Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

A Chapter by Daniel Gardner

Chapter Two




            Aura locked the last dog cage and took one more look at her friends, her children.  She would miss them most of all.  Taking care of animals was her passion.  She had developed a mother’s love for them.

            “I’m going to miss you all.”

            Aura wiped the tears from her eyes as she walked through the kennel door and locked it behind her.

            “No more tears, Aura!”

            Aura walked up the hill of the driveway to the street and began her short but painful walk home.

            “This is almost over,” she thought to herself.  “Soon no more tears.  No more pain.”

            Aura grabbed her arm to try and ease the stinging.

            “No more scars.”

            Aura had cut herself a few times earlier to punish herself for forgetting to close the cat cages.  She was able to get all the cats back but not before they got to Miss Robinson’s lunch.  The sight of the cats eating her food sent Miss Robinson into a terrified rage.

            Everyone that worked at the vet knew what Miss Robinson’s greatest fear was.  As strange as it seemed, she was terrified of cats.  The manager of a veterinary clinic was afraid of the animals she took care of.  But she would never admit it, which is why she threatened Aura and accused her of planning to have the cats let out for the sole purpose of driving her crazy.  To Aura, she was the cause of everyone’s insanity and frustration.

As her thoughts subsided, she turned into her subdivision and decided to run the rest of the way home.  It was as if she could outrun her thoughts, leaving them far away behind her. 

When Aura arrived at home, her little brother Zack was playing outside.  Zack was not from the same father, but he was the favorite child hands down.  He was the one her mother really wanted.

“I should have aborted you like I was going to in the first place.  Then I could have had Zack and not have to deal with you,” she remembered her mother saying.

Aura shook her head and waved away the invitation to walk back down memory lane.  There was no point in remembering.

“Hey Zack,” she said as she walked past him to the front door.  She and Zack lived on one side of a two home duplex while Laura and Matt, their fourth setpfather, lived on the other side.  An expensive way to live, but necessary due to a court order stating that Matt was not allowed to live in the same home as any person under the age of sixteen.

“Hey Aura, Mom wants to see you,” Zack said with a grin.

“What for?”

“You left the door unlocked.  Again.”

“No I didn’t.  I made sure to lock it!” Aura protested.

“Well, when I came home from summer school it was unlocked and Mom’s not too happy about that.”

Aura knew better than to argue with her brother.  He was a chronic liar and a bad one.  No one ever believed him aside from their mother.  Zack was a major problem child, but Laura swore up and down he was a saint.  Her little boy could never do anything wrong.

“Fine,” Aura said.  She closed the door and walked over to the other side of the duplex.

As Aura walked in she could hear her mother in the bedroom chatting on the phone.

“Aura, is that you?” Laura called out during a pause in the conversation.

“Yeah, its me.”

“Hey, let me call you back.  I need to talk to Aura… Okay, see you.”  Laura hung up the phone.  “Come here,” she said to Aura.

Aura heard her mother’s tone change from pleasant to aggravated.  A change her mother had perfected over the years.  She was a pro at it. 

“Hello, Mrs. Hyde,” Aura muttered under her breath as she walked into Laura’s bedroom.

Aura caught her mother’s glare and quickly looked down.  She knew that look.  It was the look her mother gave her before she began screaming and hitting.

“Why did you leave the door unlocked?” Laura asked.

“”I didn’t.  I made sure to lock it before I left.”

Aura didn’t look up at her mother.  She knew that would only make her angrier. Her mother seemed to take on the persona of a ravenous dog when she was angry.  Looking her in the eye only made her foam at the mouth and take up the hidden challenge projected from the stare.  Laura was never one to lose a battle, even if it meant tearing her own flesh and blood to shreds.

“So you mean to tell me that Zack is lying?”

Aura stiffened up bracing herself for the coming pain.  Her mother loved Zack more than Aura, but she wouldn’t admit that to anyone other than her daughter.  Around everyone else, she was a saint.  She was Dr. Jekyll, a mastermind of manipulation.  Telling he that her baby boy was a master of manipulating her was not an option.  Aura knew she would be called a liar and the beatings would commence.  Her only option was to lie and hope the pain was not too much to bear.

“Well?”  Laura demanded as she slid off the bed and walked with attention demanding strides towards Aura.

“No, he’s not lying.”

“Then you just lied to me?”

Aura bit her lip, fighting to hold back the tears that were about to overflow.

            “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” 

            Laura grabbed Aura’s chin and jerked her head up.  The force caused Aura to bite her lip, hard.  Unable to hold back her tears this time, Aura yelped in pain.

            “I am sick and tired of your lies, Aura!  You are so disrespectful!”

            Aura could taste the blood on her teeth as she tried to block out the pain from her mother’s firm grip and even more painful words.  A ritual she had plenty of practice with.

            Laura’s words were slowly drowned out by a death-like calm that seemed to wash over Aura.

            “This must be what it feels like,” Aura thought to herself.  “Soon, this will be all I will feel.”

