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             For the third time this month I stood in front of my house with an intense feeling of dread.

            “Don’t be stupid,” I murmured to myself as I continued to stand there practically paralyzed. “The longer you stall the worse it’ll be.”

            With a deep breath to clear my mind I opened the door and stepped inside.

            “I’m home,” I called out, as I softly closed the door behind me.

            Only silence answered me. The relief that rushed through me was enough to almost bring me to my knees. A small smile spread across my lips as I practically skipped up the stairs and to my room. I threw my bag onto my bed and hooked my iPod up to the portable speaker that was on my desk before stretching out across my bed. The second I pressed play my favorite song started blaring through the speakers.

             I should have known better. It was an unspoken rule that the music never be that loud. I also should have known to close and lock my door the second I got in. I knew I had made a mistake the second my step-father walked through my open door. The second he closed the door I hurriedly sat up and turned off the music. This time the silence that ensued was not a welcome one.

             I watched as he turned around and locked the door. The second I heard the familiar click it felt as if the temperature and just dropped about 30 degrees. He turned back around this time letting me see the knife in his hand. Instantly nausea rolled through me and for a split second I actually thought I might throw up. A small whimper escaped my lips as he came and sat on the edge of my bed.

                “Give me your hand,” He said icily, while holding out his own hand.

The fear that I had been, unsuccessfully, trying to fight rose up and nearly drowned me. I felt my body start to tremble as I looked down refusing to meet his eyes.

                “Your Hand,” He said, raising his voice in warning.

                I jumped and slowly reached my hand out, wincing as he gripped it a little too hard. I gritted my teeth to keep from crying out even as the tears started to flow more rapidly.

                What did he think, I thought to myself. I had nowhere else to go. And because of that fact he knew he could do anything he wanted and I couldn’t’ do a thing.

                The second I felt the cool tip of the knife touch my skin I shuddered feeling the nausea start to bubble up. He was playing with me and I knew why. For the past two weeks I had successfully avoided being ‘punished’. I’d done everything he asked, never complaining no matter how bad it got. The longer I went without his punishments the angrier he got. I’d known for the past week that he was waiting for the chance to get back at me. He was a very sadistic man and anyone who thought otherwise didn’t really know him. As I felt the knife dig into my skin, I squeezed my eyes shut and tore into my bottom lip to keep from crying out. From the almost animalistic growl that left his lips I could tell that he wasn’t pleased with my silence. The next thing I knew, he was pushing the knife deeper and harder into my skin. This time I couldn’t help the scream that ripped from my lips. My eyes flew open only to see my step-father’s malicious smiling face in front of me.

                  “Don’t forget that this is your own fault,” He said moving the knife to make a new slash. “We’ve already been over how high the music is allowed. Yet you still disobey. That’s what you are; a disobedient child that needs to be punished.”

                   That was the way it always worked. It didn’t matter how small the mistake was there was always a punishment that followed. I was always the one in the wrong. I was always the one that needed to be punished. He should be punished. I felt my anger rise as like it always did at the thought of someone punishing him. And just like it always did, it fell as I faced the reality that there was no one who would do that. There was no one who would save me from this hell hole.

                   “You’ve gone quiet,” He said coming closer to me. “You know better than to ignore elder when they’re talking to you.”

                    When I didn’t answer he made a slow slash on my arm making me scream again. He did this over and over and over until I felt as if the next cut would kill me, but they never did.

                    Finally after it felt as if I were about to pass out from the torture I felt the knife leave my skin. My eyes that had been squeezed shut throughout the entire time, fluttered open to see him wiping the blood off the knife and onto his shirt. After letting out, what sounded like, a self-satisfied sigh his face became stone-like and he brought his gaze upon me.

                   “Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes,” He said. “Don’t make me come and get you.”

                    Without another word he walked out of my room slamming the door behind him. After a few seconds of just lying there I slowly started to try and move my arms and legs. It seemed the harder I pushed my body to move the more and more pain I felt until finally I just decided to give up.

                     I turned my head to the side, the only thing I was capable of doing with minimal pain, to see that I was going to have to go through that again I heard voices rising from downstairs. As I finally was able to lift myself up out of my bed I heard footsteps start up the stairs.

                     Panic gripped me making me move faster even through the pain I felt. As I finally stood up my head started to swim because of the blood lost. Without warning my knees gave out and I fell to the floor again incapable of movement. I squeezed my eyes shut as I heard the footsteps stop at my door and waited for my step-father to burst in.

                    When the door opened softly and I wasn’t immediately in pain I was confused, but I continued to keep still with my eyes closed. Maybe if I played dead he would at least have to decency to take me to the hospital.

                    “Holy hell”

                     I almost opened my eyes as I heard a voice that was definitely not my step-fathers. Instead I remained still because although it may not be him there was always a chance that this guy was a friend of his. Suddenly I heard more footsteps coming up the steps. These sounded heavier, too heavy for Peter.

                      “Holy-

                      “Yeah I know what you mean.”

                      “What the hell did he do to her,” A second voice said a little gruffer than the first.

                      “Look, I know we were supposed to take her, but it’s obvious he doesn’t even want her.”

                      The anger in his voice surprised me, but what surprised me more was the word ‘take’. What did they mean by take? My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. It sounded as if they had meant to kidnap me. As that thought crossed my mind, hope started to flutter within me. The thought of them taking me away from this place made my heart start to speed. With little energy left I forced my eyes to open. As my eyes focused I saw what looked like them leaving but my vision was still a little spotty.

                      “Wait,” I whispered softly, a desperation slowly feeling me.

                      "Jason, dude, I think she's still alive."

                      The bigger one that looked like a football player stopped the other one. It was silent for a second as if they were waiting for something. Unfortunately I had used all of my strength to call out to them. I had nothing left in me.

                      As I slowly started to drift into darkness I thought I heard one of them  say, "Okay, Grab her."

 

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