Chapter 1 It Hurts   The sun was painting a pretty sunset in the Southern California area tonight. All pinks, oranges, reds blending together as the sun tried to disappear behind some hills. I don’t like sunsets. Not one bit. It always meant that it’s time for me to go back to the house. A house that wasn’t a home. Never was and probably never will be.

I parked my bike beside the one story building and snuck in through the back door trying to make as little noise as possible. Less noise usually meant less trouble.

"Jake!? Get in here this instant!" A high pitched voice hollered from the living room. She didn’t sound like she was in a good mood. She hardly ever was. I sighed and made my way to the room where my mother waited.

She sat on the ratty, old, blue couch we’ve had since I could remember when. A glass bottle half empty was in her right hand. A baseball bat in her left. MY baseball bat. Oh no, this can’t be good. "Well?? Aren’t you going to greet your mother? Should be common courtesy to greet the one who brought you into this world." She took a few swigs from the bottle, no doubt getting shit-faced. Like always.

"Hi, Mom." I tried to keep my distance from her and making sure I had an escape plan. Not something a thirteen-year-old usually had to keep in mind, but you pick up on these things when you’ve only ever lived with an alcoholic, abusive, crazy mother.

"We got a call today." Her voice made me tense preparing for whatever bad news she was about to deliver. "A man was looking for me to ask if my son, Jake, would be interested in going to some fancy-schmany private high school on a baseball scholarship. Imagine my surprise to find out my boy was so good at a sport I banned him to play. So I decide to go through his room to find out what other secrets he’s keeping." She playfully swung the bat around, looking a bit deranged. "Look what I found."

I clenched my fists, inwardly cursing that coach. I told him to never call the house number; that he could just find me at my school. "That’s just for decoration." I lied through my teeth, hoping to buy some time before the alcohol makes her sleepy.


She chuckled, placing the bottle down as she stood up. "My boy, you think you can lie to me?" She gripped the bat with both hands and started to recklessly swing it around. "Were you thinking I didn’t notice you leaving early and coming back late? That you were slowly turning into your brother? Into your father? Stupid."

I knew it was time to make a run for it. Whenever she mentioned the missing half of our family, it only spelt out bad news for me. And danger. As I tried to back up the way I came in, she charged me. Lifting the bat in the air, she swung it down like a sword, connecting with the back of my head. I tumbled down in pain and she continued her beating. The bat took turns hitting by ribs, legs and arms. I rolled into a ball, trying to protect my abdomen and head. Everything was hurting in mere minutes.

Why me? Why her? Did my dad and older brother know that they left me in the hands of a crazy person? Do they even care?

I blacked out.magic