As I heard the garage door open I flung myself from the old bed that sat on the floor. I dressed myself in the pink princess dress that my mother made. I pulled my raven hair up into a braided bun. And finally, I placed the blue eye contacts in my eyes. I didn't have enough time to hide my witchcraft books from the bed, because my parents walked into the room. They scanned me, looking pleased. They looked around the room and, to their horror, they saw my books. They asked “Dearest Tiana, why do you have the FORBIDDEN books on your bed?!”
“I-I…” I tried to reply, but the absolute terror that ran through my veins prevented me from saying anything.
“You know that this was your last chance to stop reading those demonic books, don’t you?” my father said. His eyes were bent with pure hate and anger, but his face showed nothing. His neck veins were bulging so I knew that I was in very deep trouble.
“Y-yes…” I said.
“Then you know what is to be done,” my mother said. Her eyes showed sadness, but her face didn't show it either. I could see the tears forming in her eyes. And I knew exactly what my punishment was. I didn't want it. So as a response, I ran to the empty closet and tried my hardest to hold the door closed, but my seven-year-old arms couldn't prevail against my father. Before I knew it, I was being dragged into the hallway, arms flailing, legs kicking, tears streaming. I saw the dreaded basement door approaching me, I always hated that basement. My parents opened the door and walked down the stairs with me, still crying. They placed me on the floor and said, “You knew this was coming, you imperfect child.” As they walked up the stairs, I knew I’d had enough of what they forced me to be. They dressed me in clothes I wanted to throw in the nearest dumpster. I had enough rage against them to say: “I hate both of you.”. I said it loud enough for them to hear and quiet enough for them to quiver. When I said it, my father turned his head in my direction and said:
“Burn in hell.”
In the following seven years my life turned into a horrible routine. Everyday I would wake up on the cold mattress to the sound of the local church’s bells ringing at seven forty five in the morning. My body was too short to see the church, but I remember it being there. In the basement there was a really big bookshelf made of dark oak, the books were for school because the bigger books were about world history, sociology, chemistry and advanced math, so they're for college. I guess my parents thought they’d have a perfect child. Someone who’d obey their stupid rules, someone who was fake, someone who was gullible enough to follow every command.
How I survive down in the basement is pretty complex. I have been malnourished so I’m craving food almost every day. My mother still feeds me once a week, every Wednesday she brings me a bowl of either tomato or onion soup with a side of either moldy cheese or bread. The tomato soup sometimes has expired tomatoes in it and in the onion soup the onions have either gone bad or the cream is too thick. I get enough water because there is a still working sink in the basement and a toilet that hasn't been cleaned so I’m afraid to use it. There is also an almost shattered mirror that I hate using because my looks have decreased in beauty. My hair has been unwashed and unbrushed so it is dirty and full of knots and tangles. Bags have grown underneath my eyes due to lack of sleep because of nightmares. I’m very short for my age because I don't have enough sunlight to grow, so if you see me, you’ll think I’m twelve, but I’m not. I knew my mother's secret, even though she beats me I know she’s not doing it willingly. I know that my father is forcing my mother to hurt me. I know this because since I turned six they have been argueing and argueing about me, Mother wants me to be a normal girl with a normal life while Father hates me and wants me to die, the reason is possibly because he is scared of witchcraft books and he thinks if someone reads one, they will become a witch. Stupid, I know.
Today is Wednesday, the day I get to eat. My mother walked into the basement holding a all silver tray with handles on the sides where she was holding it. As she walked down the stairs her black hair swayed with grace. Her face showed no age except for the infinite amount of worry in her night black eyes. She smelled of roses and lilies. She loves this day too because it's the one day she gets to talk to her only daughter.”Here.” she said. She placed the silver tray on the ground and lifted the metal food cover. The first thing I noticed was the amazing smell. The food was new, it was triangular shaped and had tomato sauce, cheese, bread and reddish circular sausages.
”What is this?” I ask.
“It’s pizza. Do you not know what day it is?” my mother asked.
“No. I don’t.”
“It’s your birthday. You’re fourteen!” My mother said. It took me a minute or so to process what she said.”Okay,” I said.
“Are you not happy?”
“What’s there to be happy about? It’s not like I'm getting out of here anytime soon.” My response must have given her some form of happiness because her face lit up with joy.”That’s the second reason I came down here. In one week, your ‘punishment’ will be over!”. I leaped from the ground and gave her the biggest hug imaginable. I was so excited I could not speak except stutter. Our conversation was interrupted by a friendly: “Hello?”. I turn around and see another fourteen year old girl standing outside the basement window. She had long blonde braided hair running down her shoulders and she had deep green eyes. What she was wearing was very cute. She wore a pink, long sleeved shirt that read “Read all the manga!” and light blue jeans that were a little torn at the knees. Then she looked at my mother and waved as if they had met before. I had seen her pass the house before, but I must have been too deep in the shadows for her to see me. She looked at me, scanning my black, long sleeved shirt that had been ripped at the ends, my silver jeans that had been more ripped at the knees than her jeans, my bare feet against the cold, hard floor. She looked at my disgusting hair and made a face that I saw in my father every day.”What’s your name?” she suddenly asked me.
“U-um...My name is Tiana...Tia for short.” I said.
“I like that name! My name is Sara Green,”she said. “Do you want to come out?” she asked. A rush of excitement flowed through me when she said that.
”I’m afraid that isn't possible at the minute.” my mother said.
”Why not?” Sara asked.
”Because she will be let out in a few days.”
“Wouldn't that kill her?!”
“No, for she has survived seven years down here.” Before Sara could figure the obvious, I jumped in saying “Because there is a seven year supply of...um..rats! Yes, rats! I’ve been coming down here to kill them.”
