HERE IT IS!!!!
Chapter 1 of my newest novel Hopes and Destinies. I hope all my readers enjoy this sneak peak and please don’t be afraid to leave comments. I look forward to reading what you all have to say. I am just so uber excited to finally share this with you all!! I’ve been working on it for a while now. It kind of starts out like a drag, but this chapter is all about setting the scene. So hopefully now I’ll be able to finish each chapter in a timely fashion so you guys don’t have to wait forever in between chapters. (It has been a long long while since I wrote books so I hope I still got it!) Anyway, hope you guys enjoy and keep a look out for more chapters to come! Thanks guys!!
Screaming. That’s all I hear coming through the closed door of my bedroom is my mother screaming for help as my father stabs her repeatedly with the butcher knife from the kitchen. He’s furious with her. He had come home to find my mother packing our bags. She was leaving him for good. Her plan was to be out before he came home for the night, but he unexpectedly had gotten off work early and showed up an hour before he usually does every day.
“What in the hell is this?” He exclaimed as he came barging through the front door.
“Destiny, go to your room, sweetie,” my mother had told me as I was sitting on the floor in the living room helping her pack our suitcases.
I wasn’t even halfway down the hallway to my bedroom when I heard my father yelling at her. “YOU’RE LEAVING?! AND WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GO?!”
CLASH! BANG! He was throwing her around the house. Throwing her against the glass cabinet she had in the kitchen until glass shattered everywhere and she was bleeding and crying.
I had run to my room as fast as I could by then and shut and locked the door right as he pulled out the butcher knife from the kitchen drawer. He had grabbed her by the hair and started stabbing her repeatedly. Now, I am crying and curled up underneath the blankets listening to my father kill my mother right outside this bedroom door I keep watching, in the hopes he doesn’t come for me next. I am terrified and wishing there was something I could do to help my mother.
“HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME!” I heard my father exclaim as he continued stabbing my mother. “NOBODY LEAVES ME! I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME, YOU DIRTY LITTLE WHORE! IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU THEN NOBODY CAN!”
A few more minutes now and my mother will stop her screaming because her body will be motionless.
I have no windows in my bedroom. It looks as though my bedroom had once been some kind of tiny office or storage room that my father had half-ass made into a bedroom when I was born. I was unplanned and my father did not like the idea of having kids therefore he did not find it necessary to give me a proper bedroom when I had gotten older. I am now twelve years old and should be sleeping in a twin sized bed, but I am still sleeping in my toddler bed he bought for me from the Goodwill when I turned three. So, my bed is a little too small for comfort and has been for years. My mother always told me one day she would buy me a brand-new bed that I could fit in, but she had to run it by my father first because he was the one that ran things. He’s the one that gets to decide where the money goes especially when it concerns me. She says he’s been like that for years and if she ever disobeyed him she would get a beating from him. The last beating she got from him was a few weeks ago. She bought me new clothes because I was starting the sixth grade and all my old clothes were getting to be way too small for me so she took me shopping. My father found out when he got home that night because he seen all the tags in the garbage. She was helping me try on my clothes in my bedroom when he came storming in, grabbed her by the hair, and dragged her out to the kitchen yelling at her. He started slamming her head onto the counters telling her how dare she disrespect him this way and if she ever did it again he would kill her. Well, he wasn’t threatening, he was promising. That was also the day my mother came to me with bruises all over her face telling me we had to escape for good because that was what was best for us. We had to start planning our escape that way my father wouldn’t know what was going on. He couldn’t ever find out; she had told me. On the days he would come home late due to stopping at the bars after work for a few drinks with his buddies she would make the necessary calls to schools and my Aunt Bethany, whom we were going to be living with for a while, to get things rolling for us to leave unnoticed. She started packing bags here and there and hiding them in my room under the bed because my father never came in my room unless it was to grab my mother to beat her for something.
We happened to be in the living room, which could fit up to one hundred people if not more, packing the very last of our belongings when my father came home…and I so wished we had already been gone because my mother wouldn’t be dying right now by his hands.
