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Meet Chrissie, short for Christina. She’s just your average 11 year old girl, laid-back and carefree. She’s an heir to her dad’s fortune, the only child. Her mother, Michelle, died when Chrissie was just a baby. Chrissie with her pale, ghostlike complexion and soft blonde hair was an angel. She was always the favorite at school, the popular one. Her life was perfect and she couldn’t image anything going wrong.

On Monday Chrissie went to her elementary school. Her teacher Mrs. Applebotom assigned the class pen pals from another school. “Oh man, I’m so excited! I can’t wait to get a pen pal,” Chrissie exclaimed. The rest of her class was moaning, they didn’t want to write to a pen pal.

Mrs. Applebotom said, “Now class, we will be e-mailing instead of writing letters. This is the 21st century. Does everyone have an e-mail and an account?” The class nodded and the teacher carried on.

Mrs. Applebotom assigned pen pals next. First Chrissie’s best friend Charlotte got her pen pal, Callie. Chrissie let out a big sigh, hoping for someone similar to her. She wanted someone she could talk to about things she was going through. As her teacher passed out cards, one was dropped on Chrissie’s desk. It read, “Alyssa Morengardy, fakesmiles@yahoo.com”. I wonder what fake smiles means Chrissie thought.

That night Chrissie pulled up her e-mail, bubbalicious@yahoo.com. Her inbox had two new messages. Excitedly Chrissie looked at her e-mails; one was from Charlotte, inviting her to her birthday party that was coming up. Yay! I love birthday parties! I wonder what I should get her. As Chrissie flipped to her next e-mail the sender was named fakesmiles@yahoo.com.

To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen pals

Hey, my name’s Alyssa. Yesterday I was assigned pen pals at school, and I got this e-mail. I think your names Christina, Christina Crew, am I right? Well, I hope this is the right e-mail address. Um, well, I guess I should go now; I only have so long on this computer. Bye.

*Alyssa*


Alyssa seemed so boring. The energy Chrissie possessed drained as she thought, how’d I get stuck with such a boring pen pal? Alyssa doesn’t seem all that interesting. Do I seriously have to be the fun one? Chrissie pressed reply, and started typing; the words began flowing out of her. She’d always been such a good writer.


To: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

From: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen Pals

Attachment: Chrissie’s 11th birthday party

Well Hello! Yes, you seem to have gotten the right e-mail, as I have. My name is Christina, but you can call me Chrissie. Above I have attached a picture of me at my 11th birthday party. I was wondering if maybe you could send a picture back? Well, thanks, talk to you later, bye!

~Chrissie


Chrissie then signed off her e-mail, ready to go to horse-back riding. Little did Chrissie know that Alyssa wasn’t boring, she was ultimately distracted. Alyssa seemed like an average 11 year old, but she wasn’t. Alyssa had jet black hair, and cream colored skin. She had no makeup and wore dark colors. Her mother had left her dad when Alyssa was just a baby. Alyssa’s dad was an alcoholic, taking out his anger on Alyssa. As tears rolled down Alyssa’s face she tried to hide the bruises. She couldn’t tell anyone about this.


To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen pals

Attachment: Alyssa

I’m glad I got the right e-mail! If you prefer I call you Chrissie, I will. Wow! You’re really pretty by the way, did I mention that? I really love your golden blonde hair it’s like how do I say it? It’s like capturing summer in your hair . I have attached a picture also; I took it like a minute ago on my web cam. I hope to talk to you soon!

*Alyssa*

Chrissie opened her e-mail the next day. It was from Alyssa, great. As she read she got excited, Alyssa didn’t seem so boring after all! Chrissie clicked on the picture, downloading the file. Black hair filled the screen, and a girl’s expressionless face appeared. This was Alyssa. Wait, what was that on her eye? Was it a black eye? I wonder what she did to it?

Chrissie logged onto her yahoo instant messaging account. One new I.M. flashed on her screen.

Fakesmiles@yahoo.com: Hey it’s Alyssa

Bubbalicous@yahoo.com: Hey, I got your picture! How’d you get that black eye?
A few minutes passed by, then finally Alyssa responded.

Fakesmiles@yahoo.com: Um, I fell down the stairs.

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Oh boy that’s terrible! That must’ve hurt really badly!

Fakesmiles@yahoo.com: Uh, yeah well it did. Sorry I got to go. My dad’s calling
me. Now, to the dungeon!

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Oh okay bye!

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Wait, what do you mean by dungeon?

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Alyssa wait!

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Are you there?
Fakesmiles@yahoo.com has signed off.

“ALYSSA! WHERE ARE YOU? GET IN HERE NOW” Alyssa’s dad screamed impatiently. Alyssa sprinted into her dad’s room. “Get me something to drink,” he yelled. As Alyssa rushed to the kitchen she brought back lemonade. His sarcastic face was enough to know she did something wrong, “HA! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHY WOULD YOU BRING ME LEMONADE?!” he yelled. He took the glass, viciously threw it at Alyssa, splashing yellow liquid all over her. He couldn’t see the tears making their way down her face. “You’re useless. Wipe off that silly expression on your face. Get out of my sight,” he said with his usual “you’re not worth my time” face. Alyssa ran to the attic, which was her room, and jumped on the computer. Chrissie was still on.

