I started a story in February that I’d like to possibly self-publish someday. It would be pretty cool to put it up on Amazon as an e-book. It needs a lot of work before I can do that, though.

The story is kind of dark. It follows the life of a woman who, at the age of six, sees her mother get killed by her father. It is told from multiple viewpoints and the timeline starts before her birth and goes into her adult years.

The focus of the story is really the relationship that the main character has with her best friend and her brother. Or the lack of relationship in some ways. Her rough childhood shapes the way she interacts with the world and other people.

In my original plan for the story, I intended to throw in some sci-fi/fantasy aspects, but I’m not sure those will make it to the final draft. It seems like a bit much. I’ll have to see. For now, I am just writing. Not editing yet.

Today I’m posting from the first chapter. These parts are from the perspective of the brother. I started writing him first and I really connected with his character, so I have a soft spot for him.

There is a lot of background stuff going on that I won’t get into right now. This is just a small part of the story, and I hope you enjoy it.

Keep in mind, this is a really rough draft. This is how it came out of my head. Let me know what you think!

 

Chapter One

“The Early Years”

 

 

Walter

1990

 

Walter’s favorite part of the day is after dinner. His dad always tells him goodnight, pats him on the head and disappears into his study. Then Walter has his mom all to himself.

She gently bathes him, running her fingers through his hair while smiling and singing softly. She smells like cookies and flowers. She shines and he loves when she looks at him with a smile. He loves her kisses and how warm he feels when she tucks him into bed.

His favorite pajamas have horses on them and he loves playing cowboys and indians with the two boys who live next door.

Tonight his mom puts his favorite pjs on him and tucks him in tightly. “Like a burrito”, she would whisper in her singsongy voice.

He is delighted when she leans over and picks up his favorite book for bedtime. He falls asleep to the sound of her reading, her fingers in his hair. Walter feels loved and safe with his mom.

The next morning his mom is still there, lightly shaking him and telling him it is time for breakfast. He can smell bacon and eggs. His dad has already left for work and this morning time is his second favorite part of the day.

Walter’s feet won’t touch the floor when he is seated at the dining room table. He swings his legs back and forth happily. He doesn’t worry about going to school.

He likes school. His friends are there and his teacher is nice to him. He has heard about kids being bullied on the bus, but he’s not sure what that means and his mom drives him to school anyway.

They chat as the sun comes up and makes it’s way in through the windows. It hits his mom’s hair and he smiles because the color of her hair in the sun reminds him of chocolate.

“Did you sleep ok, Wally?”

His mom is the only one who calls him Wally. He doesn’t like it when anyone else says it. His dad disapproves. Walter once heard him tell his mom that it made their son sound like a “pussy”.

“Yes, mommy.”

“Good, good.” She hums between bites of eggs. She smiles when Walter’s swinging feet reach her knees and rest there for a moment. “Your dad won’t be home for dinner tonight. How about we go out someplace? Maybe to the Dairy Queen? I think we need a treat. Some ice cream for dessert? What do you think, Wally?”

He’s excited about a night out with his mom and nods because he has a mouth full of food. His mom has been doing a good job of teaching him manners. He likes to please her.

“Oh, and maybe we can watch a movie? There’s a new Disney movie out, we can stop by the video store on the way home.”

One of Walter’s favorite things about his mom, and he has a lot of favorite things about his mom, is her tendency to talk to him like he is an adult. No one else talks to him this way.

Sometimes she is distracted, like now, when she rinses plates and talks about the movie they will see later that night. If he were older he might have thought that she was talking to herself, she acted as if she were alone.

But he wasn’t older and he loved his mother more than anything. More than his favorite teddy bear, more than his pajamas with the horses, more than his bedtime story. She was perfect to him in everything she did.

When they got to the school, she walked him to his classroom. Walter pulled his mom down to his level and wrapped his arms around her neck, kissing her sloppily on the cheek.

This is the worst moment of his day. Saying goodbye to his mom in the morning. It is scary and he always feels a little sick to his stomach when she walks away.

He would sit down at his desk with the feeling lingering inside. Someone, a classmate or his teacher, would talk to him and the feeling would quickly be forgotten.

That feeling would come rushing back at the end of the day while he waits outside for her car to pull up. He will feel a little guilty that he didn’t miss her more during the day.

Then he sees her smile, hears her call his name, and he runs over, delighted to be near her once again.

“Boy, did I miss you today Wally!” She holds him briefly in a tight hug, then releases him to pull out of the parking lot. She is never late to get him.

“How was your day?”

Walter reaches into his bag before answering and pulls out his drawing.

“I made this for you.”

She is thrilled. The drawing immediately goes on the refrigerator when they get home. He is filled with pride. Walter’s mom is his world.

 

1996

 

Olivia has her sticky fingers on his arm again. Walter pulls his arm away and tries to focus on his book. He stole the book from a sale cart outside of the bookstore the day before.

