Jamie Sullivan. I grimaced upon my last name. Ever since mom got diagnosed with cancer and he lost his job, Dad has been drinking a lot lately. And in his drunken state, he tends to...hurt me. The only reason I've been able to endure it for as long as I have are my little sisters - aged 5 and 7. Mom has been staying in at the hospital so it's only Dad, my sisters and myself at home. And that's the problem. I can't escape his grasp. I love him, I really do, but it's hard when the person you love is constantly hurting you. I used to be a happy, carefree seventeen-year-old who had lots of friends. But that was back when my mom was healthy. Before everything happened.
Tonight was just yet another night. My sisters were at my auntie's house - she didn't know anything about my dad and I. I couldn't stand it anymore. It was pouring outside but I just had to get out. When he thought I had fallen asleep, after his brutal beating - only because I had forgotten to buy him a six-pack on my way home from school - I ran and didn't look back. My clothes were ripped, torn in so many places that it barely covered my body. It was cold and wet outside but it was better than being trapped in that hell hole, with the monster I called my father. I never told Mom - I didn't want her to worry. She had enough on her plate.
I ran till my lungs gave out. Until I couldn't breathe anymore. I stopped at an alley, crumbling to the floor in a heap of sobs. I felt so weak, so vulnerable and I HATED crying. I was trying to be strong for everyone but sometimes, I just couldn't take it. By now, my clothes and hair were drenched and I was soaked, from head to toe, shivering in the cold. I tried to keep myself warm by wrapping my bare arms around myself but it made no difference. I thought of going to my auntie's house but then she'd see me in this bedraggled state and then I'd have to tell her everything. I wasn't ready for that just yet. Just then, I heard the shuffling of feet nearby. I jumped to my feet, looking for anywhere to hide.
I hid behind a rubbish dump, trying to make myself as small as possible. I heard muffled whispers as they approached but the voices got louder. They were laughing and I envied them - how happy they were. My lip was cut, scratches and bruises covering my body. It didn't help that my salty tears were running down my cheeks and they would make my lip burn. I accidentally hit my elbow on the metal part of the bin, making a loud clanging noise, in my attempt to retrieve a stale piece of bread on the ground. I was starving. I winced and immediately curled into a tight ball, praying the passers-by hadn't heard anything. God knows what they'd do if they found an injured girl in a dark alley. I pushed the dark thoughts away, squeezing my eyes shut. I realised the voices had gone silent.
"Hello? Is anybody there?" I heard a voice with a strange accent say. I pushed myself against the wall as far as possible, hoping the darkness that came with night would conceal my body. Nevertheless, I saw five silhouttes approaching me and immediately, I started panicking. I rocked back and forth, whispering to myself, trying to think of how I could get myself out of this situation. Stupid, stupid girl!
The footsteps were getting louder and closer. My breath got caught in my throat as I saw a head come into my view.
"Lads," he called, looking to his left. Now I noticed that he had a thick Irish accent- that's why it sounded so weird.
He crouched down so that he was at my eye level and he was looking me in the eyes. My eyes widened as he outstretched his hand. I reeled back, afraid he was going to hurt me. He must've seen the fear on my face for he took his hand back.
"Hello," he breathed. I didn't answer. I just stared at him, trying to predict what he was going to do. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you," he comforted. To a small extent, the look in his eyes told me he was telling the truth. But you can never trust anybody. Four other boys then came into view and a concerned look crossed their faces.
"Are you alright, love?" one of the asked as they all crouched by me. I felt like I was an exhibition show for them. It was drizzling now.
The blonde one with the Irish accent offered his hand, probably to help me get to my feet. My body was sore but I knew I had to get up sooner or later.
"Let us help you," he offered, nodding his head. I looked at all of their faces. They all smiled at me. This was one of the few times anyone had been friendly to me in a long time. Even at school, people would make fun of me. I tried to ignore it, but occasionally it got to me so I stopped going to school for a while. The thing that got me going were my sisters, mom and music. For some reason, I felt like I could trust them and so I took a risk and took his hand, as he helped me to my feet. My feet wobbled and sensing my weakness, the blonde one held me close, wrapping an arm around my waist. I jumped a little at the direct contact of our skin as he touched a part of my body that wasn't covered my cloth but he took off his hoodie and gave it to me, smiling encouragingly. He wrapped it around my shoulders. The other boys were following behind us and I could tell they were talking about me because everytime I looked over my shoulder, they'd smile and stop their muffled whispers. The boy who had given me his jumper leaned down so that his lips were close to my ear. Initially, I wanted to pull away but he'd been nice to me so far so why would he hurt me now, right?
"I'm Niall by the way," he informed me, grinning. His hair was hanging in wet strands, covering his forehead. He moved his hair away so that his eyes were looking into mine, as clear as day. His eyes are a brilliant blue and I looked down at my feet. I didn't like it when people stared at me.
I took a deep breath, the cold, wet air filling my lungs.
"J-J-Jamie," I replied. I was satisfied that I could finally talk, although my voice came out as muffled whispers.
"Well, nice to meet you Jamie. Don't worry, we'll take care of you," he told me. And I sincerely believed him.