E I G H T E E N

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The nightmares have been coming back recently.

It's the same one over and over again.

My mom running the light and me begging her not to then we both flip over in the car and I try to pull her out but I can't because someone always comes and get me before I reach her and I end up being too late and the fire explodes the car.

I sit here silently crying because maybe if I just stay here and don't go anywhere else that I'll feel better, but I don't and I can't sleep.

I don't want to call or talk to anyone because knowing them, they'll feel sorry for me.

That's the last thing I want.

I look through a photo album of mom, dad and I and I still can't believe that from that time to now, my family has been completely destroyed.

I start crying even more now.

Not just for my mom, but for my dad who didn't know any better till now.

For Collin who thinks that I'm worth loving.

For my friends who talks to the school's outcast, for Jessica who doesn't know half the shit I've been through.

Lastly, I cry for me.

That I had to be in this situation.

That while mostly everyone I know how a great family.

I'm stuck here with nothing.

I'm working at the cafe and school to get my ass to college.

I don't even dance anymore, something I've always truly love.

My dad is in jail and won't get out till years later.

He writes me letters, though.

How he misses me, how sorry he is.

How he just really missed mom and how much I remind him of her.

How he promise to never drink again. I write him back sometimes.

It's kind of hard to think of what to tell him.

Every letter, I see his cold hard eyes looking down on me in shame and anger.

Him beating me up every day then doing it all over the next day.

I have so many bruises that I can't cover with all the makeup in the world.

It's hard living this life but I look in the mirror and tell myself that I'll get through it all, that I'll be okay.

Even though deep down those words means nothing to me.

No drugs or alcohol helped me because I was just messing myself up even more. I'm broken.

Hope Carter, the broken girl with no actual hope.

It's a stupid ass name, to be honest.

The hope of what, everything good has always ended in my life.

Always.

Everyone around me will sooner or later leave me and then what will I be left with.

My hopeless life.

I look up at the ceiling fan like I've been doing for the past 30 minutes and take a deep breath.

I should go do something, get me off this shit but where.

Collin.

I get up from my bed and slowly walk to my door.

Taking the keys on my desk before leaving. Lizzie went out shopping or something like that so I wrote a note saying that I'm going to Collin's house and that I'll be back later.

Then I head out.

After buckling up, I look both ways and back out.

It's pretty quiet out and not many cars on the street, which I'm thankful for.

It's 7:23 pm so I know they're probably having dinner right now and since I haven't eaten, this the best time to go.

My promise to Collin was that I'll try my best not to run any more lights.

He's nervous everytime I'm on the road.

The light finally turns green and I starting driving when a bright light comes out of nowhere and a huge truck crashes into the side of my car.

I'm spinning around in circles and lose control over the steering wheel.

The nightmare comes in my vision and I feel like I'm in it all over again.

The car turns over as another car comes out from the side.

Things start looking a little blurry and my head starts hurting.

The car comes to a stop and I feel so dizzy. There noise everywhere now and it's no longer quiet.

The one time that I don't run a light and this happens.

My life seems to go passed me in a flash.

Outside with my mom, in the store with dad, laughing with Lizzie, taking Ben's food, kissing Collin.

All of it.

Something crashes into me again and this time my head bounces against the door.

My eyes start slowly blinking, like they are trying to give up on me and I try to keep thinking.

About something, about anything.

I can hear people trying to call for help and I keep trying to stay awake. I'm hoping to now.

I'm hoping that this is just another nightmare that I'll wake up.

That soon this will all be over. Sadly, it isn't.

It's plain and simple reality and in that moment I also think of Collin.

Mainly the way he looks at me.

With so much love and care.

More than me probably.

How he is so good even though I was rude to him all those years back.

I think about my dad still sitting in the jail cell and about Lizzie at the store shopping.

Come on. You can do this Hope. Just stay awake a little longer. Someone coming with help. You can do this.

But

I can't.

That's the problem.

That as much as I hope or wish or pray to stay awake.

This is how I'll end.

It wasn't always a great life for me but at the end, it did have its good points. Ones that I'm grateful for.

I hear footsteps coming towards me in a rush.

They stop and as much as I want to yell and try to get out the car, I'm way too weak to move, too weak to try.

And with that, my eyes shut.

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