Authors: Ellie R Hunter
Who would have thought this guy would have a kid, he barely talks. I can’t imagine him talking to a woman let alone getting one into bed.
“Anything you need brother, we’re here for you,” Oak tells him and everyone around the table nods in agreement.
He smiles in return and sits back, pocketing the photograph of his daughter. Pope has my support in everything and he has it now but I can only give him so much with his daughter. The further I stay away, the better.
“Moving on,” Cas says, getting up from his chair, “Ricky boy is home where he belongs and his time away hasn’t gone unnoticed by anyone.”
He walks around the table and stands behind me, holding onto my shoulders.
“Our brother had to go through hell for two and a half years for something he didn’t do, and he did it without once moaning, he got on with it and did his time. Sparks, why don’t you give him our gratitude.”
Sparky reaches into his cut and pulls out an envelope. It’s thick and I don’t need to guess what’s inside.
He slides it across the table and I shoot my hand out to grab it.
“To help you get back on track,” he grins.
I nod to everyone in thanks and pocket the envelope. Cas squeezes my shoulders and takes his seat back at the head of the table.
“What happened to Ricky is always a possibility for any of us, we’re vigilant and always watching our backs but as Kitty proved none of us are invincible. That being said, we are Lost Souls and when one of us goes down, we all do. We missed you Ricky, you were never alone while you were away and you never will be.”
This is why I wear the Lost Souls patch on my back. Cas is right, I was alone in person, but I never felt alone during the whole of my incarceration. Brother’s visited and made sure I didn’t feel secluded from the club and not once did I feel they were doing it by force of Cas’s order. I’m home and I don’t plan on going back.
Where is he?
He said he was going to bring me breakfast soon and that was hours ago. I fell into a confused shock when he came through the door all in clothes I’ve never seen him in before and speaking to me in a tone that is foreign to me. Now I am fucking pissed. How dare he do this to me? How dare he think he can keep me here and lock me in against my will? By the looks of it, I don’t know him and he certainly doesn’t know me anymore. Why even bother trying to help me?
Dragging myself off of the bathroom floor I crawl into the bedroom, I don’t have much energy to move in any other position. My legs hurt and adding pressure to them isn’t an option I can handle. Being this close to the carpet, I can see up close all the dirt and stains I am coming into contact with and my stomach turns again. Why does this have to happen to me? I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself and father fucking dearest would never have known if it weren’t for my mother. He visits like twice a year, sometimes three when I was younger and I have been able to keep him away lately. I know why it was so easy now, he was living a life he has been keeping from me. My blood feels like it is on fire and my bones feel like they are frozen through. The combination is excruciating. I drop from my knees onto the floor and curl into a tight ball.
I hear the door unlocking and it swinging open but I keep my eyes closed. Whoever it is isn’t here to help me so why bother.
“Get up.” My dad, sorry, I mean Pope grunts.
I don’t need to see his disapproval, I can hear it in his voice. I ignore him and focus on myself.
“Get up,” he says, more forceful.
I continue to ignore him and stay where I am on the floor.
Shuffled movements get my attention, is he leaving again? Before I can open my eyes to see what he is doing, I’m heaved from the floor and my body is flying through the air. My back hits the bed first and my head bounces off the pillow before I can get a hold of myself.
I want to scream and shout at him, demand to know what the hell he is up to but I stop myself. He isn’t going to tell me. I’m in pain and clucking but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of arguing with him.
I look up at him looming over the bed. I never realised how big my dad was before. My view is a far contrast of the man I thought I knew.
There’s no love in his eyes or softness around him. He was never one to flood me with affection and a huge amount of fatherly advice but I always knew he loved me and was proud. I’ve lost his respect and it makes me feel worse.
I glance to the tray he brought in and notice the dry toast and a glass of orange juice.
“If I eat that, I’m going to be sick again,” I say, not meeting his eyes.
“Eat,” he barks out.
“I don’t want to be sick again, it hurts too much,” I argue with him.
“It only hurts because you haven’t got anything in your stomach, eat the toast and if you’re sick, at least you’ll have something to bring up and it won’t hurt as much. From now on, you’ll eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when I say.”
He shoves the plate in my direction and I look up at him.
“I’m not going anywhere until I’ve seen you eat and drink.”
My hands shake as I take the food and he sits at the bottom of the bed. He leans forward and rests his arms on his thighs and hangs his head.
“The sooner you eat, the sooner this will be over.”
My stomach ties into knots at the thought of eating but I do as he says and nibble on the piece of toast numbly.
“When you were born I was scared of you,” he says, weakly, “I created you, yet this tiny bundle of arms and legs terrified me. I didn’t know how to handle you, how to stop the frightened side of me to be like all the other dads in the hospital. Thoughts of hurting you physically and emotionally constantly ran through my head but what I knew with every bone in my body was that I could protect you and shield you from other violence and dangers in the world. I failed and now you are what you are.”
I stop chewing the toast unable to comprehend what he is telling me. I never knew this about him.
“I was just a baby, how could I scare you?”
His head slowly turns towards me.
“You don’t get to ask questions until I say you can.”
I struggle to swallow my mouthful and forcibly bite my tongue until I can taste blood to refrain from screaming at him.
“As you can see, I don’t work away on business most months of the year and I certainly don’t wear that fuckin’ crap you’ve seen me in. That was all for your benefit to keep you away from my world. Your mom didn’t want you to be a part of this, you being here now is my comeuppance and your saviour. Our lives are entwining and there is nothing either of us can do unless we’re willing to help each other.”
I remain silent and push the plate away. Half a piece of toast is more than enough at the moment.
