Honor Thy Father?A Story by Nikki Richardson
This is a short story based on the lifes of two sisters who are trying to make it in the world after their mom passes away and their father becomes an alcoholic. Who will save them?
The night sky was filled with the chill of the harsh winter air. The clouds were slowly moving into position for a heavy snowfall. Paige and I lay snugly in our bed. I was about seven years old at the time, and she had just turned three. Paige’s soft dirty blond hair was brushed behind her right ear, and her pale skin was toasty warm under the blankets. I couldn’t sleep because I could hear the arguing coming from our parents’ room.
They were fighting again about the same thing as usual. My father was very sick with a disease my mother often referred to as alcoholism. My mother was tired of his habit, and we couldn’t afford to keep up with it anymore. We were running out of money, and Dad stopped working because he was always in the bar down the street from our house.
I remember that night as if it was yesterday. My mom’s muffled yelling, and my dad’s loud drunken slurring. My mother screamed out that she couldn’t take any more, and that’s when I heard the front door to our small two bedroom apartment slam shut. I heard the sound of our old pickup truck roar to life, and I heard her drive away.
My mother died that night in a car accident. The bridge she was driving over was slippery, and she slammed on brakes to miss an animal that jumped out in front of the truck. She skidded off the bridge onto the road right in the middle of a crossroad just in time to be hit head on by a semi-truck. Paige and I were left alone to deal with Dad and his disease; however after the accident things only got worse.
My mother passed away four years ago. In the time that passed between the night that she died and now, I have become a sort of mother to my sister. She depended on me because neither of us could depend on our dead beat father. All we have in this world is one another.
“Sam, what’s for breakfast?” Paige asked groggily as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Her bare feet shuffled on the wood floors until she sat down in a chair.
“Cereal, the same thing as yesterday. Please be ready today on time, okay, my teacher has been getting mad at me for being late,” I answered as I put a bowl of Frosted Flakes in front of her. She nodded sleepily as she ate her food. The second she finished her cereal I grabbed her dishes and continued my morning chores of washing the dishes and cleaning the mess from the night before. I rushed her into our room so that she could get dressed and be ready on time.
Both of us attended the same elementary school. I was in the fourth grade, and Paige was in the first. It seemed like almost every morning I walked through my classroom door in the nick of time. Mrs. Ryker was getting tired of my odd schedule, but she didn’t know what was going on at home. No one knew what was going on at home.
Somehow, Dad had kept Mom’s family away from us, and that left Paige and me on our own. He thought he had been doing a good job, I guess, but he had been too busy passing out from being drunk to notice the strange SUV. A dark blue Ford Explorer drove by our house at least three times a day while I was at home, but I couldn’t remember whose SUV it might be. I really couldn’t tell who was driving either because the windows were tinted.
I began to wonder about it more and more as the months went by. I saw the SUV everyday for at least six months, and then one day it pulled into our drive way and parked for about ten minutes. I was just about to open the door, but the SUV began to back up and leave. I tried to remember, from my childhood, if anyone had a SUV similar to it, but I just couldn’t remember.
I forgot all about the SUV for about a week as I went about my normal chores. I cooked for Paige and Dad, and I cleaned the house as usual. Things almost seemed to get better for that week, but I should have known better. I should have known as good as things were that it would only get worse.
It was a cold Saturday night. I remember because it was my birthday. I also remember because I had just turned twelve years old when my father decided he had had enough of having children. He got home at one in the morning, and came into my room to drag me out of bed. He told me that he wanted me to get my sister and get out of his house. All I remember was grabbing two bags and throwing as much of our things into them as I could possibly fit.
I woke Paige up and got her out of the house before he could hit her because I knew what was coming. He had already hit me once that night, and I was sure he was going to try and do it again. I didn't realize how much I hated him until I grabbed our things and started towards the front door. A tall blonde woman in barely any clothes at all looked down at me and with a drunken grin as she said, "Aw, aren't you cute!" I wanted to hit her, but I knew I couldn't get away with it.