My father, Angst Connor, is the type of guy that you see walking on Wall Street in New York City. Wearing grey business suits with his salt and pepper hair always slick back with tons of hair gel, almost like he’s getting ready at any moment to go and prosecute someone. He is Chicago’s best defense attorney. He could never do no wrong by anyone. If you murdered someone and knew your sentence was going to be life in prison, but you knew there was someone who get you off that sentence without the blink of an eye, my father would be your guy. Since he graduated Harvard thirty years ago, he’s let more criminals off their sentence and on the streets again than more people have ever gotten their justice in court. I can see why now, considering he is now a criminal; a murderer. Of course, no one would believe me. I could go to the police right now and tell them what I saw and heard and the moment they hear My father, Angst Connor come out of my mouth, they would all think I’m just a hysterical twelve-year-old girl seeking attention.
With those thoughts running through my head, I lay motionless in my bed, thinking of what to do. My mother needs me out there, but do I dare go out there and face the reality of what is?
I hear footsteps coming down the hall toward my bedroom. I jump up, grab the pair of scissors that are laying on the floor next to the box of clothes my mother bought for me, and then jump back in bed; covering myself up with the blankets. I am scared, I don’t know what to expect from the closed door. I hear the doorknob rattling, trying to open and I close my eyes trying to hold the tears back that are begging to flow.
The door opens and I hear angry footsteps coming towards my bed. I don’t know what’s going to happen or what to expect from this man whom just murdered my mother. I lay still, clutching the scissors in my right hand for dear life. I don’t have a plan, I don’t even know what to do, but whatever happens next is all in the hands of God.
With my eyes still closed, I feel this man; whom was my father for the last twelve years rip the blankets vigorously off me. He is too drunk to notice the scissors clutched in my hand. Instead he focuses on grabbing me by the hair and, without a care in the world, yanks me as hard as he can out of the bed. I am crying now as I feel my body being flung across my bedroom until the wall stops it from going any further.
“I never wanted you anyway,” I faintly hear as I open my eyes to gather my surroundings. I am on the floor right beside the open door, my body is in the most awkward angle and it hurts. EVERYTHING HURTS! I feel dizzy as I put my free hand behind my head to feel for wetness. Blood. All over my hand and the wall behind me. I could run for it right now, I think to myself, but there would be no time as my father is just now reaching his hand down to clasp it around my throat. I am gasping for air as he lifts my body off the floor until I am suspended high in the air unable to touch the floor anymore. His grip getting tighter and tighter, and my breaths coming shorter and shorter. The look in his eye is insanely. Is this how I am going to die?
Just as that thought comes across my mind, I remember I am still clutching the pair of scissors in my hand. In one swift, unthinkable movement I bring my hand up and put the scissors as deep as I can into the side of my fathers’ neck. Blood instantly goes spraying everywhere and all over me. In the next second, my body is hitting the hard floor again as he releases his grip on my neck, and I can finally breathe again. I look up as I hear his screams and watch him just for a moment try to pry the scissors from his neck, and then push myself up to make a run for it. I bolt for the open bedroom door and keep running down the hallway towards the front door. I don’t stop there, though. I keep running down the road, around the block and down the road some more until I reach a door to a house. I frantically knock until someone answers.
“Destiny?” A familiar voice answers as the door opens. “What is it, sweetie?”
But I can’t answer because I am crying so hard I am starting to hyperventilate.
“Come in, dear, come in.” The familiar hand wraps itself around my back and guides me into the house.
“Destiny, what happened? Calm down and tell me what happened?”
I am being engulfed in a hug now. So tight it feels safe. A few moments pass by and my sobs start to slow. Slowly, my eyes begin to open and adjust to my surroundings. I am at Aunt Bethany’s house wrapped in Aunt Bethany’s arms. She feels and smells so good; comforting. I start to pull away and wipe at my eyes; she notices this too and takes a step back to look at me clearly, concern all over her face.
“Whatever it is you can tell me, Destiny,” she says in a sweet, soft voice. She’s a cop so she knows how to talk to hysterical people like me.
“My dad…” was all I could choke out. My voice sounds so tiny right now and full of fear.
“What did he do?”
I don’t know how I should tell her. I know she completely despises my father and has been since my mother decided to marry him. Aunt Bethany thinks he’s nothing but a scumbag and has told my mother time and time again to leave him before something serious happened. I wish she would’ve listened to Aunt Bethany before it was too late. Now she’s dead and there are no second chances.
“Destiny! Tell me! What did that dirty asshole do?” Aunt Bethany exclaims. I hate it when she starts shouting because then I can’t think straight. I know she is just trying to help, but sometimes she gets so impatient and starts yelling. Besides, how do you tell your aunt that her sister was just brutally murdered by her scumbag, asshole of a husband right in front of her twelve-year-old nieces’ eyes?
