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Riley Smiles

By , North Haledon, NJ
The litte boy sat on his doorstep. He watched the clouds go by over head, wishing he could be like them- always moving. He never wanted to stay somewhere for too long. Nothing was good for too long. It had always faded. For him, nothing would have been good from the start.

"Riley! Get your hide tail over here before I skin it off!" His mother shouted to the six-year-old boy.

"Be right there, ma!" He called back.

Riley ran down the dirt road into the barn where his mother was. He saw his ma- in her floral gown. Hair pinned back into a bun, but short strands seemed to fall into her face. The boy loved his mother, no matter what happened, he loved her. Riley thought she was the most beautiful person in the world. He would do anything for her.

"Oh, good. You're here." She rolled her eyes, "Go get a shovel and scoop out the manure out back. Put it in the barrel and bring it to your father." Laurel spoke harshly.

"But, ma- I did that this morning. Can't you ask Leanne to do it?" He pleaded.

He soon realized he had made the wrong choice to speak out. The slash of the spood wipped across his bare back. It made it sting with red as his mother shouted at him to do as he was told. Riley cried. He knew no one cared enough to save him, because they had already seen this episode before.

"Riley, go!" His mother shouted.

Without hesitation, Riley grabbed an over-sized shovel and started to do his jobs. The fumes were too much for his small body and he began to cough like he had earlier. He could barely lift up the shovel into the wheel barrel. Laurel only laughed at her sons pity. She thought it was a comedy act. The small boy helplessly trying to do his job, but failing at every attempt because he was only not physically capable.

Laurel knew she was cruel. She even told herself to be a much more horrible person to the next day. Which didn't make any sense, because she told Leanne and Riley to say their prayers every night. It didn't matter, they would eventually take after their cold-hearted mother.

Riley pushed the barrel with all his might. His older sister, saw him with pity, she rushed over to his aid and started to help him up the hill to their father. Laurel noticing the kind dead her daughter was doing, decided to butt in.

"Laurel! Get Woody into the field right this instant!" She shouted at the top of her lungs.

"Ma! I will in ten minutes. Can't you see Riley needs help!?" She begged.

"Oh, I see! But, what will he ever do when people are always helping him. 'Sides, the kid needs to grow muscle anyway. Don't make me grab the belt on you, now get!" She shouted.

A tear streamed down Leannes face as she left her brother to his own and ran to the field. Riley struggled even harder to get the barrel up the hill. When he finally did, he felt the most accomplished he had ever felt. Better than this morning, but he had also had many sores. He collapsed to the ground- dehydrated and sickly.

Joshua walked over wearing his boots, overalls, and a loose shirt to look at his poor son. He smiled devilishly.

"Boy, get up! There isn't any sleeping on these parts!" He whipped the boy until the blood poured down his back, "Nobody collapses unless their dead."

The boy didn't say a word. He stood their, silently smiling at his handsome father. Admiring his curls, his masculine features, and everything else their was to like.

Joshua laughed, "Aw kid, get outta here. Go wait for the bus stop to see if any kids from the school wanna play." Joshua was almost kind.

Riley skipped down to the road with happiness. He sometimes would find a boy that would want to play catch, or basketball, or something fun with him. He didn't have much time up at the farm to play anything, but the children would usually take him to their house to play.

Riley waited eagerly for the bus to come up to the bench. He smiled at the kids who walked down from the steps.

Two young girls walked down and giggled to eachother. Riley could hear the words they were saying.

"What's wrong with that kid's face?" One girl asked- pointing to Riley.

"Jamie! He has down-syndrome, be quiet." The other girl hushed.





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