That night Paige and I slept out on the porch. The entire night I prayed that the SUV would drive by, but it didn't. Not until about 9:30 the next morning. That's when they pulled into the driveway and got out. Two women. Both of them had blonde hair like Paige and me, but the only difference in appearance that I could note right away was the fact that they both had brown eyes while we had blue.
"Samantha, Paige, what happened to you two?" the younger woman asked as she grabbed Paige into her arms.
"Come on, Sam," the older woman said to me as she grabbed the bags and helped me off the porch. A spark hit me, but I wasn't sure what that spark was. It felt almost like a memory, but I couldn't be sure. They put both of us into the SUV and began to drive off. I wanted to look back and see my dad running towards the SUV and waving his arms yelling, "Stop!" but I knew if I looked back I'd only be disappointed. I wasn't in the mood for any more disappointment, so I didn't bother to look back.
We drove for what felt like hours, but it could have only been about twenty minutes. I wanted to ask the women who they were, but I thought that might be a little rude. Instead, I sat in the back seat with Paige and held her as she cried silently. I knew she couldn't tell what was happening, but I felt safe. I knew that these people were familiar, but I just couldn't remember them.
I started looking at the woman who was driving. She was the older woman. Her features seemed worried yet happy at the same time. She glanced back at me and smiled brightly a few times, but I could tell that it was a front. They were really trying to figure out what to do about us. I thought it was time that I figured out who they were, but I didn't know how to find out without just asking. So, I piped up, "Excuse me, but who are you?" I asked almost too quietly.
"I'm your grandmother, and this is my daughter, your aunt," the older woman spoke first.
"My name is Miranda, and you can call my mom Maw-maw. You two will be fine with us," the younger woman assured us. I nodded as I waited to see what was going to happen.
We sat in the SUV for nearly twenty minutes. Mostly it was silent, but Miranda and Maw-maw were telling us all about their family. Apparently, our mother was Miranda's sister. We were going to live with Miranda and her husband, Steve, and their children. They had two children of their own. Two boys. Trevor and Jake were their names, and they were supposed to be around our ages. The way Miranda talked I was a year older than Trevor and Jake was a few months older than Paige. At least, we would have people our own age around instead of just ourselves. I could not think of one bad side to living with Miranda because she seemed nice, although we hadn't met the rest of her family.
After Paige had wiped the final tear away, we got out of the SUV and walked into the house. There was a man walking around the house with a phone stuck to his ear. He seemed angry with whoever was on the other end of the phone, but I assumed it was just an annoyance to have to yell at someone over the phone. Miranda gave him a small glare and he said, "Got to go," quickly into the receiver before hanging up. "Steve, these are our nieces. Remember?" she asked sweetly as we looked the man over. He had dark hair and bright eyes, his jeans seemed to fit him comfortably, and his plain blue tee shirt suited him well.
"Yeah, I remember them. Paige and Sam right?" he said as he got both of us confused. I looked at him for a moment before I corrected him.
We were shown around the house, which was a nice looking one story house. It had four bedrooms and a bathroom in each of them. There was a large kitchen with all the nice electronics and cooking devices a person could want. I was in love with their house alone. It had hard wood floors and enough bedrooms for the boys to share a room and we had a room to share. The room that was going to be ours was painted a beautiful shade of purple that seemed almost lavender but darker somehow. It had two full sized beds and a television. Neither Paige nor I had ever owned our own television or anything remotely like it.
“Sam, are we really going to stay here?” Paige questioned skeptically. She was trying not to look too excited, but she was failing miserably.
“Yes, Paige, we are going to stay here,” I answered as I gave our room one last once over before I began unpacking. I glanced at the clock on the wall after I was finished. It was nearly three in the afternoon, and for some odd reason I began thinking about my father. It was nearly time for him to crawl out of bed, and he would probably be upset that his house was filthy. I couldn’t help but to imagine him walking through the house screaming for Paige and me because he was angry that we hadn’t made the place presentable for whoever he was bringing home that night. The phone rang shrilly and threw me from my thoughts. I felt my entire body jerk as if it was trying to wake up.
