Abigail had immediately jumped off the bed when she heard the woman’s voice. I assume it was her mother, but I didn’t know if she had an older sister or an aunt that lived with her. I didn’t have much time to question this, though, because Abigail was already dragging me towards her closet and locking me in.
“Hey!” I yell, jiggling the doorknob in the dark.
“Don’t worry,” she says in a hushed tone, “I’ll let you out as soon as my mom falls asleep. It shouldn’t take too long. Just stay quiet in there, okay?”
I didn’t have time to object because she had already left me behind. I heard the bedroom door close and Abigail’s muffled “welcome home, Mom!” as I fumbled around in the darkness. I ran my hand along the walls, looking for a light switch. Without having any luck, I wobbled uneasily in the bitter black.
It looked so much like the void was surrounding me. I felt my breathing quicken at the thought of becoming trapped in there again. Then I remembered the light in my basement—it hung from the ceiling and the only way to turn it on was to reach up and pull the chain. My hands fly above my head and I smack the clothing hanger rack with the back of my right hand. It stings and the pain reminds me that I’m not trapped. I breathe a sigh of relief and keep looking for that chain.
I find something long and bumpy that feels cold to the touch hanging above my hand. I pull it down and am suddenly blinded by the light for a quick second. When I regained my sight, I found myself in a regular closet. Abigail had lots of pink clothes hanging up. Almost everything I saw was pink.
I hear the smashing of glass from downstairs and, immediately, the light flickers out and the darkness consumes me and my thoughts.
I was six years old, hiding in the hallway closet. My parents’s argument was loud in my ears and their screaming was more than I could bare. I slowly sat down and brought my knees up to my chest. I buried my head in my arms as their yelling grew louder and louder.
“What did she have that I don’t?” My mother had never yelled, not like this. Her voice was choked up and she sounded more sad than mad.
“She made me feel special!” My father yelled back. He was usually loud, but now his voice didn’t sound like his. It was almost wobbly—not sad like my mother’s, though—and he was very, very angry.
“Oh, so I don’t make you feel special anymore?”
“No! You don’t, and you never have!” My mother goes silent. I feel tears stream down my cheeks. “All you care about is that good-for-nothing boy,” he says, quieter now.
“He’s our son.” She spoke so softly that I had to stop sniffling to hear my mother’s words.
“Well, I never wanted him.” My breathing becomes uneven and—I don’t know why, but—my chest starts to hurt.
“If you don’t have the patience for your own child, then I don’t have the patience for you.” My mother’s voice was still soft, but now it was stern. She meant what she was saying.
“What are you trying to tell me, woman?” He never referred to my mother as “woman”, it was always “sugar” or “honey” or “darling”. I couldn’t even convince myself that he was the same man who had loved me for all this time. Was he faking this whole time? I didn’t want to believe that, so I shoved the thought out of my mind.
“I’m trying to tell you to leave.” I covered my ears—I didn’t want to hear how my father would react to that.
Suddenly, the closet door swung open and my father’s red face glared down at me. My mother yelled, “Leave him alone, he hasn’t done anything wrong!” She hangs on his back, trying to pull him away from me. He refuses to move, though, and my mother’s efforts are almost inexistent.
His eyes had a fury in them I’d never seen before. His breathing was loud in my ear, almost louder than my beating heart.
“Axel,” my father breathes out the word. “Axel.” His voice was getting louder, angrier. “Axel!” He lunged into the closet and—
“Axel!” I gasp and find myself staring into Abigail’s eyes. “Are you alright?” Her voice is much kinder than the one I heard in my head. She seems worried and my blank look doesn’t help calm her. “Axel?”
“Yeah?” I ask, confused by my sudden transfer from my thoughts to the real world.
“You were—” She doesn’t get to finish because the front door opens again. We both turn to look towards the bedroom door, though the closet wall is in the way of my vision. I hear a man call out from downstairs.
“I’m home,” he says in a voice that demands attention. He didn’t sound like he was yelling, though, it sounded more like he just had a loud voice.
Abigail lets out a sigh of relief and says, still looking toward her door and listening to the man’s movements, “You can come out, now. My dad is a lot more flexible when it comes to having friends over, I’m sure he’ll understand.” She looks back at me and I blink at her a few times. She tilts her head in a questioning way. I just shrug, so she shakes her head as she grabs my arm to lead me out of her room.
I follow her without much of a choice, while her grip tightens the closer we get to the bottom of the stairs. There were quite a few stairs, so I was out of breath when we reached the bottom. Abigail doesn’t slow, however, and continues to pull me to the kitchen.
We walked through a few hallways before rounding a corner into the largest kitchen I had ever seen. There was a bar, an island, and even a table. And that isn’t even taking into account how many cabinets I could see. My mouth watered just thinking about the food they stored in that large area.
The man that I had heard earlier stood behind the island, sipping coffee and looking at something on his phone. As soon as he hears my tennis shoes squeaking on the smooth wooden floor, he looks up and smiles at his daughter.
“Abby!” he says warmly. Then he looks at me and his smile falls for a second. He quickly plasters a new, fake smile on his face to make it look like he didn’t notice what I was wearing. Only then do I realize that Abigail and her father were both wearing clothing that could be worn to a party while I was standing there in my stained red T-shirt and dirty jeans.
“Uh,” I say, grabbing the edge of my shirt. “S-sorry, I’m not in my b-best outfit today.”
“That’s fine, son,” Abigail’s father says. His face tells me otherwise.
Abigail clasps her hands together and says, “Alright, then. Dad, this is my friend, Axel. Axel, this is my dad.”
“Nice to meet you,” I say.
“Pleasure,” he replies. I expect him to stick out his hand for a handshake or steer the conversation in another direction but he doesn’t do either. He just stares at me, looking me up and down, as I stand there awkwardly.
I stick my hands in my pockets and begin fiddling with a coin in the left one. My eyes wander the room, not wanting to meet his gaze. Abigail’s eyes meet mine and she gives me a comforting smile. I return it, and just as I do her father finally says, “Would you like to stay for dinner, Axel?”
“What?” Abigail’s response was quiet, but I could hear the confusion in her voice.
“I mean, you’re already here and it’s about time to start cooking anyway. How about it?”
“I-I would love to,” I say, “but I don’t want to intrude or anything—”
“Nonsense, you’re not intruding on anyone.” His tone seemed to have changed so fast. I wonder if he saw the exchange of eye contact between Abigail and I.
I look over at her, but she’s smiling so widely at her father she doesn’t notice me. “Speaking of,” she says, “what’s for dinner?”
“I’m not sure yet. Let’s call it a surprise,” he smiles at me again, but this time it’s a real grin. His eyes flicker to Abigail and he says, “Would you kids like to help?”
“Sure,” we both say at the same time.
“Well, come on, then!”
Author Notes: man, it's been a while-
anyway this is it! part 11!
I hope you enjoyed! I would love to have some constructive criticism on this, because I feel like it was rushed a little bit.
Have a great day!