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I nervously paced across the room, my long tangled hair shadowing my face. I dropped my bag on the floor, and threw off the covers to duck under. Homework didn’t matter right now. I didn’t care about that five page essay due Thursday, or the algebra worksheets lurking deep in the mess I call a bag. I could handle a few B’s. What mattered was hiding. Hiding from them was more important.

I leaned back a bit, hoping to calm my aching muscles. Instead, it was worse. My shoulder hit the wall, an eruption of pain coming through. More pain on top of the scars that already existed on me. But these weren’t the falling of bike kind of scars. These were the scars that hurt the most. caused by the ones who are suppose to love you.

It was going to be all the same, as usual. Mom and Kate come home, and it was time for Cassidy’s torture, as usual. They’d storm into my room, mad about something I didn’t know about. They’d conform in front of me how much I deserve pain. How much everything wrong was my fault. How I didn’t deserve anything. Then it would start- the kicking, insults, terror. Then after a while, they’d stop and leave. Ignore me during dinner, and repeat for another day. Too bad it felt so much like a week.

They were not like this in public. We were the perfect family. Mom was the winning mom, able to cook a storm of food. Kate was the beauty- black hair, tan, blue eyes, the works. Then there was the child everyone forgot existed. That’s me, in case you couldn’t tell. But once we get inside, the demons come out.

If only it were five years ago. When Dad was with us. We were the happy family. Until Dad decided hanging out with some ladies would be fun. He went to hang out with some friends, whisking me along with him. That night, after some rumors were said and some proposals made, he came back with a stroller and a new girl. he then packed up and left us, leaving the only reminder of him left. it didn’t help we shared the same blond hair, same amber eyes, same small figure. and same wicked smile. Who was the easiest to blame for this? Yours truly.

I’d always wondered what he was doing with his life. Mom and Kate never let me touch the phone, saying that it wasn’t healthy for me. They tried to shut him out as much as possible. If only for me. The copy of him.

I deeply sighed and climbed shakily out of bed, a flash of pain streaming through my body with pain. The latest bruises weren’t looking great. I slouched over to my computer, where I checked my email. You have 0 emails. Not that I really expected anything. People at school never liked the ugly, shy outcast girl with no friends. It wasn’t that people never approached me. Once in awhile, the newbie of the school would be drawn in, but immediately chased out by me. I didn’t want to ruin others lives with the burden of Cassidy. I was too pessimistic, too gloomy, too sad. People just assumed it was because I was being an idiot. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it isn’t. My self esteem didn’t have any fans, so I had to decide my choices. They weren’t positive ones.

Tap, tap. I hear a crack of a sound ache on my floor beds. My heart skips a beat in fright. They’re here. Mom is here. Kate is here. My pain is here.

I dive under my bed, ignoring the suitcase already wedged under my bed. I closed my eyes and squeezed them tight. Kate and Mom chat away, complaining about everything possible. School, money, drinks, a new car, and me. Angry footsteps stomp up, heading towards my room.

“Cassidy Michelle Williams, come out now. We know you are in here,” Mom screeched, starting to tear apart my room. I hear a crash as my headphones are stepped on. $150 of chores, babysitting, and birthday money from Grandma gone to waste. I see a wave of black hair lean over. I shriek as Kate grabbed me by the hair and pulled me out with a tug. I kicked and screamed, begging for her to let go. It was no use. Soon I was full in view, for everyone to see. Mom looked down and scowls.

“You think it’s funny to hide, eh? Think it’s a game?” Mom screamed, hauling me up by my shoulders. I shook in fear, petrified. She wasn’t usually this angry. My eyes glanced at the clock. It 3:15. It usually took to 3:30 for her to get started. Kate smiled at me and kicked my in the shins.

“I heard you got a C+ in History. Now you can finally feel what us normal people feel,” Kate said, growling at me. I ducked my head in shame. All the talk about how the Mesopotamians would sell their children made me sick, so I’d ran out and in return flunked that test. It reminded me so much of my life now. I felt like a slave, forced to live in a place called “Home”. Yeah right.

Mom started slapping me in the face, as I cried out and shook my head in fear. It felt like a whip of pain thrown at me from side to side, as blood poured out of open wounds. They laughed and chuckled, for somehow my pain was joy. It was like they’d opened a present that could move, or gotten a puppy.

Kate strolled over to my computer, raising a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “No emails? Why am I not surprised?” she snapped, giving me a look. “Then again, you are a freak. I shouldn’t be surprised at all. Nobody would want to talk to someone like you. An ugly, talentless, weird, stupid, ungrateful little piece of crap,” Kate said, as she and Mom laughed in joy. My ears felt like they were bleeding- I couldn’t handle it. But I had to. I couldn’t face the guilt of hurting them, or turning them into the police. They were my family. Bad family, yes, but family nonetheless.

