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In the Shadows
'Bianca?' a voice roared from the next room. I opened my eyes and stretched my arms. 'Yeah, good morning to you too Dad.' I growled under my breath. 'What Bill?' I shouted back. I never called him Dad to his face because I felt he never acted like one. 'My breakfast? Where is it?' Bill's voice had a childish tone to it. I knew he was drinking already. I dragged myself out of bed and stared at my self in the full-length mirror.
I tied my long silky black hair into a ponytail and turned my head to the side. I gasped at the sight of my neck. Bill's fingertips had left purple bruises all over my neck. I quickly untied my hair and let it drape around my shoulders covering the worst of the bruises. I hurriedly brushed my hair, applied eye-liner and got dressed and then ran downstairs.
'Why do you always wear black?' Bill asked now sitting at the kitchen table drinking beer. I rolled my eyes and said 'Because Bill, I want to!' 'Why do you call me Bill? Normal kids call their fathers 'Dad'.' 'Firstly, I'm sixteen so I'm classified as a teenager not a kid. Secondly, you don't act like a proper Dad so why should I call you one?' When I'd finished he scrambled off the chair he was sitting on and stumbled towards me.
The last time I'd called him Dad was the night of Mum's funeral, I was pleading, begging him not to hit me. Bill blames me for Mum's death. Not the truck that went out of control and crashed into the car Mum was in killing her instantly. Not the truck. Me. I was nine when Bill first started to hit me and by the looks of things he was about to do it again.
'You're a worthless piece of trash!' he spat as he approached me. 'You're an alcoholic!' I snarled. Just then, without thinking he lifted his hand and smacked me across the face. Hard. I ran out the front door crying.
I was early going to school so I decided to go to the local corner shop to buy a packet of cigarettes out of the money I had stolen from Bill last night while he had passed out. The old, short woman behind the counter greeted me 'How can I help you Bianca? 'Packet of cigarettes please.' I told her. 'For Bill?' she raised her eyebrows. 'Of course!' I lied. 'His favourite kind!' She laughed as she handed me a packet of foreign cigarettes. 'Thanks.' I said as I handed her Bill's money.
As I lit a cigarette and walked down the street towards the school I saw a short girl coming towards me. She was wearing black just like me. Her hair was in dreadlocks and were died coal-black, snow-white, hot-pink and electric-blue. I knew that girl. That was my best and only friend Ellie. 'Hey Ellie!' I greeted her as she approached me. 'Hello Bianca, How's things?' she replied. I turned my sore cheek to her and she sighed. 'Bill.' We both said quietly. My face was really stinging me now, it felt red raw.
Ellie was my best friend since playschool and we knew almost everything about each other. Ellie knew Bill hit me and that he was an alcoholic. She knew I smoked, cut my wrists and that I missed my Mum loads. I knew lots about Ellie too. I knew she loved her Mum and older brother Marcus but she hated her new step-dad Tom. I knew she, like me, was depressed. We always thought we were sisters separated at birth. We were two peas in a pod!
'Emo's!' a tall blonde girl cackled. 'Barbie!' We both shouted back. We giggled and did our secret handshake. Ellie fixed her sweat band on her wrist and I saw a long red mark under it. 'Ellie!' I screeched. I grabbed her wrists and she flinched away. 'Ouch! There new and very sore!' she joked. 'Ellie, it's not funny! Why are you doing that?' I shouted. 'You do it too, so shut up!' she retorted. She was right I suppose!
I dropped my cigarette and stopped dead on the path. I should've known, it was her step-dad Tom. He was hurting her again. 'Tom?' I asked, double checking. She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. 'Aw Ellie, I'm here for you okay?' I told her. She smiled and dried her eyes with the back of her hand. I wrapped my arms around her and she hugged me back. 'Lesbian's!' a large boy said, sitting on a wall. 'Fatty!' we both shouted back and did our secret handshake once again.
After school as I was walking around the corner towards my house I saw Bill's car parked outside. It's Wednesday. Bill should be playing darts at the pub. As I closed the front door I saw Bill in the kitchen. 'Phone call for you.' He said quietly. I noticed he had no drink in his hands. Something was definitely up. 'Hello?' I said as I put the phone up to my ear. 'Bianca? Hello.' A male voice greeted me. I realised it was Ellie's older brother Marcus. 'Hey Marc!' I sang. Marcus stayed silent. 'Hello?' I asked. Silence on the other end of the line. 'Marcus?' 'Ellie'.' Marcus' voice was very quiet.
'Has she run away again?' I sighed. She did that often! 'No.' Marcus replied. 'Then what?' I asked getting irritated. 'Ellie'.She's'' I heard Marcus moan. 'She's'' 'What Marc? Ellie is what?' I asked him. 'She's'.' Marcus began again. I waited for him to finish. ''.dead'she's killed herself Bianca. She's killed herself.' I froze and the phone fell out of my hand and onto the floor. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor too. I lay there sobbing hysterically for hours.
I was crying non-stop at Ellie's funeral but when I saw Tom I leapt up and ran down the aisle to where he was sitting. 'Tom!' I screeched. The priest stared at me in disbelief as the mass had started. Tom stood up. He stared at me, as did everyone else in the church. 'Bianca sit down now before you make a show of yourself!' he hissed. 'Make me, you murderer!' I roared. I heard everyone in the church gasp. Tom's face twisted into an evil smirk.
