• The school's clock large hand was crawling forward, slowly landing onto the forty-five of the face of the clock. I dragged my eyes lazily towards the smaller hand, and my green eyes went round. It was on the three.
    Three forty-five... The time of the day I dread most... Where I'd have to see... Daddy...
    As if on cue the bell rung, and my first grade teacher clapped her hands together, signaling we grab our backpacks so we could start heading out of the building.
    Three forty-seven...
    I was being led out by Susan, the class' teacher's pet, towards the buses. We rode the same bus together, but never really talked. I didn't plan on it either...
    Three fifty-three...
    I was digging my nails into the palm of my hands, my heart racing as the bus edged closer towards the bus stop. As usual, I looked out the window and wished to see my father out there to greet me, to pull me off the bus and wrap me in a hug, or toss me in the air over his shoulder while he sounded like a troll and I was the fair princess in need of help. I wanted him to be there to walk me off, greeting me and asking how my day was and I would reply "It was great, but I wished I was wrapped in your arms instead." But as usual, he wasn't there, he was probably at home, drinking beer.
    The bus finally came to a stop, and I pretended to be sleeping like I usually did everyday, hoping that the bus driver would forget I was here and then end up taking me to where the buses go, and then would have to take me to her house and live there forever... Well at least that's what Annie told me happened to her.
    "Ashley, 'shug, wake up. It's your stop," the bus driver's sweet voice drifted through my ears and then I pretended not to hear. I heard her let out a frustrated sigh before continuing to talk. "Ash, you always seem to sleep at yer stop. Wake up, and you can sleep all you want at yer house."
    I slowly opened my eyes before I stood up. The fifth graders and the third graders started shouting at me to hurry up for they had something to do at home, but ignored them. I always did, ever since I first started the whole 'fall asleep thing.'
    As soon as I stepped off the bus, it shut it's doors and thundered past me like a huge monster. I waved good-bye to it, but I doubt the bus driver saw it.