“I don’t care how old you get, I won’t let you leave until you’re clean. I have failed you many times but not this time.”
He abruptly stands and grabs the plate. He nods once and thrusts the glass of orange juice my way. I take it and down the entire contents. He piles the tray back up and heads for the door.
“I’ve let you down, I know that, but I can’t just stop, it hurts so much,” I say, careful not to make it sound like a question.
He doesn’t look back at me and he doesn’t stop unlocking the door.
“You should’ve thought of that before you decided to become scum. Live through this pain and remember it.”
The door closes after him and I’m once again on my own. Crying, I bite down on the pillow and scream. The walls are closing in on me and my body feels like it is shutting down. I don’t have the energy but I roll off the bed and land heavily on the floor. Drawing myself towards the door, I scream to whoever is on the other side.
“Please, help me.”
My throat burns but I carry on screaming.
“Let me out, now!”
No answer, no one says anything and no one is coming to help me.
Before I can scream out again, my stomach heaves and the little food I did manage to eat makes a reappearance complete with the Orange Juice. I don’t make it to the bathroom and vomit all over the carpet. Using the little energy I did have, I slump on the carpet and shiver from the chills. My bones feel like they are rattling making me hurt even more.
My father says he is helping me but at the moment it only feels like he is killing me. I don’t see how I am going to survive this.
For hours all I’ve heard are the constant cries and whimpers coming from Cas’s old room. It is driving me crazy. Pope’s photograph of his daughter has been burned into my memory, how can someone so beautiful turn into something so ugly?
It has been the cause of much destruction in my life.
Cathleen was only nineteen when she overdosed and ripped my family apart. My mother wouldn’t eat or sleep, she wouldn’t do anything unless we physically forced her too and when it didn’t get much better after months of this, my father upped and left us without looking back. To this day I don’t know where he is. My mother on the other hand is still stumbling her way around the house I grew up in each and every day.
Fourteen was how old I was when she died and the only memories I have of her now are the ones where she’s high as a kite or begging our parents for money. When they refused her the cash, she would steal from the house and showed no remorse when she was found out.
Eventually she stopped coming around and never gave me the opportunity to help her. I would have if she had let me, but being older and knowing more than I did as a teenager, I know she didn’t want the help.
Swinging open my door, I stomp down the hall towards the prospect guarding her door.
“Open it,” I demand.
“Pope said not to open it unless it comes from him.”
“Open the fucking door now.”
The prospect quickly unlocks the door and I push him to the side to find Kyla curled into a ball on the floor in the corner of the room, shivering with her arms wrapped around herself trying to get warm.
This is the first time I’ve seen her in the flesh and the sight is pathetic. I’ve lost my sister and family to this drug as well as my freedom. I thought I was free of it when I was released, it’s driving me crazy to listen to it day in and day out.
“I get that you’re suffering but we don’t need to all suffer with you,” I tell her, stepping over a drying vomit patch on the carpet.
“Keep your whining to a minimum, yeah?”
Her eyes roll around their sockets and land on me. Her skin is sallow and speckled with sweat.
She doesn’t say anything and her silence is creepy. There doesn’t look like there is anyone in there. Her eyes are open but there isn’t anything happening behind them. I turn to leave and that is when she moves. Like a sickly creature she crawls towards me, falling on her stomach from lack of energy and begins heaving over my boots.
“H-help, I can’t do this anymore,” she croaks, “I just need a little hit, please, you have to help me,” she begs.
I bend down and pick her up off the floor. Throwing the sheets back, I place her in the middle of the bed and cover her with every sheet and blanket in the room I can find.
“This is the only way I will help you, if you don’t want to rip your stomach muscles apart from heaving, I suggest you force down more of the meals your dad brings you.”
Again, her eyes land on me and she says nothing. Is this what it would have been like if I had been older and helped my sister in this way?
I don’t blame Pope for drying her out, she is going through the motions at the moment and this suffering won’t last for much longer. I read once before my sister died that physical withdrawal symptoms can last roughly up to ten days. She has been here for a few days now so hopefully we haven’t got much longer of this.
“I want to die,” she whispers, sadly.
Her admission doesn’t sound right coming from her mouth. Once she was such beauty and a college graduate. There is much more to life than that drug, only these junkies can’t see it.
“Well you’re shit out of luck, your dad’s doing this to keep you alive. Not the opposite, babe.”
I leave the room before she replies and wait for the prospect to lock her in again.
I entered the room full of anger and now I feel like I want to help bring back the girl Pope tells us is worth saving. No one should want to die when there is so much more to life. Her words echo around my head all the way down to the bar. Oak is in his usual seat and I join him ordering a beer from the prospect.
“Where’s Pope?” I ask him.
“In his room, I think. He wants to be close to his kid.”
“Have you seen her?”
“Only when he carried her through when she first got here the other night, why?” he asks.
“She looks nothing like the photo Pope passed around, she’s disgusting,” I shudder, remembering the vomit on the carpet and on herself.
“That’s what that shit does to ya, it takes hold and ruins everything that once was.”
He isn’t wrong. There isn’t a trace of the beauty I saw in the photo up in Cas’s old room.
“She says she wants to die,” I murmur, still haunted by her admission.
“She probably feels like she is, shocked the shit outta me when Pope said he had a kid all this time but he had his reasons for keepin’ her away and now he’s gonna do everythin’ he can to bring her back. We all will if he asks for our help.”
Our conversation comes to an end and I drink my beer. There’s no ifs about Pope drying her out, he won’t stop until she’s clean. Maybe I can help and ease her way back with Pope. What am I doing? I don’t know her, but visioning her photograph again something is pulling at me to help her.