Minutes went by as they hit and abused me. My body was contorting in pain, as if I was being lit on fire alive. It hurt to much- I was ready to give up. My eyes flashed to the corner of my room. Maybe I could do that soon.

Soon, the pain was unbearable. The insults, beating, smiles on their faces- it was too much. “Stop!” I screeched, then slapped a hand on my mouth. Uh oh.

Kate and Mom stared at me. Mom picked me up by the neck, choking me as I coughed and panted like a runaway dog. She gave me a look no mother should give her daughter- the look of death.

“You want me to stop? Little Karina wants me to stop?” Mom said, deadly quiet. “You think you have the audacity to tell your own mother to stop? I am your parent. Kate is your sister. You shall obey us, or else. You think you have so many problems,” Mom ended her speech, and with all her strength, chucked me at the wall, my skull slammed into the green doom, giving me a monster headache that ached my entire body to its core. A small trickle of blood leaked out of my ear that was destroyed from the impact. I started crying, as final insults were hurled. “Well why don’t you just deal with them?” Mom said with sarcasm oozing out, stalking out with Kate at her tail.

Slowly, I got up, wobbly. My eyes surveyed the wreckage done. It was like a hurricane had blown it to pieces. Everything was broken. But my room wasn’t the only thing- my soul was broken too.

Again, my eyes flashed to the corner, where some pills were hidden. I’d snuck them by my family, just in case. Every week I’d consider using them to end it. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave them like that. I frowned at my sense of care for them. Shouldn’t I be hating them? How I could love monsters?

I walked past my closet, where an open green book was on the floor. I leaned over to pick it up, and brushed off the dust. On the front was written William's Memory. I sighed and flipped through. It was a photo album of the Williams Family. Kate, Mom, and me. I sat down on the broken down bed at flipped through. From the fight, it must have fallen out.

I could not believe it. These were pictures of a happy family I didn’t recognize. Mom wa smiling. Little Kate was smiling. The baby was giggling- no, I was gigging. But there was someone I’d missed- Father.

Dad’s beautiful smile looked at me, slicing through me, filling me with memories I didn’t knew were there. Him picking up Kate and I, spinning us around. Him and Mom sharing a sip at the local bar. Him with Kate’s carriage, Mom with mine, standing in front of the house. Happy. Like a great family.

Tears leaked out as I sobbed, missing my real home. the place I was born in. Not the place I’d grown up in. A smile slowly grew on my face, looking at some people I once knew. Mom and Kate were not the people I saw in the photos. They were demons in the dark, always waiting, never stopping. No, these photographs showed real people who cared. Who were my family.

I kept flipping through, until I reached the end. This was the moment I parted with fantasy and met reality.

Stupid reality. I’d take fantasy any second.

My eyes caught a reciept smooshed in the glossy paper of the album. I tugged at it and pulled it out. 6:47 PM- CVS Pharmacy. Signed with a name I’d almost forgotten. David Williams, my father. For some reason, he’d scribbled down 10 numbers I’d never known. 10 numbers I’d always wished for, forever. 617, 234, 3339. Could it be? I hesitated to get up. Was it worth it? Did I need to interact with a guy who destroyed my life?

But was it him who killed my life goals? Or was it the people who changed? Dad did not force them to change. They chose to.

Slowly, I got up, my legs shaking in bruises. I hobbled down the stairs, quiet. Mom and Kate had gone to a party with the Summers Family next door. I was not surprised that I was not invited. Checking the coast was clear, I grabbed the home phone. I then snuck back upstairs, and held the phone like a prize. Carefully, I dialed his number. Which each button, my pace thickened, until I was thumping a beat worth a million drums. I placed the phone to my ear, pleading I’d hear his beautiful voice. Instead the moniter greeted me. I’m sorry, David is not here. Call me back or leave a message. A beep came after. I gulped, then started to speak. “Dad…. it’s Cassidy. Your daughter. I know this is weird and all, but I need you. I’m lost, and I need someone to care. Please,” my voice cracked as a few tears came back out. “I need you. I’m worried I won’t be able to coope with this any longer,” I said this while my eyes looked back at the corner. “Just…. please. I’m sorry if I’m a burden, and I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done, because I’m ruined others lives too. I send my love, if you are willing to accept it.”

I slammed the phone down, as I kept sobbing. That was so stupid. It sounded so wrong. He would not want to help me, a broken soul.

I sat there for a few minutes, cradling the phone in my hand. All of a sudden, it buzzed. I jumped. My fingers rushed to click the right buttons. A single text was pictured. Three words.

I can help Cass.

I didn’t need to be magician to figure out the number. For the first time in a while, I smiled. He was there. He could help me battle the people who needed help the most. Kate and Mom. Maybe we could get them to change. For the better.

But I wasn’t going to be able to do this alone. Was it worth the heartbreak? The guilt? The words?

Maybe. I clicked out of the text, and dialed three numbers. I was ready. They needed help, and so did I. We were going to get it.



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