    I had managed to get in unnoticed by my father, and I had a feeling luck had to do with it. I was close to slipping into my bedroom when my father stumbled around the corner, dark bags underneath his eyes, balding, fat, short, and a can of beer clutched in his hand.
    "Ashley, where you be going?" he mumbled, sliding his feet across the floor to reach me. I felt my heart skip a beat and fall to my stomach. I prayed silently to God that he wasn't in a bad mood.
    I didn't have to look to see if he was close, I could just smell the pungent smell of liquid he drank everyday coating his breath.
    "I-I was going into my room... I had so-some homework," I replied quickly, not daring to meet his eyes. He grunted once.
    "Why are you so intent in going to school?" he began, "School is a place for stupid kids to become smarter. You see, your pops had no school 'cause I was too smart for it."
    His left eye twitched the way it always did whenever he was in deep thought, or when he was angry. I winced slightly as I imagined more bruises to add to the collection I already had on my body where my clothes would cover it.
    "Right..." I said softly, looking at the ground.
    "Speak up," he said in a whisper, matching my tone.
    I looked up to meet his gaze, swallowing silently before replying, “I-I said right. You’re right.”
    My father looked down at me like I was something that magically grew three heads, “What’s wrong with you? You always stutter.”
    And you always slurr. I wanted to say but I bit my tongue and kept it back. I gave him a meek smile and shrugged, not knowing how to really reply.
    I was about to move when he grabbed my arm and then pushed me backwards, making me land onto my bottom… Hard.
    “I never said for you to leave,” he growled. I whimpered pitifully. He had these mood swings… At first he would be nice and it seemed that if I even breathed that he’d hit me, shove me, or force me to pull down whatever I was wearing that day as he pulled down his usual shorts and thrusted into me until I felt like my private area would never allow me to pee again. But he only did these things because he loved me… Right?
    “You act just like your mom you miserable b***h,” he continued to say as he stumbled towards me and then bending down, tugging my skirt off and then my Hello Kitty underwear. I felt hot tears stinging my eyes and I wiped them away as he started to un-button his pants.
    “Stop,” I begged like I usually did, trying to push away from the ground, but instead he sent a hard punch towards my abdomen.
    I took in a breath of air and stared at the ceiling. I moaned as I felt something being forcefully shoved into me, and then felt tears streaming down my face as a series of questions kept coming into my head.
    Why does he do this? Why must he always hurt me psychically and emotionally? Doesn’t he love me? He says he does after he does this to me… But does he?
    I kept staring at the ceiling, imaging me evaporating from here and floating up and away, higher and higher as I go into the sky among the stars to stare down at my pathetic excuse for a father, watching as he thrusts into the empty-shelled body of a six year old girl.
    I imagine me being helped to escape this place by my mom who left us to go with another guy she met online. I imagine her coming in unnoticed and then staring at my father as he does this to her only daughter, and then ripping him off of me and landing blows like he does to me. I imagine her shaking me awake so she can take me away, and never come back and calling the cops to have him sent to jail.
    I imagine all of this, but I know it’ll never happen. Mom never made any effort to contact me or dad, and I know she never will because she left me when I was only three.
    God… Help me…
    I silently come back to Earth, being forced to come down because he’s done with whatever he likes to do to me, and I need to get to work on my homework and forget about what happened.
    I return to my weak body, feeling my private area throb in pain as I feel the tears roll down my cheeks. I pull up my underwear, then my skirt, and stumble into my room, clutching my backpack to my chest.
    But I didn’t know that my father was in there, ready to seize me and rip off my clothes.
    “Daddy please!” I wail, sobs shaking my body as he flips me over to where I face the ground and feel something inside me once more.
    “Please stop! Daddy, don’t you love me?! Please daddy, please! Why do you have to do this to me daddy? Why?! Daddy!” I scream and I finally feel him un-attach himself from me and then he kicks me, which sends me sprawling towards my bed.
    “Shut the ******** up! Put on your ******** clothes you ******** whore,” he replies. I sniffle as I put on a different shirt, different underwear, and different shorts.
    “You want to know why do this to you? It’s your ******** fault! Look at you, always wearing tight shirts with short shorts or a ******** short a** skirt.”
    I look down to observe what I’m wearing. The shorts aren’t that short… They only come to my knees and my shirt isn’t even close to tight. It drapes over me more like a blanket then a shirt.
    I keep feeling the tears come down my face and I desperately want them to stop, but they don’t. I wish I was stronger, that I could send daddy flying backwards.
    “Don’t give me that ******** look,” he yells, sending my book-filled backpack flying towards my face.
    I wasn’t sure what hurt the worst; the part where he threw the backpack at me or when he said the next words “I hate you”. It was like a blade slashing into me, like a wave of shock washing over me.
    I couldn’t say anything, I was too stunned that I didn’t realize I fell down, landing face first as I stared at the ground, silently wishing that he’d float away from me.
    Nobody loves me… Nobody…
    I watch as my father steps towards me, but I could already feel darkness surrounding me. I’ve felt this before… Whenever he hit me too hard… I’m falling to sleep… And I won’t wake up until later…

