door open slightly, it wasn't something I was going to walk away from. I couldn't reach it so I started climbing up onto the counter to reach it. I didn't realize that I had pushed the plate off the counter until I heard it crash on the floor. I stood frozen for a few seconds to try and hear if I had woken anyone up. I didn't hear anything for the few seconds I listened, but I knew I had to get out of there. I jumped down from the counter without looking through the cupboard and stepped on the broken glass from the plate I broke. I yelled out in pain and my hands flew over my mouth to keep the sound inside. I limped away to the food I set out leaving bloody footsteps on the white tile. I grabbed as much food as I could carry in my hands and under my arms and painfully walked over to the front door where I found my shoes. I didn't dare put them on over my wounds so I held them by the laces and tried to open the door with only a few fingers. It wasn't working and time was flying by and any minute someone could bust me, and I was so right.

"Where are you headed?" The familiar voice stopped me from trying to turn the door knob. I stood still, not looking at whomever was there, and I remained silent.

"We'll you're not going to get far with cut up feet," he answered for me. I heard him walk around and closer to me. I jumped slightly when I saw an arm reach around me and lock the door I was trying to open. His fingers found my arm and slowly turned me around to face him. The first thing I saw were his blue eyes, the same ones I saw in the mirror last night and the bright red hair that was in the bed only a bit ago. He was taller than me, but still shorter than most men I've seen with round cheeks and red lips. He was wearing a green t-shirt and a pair of black sweat pants.

We stared at each other for a while in silence, both of us examining and judging each other in our minds. He then took a few boxes of food from me and set them on the kitchen counter nearby. I watched him take it all and put it down, then he took my shoes and dropped them on the ground. We didn't say a word to each other as he led me slowly from the kitchen into his living room and onto the couch that sat in there. I sat down and winced in pain from my feet. I didn't want to look at them and something told me he didn't want to either.

"If you stay there I will get you some toast and tea and something to fix those feet up with," his soothing voice broke the air again. I just stared back, refusing to answer him at all. He nodded and disappeared in the kitchen. I heard him mumble to himself saying something about broken plates, but other than that there was silence between us.

I cautiously bent over and pulled up my right foot onto the opposite knee. I delicately examined the deep scratches and cuts the glass left. I pulled a few pieces of broken glass from my flesh, holding back tears while I watched the warm blood trickle down the sole of my foot. I did the same with the other foot then positioned them in a yoga stance so I wouldn't get any blood on the white carpet below. I thought about last night briefly and what he thought when a weird zombie-ish girl appeared in the middle of the road, and what he was thinking when he brought me to his house. And why he wouldn't let me run away, it's what I wanted to do after all, I've done it before and gotten this far.

A few minutes later the red haired boy appeared again with a plate of toast and a cup of tea. He sat them down on the coffee table in front of me and pulled some gauze, a bandage, and a pair of white socks from the pocket in his sweatpants. He sat down on the couch beside like I was someone he had known for a long time, but, if you ask me, he was a little too close. The last time a man was this close to me... Nothing good happened.

He placed the supplies between us and reached over to check out my foot. I jumped away and was almost on my feet again when he did, my heart was beating crazily and I started breathing heavily again. Our eyes locked and I could see the concern in his. I swallowed and took the gauze from where he was sitting. I looked down at the ground for a second in guilt that I did that, but I didn't trust him, I didn't trust any man, men hurt women.

"I've got it," I mumbled to him and undid the gauze package. We sat there silently while I put the gauze on my foot and wrapped it tight with the bandage. I then pulled on the sock and started with the next foot. I could feel his eyes on me, watching my every move, judging me. I was so awkward, but I just didn't trust him, no matter how comforting I thought he was last night.

"Sorry for... Reaching over, I didn't realize that-" he started to say. I noticed how much deeper his voice got, it was like he was trying to call a skittish cat into his arms than had run away.

"No, I'm sorry. I'm just a little..." I interrupted him but kept working on myself. I never finished what I was saying and we fell into silence again. I tried to go as slow as I could with wrapping up me second foot, I didn't want to look up at him.

"I'm Ed by the way," he finally introduced himself. I nodded curtly and he asked my name back. I hesitated for a minute, I wasn't sure if I wanted him to know who I was, not yet.

"My name is Amber," I said in a rather monotone voice.