            “No… you must fight it, Aura…”

            Aura snapped out of her trance as the words weaved through her mind.

            “What?” Aura said out loud.

            “What do you mean, what?” Laura barked.

            Aura looked around the room the best she could in her mother’s grasp, not responding to her question.  The voice urging her to hang on was not her mother’s.  It belonged to someone else.  A voice she heard late last night.  But no one else was in the room. 

            “I don’t know why I gave birth to a lying, ungrateful, little brat like you!”

            Aura’s attention fell back to her mother as the pain and reality retuned to her. 

            “You know what?  Just get out of my sight!”

            Laura shoved her down onto the cold tile of the hallway floor.  “And you better not leave that door unlocked again!”

            Laura slammed the door shut on Aura’s leg, not caring that it was still in the doorway.  Another shriek escaped her throat.  Pulling her leg to her chest, she tried to rub the pain away as the door slammed shut again.  Aura waited a few moments to see if her mother would have an after shock moment which usually happened after her brother told a lie about her.  The silence broke as Dr. Jekyll reemerged greeting one of her girlfriends on the phone with a cheerful “Hey girl!”

            Aura struggled to her feet and limped to her room.  The pain did not bother her much, she was used to it.  What hurt the most was that she knew everything was her fault.  Her mom was hurting and being forced to take care of a child she never wanted in the first place.  If her mother had had the abortion like she wanted, she wouldn’t be around to always screw everything up.

            “Maybe I did leave the door unlocked,” Aura thought reasoning with herself.  “I did deserve what just happened.  I forget a lot and I wasn’t listening to her.”

            Aura walked into her bathroom and closed the door.  She reached under the sink for her favorite box, the one that held her personal punishment material.  She oopened her kit and pulled out a cottonball, then doused it with alcohol and dabbed her lip.  She cringed from the sting.  Out of all the pain she had experienced, the feeling of alcohol on an open wound was one of the worst.

            Once she was satisfied that her lip was okay, she reached in her box and pulled out a new pack of razors.  Aura needed to be reminded that she was to blame and there was only one way that made her truly remember.  She pulled out a new blade and rolled up her sleeve.

            Aura stared at her scarred arms in the mirror.  Tears began to roll down her face as she came to realize that her arms were so scarred that she could barely recognize them anymore. 

            “This is all you deserve,” she said as she stared at her reflection.  “You deserve to die.”

            Aura took the razor and with the precision of a surgeon, she cut the word “DIE” into her bicep.  Feeling the pain of her skin separating and the blood rolling down her arm gave her a strange sense of being alive.  It was as if she was finally doing something right and it put her in a calm, trance-like state where the pain she caused herself was the only thing that mattered.

            When she was finished, Aura rinsed the blade off and wiped the blood away.  She put some alcohol on a bandage and put it over her new cuts.  She then proceeded to change the soiled bandage over the old cuts from work.  When she finished, she changed out of her work clothes and put on her black jeans and a long-sleeved My Chemical Romance shirt.  She wouldn’t dare wear a short-sleeved shirt, even if it was ninety-eight degrees outside.

            Aura glanced at her alarm clock. 

            “Drake should be almost here,” she thought.

            The warm feeling came washing over her and filled her stomach with a sickening nervousness.

            “Get a hold of yourself, Aura.  It’s only Drake.  Besides this will be the last time you’ll ever see him.”

            Willing the nervous feeling away, Aura slipped on her shoes and walked outside to wait for her friend.  Her brother was no longer by the house.  Making her way towards her favorite tree, the one she’d named “Tree Beard” after her favorite character, she sat down. 

            Now she would wait for the last day of the rest of her life to begin.  A thought that had more meaning than she could ever imagine.


© 2010 Daniel Gardner

Author's Note

Daniel Gardner
Please ignore grammar issues. Still in the editing phase. Tell me what you think of the story so far though.

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i like this, i had already read some, did you add on to it?

Posted 14 Years Ago

Nice job on this tale. The character Aura is written so that the reader becomes concerned for her. I hope Drake takes her away from her mother in the next chapter. Very nice pen on this tale.

Posted 14 Years Ago

Nice piece. So is the first section a continuation of chapter 2? I enjoyed reading this and once polished it will be excellent. I know what you mean, I haven't even neared the editing stage yet, still working on the story. Hoping to finish soon.

Posted 14 Years Ago

This is great. I love your character. You've created so many layers and it's fantastic, really. Great job! :D

Posted 14 Years Ago

Such a wonderful detailed write here. I like the imagery i got with this write. This is one amazing write here. I really enjoyed this.

Posted 14 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on April 4, 2010
Last Updated on April 10, 2010
Tags: Shadow, Knights, cut, suicide, guardian, love, lost


Daniel Gardner
Daniel Gardner

Monroe, GA

I'm an inspiring writer that has a million and ten thoughts running through his head all day. I joined this site because my wife inspired me to. I was not prepared for the thoughts to jump out so much.. more..


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