“Oh. Ok! So when you’re out, do you want to hang out?” Sara asked. I could tell that Sara was very naive. I looked at my mother, who nodded, and said “Sure!”. The next few days were less horrible than usual. Mother would come down more with more food. But father still came down with his belt in hand to beat me.”Why don't you just die already!” he would say. I had thought of suicide, but I didn't have the equipment and mother still loved me. So I stayed alive.
The day before I was let out had arrived. I woke to the normal seven forty five bells from the church. I was reading the second to last advanced math book when I heard arguing upstairs.
“I still don’t know why we are letting her out early! She can rot in there for all I care!”
“She’s your only daughter! It’s your job to care!”
“Well maybe I got fired!” The sudden noise of glass breaking and a woman scream made me run to the basement door. To my surprise, it was unlocked. I ran to where I heard the fighting took place. I knocked the door down and saw my mother laying on the floor, her forehead was bleeding and she was unconscious. I looked at my father who was shocked to see me out of my basement.”Run. Run away and don’t come back. You are unwelcome here.” I said to him. It took one threat to make him run away. I immediately took action for mother. I learned how to do CPR in my high school books, so I performed it. It took several minutes that felt like hours to wake her. When she did wake I grabbed the nearest cloth and cleaned her wound.
“You were fighting with Father.”
“Oh...Why am I not surprised?”
When she was healed she decided to change out of her lavender and gold outfit, and change into her turquoise silk nightgown with matching house slippers. She also took her hair down and let it flow on its own.”Come. You are in need of a bath.” she said. I followed her into the bathroom and saw a clean sink, toilet and tub.”I trust that you know how to bathe?”
“Yes. I’m not a savage.” When I said that she seemed amused. I took almost a full hour to completely wash the basement’s filth from my tiny body. While in the bath I realized that my hair was abnormally long and in need of a cut. When I finished, I looked in the perfect circular mirror above the sink and saw a seven year old girl wearing a pink princess dress that her mother made. She had blue eye contacts in. And her raven black hair was pulled up into a braided bun. The image changed and I saw the girl being dragged by a monster and an angel, she was being dragged into a prison cell.”What have I done to deserve a seven year sentence?!” the girl cried out.”You have constantly disobeyed our perfect law. So you will now rot in your very own cell.” the monster said. The image changed again and I saw a fourteen year old who was short for her age. She had indeed rot in her cell for her facial features changed. Her hair grew unwashed and unbrushed and it touched the floor. Her head turned to me and said “Your ending was different.” And the images stopped. I realized that I was hallucinating. When I looked away I saw my mother standing at the door, a worried expression on her face.”What?”
“Sorry, it’s just….you were talking to yourself in the mirror. Saying things like ‘what have I done to deserve this?’. It worried me.”. Later, I was led to my room and, to my surprise, it was decorated and had a huge bed. The decor was my favorite, silver skulls on top of a bookshelf that was made from birch wood and was filled with high level books. The bed was new. It was furnished with a black and white blanket and big red fluffy pillows covered the the first end of the bed. White poles stood at the corners of it, decorated with silver vines swirling around them. A desk sat in the corner of the room with an apple laptop, a notebook, a pencil sharpener, and a pen holder. “What’s all this?” I asked.
“Your room!” mother said. ”Now get some sleep. You have school tomorrow.” When she said that, I felt a big mixture of excitement and anxiety. It had been so long since I attended school, I wouldn't even know how to make friends. So, when Mother left I changed into my brand new night clothes, pulled my hair in a ponytail, and slid under the covers that were so thick and soft.
The alarm was loud. It yelled until I pressed the ‘off’ button. I got out of the bed as quickly as I could. I still needed to shower, dress and brush my teeth after breakfast. After I showered and dressed I had my mother's amazing chocolate chip pancakes with a side of sliced bananas. I wolfed down the meal as fast as my bony mouth would allow me to and I ran upstairs to brush my teeth. When it was time to go, Mother had me go in her gold and silver Cadillac, which looked very new. I sat in the front passenger seat with my pack on the floorboards. We approached the school and saw lots of other teenagers there. When I exited the car Mother said: “Have a good day! I love you!” and drove off to her fashion designer job. I entered the building and a wave of anxiety washed over me, all of the other people were so much taller than I was. Worries started filling my head, I would easily become a target for bullying. I sucked it up and proceeded to my first class, which was my favorite subject, math. The day went by faster than I anticipated. It was the first day and already I aced my tests. When I came home I smelled something amazing. I dropped my backpack on the floor and made my to the kitchen. I saw my mother standing in front of the stove, baking.”What are you making?” I ask.
“Lemon meringue pie! Would you like some once it’s finished?”
“I would love some!”
Later that night the pie had been finished and we were watching the local news.
“This just in! A man of thirty five has been arrested for attempted murder against his wife. His name is John Thompson and his wife’s name is Marilyn Thompson, God bless her, and he also has a daughter named Tiana Thompson. Stay tuned for more local news!” the reporter said and finished.
Two months later I had made two friends in school, one was Sara and the other was my old friend Brittany Spyke. Mother and I had been planning to open a pie shop for some time now, and today is the grand opening. “Are you nervous?” Sara asked me at lunch.
“Very. I've never opened my own business before.” I said.
“I’m sure you’ll do great.” Brittany said. Brittany had blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail at all times. She always wore her cheerleader uniform, her blue eyes sparkled with joy every hour.
When school was over, I rode my new bike to the newly built family pie shop. It was built in the shape of a chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting. “Are you ready?” Mother asked.
“Nope, let’s do it!” I said. When we were officially open, floods of people started to order their baked goods, Mother wanted to take the orders so I could bake them. Since then, we’ve been happy with our new family business and ourselves. I wonder what else is in store for me?