Looking at her makes me cry even more because she looks just like my mother. Long light brown hair that comes down the middle of her back, brown eyes that can see right through anything. Her cheek bones are even the same shape; high and prominent bringing out her eyes even more. Mother always said her and Bethany were twins growing up. I never got the chance to get to really know my aunt Bethany because she’s always working, but Mother always said if I needed her to run all the way down the road to the bright yellow house on the corner because that is aunt Bethany’s house. That is exactly what I had done today.
“If you’re not going to tell me, I’m going over there myself to talk to the asshole. Where’s your mother? Is she safe?”
“Aunt Bethany…” I sob, “I came here to tell you…what happened…to Mother.”
She is watching me intently now, knowing that whatever I am about to tell her isn’t what she wants to hear. She is kneeling in front of me now, eye level with me.
“Go on,” she says quietly.
I take a breath trying to calm myself a little before I proceed. “I don’t know how to tell you…Mother always told me if I needed you to run…run all the way down the street to the yellow house…and that’s what I did. I am so scared, Aunt Bethany. Mother isn’t safe. Mother is dead…” I trail off in a full hysterical sob again.
Aunt Bethany is still for a moment, processing everything that came rambling out of my mouth.
“What do you mean dead?”
“Father killed her. He found out we were leaving him…today. He killed her! He was trying to kill me, too…but I stabbed him with scissors and ran all the way here.”
Slowly, Aunt Bethany stands. She doesn’t say anything as she walks into her kitchen and grabs her cell phone. She’s calling someone. I can’t hear what she is saying because she is talking too quietly for me to hear her. After what feels like the most awkward few moments in my life, she comes back over to me and grabs my hand.
“I need to take you somewhere, okay? Some where you will be safe.” Then she pulls me outside to her car. We get in without saying another word to each other and she drives away towards town.
We pass house after house with children my age and younger playing outside without a care in the world. They look happy. I bet they don’t have to wake up every day scared of their own father or worse…watch their father beat their mother day after day to eventually lead up to murdering her. I bet these kids live normal childhood lives like every child is supposed to with toys and unconditional love from BOTH their parents. I want to be those kids.
We pass gas stations and parks that are always full of life. The subways are filled with homeless people and the occasional gang. We see all of this on our way to where ever our destination is. Chicago isn’t full of wildlife and trees and stuff. I would give anything in the world to live where the trees grow and where the birds nest; where you can see the deer roaming about. I was born and raised in Chicago so I’ve never seen anything different than the city. The homeless people are the closest thing to seeing wildlife around here. Wouldn’t that be the life, waking up every morning to look out your window and see a family of deer strolling by? Or to look at the family of Finches that just nested in the big Oak tree outside your window? Or how about watering the purple lilies that are growing by the front door? Getting to watch all sorts of wildlife grow up and live…
Something pulls me back to reality away from my calming thoughts. I look forward and notice the car is coming to a stop…right in front of the police station. I look at Aunt Bethany in shock.
“Aunt Bethany…I can’t…no!” I start to exclaim.
“It’s ok, Destiny. You must talk to someone and give a statement. That way we can catch the son of a bitch and put him behind bars for life,” she explains.
I am still shaking my head. I don’t like the idea of sitting in a room filled with cops trying to tell them what I seen and heard. Telling Aunt Bethany should be enough. She’s a cop. Why can’t she just go and take care of it without dragging every single cop into this?
“Bethany,” a deep voice says softly out of nowhere.
I look up to see this big, burly man in a suit and tie coming towards us from an office. He is walking fast and embraces Bethany in a hug when he approaches us.
“I am so sorry. If there’s anything I can do…” he says.
“Yes, I know. Which is why we,” she looks at me, “are here.”
He looks at me and his expression goes soft seeing how scared I am. “Yes, please come. Follow me.”
We follow him down the hallway straight back into the office he came out of. He closes and locks the door behind us after we enter.
“Please, sit down.” He motions to the 2 chairs in front of his desk. I cautiously sit down without taking my eyes off him. He seems safe; comforting almost. I kind of feel like I can trust him…a little. All I know is if someone were to mess with this guy they would lose in one punch.
He sits down behind his desk and starts fumbling with papers. After a few moments, he looks up at me and doesn’t say anything at first. Then, he clears his throat and says, “You must be Destiny.”
