Friday, February 01, 2008

Fiction Friday - III


Better lat than never, right. I’m going to submit this to a contest. SOoo, I need some input. Criticize, spelling... tell me, what do you think?

It's a long one. Enjoy!!!


The Reflection

Home... Again?

Penny sits in her new room, in her new home. She’s sitting on the bed hugging her knees. “This is the 5th family in 8 weeks. What’s wrong with me... why can’t any one love me??”. She asks in a whisper, hoping there would be an answer and yet praying that it wasn’t her.

Lisa sticks her head in and says, “It’s late Penny girl, why don’t you change in to your PJs and we’ll have some cookies and milk, ok?”

Penny wipes a tear from her eye without letting Lisa see, fakes a smile and says, “ok, yeah. That would be nice.”

Lisa closes the door and turns towards the kitchen. Before the door totally closes, Penny is screaming like she is on fire. The kind of panic scream girls seem to master at a very early age. Lisa doesn’t have time to open the door before Penny throws the door open so hard it loges the door knob in the wall.

“NO!!! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME STAY IN THAT ROOM!!! NOOOoooo!!!” Penny screams and rushes by Lisa. She hits Lisa with such force that she is knocked down to the floor. Penny heads down the hall and out the front door.

A few minutes later Lisa calls Doc B.

“I’m telling you Doc,” Lisa says exhausted, “it’s like everyone has said. At some point when she is alone, she just goes berserk. Like she sees a demon or something.”

“Lisa, you know you are my last hope at getting this poor girl placed in a permanent foster home?”.

“I know, Doc... I know. But she broke my arm and there is a hole in that wall. Whose gonna pay for that?!? ME!! Right? I know, it’s part of the job but I get to choose who. After fostering 20 plus kids when you see some, you can just tell. This one has no hope.”


“No, Doc. I’m sorry.” Lisa hangs up the phone. The police and EMTs arrive at the same time. The police have found Penny about a mile down the road, heading back to town.

“Is this her, ma’am?” the officer asks.

“Yes. Take her back to the home. She’s not welcome here.” Lisa turns her back to Penny and the officer and looks at the EMT. “It’s broken, isn’t it? That little bitch broke my arm.”

Dr. Brendakaski sat at her desk. Small, cramped and crowed as it was, this was her office. “Finally”, she thought. “My own office in a place where I can do some real good.” It was her first day on the job. Doc Brenda is a Doctor of Psychology. She had asked to work in this small town foster care home because she wanted to make a difference and to work with children.

Mac, one of the case workers in the office, walked in and handed her a file.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“Penny. The first case that needs your attention. The courts want your approval before she can leave. Next month is her 16th birthday and she’s petitioned the court to move out on her own. The judge is apprehensive and wants your opinion.” Mac grinned. He knew this was not the kind of psychology she wanted to practice. “Welcome the foster care system, Doc.”

Doc scanned the file. Penny had been in foster care since she was 6. In fact it was her 6th birthday that celebrated her arrival. Along with the many issues most foster kids seem to have, Penny had brought other baggage.

The authorities speculated that, as her parents were cleaning up the house from her 6th birthday party, a man in a meth induced craze broke in and killed her them. He had slashed them, cutting their throats and mid sections until they had bled to death. None of their wounds were lethal on their own, but together, they would have bled to death. The coroner estimated it would have taken 10-15 minutes and would have been excruciatingly painful. The meth addict, the murder of Penny’s parents had never been found.

The next day, as the forensics team was collecting evidence, they stumbled upon Penny. Still asleep in her room. “how could she sleep through this.” One asked. They picked her up and covered her with a blanket so she would not have to see the blood everywhere. Little Penny, the six year old girl held on to the technician so tight she thought Penny was going to strangle her. Once out side, Penny was handed to a police officer. He played with her and gave her a donated stuffed bear. The troopers report noted how pretty her smile was and how inoscent she seemed. After about 30 minutes Child Services arrived and took Penny to the home.

No living relatives could be found. Penny’s parents had not written a will, so, Penny was introduced to the joys of a small town foster care system.

The courts, in their wisdom, had mandated weekly group counseling. She has been to these sessions every week for the last 10 years of her life. Penny would describe hearing the screams of her parents, “Please!!! Don’t hurt us!!! You can have anything.... everything...”. She described with chilling detail the sounds of their voices being mixing with a fluid, as the slashes to their chests and abdomens filled their air ways with blood; the horrific sound of her mother and father drowning in their own blood.

Penny could, with enough detail to make most people have cold chills, describe the sounds the man had made, laughing, talking to them, taunting them, as if them saying “please, don’t” one more time would make him stop. She even went as far as to describe the sadistic look of glee on his face.

Without exception, every councilor that had ever heard Penny’s description of these events recommend she continue counseling.

“Penny’s vivid description of the events surrounding her parents murders is imaginative.”
“She is still romanticizing the murders.”
“Her voice shows no signs of acceptance.”
One therapist even went as far as to write, “She seems to get joy from my reactions and the reactions of the others in the group.”

Doc read through Penny’s file. “Amazing,” she mumbled to her self. “Every counselor hears the story new and is shocked. This poor girl has to re-tell it every couple months, every time there is a new counselor. No wonder she doesn’t sound remorseful or shocked, she has relived it nearly every month of every year for the last ten years.” Doc slapped the file closed and went down the hall to the small conference room where Penny was sitting.

Penny was used to these visits. A new counselor, re-tell the story, watch the shock on their faces. She almost found humor in it. It was like she was reading or describing a graphic comic book to them.