Fakesmiles@yahoo.com: You really want to know what dungeon means?

Bubbalicious@yahoo.com: Yes!!!

Fakesmiles@yahoo.com: My dad is an alcoholic. He’s drunk literally all the time. He yells, screams, and acts like I’m his maid. I’m just a kid! Do I really deserve this? By the way, I lied about my black eye. I didn’t fall down the stairs, I was pushed…
Fakesmiles@yahoo.com has signed off.

Chrissie sat there, in utter disbelief. Was Alyssa lying? Would her dad really abuse her like that? As Chrissie thought she typed an e-mail to Alyssa. She wanted to ask her more about it. They had barely become friends, and Alyssa was already over-exaggerating.

To: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

From: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen Pals

Alyssa? I’m really sorry. I don’t get what you’re talking about and it really hurts me to know your lying. Why would you do that?
~Chrissie


To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen pals

Attachments: Alyssa 1, Alyssa 2, Alyssa 3, Alyssa 4

Chrissie! Please don’t tell anyone this, you have to promise! I just want to know if I can confide in you because I truly can’t tell anyone else. If he ever found out I told someone, well, I know the consequences won’t be pretty. I can’t control my tears right now; they keep rolling down my face. Yesterday I told you about my black eye. It was about a week ago, and I was walking down the hallway. My dad started screaming and yelling at me. I had plates and plates of food on the tray I was carrying. Our stairs have three flights of stairs. Just as I turned and placed my foot on the first step, my dad was outraged and punched me, sending me flying down the stairs. I’m sad that you’d actually think I was lying about this. He does abuse me, and I have plenty of scars to prove it to you.

*Alyssa*


Chrissie’s whole body shook as she read the e-mail. How could your own dad beat you? She clicked and downloaded all four photos. Alyssa 1 was opened, and it was a picture of her back, filled with burns, her skin red and raw. Under the picture read, “I was cleaning the stove. My dad had other ideas.” The second picture showed up, with a long scar covering Alyssa’s left arm, “4th of July, the firework ‘accidentally’ blew up on my arm…” Then following the second, the third and fourth came up, both of these were of Alyssa’s legs, with bruises from her thighs to her ankles, “The rest of the times he gets angry”. Hot tears rolled down Chrissie’s face, sitting there unable to help.

To: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

From: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen Pals

Alyssa… I don’t know what to say. I don’t think I know the right words. What happened is…horrible. I cannot imagine how you can bear this burden. Please Alyssa, please tell someone.

~Chrissie

To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

Subject: Pen pals
Chrissie you don’t understand. I won’t tell anyone because I refuse to and that’s my final answer. Please forget about this because I’m not telling anyone. I will continue to lie to the teachers, well they don’t really care anyways, so what does it matter? Just drop it Chrissie.
*Alyssa*

Over the next few weeks Chrissie and Alyssa shared laughs, tears, and just about everything in between. Alyssa’s small family had become poor because of her dad’s reckless purchase of alcohol. The scarce money they did have went to drinking money. None of the money went to Alyssa, who had been wearing the same clothes for two weeks. One day Chrissie sent an e-mail to Alyssa saying that, “they should meet sometime” and then sighing because she “had to go to her best friend Charlotte’s birthday” the next day.


To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: charlotterocks@yahoo.com

Subject: Earth to Chrissie?!

Chrissie, are you there? You’re so zoned out now and never answer your phone anymore. I feel like we aren’t close anymore, and I don’t understand. Is it your pen pal? You’re coming to my birthday party tomorrow right? Please still come!
Charlotte 

To: charlotterocks@yahoo.com

From: bubbalicious@yahoo.com


Subject: None
Haha, sorry . Truth is that I have been really busy, but I still feel like were best friends, like kindergarten. Well, yes, to answer your question I still am coming .
See you then,
~Chrissie

The next day Chrissie was all packed up and ready for Charlotte’s. “Bye daddy,” Chrissie squealed, kissing him on the cheek. “Bye hunny, love you,” her dad hummed back. Chrissie skipped out of her house, unaware of the events happening at Alyssa’s house.

“HOW DARE YOU SEND THOSE LIES!” Alyssa’s dad yelled.

“They aren’t lies,” Alyssa yelled, backing away from her dad’s fists.

He countered back, “YES, THEY ARE ALYSSA! DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME THEY AREN’T! YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED ON THE COMPUTER EVER AGAIN! DO YOU HEAR ME? ”

Sobbing Alyssa nodded her head, but the punches still kept coming. This time they were worse than they had ever been before. Alyssa then ran to her room, escaping the fight. She frantically turned on her computer, but Chrissie wasn’t on yahoo instant messaging. She decided to send her an e-mail, completely forgetting that she wouldn’t respond because she was at Charlotte’s.


