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"Where darkness stands, so must the shadows. And we shadows like to fight just as hard."
Blight Stricken Heart
The brunette drew in a deep breath and started coughing. Dark brown, almost black eyes looked at the torn paper in front of her. The desk shuddered as she moved to a more comfortable position and picked up a cloth off of the ground, placing it to her mouth. She took in another breath and coughed again. The grey cloth slowly turned red as she continued coughing into it. Her skin was pale from not seeing the sun, the lights she woke up to always artificial. These few sheets of old lined paper, and the older pencils and sharpener would be the only things to bear witness to her last words. A single tear rolled down her cheek as the story poured out from her very heart.

Blight Stricken Heart
(A True Story)

Chapter 1. Childhood

I remember opening my eyes one morning, seeing a white roof with a large lamp for a light source. It was cold, and I was huddled in my dark purple thin blanket. The white pillows threatened to engulf my six year old head. Too young for rational thoughts. I throw the curtains open and wince in the sunlight.

Another day too bright for my tastes, but none the less I would live through it. There was no hero to save me from this hell. Why were such horrible things being visited upon me? I had committed no sins at that age. Perhaps they were warnings of what I had yet to do, trying to prevent it. But I was stubborn. I walked only slightly confidently passed my four and a half brother and cowered away from my father. I was already dressed for the seemingly kinder summer weather.

The weather welcomed and I relaxed. A six year old girl, wandering the streets alone. It was not so unusual. I stayed away from prying eyes and continued walking alone. My eyes stayed open as my mouth began to sing small tales to me, and my imagination lost me to a world that didn’t exist. I had no where else to go, for I found no kindness in my grandparents, one with a tongue sharper than the knife he used to cut his meat, the other with a wooden spoon to make me a lady.

When a policeman found me and asked me if I was lost, I would answer no. I was going somewhere nice, I always was, and my voice would always take me there. I was too young to realize that made me look very lonely for a child. He asked me if I wanted to go home. I almost cried, but held my breath. Home was too scary. It was the weekend, and I didn’t want to spend it in terror.

I gave him a smile and asked him to show me his home. He laughed and said no. I didn’t mind. Then I asked him to show me the police station, and the little jail rumoured to hidden beneath it. Again a no. Suddenly I was bored with him, and very hungry. I said goodbye and ran off giggling when he told me to wait and give him a chance to call my house, to see if I was wanted back home. Yah, right. As if my drunken father wanted me home. Maybe he did…if only to take his rage out on me. No. I would not return home to THAT.

The coins in my pocket jingled, and I wondered just how much I had. I only collected the bigger gold ones and the largest of the silver ones. Sometimes, if I was really lucky, I would find the biggest silver one with an animal in the middle, even a piece of paper that had large numbers on it. But I had to be careful with the paper, it didn’t like getting wet, and even dry it ripped easily.

I entered a small corner store and walked into the candy isle, but then I remembered how candies made me sick. I shook my head and went for the big, big sandwiches. Yum, yum. I grab a medium on, because I don’t have a numbered paper with me I don’t think I can get a really, really big one. I go stand behind the man waiting for the red man to make the noises with that large toy on the counter. I call him the red man because everything about him is red, even his hair. I think he looks silly, but I never tell him. He might get mad and not accept my coins.

The red man smiles at me and scratches his face hair. I giggle and reach really high to put the sandwich on the counter. He reached over to the big toy and I gasp as he breaks off a piece and waves it over my sandwich. I don’t understand what he’s doing, but it didn’t matter. He says a really super big number to me that I can’t understand. I reach into my pocket and pull out two gold coins and a really big silver coin with a bear on it. I give it to him and he laughs.

I glare at him. Now I only have three big gold coins left…and what is he finding so funny? I stomp my foot, and that catches his attention. He holds up a gold coin and asks for one for. I don’t want to, but my tummy growls and I give one to him. He takes it, plays with the toy for a bit, and gives me back three of the large silver coins without the animals on them. He points at a sign where the sandwiches are, says something, then points where the drinks are.