“Sam,” Paige shouted as she ran into the room, “Aunt Miranda is yelling at someone!” I rolled my eyes at her as I walked out into the hallway.
“They were out in the freezing cold, you insensitive monster,” Miranda yelled into the phone. He knew we were here, and just as I had thought, he didn’t like it one bit. “Listen to me David, those might be your kids, but you cannot take care of them because you are a nasty drunken drug addict with a sex addiction problem. I will not bring them back!” Miranda hissed into the phone. I sighed as I wrapped my arms around Paige. A tear flowed down her angel-like face as Miranda shouted, “Fine, I’ll see you in court!” She slammed the phone down before placing her hand on her forehead as if she had a headache. She sighed loudly as she glanced up at us. Her brown eyes softened as she walked toward us. “Don’t worry girls! I won’t let him hurt you anymore.” Miranda promised as she hugged us both.
I didn’t sleep that night. The only things I could manage to do around the whirl wind shredding through my mind was hold Paige tightly and force myself not to cry. The thoughts of going back flashed through my mind. I saw how happy this place made Paige, and she deserved happiness. She most definitely did not deserve to be scared half to death every night. Neither of us deserved to live like that, and I wouldn’t let anyone drag us back there.
I didn’t remember falling asleep, but I felt someone shake me lightly. I looked into the eyes of Aunt Miranda as she smiled brightly. “Good morning, sleepy head. It’s time to get up and get ready for school,” she spoke softly as if she was trying not to startle me. I nodded as I sat up. I looked over to a chair next to the bed where a pair of blue jeans with blue flowers on the legs and a matching dark blue long sleeved shirt was laid out. She smiled and nodded as she left the room.
I didn’t really know what to do, so I made my way into the bathroom where I took a quick shower and blow dried my hair. After about half an hour of that, I was out of the bathroom and into my new clothes. Aunt Miranda informed me as I was drying my hair that she bought Paige and me presents every year, sometimes clothes or toys. Paige’s dark denim jeans were a little baggy, and her pale purple top was a little big as well, but she would grow into them. The clothes she bought me fit almost to a tee with the exception of the sleeves on the shirt being a little too short.
School went as normal, except I wasn’t late for the first time. My teachers were nice and the other kids seemed friendly. Paige seemed to have an amazing day as usual, and life in that moment was good.
The final bell rang, and we were released from our temporary prison. Aunt Miranda’s SUV was parked outside waiting for us, and I couldn’t help but to glance around the parking lot. There was no sign of my dad’s truck, and relief washed over me. Something in the air didn’t let that feeling of relief stay for long though. I just couldn’t shake the feeling of pending dread, but maybe it was just silly worrying.
At my new home, homework was started as soon as we entered the house. After we finished homework, we were allowed to watch television for an hour, and then we could go outside and play. There were no chores, not until after dinner when we had to wash the dishes. Bedtime rolled around after Aunt Miranda checked our homework, but Paige and I never went directly to sleep. I waited to make sure that it was safe, and Paige always asked about our mom.
“Do you remember her at all?” Paige whispered.
I smiled a little as I answered, “Only a little. I remember she had hair like ours, only it curled so perfectly. Sometimes, when the sun was rising, she would wake us up. She would take us on the porch to watch the sky light up, but you’d be asleep by the time the sun rose. I remember looking at her one day as the sun was rising, and I could see a halo around her dark golden hair,” I answered. Paige hugged me tightly before drifting off into a peaceful slumber. I looked towards the empty bed across the room, and for the first time I was glad she was still scared to sleep alone.