"Where are you from, Amber? It doesn't sound like you're from this part of the world," he tried to continue our conversation.

"I'm from Massachusetts," I tried to be as vague as possible.

"Boston?" He asked and I shook my head, not telling him I lived in a little town near the New York border.

"Oh, well what brings you to London?" He asked. That was something I was prepared to answer, or that I was going to tell the truth about. I just kept silent and slipped on the last sock carefully.

"Okay..." He said in answer to my silence, "is there anything else you need?"

"No," I said straight up and reached for the tea. I downed it in just one swallow and it burned my throat on the way to my stomach. I winced until the sensation ceased, then I tried my best to eat the toast politely, but I was way to hungry to do it with grace. He was still sitting next to me, still watching me like I was some alien that just appeared out of nowhere. Well, in a way I was, but he brought me here by his own will.

"How long has it been since you've eaten?" He asked me. I looked up at him and he looked back with a worried look. I had a feeling it was a impulse question, something that just flew out his mouth.

"Only a bit," I lied. I really hadn't had a real meal in weeks. I was scavenging around, eating what ever I could get down my throat, and whatever would ease my hunger pains for a while.

"Are you sure you're alright?" He asked again, I saw his eyes find the scar on my cheek but I didn't turn away. I watched his eyes and guessed what he was thinking, what did he think of the freak with the bruises and the scars that was sitting before him.

"I'm never sure if I'm alright," I surprised myself with what I replied with. We revived our eye contact once again and stared into each other's pupils, searching for answers that wouldn't be found until much, much later.



















~*~

I laid on the pull out bed in the empty room with my arms crossed over my chest. I stared up at the ceiling and watched the shadows grow longer while the sound of a guitar filled my ears. I wasn't ready for it to get dark yet, I didn't want to think about what happened last night, and the rapping of slight rain on the window only made it worse. I was only glad I was inside a warm house under blankets that provided a bit of security.

My ears perked up to the familiar tune that was being played on the guitar in Ed's room. I recognized it from the car yesterday I expected the voice to appear again at any moment, but it never did and the tune changed into something more rapid.

Ed took his room back today, and moved me into this room. We didn't really talk after the couch incident. I tried to help him clean up the mess I had made in his kitchen but the cuts on my feet made it hard for me to walk. He made me sit on the couch and rest for the day, I drifted in and out of consciousness through the hours and woke up to silence, Ed talking on the phone, or the sound of a guitar.

I had completely skipped lunch and scoffed down my dinner even quicker than breakfast. I don't even remember what was served, only that it felt right in my stomach. Afterwards, Ed gave a few more blankets for the pull out bed and offered me a t shirt and pair of gym shorts for bed. I took them but pondered it for a while whether I should wear them or not. I did end up putting them on and I didn't feel like myself anymore. I suddenly smelled and looked like this strange man who was letting me stay in his house, use his bed, and eat his food.

It did feel good to be in clean clothes, I would love to take a shower but that would be way too awkward to ask Ed. I found it interesting how I just met the fellow and yet he treated me like an good friend, maybe it was an English thing.

I listened to the guitar in the other room until the darkness swallowed the room whole. My eye lids struggled to stay up and my minds was having trouble focusing on the sound. I shifted to my side and pressed my cheek into the pillow even deeper. It felt so good to be on a bed again, under clean sheets and a soft pillow. I pulled my legs closer to my body and then fell into a deep sleep while the guitar continued to play in the other room, keeping my dreams sane, for the moment.


















~*~

I woke up in a dark room on a single bed with only a ripped quilt to cover me. I sat up with a gasp and recognized the haunting picture in the broken frame on the opposite wall. It was iconic, it resembled me, and I thought I would never see it again. But there it was, staring back at me with anger, like it wouldn't let me forget it. I looked away before I could see the people in the picture, the happy family that was no longer.

My heart dropped into my stomach when I realized where I was. I threw the quilt off of me in panic and ran across the squeaky wooden floor boards to the window on the wall to the right. It was raining out and a dog barked from the tall looming trees in the yard. There was no way was back there again, there was no way I never left and got out of this hell hole.

My head whipped to my left at the sound of a glass bottle smashing on the ground from below me, then a yelling voice boomed from there. I didn't make out what they were saying, only the name of my mom being said after every few words. I started to get scared as the voice got louder and what seemed like closer. I backed into the corner my bed made with the wall in fear of what was to come.