To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

Subject: The last message

Chrissie, I’m scared. My dad… he…he found our messages. He’s really angry, and he won’t stop hitting me. I don’t have much time Chrissie, literally. I won’t be here on Earth anymore. I’m finally escaping this hectic world of abuse. I’m sorry we couldn’t meet. When your time comes, we can meet in heaven. Again, I’m sorry, but I cannot hold on any longer. My dad’s wrath has gotten worse; I’ve never been abused this badly before. I just…I...I can’t take it anymore Chrissie! I don’t deserve to live this way. I won’t lie to Jesus, I promise.

Goodbye forever Chrissie,
*Alyssa*


Just as Alyssa hit send her dad stormed in, knocking over the computer. He screamed in her face, the alcohol was noticeable on his breath, “I TOLD YOU TO GET OFF THAT DANG COMPUTER ALYSSA! YOU DON’T LISTEN!”


To: bubbalicious@yahoo.com

From: fakesmiles@yahoo.com

ALYSSA LIES.


“Dad, please no! Don’t send her that! I never lied! You don’t understand!” Alyssa blubbered.

Her dad knocked over the computer, shattering it into pieces, “This is the last straw. You’re about to regret everything you did little girl” he laughed.

As her dad walked towards her, slowly torturing her, all she could see was the countless times she was abused. This was it; it was her time to go. She wasn’t going to fight anymore. Her dad’s hands came at her so fast, she couldn’t think anymore. He grasped her neck, choking and suffocating her, shaking her back and forth, this way and that. No longer was she able to hold on as she lost consciousness, she had nothing worth living for.

The next day Chrissie arrived home. She saw her dad sitting at the table with his cup of coffee and the newspaper. He had a solemn expression on his face. “Hey daddy! I’m just going to run up to my room okay? I’ll be back down in a bit,” Chrissie sang. As she reached her room her e-mail popped up. Her inbox read two new messages. Chrissie’s heart dropped as she read the first two sentences of Alyssa’s message. Then, just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. A river of tears flooded down Chrissie’s face. She clicked on the next e-mail, “Alyssa lies” No, it couldn’t be. Her dad did not write that! No Alyssa NO!

Chrissie ran downstairs, her heart breaking. Her dad picked her up and hugged her, “Chrissie what’s going on?! What’s wrong?” She grabbed the newspaper and quickly scanned the front page. It wasn’t too long before Chrissie found it, the article. There it was, black and white, the obituaries. “Alyssa Morengardy.” As Chrissie read on she screamed, it said “Alyssa’s dad says he heard Alyssa weeping, and ran upstairs, she had suffocated herself. He immediately called 911, but it was too late. Further investigation is planned in the case.”

Chrissie’s dad mumbled, “So sad, isn’t it? I hate seeing young girls dying. It’s like losing you.”

“Daddy, I need to tell you something,” Chrissie whispered.

She brought him up to her room, and turned on the computer “She was my pen pal!” Chrissie cried in hysterics, “She didn’t kill herself, her daddy did.” As Chrissie’s dad stroked her hair, he thought wondering where his daughter had gotten these silly ideas. All of a sudden Chrissie swiftly clicked away, bringing up her e-mail. Hurt flashed through his eyes as he scanned the e-mails that had gone on between his daughter and this so called Alyssa girl.

“I wasn’t supposed to tell you, but she’s gone now, so I have no choice,” Chrissie whispered.

Finally believing his little girl, he nodded his head. He could see disappointment making a way across Chrissie’s face. The next day he would do something about it, tell the reporters on the case, or the police. Whatever it took to make things right again, he’d do it, no matter what that meant.

The following week Chrissie opened up the paper. This time it wasn’t a short story, it was front page. “Dad abuses child, claims she committed suicide, and is arrested,” read the front headline. Chrissie’s face dropped as she remembered the horrible events. At the end of the article, a ceremony was being held for Alyssa. It was her funeral on April 2nd, 2009.

April 2nd came too fast; Chrissie dressed in her favorite black dress, in honor of Alyssa. As Chrissie walked slowly up to the casket, she brought a daisy. Alyssa had always been very fond of daisies. Quietly Chrissie laid the flower on Alyssa’s chest, tears gliding gently down her face and making a way to Alyssa. “Wow,” Chrissie muttered breathlessly. This is what you look like in person Alyssa. You’re beautiful. Chrissie had never quite realized how pretty Alyssa was.

“Alyssa? ALYSSA! WAKE UP! STOP PLAYING GAMES! WAKE UP!” Chrissie sobbed hysterically. Her dad rushed towards her, picked her up, and carried her away. Horribly, this was the day Chrissie finally met Alyssa.



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BreakMe said...
Apr. 23, 2009 at 7:35 pm
this is the best story i have read on teen ink in a long time
 
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