I got it almost immediately. A large grin spread across my face when I skipped over to the fridge that held the cold drinks. A sign that carried the exact same design as the one by the sandwiches told me I was right. It was a weird thing, but the store did it sometimes. If you get a certain item and give the amount of coins they want for it, you’re aloud another item, but you don’t have to give up any of your free coins. I grabbed one I knew wouldn’t make my heart go so fast it would hurt, then rushed back to counter. The red man placed my sandwich and drink in a bag and handed it to me. I gave him my cutest smile before rushing out the door.

I made my way to the school park, not a block away from my home or the store, so the distance wouldn’t be too much if I got tired out and wanted to sleep at home. I sat and at my sandwich, and every so often took a drink from my fizzy. Fizzy is what I called the drink because is felt like a million little bubbles popping in my mouth, and when you opened the drink, it made a sound that sounded like daddy’s t.v. if left on too long into the night. That’s when the t.v. looked like it showing a snow show. I thought it was fun to watch at first, but then I got bored fast.

At the park, a family came walking up. And boy was it ever big! I was confused. One woman and all those kids, wow! I stared as she instructed them on how to play, and then giggled. We children are born knowing how to play, no arguments there. But this woman made it look like an adult job to play. I got up, threw out my garbage (because my teacher said that is was bad thing to just leave my garbage on the ground) and rushed off to play.

As soon as I was on the equipment, a small boy next me yelled out the key to chaos.

“Last on the bridge is it for Grounders!” he screamed. A series of screeches and screams followed. I made it on third, and smiled proudly for my achievement. As I looked down from the bridge I saw the woman looking at me curiously.

‘Uh-oh.’ I thought. She didn’t know who I was and would probably make me go home. As the last of squabbles resounded out for who was it, I knew I was in trouble. The woman had narrowed her eyes, as if trying to pick me out from all the other kids on the playground. But I didn’t have time to concentrate on, because a chorus of giggles warned me that the it was heading to the ground and was getting ready to start the game. We all got off the bridge as soon as possible, but stayed on the equipment.

It was fun until a pair of rough hands grabbed me off the equipment. I turned around, expecting to see the woman who had mothered all these speedling children, but I didn’t. It was a dark, scary face, with too much face hair. He wore a baseball cap and a baggy ripped grey sweater.

“Come on honey, time to go home.” He said in a deep rough voice.

Instantly I was on edge. I had no clue who this man was, and I didn’t like him one bit. He smelt like the toilet did after I did the doo-doo. I looked around for the woman, for help, but when I saw her, she looked relieved. She thought this stinky man was family! He gave my arm a gentle tug in the opposite direction. When I fought him, he cursed, and in his too bitter voice he tried to encourage me to go with him.

That was when I screamed at him. I screamed and I screamed and I screamed. I screamed bloody murder. The woman was staring at me, and I struggling. I was still screaming, and when his grip tightened enough to really hurt, my screams got louder and I started crying. I started babbling, trying to say that I didn’t know who he was, why he was trying to take me away, that I wanted help, wanted to go home, help, help, HELP!!!

The woman understood the last part and stormed over to the man. Immediately something clicked in her head as she got closer. She saw the hurtful grip. The man threatened her, threatened me. She merely got closer. Suddenly she slammed her fist into his face, and his grip on my arm was gone. I was crying, running, desperate to get away from him, all of them. A couple of the kids ran next to me, grabbed my arms nicely, and hugged me as I cried.

I looked at my arm as soon as my bleary eyes could focus, and I could see where his nails had dug in, where his fingers had sunk it, threatening to bruise even bone. And it hurt, it damned hurt. I wanted to go home, to hide in my room. But I knew my father would want to know, and knew that he would once again hit me because of my speech. I couldn’t speak English very well, and that only succeeded in angering him to a point where he not speak, just hurt, hurt, and hurt.

The woman couldn’t understand me when I said I didn’t want to go home. If I had known how to swear I would have. I was speaking Gaelic again, and to her it was like hearing pig latin in reverse. It was the first time in my life that I had felt totally alone. No one could understand what I said, no one could feel the fear in my veins and the loneliness in my soul. I had no idea what I could do, and it stayed like that for a long time.

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