“Shoot!” After looking at my watch I break into a light jog, trying to juggle my backpack and cheer bag. I should have waited and caught a ride home with Tara. But when I saw my teammate talkin’ with Max Donovan, I knew she was going to be a while, and I was already running late.
When my phone dings with a text, I slow down and reach into the side of my backpack to pull out my cell.
Adam: Hey beautiful, just wanted to say good luck. Have a good weekend. I’ll miss you. I know you and your mom will win, bring me back any leftover pie. Love you babe. :)
I smile, and my stomach does a little flip at the sweet message. Dang, I just love that boy. Adam and I have been dating almost a year, and lately he’s been pushing to take our relationship to the next level. I appreciate how patient he’s been, considerin’ he isn’t a virgin. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I have decided when I get back from the fair with Mama I’m going to tell him I’m ready.
I send him a quick reply, lettin’ him know I’ll miss him too and that I’ll call as soon as we get home on Sunday. I hope he’s right about Mama and me winning the bakin’ contest. The prize money of $20,000 will help us start our dream; a dream we have been talking about for as long as I can remember. When my house comes into view, I pick up speed again and run up my front steps. By the time I open the door I’m out of breath.
“Hey, Mama, I’m sorry I’m late. Coach made us stay late at practice, but I’ll be quick. Just let me change, and we can start loadin’ the car.” I throw my backpack and cheer bag off to the side and walk into the kitchen. The pies are stacked and ready, but there’s no sign of Mama.
Suddenly, a loud thump sounds above me, drawing my gaze up to the ceiling. Suddenly an eerie feeling hits me. I can’t say why, or what, brought it on, but I knew somethin’ wasn’t right. I slowly start walking towards the stairs, my pounding heart tellin’ me something is wrong.
“Mama?” I call her name again as I start up the stairs. “Mama, are you up here?” When I make it to the top, I see her bedroom door slightly ajar. As I walk closer to her room, every instinct I have is yellin’ at me to run, that there’s big trouble.
With my heart in my throat I push open the door and see her room in disarray. Suddenly the closet door flies open, and Mama barrels out onto the floor, naked and bleeding.
“GRACE, RUN!” she screams, just as a big guy rushes out after her. Without a second thought that’s exactly what I do.
“Fuck! Hurry and grab that bitch.”
I make it halfway to my room before someone grabs a fistful of my hair and yanks me off my feet. My breath gets knocked out of my lungs when I land painfully on my back. As I struggle to regain my breath I look up and see a big, scary guy who doesn’t look much older than me. His greasy jet-black hair hangs in his dark, glossy eyes-eyes that lack any emotion and are so dark they appear black. He grins down at me maliciously, sporting yellow teeth. “You’re just as fuckin’ pretty as your mama. I can’t wait to fuck you too.”
Oh no… Mama!
“No! Leave her alone, please let her go,” Mama begs hysterically.
Oh god, I have to get us out of here; I have to get to the phone. The guy yanks me to my feet by my hair. I barely feel the painful sting because of the amount of adrenaline that’s rushing through my veins. He keeps one hand tangled tightly in my hair and wraps his other around my waist, pulling me against him. Then, before I have time to register what he’s about to do, he crashes his disgusting mouth to mine. I cry out against the brutal force and try to push him away. Instinct has me bringing my knee up and nailing him between the legs.
The second his grip loosens I shove myself away and bolt into my room. Slamming the door, I click the lock in place and race to my bedside phone. I quickly dial 911 and start pushing my dresser towards the door to barricade myself in. All the while I can still hear my mom screaming.
“Oh god, Mama,” I sob.
A forceful pounding starts against my door, almost throwing it off its hinges. I rush into my closet.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“This is Grace Morgan, I live at 917 Lakeland Point. Two men have broken into my house, and they are hurting my mother.” My mom’s screams become so loud and painful, it’s all I can hear. “Oh god, please, you have to hurry! They’re hurtin’ her real bad.” I’m sobbing hysterically, but somehow manage to get the words out.
“All right, honey, I want you to try and stay calm, the police are on their way. Stay on the phone with me, all right? How old are you, Grace?”