"Rita! Where the hell are you!? Get me another beer!" I recognized the voice suddenly. Shock took over my senses and I curled up into the fetal position against the wall. My bare legs started to shake and I pulled the jacket closer over my body, as if it would keep me safe from him. A strike of lightning lit up the dim room for a second revealing the broken lamp on what was left of my dresser. There were holes in the wall where fits let out some of their anger, but that was earlier, now the fists looked for flesh and wouldn't stop until whatever it found was black and blue from the beating.

"Rita! Get out here! Get me a beer and clean up this mess before I do it with your hair!" the voice yelled again. She wasn't there, somehow I knew that. Did I help her escape? Did she leave me behind to survive with him alone? Would she do that to me! Would she? I thought mothers stayed to protect their children, not leave them behind to fend for themselves.

"Amber! Where is your mother!?" I shook at the sound of my name. I opened my mouth to reply but all that came out was a squeak.

"Amber!" He shouted for me again, and the whole house rumbled under the sound. I squeezed my eyes for a second and tried harder to reply.

"I don't know!" I said back in an innocent voice, then repeated it louder so he could hear.

"You don't ****ing know?! What do you mean you don't know!? Who the **** do you think you are?!" The voice sounded closer, like it was headed up the rickety stair that lead from the living room directly into the loft that serves as my room. I shuddered and didn't answer back.

"Don't make me come up there and beat you like the worthless animal you are!" I distinctly heard footsteps squeak the loose boards of the stairs.

"I didn't do it!" I tired to push him away with words, "It's not my fault!!" But it was too late, and the squeaks became more frequent, and then foot steps from a heavy man appeared in the room. They clattered closer to me and I cowered in fear before the shadow that loomed over my helpless body. It looked so powerful and I felt so weak under it.

"If she ****ing left, you will have to take her punishment," he told me. I winced expecting to have a fist launched across my body but nothing happened, he only stood over me, breathing heavily, waiting for me to beg for mercy from his wrath. He always liked it like that, to make it seem like he was number one on the totem pole, he liked the feeling of ultimate power.

"I don't know where she went, I don't know!! It wasn't me! Please don't hurt me!! Please don't hurt me!" I cried from the top of my lungs, but it was no use, he would pummel me into the ground, and when he did I hoped he wouldn't stop until I was dead. I closed my eyes tight when the shadow pulled back his arm and get ready to strike me.

I opened them back up when nothing hit me to see light streaming in from a door across the room. A shadow stood in the doorway and watched me panic. I tore the blankets off of me and yelled at the figure. I kept telling him it wasn't my fault she left and that I never knew she did. I thought that any minute it would come over with a knife and cut into my other cheek. I thought I was still at home.

"Don't hurt me! Please!" I felt tears stream down my face. I jumped off the bed and when my feet hit the ground a feeling of severe pain and agony shot through my body from the cuts I received earlier. I fell to my knees and pulled myself into the corner of the wall and night stand and huddled there mumbling and crying frantically. The shadow ran closer and I cried harder with every step it took. I expected it to hit me but instead it turned on the lamp on the night stand that I was pressed up against. I looked up and saw the familiar red hair and blue eyes but I didn't stop crying and trying to push away.

"Don't hurt me, please don't hit me," I told him in a softer voice. I winced at the feeling of hands under my arms and cried harder as they lifted me off the ground and onto the bed beside him. My head fell onto Ed'd lap like a heavy rock and my hands still covered my crying face in grief. Soft hands stroked my hair and the soothing voice sushed me gently until I started to calm down.

"No one is going to hit you, no one will hurt you," he comforted me and wiped the tears off my cheeks with his thumb. He pulled my hands away from my face and pushed the stray strands of hair, that were plastered to my cheek, back. I stopped crying but continued to whimper and wallow in my fright. My heart stopped beating as quickly and my legs stopped shaking. I closed my eyes and let him keep stroking my hair, "No one will ever hurt you anymore."



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sarah98This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm:
the second i saw the title i started singing the song in my head, no lie.  The story was very intriguing and although it was somewhat long (im just used to poetry, sorry) there's not a thing i would edit out. The ending leaves me satisifed but wanting more at the same time.
 
Flubbed42 replied...
Jul. 16, 2013 at 11:18 pm :
Thanks so much! It means a ton to me! I'll put up the second chapter right away!
 
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