I jumped from the bed as a loud bang echoed through the house. I realized I woke Paige up as I heard another loud bang. “Stay here,” I whispered a little harshly so she would listen. I climbed out of the bed and carefully opened the door. I motioned for her to be very quiet as I crept down the hall. I could see Aunt Miranda with a baseball bat glaring at the door. I quickly hid behind a chair in the living room where I had a good view of the door. I looked to my left as I was startled by the sound of footsteps. Uncle Steve marched down the hall furiously with something silver in his hand. It almost looked like a gun.
“David, go away, and you won’t get hurt,” Steve hissed at the closed door.
“I ain’t leaving here without my kids. They’re mine, you hear,” Dad’s drunken slurs floated through the door. I cringed as I realized we were in danger.
“I’ll call the cops, you b*****d,” Miranda shouted as a new wave of anger washed over her face.
“Yeah, call ‘em! I want to see what they got to say,” he howled. Steve threw open the door to show Dad the gun, to show Dad that they meant business. I stepped from behind the chair with so much fright. I had to get Paige out of here.
“Hey baby girl,” he slurred in my direction. I froze as a chill shook my spine.
“Come on over here, you know you wanna go home,” he cooed at me as if I were a baby. I glared at him for a moment before I tried to take a step towards my room.
“Go back,” Aunt Miranda said carefully as she looked at me. I took a step towards the room.
“Don’t you go that way, girl! Get over here,” Dad barked. I froze again as that same deathly cold chill shook my spine.
“No,” I managed to whisper.
“What’d you say, girl,” he hissed?
I glared at him as I realized for the first time what my mother used to be sick of as I answered, “I said no!” Aunt Miranda gave me a reassuring smile as she nodded towards my room. Without a second thought I ran towards it.
Paige had been waiting by the door for me. I closed and locked the door behind me as I pushed Paige away from it. “Stay away from the window,” I instructed her as I looked in the closet. There was just enough room for us in the bottom of the closet, and I pushed Paige towards it. I noticed her shivering, so I grabbed a blanket and her pillow as I managed to crawl beside her. Paige was comfortable, even though she was scared to death, but I knew we would be okay.
As I peered through the louvered closet doors, I could see the sun rising. I realized that Dad had banged on the door, for the first time, before the sun even rose. I looked towards Paige, who had finally fallen asleep again, and I let out a deep sigh. How would we survive this? Only God knew, but something told me that it would be alright. I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes. When I opened them, there was a man in blue standing in front of me. I quickly realized that he was a cop, and I was afraid because I didn’t know what was coming next.
After Aunt Miranda talked Paige and me out of the closet, we were forced to get dressed and go down town with the cop. He didn’t talk much, but Aunt Miranda kept reassuring me that everything was going to be alright. Something told me to believe her, but my mind was racing with the thoughts of what could possibly happen.
“We need to speak in private,” the cop spoke to Aunt Miranda and Uncle Steve as we entered the police station. I sighed as Paige and I found an empty bench and took a seat. We could see our aunt and uncle through a window, but there was no way for us to figure out what was going on. I sighed loudly as I moved into the ‘Indian style’ position with my feet under me.
After what felt like an eternity, Aunt Miranda and Uncle Steve came out of the office. They had grim faces as the grabbed us by the hands. “Don’t worry girls, nothing bad will happen to you, I promise,” Uncle Steven said a little weakly. I looked towards Paige who didn’t seem to notice that they were acting unusual. I glanced around the police station and saw, through many of the windows, my dad sitting there with that same drunken grin on his face. He looked like he was arguing, and he must have thought he was winning.
We went back to our new home and waited. I couldn’t figure out what we were waiting for, but whenever I asked Miranda what she was doing by the phone she would answer, “Waiting.” I couldn’t help but to sigh as I’d leave her to wait.
Almost two weeks had gone by, and I had just come in from school when the phone finally rang. Aunt Miranda looked like she was going to go insane before she answered it, and I still couldn’t figure out what was going on. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help but to over hear her side of the conversation.
