No Room For Me

The eternity before me is a narrow hallway that catches just enough light to make shadow demons reach out their claws

It stretches longer and closes in tighter than it really is and leaves the illusion that it never ends

The walls hold no light switch. Nothing my hands can find, anyway

I just want to get back to my bed

“Boo!” Whitey’s face pops out of nowhere and makes me jump

He loved to scare me

“Why do you do that to her?” my mother asks from the safety of her bed

“She loves it” Whitey laughs

He loved to torment me. Though, it didn’t always go like this. Sometimes I would take a slap to the face and a fall to the floor. That was one of the better times. It was over quicker, at least

Still, this wasn’t his favorite game…

We moved on the average of every three months when they were together. From town to town, state to state, we never stayed long. Whenever the utilities were shut off and the eviction notice came, we always packed up his station wagon and moved on

This is why I never really had friends. Whitey made sure I was robbed of any connection with another soul. He always brought his television, though. He had an old box TV that must have weighed 100 pounds easy. It was big enough to take up more of the backseat than I did

Mother always said not to complain

“He takes care of us” she always said “He feeds us and puts a roof over our head no matter what”

Sometimes we slept in the car at a rest area. I liked those. It was quiet and there were other people around. I felt safe

The streetlights and the moon combined for a perfect nightlight and the cool night air was a welcome from the hot days of being cramped in the back by the television. If only I could have managed to stretch my legs out somewhere it would have been perfect. The floorboards were crammed with bags of clothes and whatever else wouldn’t fit in the back

I wasn’t feeling well on this particular night. The radio was playing softly from the front, as it usually did and I had to speak louder than I really wanted to in order to wake up my mother

“Mom” I groaned “I don’t feel good”

My head was flush with heat and my stomach was cramping horribly

“Shh, don’t wake Whitey up” is all she said

“Fuck!” he screamed “How can I sleep through this shit?”

She looked back and shook her head to shame me

“What’s wrong, angel?” he asked sarcastically

He wasn’t impressed with my list

“Do you feel like you are going to puke?” he asked “You’re not doing that in my car”

“Yes” I answered

“I’ll take her to the bathroom” my mother got as far as popping the door open and making the light come on

“No” he huffed “I got this”

In a second he was out of the car and opening my door. I just looked at my mother in horror as he pulled me by the arm and lifted me out

He didn’t walk me to the bathroom. In fact, he walked me out in front of the car and into the woods down the dark dog path

“I…I’m okay” I said when I realized where we were going

“No, you’re sick” he pushed me on

We didn’t go far. I could still see the car through the dangling leaves from the limbs that hung just low enough to blend together with the bushes

“Puke” he said

I didn’t have a response out before his fist hit my stomach and sent me to the ground. I laid there in shock on the cold midnight dirt not being able to catch my breath. Not being able to see because of the tears flooding my eyes. They didn’t fall. They just bulged out like a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription

Then I did as he ordered. What little was in my stomach emptied beside my face

“Are you just going to lay there in that?” he laughed

No sooner did I get to my feet and he grabbed me by the back of my hair with one hand and had his other hand clamped tightly around my mouth. It happened so fast there was a loud smack followed by the sound of a desperate inhale to capture a breath that wasn’t there anymore

“Do you feel better now?” he asked calmly

His words didn’t mix with the look in his eyes. His arms twisted just a little and my neck turned to easily with the strength of his huge arms

I shook my head yes. I thought he was going to kill me

“Good” he said through his clamped teeth “If I have to bring you back out here I am going to fucking bury you here. Do you understand?”

He shook my head for me this time. Like I was too stupid to do it myself

I could have ran from him that night. God knows I wanted to. I could see the whole thing unfolding in front of me like I suddenly had the ability to time travel. My legs shook as I imagined the strength to bolt away. If I could just get ahead of him just a little bit I could run

I knew I would scream. I had to. The terror was too much not to

I woke up the next morning in a hospital. My mother couldn’t wake me in the backseat and they took me to the emergency room. I was severely dehydrated and hooked to an IV.

“You gave us quite a scare” the handsome young doctor smiled at me “These moving trips can be hard on everybody. Got to make sure you let everybody know if you are hot and especially when you aren’t feeling well”

“She never said a word” my mother interrupted

The doctor looked at her like he didn’t believe her

“I’m sorry, mom” I played along

Her eyes were a mix of threat and a search for sympathy

“We are going to keep you for the night and get some fluids and some food in you” he told me as he touched my hand and smiled back

I couldn’t help but smile back

Whitey and my mother took turns “tasting” my cheeseburger until it was all gone before taking over the television and giggling like teenage lovers the rest of the night

I was 14 at the time

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Author: The Unamused Muse

You know me better than I do.

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