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Kissing the Killer(5)

By: B. B. Hamel



There was no way this was going to end well. I cursed at myself, angry that I hadn’t killed Abram back in that car when I’d had the chance.

It was too late for that now, though. The girl was mine, and I was going to have to figure out what to do with her before it was too late.

As I opened my apartment door, she just stared at me wordlessly, angry and gorgeous.





2





Emma





If I said that was the first time I’d been shoved into a closet and locked in there against my will, I’d be a liar.

My father wasn’t always such a bad man. When I was younger, he taught me some Russian and would take me to the park to play softball. He’d say to me, “Look, little Emma doll, you must catch this ball or else it will break you in two.” And even though I was afraid of the ball at first, I was even more afraid of being broken, and so I put my glove out there and caught every ball he lobbed at me.

My father was a gangster, not a very important one, and he wasn’t really very good at it, but he was still a part of the Russian mob. He used to be proud of that fact, though later on it became more and more of a burden.

As for my mother, I could still remember her. Barely, but I could. She was always smiling in my memories, her long brown hair dipping down along her shoulders. She’d pick me up way above her head and I’d laugh along with her.

She died when I was very young. It was cancer, but at the time I didn’t understand it. She’d been a heavy smoker most of her life, and that did her in far too young. I wish I didn’t remember the hospital beds, the gaunt look in her eyes, the fear and the sadness, but I did.

It was a slow thing, and when my mom finally went, my father went with her, or at least the part of him that I loved. He turned back to drinking, back to gambling, and slowly he morphed into the piece of shit that got murdered in his own bedroom.

I hated living in his house, but I had nowhere else to go. After my mom died, he’d tell me that I could never leave him. I remember vividly one night when I was eleven years old, he came into my room, reeking of vodka.

“Little Emma doll,” he said to me. “Little Emma, you’d never leave your father, would you?”

“Of course not, Papa,” I said. “I’d never leave you.”

“Your mother left me, Emma. She left me here alone to take care of your spoiled ass, and now you want to leave me too.”

I could see the anger and the grief in his eyes, even at eleven years old. I knew that night that my papa was gone, and he was never coming back.

He didn’t start hitting me until a few years later. I was in high school and was starting to get my own life. I had a job as a waitress at a bar and I had friends. He didn’t like that, didn’t like my freedom, and sometimes he’d come home and take that anger out on me.

He’d always accuse me of wanting to leave him. The irony was, as much as I really hated him and wanted to get away, I never did. He was still my father, as pathetic as he was, and I still had to try to take care of him.

All through high school I took his beatings, his angry words, his drunken mess. I watched as the house got dirtier, more cluttered, and I watched as he became less and less the man I once knew.

I got good at makeup to cover the bruises. I got good at lying, at protecting myself. For the most part, I could read his moods, and I knew when to stay in the house and when to get out for a few hours until he eventually passed out from drink.

Life went like that all through high school, but eventually I’d had enough of it.

I wasn’t going to college. There was no way I could afford it, even if I could get in. The only dream I had was escape. Day in and day out, I cared less and less about taking care of my disgusting drunk father and more about getting out.

So I saved every dime I had. I hid it all over the house so that he wouldn’t find it, but inevitably he’d find it and steal it from me.

Once, he was so enraged that I was hiding three thousand dollars from him that he threw me in a closet and left me there for a full day.

That was the first time I was locked in a closet.

It went like that and the years passed. I didn’t have many close friends, because I couldn’t open myself up to them. My father stole every dime I saved, and so I saved more, dreaming of escape.

And then one night they came for him.

I heard them on the stairs, and I knew. There had been whispers in the neighborhood that my father was doing something stupid, but I didn’t believe them.

When I heard him pleading for his life, I believed, and so I ran into the closet and hid myself.

Soon, the begging stopped, but the men didn’t go away. I heard them moving through the house, and finally I heard my door swing open.

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