“Hello,” she answered. A few minute passed before she asked harshly, “A hearing, what do they mean a hearing?” After another moment her voice got low as she stated, “he can’t do that to those kids. We will definitely be at the hearing!” I sighed as I connected the dots in my head. We were going to trial, and Paige and I were probably going back to the hell we had just come from.
A month went by before anything else too exciting happened. Aunt Miranda came into our room, on what was supposed to be a teacher’s work day, and woke us up at 8:30 A.M. She told us to get dressed in our nicest clothes because we had somewhere important to be. I put on a black and white dress that she bought me, and Paige wore a rose colored dress with a matching black jacket. We piled into Aunt Miranda’s SUV, and Uncle Steve drove us to a place that seemed familiar.
It was a huge brick building with large white pillars. The double door entrance looked like it should have come from a movie rather than an actual place. We parked the SUV and walked into the building. There were shiny oak doors all around, and a woman behind the desk told us to go through door number twelve.
We entered the room only to see empty pews that seemed like they should have been inside a church. We must have been early because no one entered the room until about twenty minutes later. I looked over to the table next to ours and saw my father sitting there with that same goofy, drunken grin smeared on his lips. Not long after he entered the room, a man in a black robe came into the room. We stood until he sat down, and then we sat back down as well.
“This is the custody case of Samantha and Paige Carter. David Carter will speak first,” the man announced. Dad stood up from his chair and looked directly at the judge. “Your honor, those are my girls, and I been taking good care of them. They got outside one night, and when I got up they was gone,” Dad said in a half-drunken daze. I rolled my eyes as the judge looked at us.
“Girls, is that true,” he asked. I shook my head while Paige remained silent. “What happened,” he asked in a nicer tone.
“He came in at 3 A.M, and woke me up. He told me to take my sister and get out because he didn’t want us any more,” I piped up. I heard Dad half growl across the room. “Stop lying,” he hissed.
“Mr. Carter, don’t make me hold you in contempt of court,” the judge yelled at him.
“Mrs. Wade, how did you come about getting the children,” the judge asked.
“My mother and I were used to driving by the house to check on things since my sister passed away, your honor. That particular morning, the children were lying outside on the porch nearly frozen to death,” she answered honestly.
“I see,” the judge stated. He peered at Paige and me once again as he looked at our dad. He was on his feet swaying unsteadily, obviously drunk.
“Mr. Carter, until you clean up your act, you won’t get your children back. Mr. and Mrs. Wade, you have temporary custody over the children until Mr. Carter cleans up his act. You can get permanent custody if Mr. Carter decides to sign the papers,” the judge explained as he banged his wooden hammer.
The noise echoed through the room as the words sank in. Paige wasn’t going to have to live with Dad, and neither was I. I couldn’t hold back a smile as I grabbed Aunt Miranda’s right hand and Paige’s left. “I ain’t signing no papers to give away my kids, you can’t take them from me, you hear,” Dad yelled at the judge. He started towards me, but the police officer grabbed him.
“Maybe you need to sober up in a county jail cell,” the judge asked more to himself as he motioned for the officer to take him away. “Have a nice day,” he said to us before leaving the room.
I released Aunt Miranda’s hand as I turned to Paige. I wrapped my arms around her tightly as I smiled to myself. I could feel a single tear of joy slowly fall down my cheek as I hugged her. I sighed deeply before whispering in her ear, “I told you we would be okay. Now, we don’t ever have to go back to him again!” I felt her sob as she whispered, “I love you, Sammy!”
We went home with our aunt and uncle that day. I looked around at all of the faces. Miranda, Steve, Trevor, Jake, and Paige. I saw how happy they were, and it dawned on me. This was my family, and I finally found where I belonged.
© 2011 Nikki Richardson
Great Falls, SC
AboutMy name is Nikki, I have my Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies and my Associates of Arts in English. I love to fish, and hang out with friends. I love American muscle cars. All music is good .. more..