I nod. I can’t tell if I’m still crying or not. My face has been numb for the past half hour.
“I am Chuck Grady. I work with your Aunt Bethany here at the police station. I’m a detective though. Do you know what detectives do?” This man asks.
This is when I notice more profound features of this man. His eyes are bluer than the ocean which makes his face look fatter than what it really is. His beard and mustache frame his round face evenly, giving it that nice touch it needs. I even notice the button on his grey suit is about to give way and reveal the little ketchup stain on his white shirt that is barely visible beneath the suit jacket.
“No.” I don’t know if he heard me…I barely heard myself speak.
“A detective is a cop that works behind the scenes to catch the bad guys,” Chuck explains in his deep, burly voice. “I am here to help keep you safe and to keep your daddy from hurting you anymore. With your cooperation, of course.”
“Destiny, honey, Chuck is going to ask you some questions. I’m going to wait out in the hallway, ok?” Aunt Bethany says. This is when I notice she has a very profound scar on her face running from the outer tip of her eye all the down to the middle of her cheek. I wonder what happened to her. I wonder how long she’s had it for…
“OK,” I say in my small voice.
Aunt Bethany stands up, kisses me on the forehead and walks out of the office, closing the door behind her.
“She will come back, don’t you worry. She just can’t bear to hear what happened just yet,” Chuck says. “If it is alright with you we can get started?”
I nod, slowly, terrified.
“Don’t be scared, Destiny. There’s nothing to fear anymore. Your safe.” He digs around for more papers for a moment, then jumps right in with the questions. “Before we begin, I want you to know that if you do not feel comfortable answering a specific question that is alright. I’m not going to make you talk if you do not want to, but just remember we cannot help you if you don’t help us with answering a few of these questions as truthfully as you can, OK?”
“Alright, let’s get started. Can you state your full name for me, please?”
“Destiny…Destiny Hope Connor.”
“Destiny Hope, that is a very pretty name,” Chuck says.
“My mom named me…she loved my name.”
“I’m sure she did, Destiny. How old are you?”
“Twelve…I’ll be thirteen in a month,” I say as Chuck writes down everything I say without looking at me.
“OK, Destiny, do you go to school?”
I nod. “Yes.”
“What grade are you in?”
“I’ll be starting sixth grade…”
“Do you have any friends?”
“How come?” At this statement, Chuck stops writing and looks at me with confusion on his face. Every twelve-year-old girl has friends. Even a best friend. I wasn’t allowed to, though.
“My father wouldn’t allow me to have any friends,” I say.
“And why’s that?”
“Because…he thought it would interfere with his job. He didn’t like it very much if my mother or I did something that he didn’t like…” I explain.
“But you must’ve had friends at school?” Chuck asks, concern now all over his face.
“Yea…I wasn’t allowed to have friends outside of school, though.”
Chuck doesn’t say anything at first as he continues writing something on his notepad that is now three pages full of stuff I’ve told him.
“Did you ever tell your friends at school how your father was?” Chuck finally asks.
“No. I was afraid he would find out.”
“What do you think he would do to you if he found out?”
I don’t say anything because I’m not so entirely sure what he would’ve done to me if he ever found out other people knew about him and his ways.
“Destiny,” Chuck says, his deep voice bringing me back to reality. “What did he do to your mother?”
I start to cry again. I don’t want to confide in this man that I don’t even know. Where is Aunt Bethany?
“It’s alright, you can tell me. He can’t hurt you now.”
I still don’t say anything as I start to hyperventilate again, my body being swallowed up by all these emotions and everything that has happened.
“Did he kill your mother?” Chuck presses on not seeming to care that I can’t breathe right now. “Did he hurt you in any way?”
I bury my head in my hands trying to regain myself and reality.
“Destiny, what did you see?” Chuck sounds so close to my ear right now.
I stand suddenly, surprised by own actions I lash out at him. “What do you think?!”
“No need to raise your voice, Destiny,” Chuck says, sitting back into his desk chair and folding his arms across his chest.
“Well, I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you know exactly what happened and why I’m here. No need to make me keep reliving what I saw and heard. And yes, he did kill my mother. I heard everything! But did he stop there? No. He came into my bedroom and tried to kill me to, but I beat him to the punch. I stabbed him. I stabbed my own father in the neck with a pair of scissors. Would I be a criminal for saying I hope it killed him?” I am astounded in myself. Did I just stand up to a detective and basically tell him to shove it? I’ve never heard myself talk like that before.
