"Grandma? I'm hungry." Annabelle went up to my grandmother. She was only just three and didn't remember a life outside of our attic.
"What did I tell you about calling me that? I am not your grandma, I am your grandmother, God dammit! You will call me grandmother! Do you understand?" She yelled in Annabelle's face.
Tears slid down Annabelle's face as she slowly nodded her head.
"Quit being a baby! Nobody likes babies!" She yelled again and slapped Annabelle across the face, knocking her to the floor.
"That's enough!" Joey yelled crossing the room. "Don't touch her again!" She yelled in grandmother's face.
"What are you gonna do about it? Huh?" Grandmother smirked at Joey.
Annabelle crawled over to the bed where I was watching everything. She crawled into my lap and hid her face in my chest.
"Everything's alright." I whispered, although we all knew it wasn't true.
"Answer me!" Grandmother yelled and slapped Joey, but unlike Annabelle, Joey didn't move.
"Why would I answer to you?" Joey scoffed.
"Alright, no food for you guys," Grandmother pointed towards Annabelle and I, "You can thank you're big sister over here for that."
"Hey, you said if I didn't answer you we didn't get food. I answered you, you never said you had to like the answer!" Joey protested.
"Your smart-ass mouth is the reason you get no food. Next time, think before you speak." And before Joey could answer, Grandmother was gone. The door slammed and locked behind her.
Joey stood there for a few seconds before her shoulders slumped and she turned towards us, eyes on the floor.
"I'm sorry. If I would have just shut up, we wouldn't be hungry again." Joey slumped on the bed beside me. She blamed herself for all the things that happened to us.
"Joey, we don't blame you. We would have done the same thing you did." I tried to make her feel better.
"No you wouldn't have, obviously Annabelle would never dare, and neither would you. You would have listened to Grandmother, you are afraid of what she might do to you, of what they might both do," he voice dropped to a whisper.
"What do they do?" I asked, my voice almost a whisper as also.
She leaped of the bed, "Nothing, they don't do anything," she tried to make herself look busy by straightening up the few possessions we have, "Can we just drop it?"
By the way she sounded as if she was pleading to drop the subject, I dropped it.
"Do you think Grandmother is serious about not feeding us?" I asked when we all woke up the next morning.
"Why wouldn't she be? I mean, she's done it before. There's no difference now. I wouldn't be surprised if we never see food again." Joey stared at her hands on the table.
"Joey, we are going to get out of here. They can't keep us locked away forever." I said turning towards Joey, away from the window.
"No, we aren't Johanna! We are never going to get out! They are going to keep us locked in here forever, and they will go to the graves with the key to this room. By the time anybody ever finds us, it'll be too late. Why can't you just see that?" Joey exploded. I froze looking after her, she has never yelled at me like that before.
"Joey, I'm sorry. I-"
"Save it, Johanna." And she left me standing there. Why was she suddenly so furious? Did I really make her that mad just because I believed that we could get out of here someday? Did she want to stay?
I looked over at Joey and saw her combing her fingers through Annabelle's hair, her mouth was moving but I couldn't hear what she was saying, probably just telling her another story. Annabelle loved stories, sometimes it was the only thing that calmed her down. At night, when she would cry for Mommy and Daddy, I would tell her stories. I'd tell her that Mommy and Daddy were travelling the world looking for us. Everyday they would stop at a different house and ask if we were there. Someday they will come to this house, and they will find us and bring us home. We would have friends, and we would be able to play outside and go to school. Mommy and Daddy are going to find us. I hated lying to her but I couldn't just tell her that Daddy was dead and Mommy left us here because she didn't want us anymore. She was just so little, she needed to believe that they were still out there and somebody was still looking for us.
I crossed back over to the window just in time to see the familiar tall blonde boy walk by. Levi. I heard somebody call out his name and he turned as a blonde girl came into sight. As they hugged, he looked up towards the window I was standing in and I quickly ducked behind the curtain. I hope he didn't see me. I could not afford to get caught. I quickly whipped around and put my back against the wall next to the window.
"What is your problem?" Joey asked.
"Nothing," I said quickly, "I thought I saw something."
"Did you see a ghost? You are as pale as one," she looked at me suspiciously.
"No, I- I just saw someone. I thought- I thought he saw me." I peeked out the window and he was still looking up here, but the girl was gone. He looked as if he recognized something, "Joey," I said nervously, "I think he saw me."
"Jo! You know we aren't supposed to go by the window, let alone let people see us! How could you be so stupid? Do you know what Grandmother will do if she finds out? She will kill us, literally!" Joey yelled at me again.
"Stop yelling at me! I don't know what your problem is but it's really pissing me off!" I yelled back, no longer able to hold it in.
Joey closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. "Jo, you are my problem. Every time you mess up, you expect me to take the blame for it, and I do. But I can't do it anymore. I just can't. This isn't the first time somebody has almost seen you from outside. One of these times Grandmother is going to find out, and there will be nothing I can do about it. I'm sorry."
There were tears in my eyes but I refused to let them go. "I just- I just don't understand. Are you- why- I mean- do you want to stay here?" I could never control my stutter when I was upset. "Do you- do you want to stay in this hell until it- until it's too late for somebody to see us? I want to get out of here!"
"And you think I don't? I'm just tired of what Grandmother does. I just, I give up. I'm done." And for the first time ever, Joey looked defeated.
"Joey, you can't give up. We will be okay, I promise-"
"Don't make promises you can't keep, Johanna." Joey said.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for Levi to see me, I didn't think he would look up here, let alone recognize me after two years. I'm sorry."
Joey's eyes bulged, "Wait, he recognized you? What do you mean he recognized you? You knew him. Was he-" Joey's eyes widened further, "You mean Levi, as in your boyfriend Levi."
I wasn't a question, it was a statement, a fact. I just nodded.
Okay, so One Direction probably won't come into this story right away, probably a few chapters in. Don't hate me for it! I will try and incorporate them in sooner, but I give no promises. I already have and idea for how this goes so far, so please be patient. Please comment what you think, good or bad. It really helps me. Thanks!