Paper Ashes

[For the Name on Your Wrist Competition] She cries. He sighs. She smiles. He files. She writes. He lights. She dies. He lies.


5. Making Hope

As Ty wiped the blood from his again-broken nose, he decided yes, he was trapped. His father, now in a drunken stupor on the couch, sported bruised knuckles, which he would later blame on Ty. Oh, what a life.

Surveying the state of the house, he sighed and began work. Unpaid, naturally. Cleaning the house, morning and night, it was all he ever did. That and writing letters. They were his song, he supposed. His song to make hope. Wasn't that why he had replied? Why he had read it in the first place? For hope?


He was washing up when his Mum walked in.

"Oh, Ty, you didn't have to do that."

"Nah, it's alright. Dad's tired from work again, he's asleep in the living room."

"I won't wake him then. Have you eaten tea?"


"Are you sure? You've been looking a little pale lately."

"I'm fine, Mum, just feeling a bit anemic. I should buy some proper food when I next go shopping."

"How about tonight? Your Dad must have been ravenous when he came home, he's eaten everything again."

"Yeah. Tonight. I'll go now, actually, give you a chance to get ready for the late shift at Lorraine's bar and not have to be rushing around at the last second. See you later."



Ty had to wonder how long this pretense was going to last for. How long before his father went too wild, got too drunk, beat him too much? Before he wouldn't be able to clear up in time and then his Mum would have to face the fact that her husband was an alcoholic, lying, cheating bum who relied on his wife's money? It was too awful to think about. 

He stopped at the post office, as usual, to drop off the latest letter. He hadn't told Adrella of the beatings, the drinking, the lie he had to endure. He had let one thing slip, however, his sister's occupation. She mainly worked nights, so he hardly ever saw her, but then, most prostitutes do. He wasn't sure he wanted to see her. He wondered what Adrella's family life was like. It had to be better than his, for sure.


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