Chapter 2: The Runaway

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11:21 pm

My mother still wasn't home. I sat in bed wrapped in a tethered blanket that I got for my 4th birthday. No one was home, and for the first time in years, I wished my mother was here. Every time I heard a noise, I jumped or flinched. I felt like someone was in the house, watching me. I didn't dare leave my room or even my blanket.

Okay, maybe the smiley face was already there. Maybe Uncle Peter did that, I thought. I tried to convince myself that it was the case, but I couldn't. The letters were not there when I first got the bike. They just weren't.

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

My heart pounded against my chest and I lost all color when I heard someone banging on the door. I waited a few seconds. What if it wasn't my mother? What if was-

"For heaven's sake, would you open this damn door before I knock it down child?!" screamed my mother. Her words came out sloppy. She was definitely drunk.

I walked out of my room and into the hallway. The way my house smelled never got along with my nose. No matter what, I just couldn't get used to it. The musty dry air lingered inside of my nose each day, torturing me. Ignoring the smell, I rushed towards the door, ready to tell my mom about the bike, no matter how mad she got.

I opened the front door. "Mom! You won't believe-"

I couldn't finish my words. My mother rested two hands on the door, giving me a sly grin. "Well child, you gonna let us in and move outta our way or what?" she asked.

Behind my mother stood a tall man with a muscular body and mean domineer. He looked like he was in his 40's or 50's. His hair was uncombed with brown hair scrambled here and there. Behind his opened leather jacket was a red shirt with the words, "Killjoy" inscribed in bold red and yellow letters. There was also a tiny signature underneath the band's name. He was holding a half-empty liquor bottle. I didn't notice the cigarette bud that rested between his teeth until he sighed real loud.

"You staring at something, miss?" the man asked. He didn't sound too happy. His gruff voice sent shivers down my spine and not in a good way. My father had a deep voice but never like this. This was a new level of deep. He raised his upper lip, exposing a rotting tooth.

I quickly moved to the side and let them in. Both of them pushed past me as if I was still on their way even when I had moved.

"Joe, just sit anywhere," my mother said.

Joe just looked around. He took his cigarette out his mouth, threw it on the carpet, stepped on it, then drank some of his liquor. I heard the liquid as the liquor swayed around in the glass bottle. "This place is a mess," he said in a grumpy voice as if the place was his very own.

I agreed with him, but who was this man whom I've never seen before to tell my mother the place was a mess. Sure, there were beer bottles here and there, tangled wires by the tv, old food and snack wrappers that my mom had left around the house. There were the carpets that looked like they should've been thrown away ages ago, and not to mention the furniture with more holes than you could count. My mom was a slob. Since dad died, she gave up on her role as a mother and apparently, a clean human being.

"Samantha hurry the hell up and bring me something to eat. I'm starving, and I ain't ate since tis 'morning," Joe said while sitting on one of the orange couches. "What's your name kid? Hmm?" he asked me.

I didn't answer him. I was mesmerized by how much of a slob he was. I stared at him in disgust. I was upset that my mother actually brought someone here. This was her first time doing this. Sure, she has been with guys, but she was careful not to let them in. There was one incident with one guy who tried to touch me when my mom was sleeping. Since that day, she hadn't brought anyone home. What made today so different and him so special? I felt very, very unsafe.

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