    I open my eyes and I find myself on a cloud, floating into the sky. I look down and I see a beautiful sea shimmering, the sun setting on it perfectly to make it look like a pink ocean of cotton candy. Dolphins splash hello to me and I wave back to them. I don’t realize what I’m wearing until I look down, gasping softly at the new white dress that clung to my body. It was white, a beautiful white with many sparkles that looked like it belonged to a Barbie movie. I flatten it down, and it goes to my ankles where my feet are bare. My golden hair whips against my face, and my green eyes are brighter then they’ve been for a while. I notice no bruises on my pale body. I smile, and I look down, the sparkles on the dress momentarily distracting me. I tilt my head, and then look up. I stand up, and the cloud slows it’s pace. It finally stops at a beautiful meadow filled with various colors of flowers. I step off, and venture into the meadow, and then I spin like how princesses would do in movies, I spin gracefully with my hands above me, smiling and cherishing this moment.
    Where am I? I whisper, but it sounds more like a thought. I stop spinning for a moment to crouch besides the flowers, taking in a deep breath of the scent that filled my nostrils, caressing it and tickling it.
    You are in heaven, a breath of air finally answers my question. I quickly stand and then look around, but see nobody.
    Heaven? You mean I’m in a dream? I reply, and my voice sounds like silk, and thin. I can hear a small laugh like melody before a different, soft voice replies.
    No, dear. You’re in heaven. You’re among angels now.
    It feels like shock at first, and I feel like crying. I never got to grow up, I never got to be able to get married and have a princess wedding. I never got to have a baby. I never got to grow old with my husband and die with him. I never got to do any of these things…
    Take me back! I say Take me back!
    A breeze goes through my hair, and it caresses my body. To me, it feels almost like a reassuring hug.
    Dear, you’re in a far better place… You’re in a better place…
    It felt like those words told my soul that it was okay, to not go mad and panic and cry. It felt like I accepted that my soul has moved on.
    Where is everyone? I finally say. A breeze whips my hair to the side of my face, and I hurry to place it back.
    Honey, you haven’t even went all the way through the meadow…
    At first I’m confused, but then I walk. The flowers don’t crumple underneath my weight, instead when I walk the flowers bloom more and more with every step I take.
    A stream sings it’s lullaby, and I keep walking through the blues, the yellows, the pinks, the oranges, the reds, and the whites of flowers. I let out a gasp as I see a gate… A gleaming, shining golden gate open up before me. I smile and as I step through… I start to fade and dissolve. At first, I am scared, but then I am not.
    I am finally safe.
    I am finally away from him.
    I can not be hurt anymore…

    I hear about a girl named Ashley Parker on the news, how she died yesterday. I knew her. She was in my class.
    I heard how her daddy did nasty things to her, and would beat her up. I heard how he killed her; he was drunk, found a butcher knife in the kitchen, and cut her body into little pieces. I heard how he put her remains in her backpack and threw them into the neighbors yard where the neighbors dog found it and brought it inside.
    I heard how the neighbor called the cops, and they investigated houses nearby, and with luck they found it on the first try; at Mr. Parker’s house.
    I heard how they arrested him, and how many people in the neighborhood were going to have a memorial service for her, and then how her mother was going to come. I heard how mommy and daddy were crying, but I didn’t know why.
    I heard how there was going to be some moment of silence in the United States for her, honoring and remembering her and other victims who died by abuse.
    I don’t know if I wanted to cry, or not. I know that the next day at school everyone seemed sad, and the teacher didn’t say a word but I didn’t know why.
    Or how when I went on a bus how everyone was hushed, and the bus driver was crying most of the time she was driving. I didn’t know why, they never talked to her.
    I eventually get off the bus, and then start walking, remembering the things Ashley did. She didn’t do a lot… She didn’t have many friends… But why was everyone sad?
    I asked daddy and he told me it was sad because nobody helped her when they should’ve asked if she was okay. How it was unnecessary for someone like her to die a death like that, and that he was grateful that she had blacked out so she wouldn’t have felt the pain. But the last part struck me the most… How he wished he could go back in time and changed everything.
    I asked him why. I said ‘Why daddy? You didn’t eve know here!’. And all he said was, ‘Because a child like her didn’t deserve punishment like that.’
    I guess I understand it, I think I do. How Ashley was unfortunate to have that happen to her but now… I wonder why her father ever did that to her at all…


    Mr. Parker ended up in prison, serving a life sentence for the acts he committed to Ashley Parker. Later, prison mates murdered him on the fourth year.
    Susan ended up marrying Ashley’s brother (Hagen, age twenty-three) at the age of twenty-seven, whom she met one day at her mother’s funeral. Later, at age twenty-nine she had a beautiful baby girl named Ashley Isabella Parker.

    This story is fictional, but based on true events that happen to kids everyday. Thank you for reading.