BlackBird

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After my run in with the boys this morning my day had been quite uneventful. Andrew hadn't even bothered me and thankfully I had been able to steer clear of Asher and his posse. Looking at the time on my phone I realized that my music class started in less than 15 minutes. I contemplated skipping the class however Henrys face kept popping up in my head scolding me for even having the idea.

Pushing my way through the sea of people I made my way to the fine arts hall; which was even more crowded than the other halls. I had come to find that fine arts was a huge deal at this school and just about everyone in the school in some way shape or form was involved with the department.

Yet again I was the first one present in the class. In fact the lights were dimmed down and the red headed teacher was nowhere in sight. Shutting the door behind me I made my way to the back of the class and sat down.

In the back of my mind I knew it was there.

The piano.

I could practically feel my fingers dancing across the keys. I could almost hear it begging me to play it, but just thinking about going near it surfaced memories I so desperately tried to keep buried.

* Flashback *

About 4 years ago Rachel and I got into a really intense screaming match because she was trying to take me out of school; which resulted in me running away.

For once instead of going straight to Henrys I wandered the backstreets of Chicago forcing myself to cool off.

While I was walking I heard a distant banging sound and for some reason I feel a strong need to find out what made the strange sound. Throwing caution to the wind I found a small entry way into the old building and crawled through the poorly lit space. After a few minutes of walking around I came to the conclusion that it must have been a cat causing mischief. I turned around to leave and I heard the noise and it was louder and sounded a bit different, so I rushed in the directions of the lingering echo. The door that housed the sound was a bit broken so it was easy to bust open.

Inside there was something I had only ever seen in in schoolbooks.

A piano.

Granted the piano had probably seen better days I wanted to hear the sounds that I could make. I brushed off the debris that was scattered along the keys and sat on the bench.

A feeling unknown resonated through me when my fingers pressed on the keys. Even though the sound wasn't appealing it made me feel something amazing that couldn't be described. At 11 years old I still hadn't gotten the freedom and fun that I so hoped for and the sounds of this piano gave me a small glimpse of what a life like that was.

Four years after the discovery of the old piano I spent all of my free time practicing and trying to teach myself how to play good enough for Henry and Chris. They were the only people I wanted to impress. The had been through everything with me and even though Chris was 16 when I first met him he was the only person I had that could even relate to what I was going through at home. The fact that I'm 15 now and he's 20 just means that he treats me more like a child than ever but I secretly find it comforting.

When I first brought Henry and Chris to the forgotten building in the slums I could see that they were angry I was spending all of my time alone where I could be hurt, but their anger diminished when I played the first note on the piano. After I was finished playing one of the many pieces I perfected Henry made me a deal. If I stopped sneaking out and playing in such a dangerous place he could talk to the owner of a jazz club and get me a spot to play a few nights a week for a bit of cash.

So from then on I not only practiced for Henry I practiced for other people as well.

"Rue! You're up!" I heard Henry shout from outside of the backroom. Snapping out of my daze my smile stretched ear to ear as I massaged my fingers.

I got up from my chair in the back room and I made my way out to the public part of the café and played along with the band. It was the most fun I had ever experienced. All of my troubles and worries vanished whenever my fingers touched the keys, and seeing people enjoy the music made it all worthwhile.

However like all good things in my life they eventually came to an end. If I had known that she was going to be there with him I would have never shown my face. The café was pretty slow that day when she walked in with her latest sleaze bag. I was tuning the piano like the storeowner Monty showed me.

"Well well," I heard the familiar voice behind me, "so this is where you've been spending all of you time hmm?"

I slowly turned around to see Rachel standing at the foot of the stage with her arm linked with the jerk that trashed our house every time he came by.

"What are you doing here?" I asked with a quivering voice.

Her face automatically turned into a sneer, "is that how you greet your mother you ungrateful bitch?!"

I sat frozen with my fingers gripping the edge of the piano. She looked like she had been drinking again her arm candy's eyes were diluted. When she was drunk it only meant trouble for me.

"What the hell are you on that stage for?" she asked with disdain laced in her tone.

I shook my head not allowing myself to answer. I just hoped that Henry or even Chris got back in time to protect me from her.

Before I knew it she was making her was up the stage and before I could even react the man that he was with was up on the stage standing in my way.

She shoved me  sloppily back down onto the piano stool and dug her nails into my shoulders.

"Rick, baby, come hold her fingers down on the keys please," her voice was calm and quiet. She slinked over to my left and leaned towards my face. Her breath smelled like a brewery and it made me want to puke. When he grabbed my hands I tried to shake him off but his grip was iron tight. I looked past the woman who was supposed to be my mother to see if there was anyone that could help me but the few people in the café had migrated outside to admire the first snowfall of the year.

"You think that you can just do whatever you want?" she asked coolly, "You thinking about leaving me just like he did aren't you?"

I shook my head reverently, "no! I just really like to play. Mom it-it makes me happy."

Her face curled in anger, " happy?"

"Rick don't let her fingers go," Rachel ordered.

I kept trying to pull away but it was no use. I was afraid of what she was going to do to me. I watched her as she placed her thin hand on the fall that covers the keys. I gulped and my eyes widened in fear.

She leaned down and whispered harshly in my ear, "you ruined my happiness the day you were born Rue, so you don't get to be happy," and she brought the fall down on my fingers with a crushing force.


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