Olivia stepped inside the house and saw the empty beer can dwindling on the palm of her foster mother’s hand. Olivia slowly approached her and took the can gently from her hand, setting it on the coffee table, next to the lighter, burnt spoon, and syringe. She walked to her bedroom and inside waited her foster father, Tom. He was a decent looking man for the most part, then again Ted Bundy did not look like a monster. Sociopaths or psychopaths they knew how to hide. They felt nothing and cared for no one. Tom was the driving force Mabel, her foster mother, managed to get it together during the scheduled visits from her social worker, and for being a good girl; heroin was Mabel’s reward, once the visit was over. The day before had been a day of torture for Mabel. A day of needing a hit as she kept screaming.

Olivia had paced the floor of her bedroom wishing the social worker would arrive ahead of schedule and find Mabel and Tom at their worst. Not that she feared Tom, rather she was afraid for Mabel, as she had whispered that if she were taken from the home, Tom would definitely kill her. So she went along with the charade. Mabel’s screams and repeated showers drove Tom insanely mad, and a few times, Olivia thought he was going to march over to the bathroom and kill poor Mabel. Instead he brought her ice-cream in a bowl, later in a glass, and before she came down, Tom yelled down for another bowl of ice cream. Olivia obliged, fearing Tom’s wrath on Mabel after the social worker left. For the most part life with them was hell, but she was gone nearly all day at school and then worked on the weekends. Tom allowed her to work, but she had to give him half of her measly paycheck.

On this day however, she had wished herself at work. Even a premiere movie night, with an endless line of theater goers looked better. Anywhere would have been a safe haven, anywhere. In all honesty, Olivia thought she’d hit the jackpot when she’d first arrived to their home. Little did she know, she realized a few weeks into living with them; they were as screwed up as a person living on the streets, maybe worse.

Tom and Mabel were a mystery indeed. She did not understand their motives, or why they fostered children. She did know that they liked the older kids, but why was still a mystery. Tom nor Mabel asked her to tidy up, but she did anyway. Tom was immaculate, in fact even though Mabel laid on the couch strung out on heroin the living room table (except for the drug paraphernalia) shined. Dust mites did not exist in this home.

Seeing Tom standing in the middle of her bedroom sent chills down her spine because she had not cleaned her drawers or closet the previous night and Tom hated clutter. Yet he’d never entered her room before. He stared her down with his pale eyes and said, “Shut the door.”

She did as he asked and then he handed her a note before she could open it he said, “Your mother was an unemployed stripper before giving birth to you. She went from man to man…”

“I don’t understand,” she interrupted.

Tom punched the closet door, silencing her, as he continued, “She was a whore plain and simple. I knew her… everybody did. I just never thought you would be her kid, or that I would end up with her kid.” He exhaled and then said, “There’s a man here for you.”

Her nervous demeanor turned to terror as she began to walk toward the door. Tom was quicker and blocked the door with his thin frame.

“I have no choice. I need the money.” He scratched his forehead and appeared to be considering what to do. At least that’s what Olivia had hoped, but instead he said, “Apparently your mother owed him a lot of money.”

“Well what does that have to do with me?” she asked. It was then that someone attempted to open her door, causing Tom to move out of the way. In the door way stood an extremely tall man with muscles everywhere, his neck was no exception. He breathed loud, Olivia felt disgusted by his demeanor. He stomped his way into the bedroom and behind him entered a much normal, yet tall man in an elegant suit.


Forest of Wonder

Forest of Wonder