Chuck Grady sits silently staring at me for a moment as he processes everything I just told him. I’m still standing ready to make a run for it. He doesn’t take his eyes off me the whole time he’s silent. I can see the wheels turning in his head as he finds the words he wants to say to me. Another moment passes as he writes something down on his pad of paper. He remains silent as he stands up and walks towards the door.
“I’ll be right back. You stay put,” he finally says to me when he reaches the door and opens it to slide out.
Oh, no. What have I done? I’m getting arrested…a teenager in jail, I think to myself. The room feels so uncomfortable being alone in. Good thing it’s not for long as Chuck Grady opens the door, Aunt Bethany following him. Chuck walks around his desk and sits again while Aunt Bethany wraps me in a quick hug and then motions for me to sit as she sits. She is terrified, of course that has been the look on her face since I showed up at her house today.
“Destiny,” Chuck starts to say, “you are right. I knew exactly what happened and why you are here. However, we,” he motions to him and Aunt Bethany, “did not know the situation was as serious as you explained to me. Therefore, I needed you to make a statement, which you did in your rant. To answer your question, though, no you are not the criminal. You stabbed him out of self-defense because you were being attacked.”
Aunt Bethany gasps out of fear. She holds her hands up to her mouth, trying to stay quiet.
Chuck goes on as if the noise Aunt Bethany made wasn’t heard. “It seems you are in danger, Destiny. I have a team at your house right now gathering evidence of the murder of your mother and they will be arresting your father. He will most likely go to prison if everything checks out in court against him. Therefore, you cannot live at your house alone. I have guardianship papers here in front of me your mother filled out when you were born. Your father had no idea about these papers.” Chuck fans out the papers to read a small segment to me. “’In the event that anything should happen to Ms. Tabitha Margaret Connor, guardianship of Destiny Hope Connor will fall to Bethany Marie Morris.’ This was signed by Judge Maccabee on October 21st of the year 2005 at St. Joseph’s hospital in Joliet, Illinois.”
Aunt Bethany and I are silent for a few moments. My mother did not want my father to have legal guardianship of me since I was born…
“So, now what do we do?” Aunt Bethany whispers to Chuck.
Chuck leans in as far as his fat belly would allow him to and whispers back to her, “Run. If I were you, I would take the girl and run as far away as you can.”
“Chuck, you know I can’t do that.”
“Why not? You have nothing to lose, Bethany. I will pay for all your moving expenses. Hell, I’ll even buy you a new house if it means keeping you and her safe.”
“If he’s going to prison, why do we have to run?” Aunt Bethany counters.
“He is one of the richest men in Chicago, you don’t think he will get the best lawyer, considering he is one, to get him off the charges?” Chuck says. “He isn’t safe. And the farther away she is from him, the safer she will be. Especially while all this with the courts is going on.”
“I can’t just leave my job here, Chuck.”
“Yes, you can. I already arranged for you to transfer.” Chuck slides some papers across the table to Aunt Bethany. “Also, here is the paper work to legally change her name. An Alias will keep her even more safe and under cover.”
Aunt Bethany now has tears in her eyes. “Where do we go?” She chokes out.
Chuck puts a reassuring hand over her hands and says, “To Arlington, Wisconsin. It’s a small enough town to keep you guys off the radar for a while. Enroll her in school and give her the childhood she deserves, Bethany.”
Aunt Bethany looks at me then back at Chuck and nods.
“From now on Destiny, you will go by Hope. You are no longer Destiny Connor, you are now Hope Connor,” Chuck says as he writes on the official paperwork and stamps it.
“Beth, call me if you ever need anything. I am always here to help you.”
“Now, get packed and moved as quick as you can. I’ll call you later with details of your new address.”
Just like that my old life ends and my new one begins as we walk out of the police station not knowing what awaits us on this new adventure. All I know for certain is that no matter what, the man that killed my mother will be behind bars and never to find me to put me six feet under. I will be able to live a life without fear for once. I just wish my mother were here to be able to do the same with me. The way I look at it now is that she died just so I could have this safety and freedom. Her life will never be taken for granted in my eyes for as long as I live. Instead she will live on in me as I conquer what awaits in this new life I was given.