“Seventeen. Please…” Suddenly, the pounding on my door gets louder, and I hear the wood start to splinter. “Oh no! Please hurry, he’s almost in my room.”
My closet door flies open.
“Ahhhhhh!” I scream just before the guy yanks the phone out of my hand and smashes it against the wall. I race out past him in the split second that it takes for him to throw it. He tackles me from behind, and I face-plant into the hardwood floor right next to my bed, splitting my lip open. “You stupid bitch. You’re gonna fucking pay for that.”
I scream and kick against him as he pummels my back. Reaching out in front of me, I try to grab the cord of my lamp, hoping to use it as a weapon, but before I can reach it, he flips me over and strikes me across the face. Black spots dance before my eyes, and my mouth pools with so much blood I almost choke on it.
He begins pounding me with fast fists, hitting me in the stomach, arms, face, anything he can reach, and then suddenly stops.
“Uhhh,” I groan in pain, trying to remain conscious. Big, rough hands grab the V-neck of my shirt and rip it open, exposing my white lace bra. He gropes my breasts painfully and grinds his erection against me.
I start to snap out of my painful haze when he fumbles with my spandex cheer shorts, trying to pull them down. I buck, attempting to fight him off, but have little success.
“Stay still bitch; this will be over quickly.”
When I don’t submit to his command, he backhands me again. The painful force makes my ears ring and has my head snapping to the left. It’s then I see my pink baseball bat from Little League lying under my bed. He doesn’t notice me reach for it, since he’s too busy tryin’ to force my clothes off. As soon as I’m able to grasp it, I firmly wrap my hand around the rubber grip, and drag it out from under my bed. Bringing it up, I swing with every bit of strength I have left and make solid contact against the side of his head.
Grunting, he falls to the side. Quickly getting to my feet I swing again, bringing the steel against his back.
“Shit, Emilio, man, we need to get the fuck out of here. Cops are coming, I can hear the sirens.” The other guy rushes into my room with a bloody knife and sees his friend on the ground, struggling from my blow. “You stupid fucking whore,” he screams while charging at me. Before I can swing the bat at him, he punches me in the side of the head. I catch sight of a tattoo on the inside of his wrist before the force of his blow sends me flying into the wall.
He stares at me in rage as I struggle for breath. I can tell he wants to finish what he’s started but knows he doesn’t have time. Turning around, he quickly helps his friend to his feet. “Come on, man, pull it together. We have to get the fuck out of here.” They quickly stumble out the door, Emilio practically being carried by his friend.
As soon as I hear them land at the bottom of the stairs, I manage to pull myself up, on shaking legs, and race to my mom’s room as quickly as my beaten and broken body will allow me. My vision is blurred from the blows to my head, and the tears that cloud my eyes.
I falter as soon as I enter my mother’s room. My heart shatters and bile fills my throat when I see her lying naked on the floor in a pool of her own blood.
“MAMA? Oh god, oh no!” Racing to her side, I slip in all the blood, landing on my knees. I reach down and cradle my mother’s lifeless body to my chest.
“It’s okay, Mama, just hang on, help is on the way.” I sob hysterically. My tears fall into her beautiful golden hair that’s now stained red from blood. Even though I plead with her to hang on, and tell her that everything is going to be okay, I know it isn’t. Deep down I know she is dead, but my heart refuses to believe it.
“Oh God, Mama, I’m so sorry, so sorry. I love you so much.” Leaning down, I kiss her bloodstained forehead and bury my face into her hair while I rock her. Seconds later, chaos erupts around me.
At seventeen years old I had managed to live through what was the worst day of my life. One would think this is where my torment ends, but it doesn’t, because I was then sent to live with him… the devil himself.
Three Years Later…
“Order up!” My tired aching feet scream at me as I rush over to grab the two hot plates filled with burgers and fries.
Lord, it’s only lunch and my feet are already givin’ up on me. Probably doesn’t help that I worked a twelve hour shift yesterday.
“How are you doing out there, darlin’?” Mac asks, as he flips burgers.