He only wanted something to read. To take his mind off things. He hadn’t looked at the cover of the book. He just grabbed a book that was laying on top of the pile and swiftly walked away after tucking it under his arm.

This is the first thing he has stolen that wasn’t a necessity. He’s a little ashamed of himself, but also glad to have the book. It is a luxury he has not had in a long time.

Usually he takes food. Once a month aunt Leah comes by with groceries and other things for them. She cleans the bathroom and bathes Olivia, asking Walter how school is. He lies and says it is great, he is making all A’s.

She will nod, but they both know he hasn’t been to school in over a year. Leah will pat him on the head, giving him a look that he doesn’t quite understand.

Walter will watch her as she leaves. She always has tears in her eyes. Many times she sits in her car that is parked along the road for a long time after she goes outside. He can see that her head is in her hands.

The food Leah leaves won’t last the whole month. Sometimes Walter can stretch it out for two weeks, but usually it only lasts a week at most.

That is when he has to steal food. There have been times that he doesn’t feel like he can get away with it. He gets too scared of being caught.

Walter hates digging through garbage, but this is what he does when he can’t steal food from stores.

Some of the restaurants in town throw out a lot of food. He always tastes the food before he gives any to Olivia. He doesn’t want her to eat anything that has gone bad. He knows how that feels.

He remembers his aunt Leah from when he was happier. She is his mom’s sister and he always loved her, almost as much as he loved his mom. Walter had missed her when they had left.

Leah told him that she couldn’t find them for the first few years, but his mom has started calling her whenever they move now. That is how she can come once a month. She only comes when Walter’s dad is not home. She says that this is their secret and she can come only if it stays a secret.

One time, a few months before, Walter hadn’t been able to find food for a couple of days. His dad was hitting his mom again and Walter had taken Olivia into the hall closet to hide.

He was crying silently, his tears landing in Olivia’s hair as he held her close. Looking down at her eyes that were wide with fear, he made up his mind. They were going to leave with aunt Leah the next time she came to the house.

She wouldn’t take them. He begged and pleaded. He cried and he felt ashamed of his weakness in front of her. Walter felt desperate and when Leah refused to take them, he offered Olivia.

“Pl-please. Just t-t-take Liv. She’s going to d-d-die. We’re going to s-s-starve.”

He stuttered this out between his sobs. He had his fingers dug into aunt Leah’s shirt, but she pulled away. She was crying, too. Leah took him by the shoulders and looked him in the eye.

Walter was aware of his mother standing behind him, but he didn’t care. She was a part of this. She let them get this way. He hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings, but if that was what it took to save one of them, he would do it.

“Walter. Honey. You know I can’t take you or Olivia. I’m so sorry.”

He pulled away.

“I do not know that! Why? Why can’t you help us?”

She stood and went to the door. Before she left she turned back to him.

“I am helping the only way I can. I love you.”

Walter didn’t watch her leave that time. He grabbed Olivia and stomped past his mother. He took Liv out to the trees behind the house, where they spent most of their time.

He felt like a failure. He couldn’t even take care of Olivia. He thought Leah was going to save them, but that was stupid, because if she could she would have already.

They didn’t come out of their hiding place the next time aunt Leah came over. Walter watched her from the bushes, calling for them. He could hear Leah arguing with his mother about where her children were.

Walter wishes he could run away. If he didn’t have Olivia to look after, he would. He can’t leave her. Sometimes he is angry at her and resentful because she keeps him there. He knows that he can’t take care of them on their own. He barely manages it now.

His mom is still in there, too. He sometimes catches glimpses of her. For a few months after Olivia was born, she was almost like her old self. She loved them. He knew it.

She protected them. Their father was always angry now. He would throw things and scream. Most nights that he was home, he would hit their mom. Walter tried to stop him at first, but then he would get hit and his mom would sit in the corner weeping.

His mom got between Walter and his dad one time. It was the worst beating he ever saw his dad give his mom. That is when Walter started taking Olivia and hiding.

When it is cold out, he tries to hide in the house. He usually takes Liv into one of the closets. He will hum lightly, a song his mom used to sing to him, so that he can try and drown out the noise.

Sometimes his dad is so violent that Walter can’t stay in the house. He is too scared of what will happen to them. Those are the nights that Walter takes Liv out to the trees and they watch the house until the lights go out.

Walter will creep back to the house when he thinks his parents are asleep. If the door is locked, he and Olivia will sleep under the porch. He keeps his old blanket outside in a plastic bag, to keep it clean, for this reason.

There are nights when his mom will come out and get them. This is how he knows his mom still loves him. When he looks up at her bruised face backlit by stars and she holds his hand while carrying Liv back inside, he feels loved for just that one second.

Olivia is whimpering now, frustrated that Walter won’t put down his book and play with her. She is so used to her brother giving her all the attention she craves. He finally throws the book down and sighing, picks her up.