A sudden rush of anger blasted into my system. I smacked Tom across the face. Tom's eyes widened in disbelief. Bill ran up and grabbed me and hauled me out of the church. 'Ellie's dead and it's because of you!' I screeched as I was pulled out the main door of the church. That was the last I saw of Ellie's Mum, Marcus and Tom.
I felt I was un-noticed and fading into the background. Ellie has already chosen her path as she couldn't handle the real world. I knew my Mum was taking care of her ' wherever they were. I was alone on the other hand. I was in the shadows.
I locked myself in my room for weeks on end. I missed a lot of school and I couldn't sleep or eat. The first time I visited Ellie's grace was hard. Mum was in the same graveyard too. I sat by Ellie's grave for hours, drinking until I followed in Bill's footsteps and passed out sprawled across Ellie's grave. An old woman found me and dropped me home. Bill was so furious he hit me across the back with his belt. I could barely walk the next morning.
I'd had enough of Bill so one day I decided I'd find my step-brother Jack. Jack was older than me by seven years. Mum was married to a lawyer and had Jack, before she met Bill. After Mum died, Bill kicked Jack out of the house as he wasn't related to him by blood. I haven't seen him since. I found Mum's address book under Bill's bed and I found my Uncle's address in it. I was sure Jack went there. I was right to a certain degree!
My Uncle had died and left Jack his small council house. I contacted him and he urged me to come and stay with him. 'Are you sure you want to leave?' Bill asked. When I'd told him that I was leaving he seemed a bit too happy. 'One-hundred per cent.' I told him as I waved goodbye at the airport. 'Bye Bianca.' He replied. I hoped I'd never see him again.
'Wow Bianca!' Jack exclaimed. 'Your sooo grown up!' 'Ha ha, Jack, You haven't changed a bit!' I laughed as I got out of the taxi. London was much bigger than I expected. Jack's house on the other hand was tiny. It only had two bedrooms, a small bathroom, and kitchen/living room. I wasn't used to sharing space with anyone.
I liked my new school. It was bigger so their was different groups of people. I fit into one in particular. The rough group. There were five people in that group before I arrived. Two girls and three boys. The 'leader' of the group Aaron was really nice to me. He asked me to join his group because he said he liked me a lot. I trusted him; he became my closest friend in school. I obviously didn't tell Jack about him or his group.
Aaron listened to me when I told him all about Bill, Tom, Ellie, Mum and Jack. He told me I had problems and that these small tablets would help me. They weren't the normal painkillers, they were proper drugs. I was a bit scared at first to take them but after a few months I got used to them.
One night when I came home from a night out clubbing with Aaron and the gang, Jack saw me sneaking into my room and called me into the kitchen. He was sitting at the table clutching a can of beer. He had the same twisted expression that Bill had after I told him he didn't act like a Dad. I shuddered. I had been drinking so I leant against the wall so he wouldn't notice that my balance was off. 'What's up?' I asked him. I started to giggle uncontrollably; I must have had a bit too much to drink.
'Have you been drinking?' Jack yelled. 'Well done Jacko!' I laughed. I clamped my hand over my mouth to muffle my laughs. His fist slammed down on the table. 'Calm down Jacko! It's only drink!' I giggled. He scowled. 'No Bianca. It's not the drink. It's the drugs!' he roared. 'Oopsie daises! You weren't supposed to find those!' I told him sheepishly. His eyes bulged out of his head and he reached inside his pocket and threw the small packet of tablets on the table.
'Who gave them to you??' he roared again and again until I answered. 'I grew them Jacko!' I was guessing I'd stepped over the line because the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground with jack towering above me. 'You've broken my nose!' I wailed as I cupped my hand around my nose. I scrambled to my feet and ran to my room and locked the door.
Jack didn't break my nose but he'd hit me hard enough for it to bleed non-stop! 'It's broken I tell ya! Broken!' I screeched as I heard Jack outside my door. 'Open this door right now!' Jack ordered. I looked in my mirror and saw the blood oozing out of my nose. 'Make me!' I roared back. Jack was banging on the door so hard I was afraid he would punch a hole through it.
All the memories of Mum, Ellie and mostly Bill hitting me flooded back into my mind. I was a mess. I started to cry uncontrollably. I stared out of my bedroom window into the darkness and saw the headlights on cars flash past. I wanted to escape the shadows that I was hidden in so I dived under my bed and searched for a backpack. 'Bianca?' Jack's voice was quiet now. I was being quiet so he must of thought I had past out. 'What? You just woke me up!' I pretended to moan. 'Sorry, Sorry!' He apologized 'I'll let you sleep.' 'Thanks' I replied, still under my bed. I emptied my school books out of my backpack and started to empty drawers of clothes into it. I quietly opened my window and threw my backpack out onto the sidewalk. I hesitated and drew in a deep breath.
It was ice cold outside and I tugged my jacket around me tighter. I ran as fast as I could to the nearest bus stop. Three buses pulled up but I sat on the cold bench still. After a while a silver car sped up the road and screeched to a stop near me. The window rolled down and Aaron stuck his head out. He flashed his pearl white teeth and said 'Need an escape car?' This was my escape plan. Bill was no help and neither was Jack. Aaron told me at the club earlier that night that he lives with a foster family and he told them all about Jack and Bill so they insisted that I should come and live with them. 'Bianca?' Aaron asked. I walked over to his car and slid into the passenger seat. 'Yes?' I replied. Aaron reached out and squeezed my hand and whispered 'You won't be in the shadows anymore. I promise.'