Doc introduced herself and sat. Penny looked at her and started without being asked. “I remember my parents putting me to bed...”
“What..? No, wait.” Said Doc. I don’t need to hear your story. You don’t have to relive it again for me.”

Penny sat there with her mouth open, shocked. No one had ever stopped her; no one ever, didn’t need to hear every detail. “So, what do you want? Why am I here?”

“I want you to try one more home before thinking about heading out on your own. My house. That is, my mom’s house. See, what most people don know is I was raixed right here in this town, in foster care. Mom, Lisa, is great. I’ve talked to her, she has an opening and Mac can take you up there tomorrow. Will you try it?”. Said Doc.

Do I have a choice”, groaned Penny, as she got up and headed to her room to pack. Again.

Back Home

Doc made it to the home in record time and was there before Penny and the officer. It was about 11:30 pm. She had just finished washing her face and was heading for bed when the call came.

When the officer arrived with Penny, she looked like any teenager that had been caught doing something they weren’t suppose to. Sulking, avoiding eye contact, arms crossed, basically being a brat.

When Penny saw Doc, she stared, with her mouth open. Doc thought she was surprised that she had come to the home to meet her. Penny was surprised how old and pale Doc looked.

“Want me to say with you two for a while?” the officer asked.

“No”, said Doc. “I think we’ll be fine. We both could use a little girl time.”

The officer smile, nodded in acknowledgment and left. The unlikely ‘foster sisters’ headed for the kitchen. Doc grabbed some crackers, milk and cheese. She made a quick spread on paper plates and they snacked.

Doc took a bite and quickly pulled it out of her mouth. “This stuff is gross!” She gagged in reflex at the texture and aroma that is common from donated cheese.

Penny giggled but caught herself. She was afraid to laugh at an adult, especially the one in charge of the home. Doc started to snicker and penny let her guard down.... slightly. They talked about nothing and anything. The daisy Penny had drawn on her jeans in ink. The general disgusting flavor of the food the home served. The two laughed and ate crackers for about an hour.

Doc glanced at Penny, she was trying to ask a probing physiological question with out scaring the girl away. “When you first came in this evening, you looked like you had a question on your mind. What was it?”

Without thinking Penny answered, like she was talking to her best friend. “You look so different from earlier today. You look...” Penny’s voice trailed off.

Shit though Doc, she closing down, forming ranks. Fast damn-it, do something. Before she could stop herself she flung a piece of that nasty cheese at her and said, “If you don’t tell me, you’re gonna have to eat this cheese!” Surprised, Doc had used a voice and tone that she had not heard come from her mouth in years. She was teasing the girl, like her foster sisters used to tease at Lisa’s those many years ago.

“You look old!” Penny barked. She started to cry, embarrassed. Penny ran off down the hall in into her room, jumped onto her bed and buried herself in the covers. She laid there sobbing.

Doc walked into the room, sat on Penny’s bed and rubbed her back. “It’s ok sweetie. I’m not mad at you. I just don’t have my make up on. Make up hides many of the blemishes on my face. When it is off... I look older.”


Time passed and Doc and Penny became more than friends. More like mentor and student. But Doc was frustrated that the ’you’re older’ comment that had caused Penny to break down didn’t go any where. No matter how much she probed, Penny wouldn’t reveal the truth about what bothered her so much.

Penny walked into Doc’s office one day and doc was freshening her lipstick. Penny froze.

Doc put the compact in her purse and closed the lipstick. When Doc looked up, she asked, “Penny, are you ok?”


“Penny!” Doc shouted.

Penny shook her head, regaining her composure, trying for all her soul to look as if nothing weird had just happened.

“I’m fine Doc. What were you just doing?” Penny asked timidly.

“Putting on lipstick. Would you like to try?” Doc asked, knowing that this may be the break she was looking for.

“Sure. But you put it on me, I... I can’t”

Doc stepped around the desk and told Penny to pucker. She applied the lipstick and had her kiss off the excess on a tissue. “Want to see?” Doc asked reaching into her purse and opening the compact. As she turned so Penny could see her face and lips in the mirror, Penny screamed. She turned to run form the office. Again, that fast in full panic mode.

“It’s the mirror, it’s her reflection!!” Doc screamed to her self. “Of course.”

Penny tripped over the chair and landed on the floor in a thump. She had cracked her head on the door to Doc’s office and was slightly dazed. Doc threw herself to the floor, shut the door and grabbed Penny up into her arms. Holding her tight she lightly stroked her hair.

As Penny came too, she flinched like she needed to run, for her life. The she grabbed onto Doc and cried. Cried like never before.

“You’re ok, penny girl. Everything is going to be ok” Doc whispered.

“No, you don’t understand.” Penny sobbed.

“Tell me, Penny, what don’t I understand? I want to understand you.”

Through her sobs and tears, Penny whispered. “That night... when they died, when he came? I saw him. I saw him slash my mothers throat so hard that she could not talk. I saw my father run to her and the man stab and slash my father. I saw his insides come out. All of it I saw in the reflection of the hall mirror.”

“It’s ok, he can’t hurt you now” doc said trying to comfort Penny.

“NO, you don’t understand. Every time I see a mirror, I can see him standing over them with blood dripping off of his knife and hands. Every time....” Penny trailed off into sobs again.

Doc thought, of course, you’re such a fool. The room Lisa would have given her had a full length mirror on the back of the door. I’ll bet we find the same conditions in all of her failed foster families.


Doc’s revelation and Penny’s confession that night lead to healing. Penny never did repetition the courts to be on her own. Together, the two foster sisters worked through it. Penny’s still a little apprehensive of mirrors in long, dark halls, but now she can do her own make up and check her own outfit.

Penny has been back to Lisa’s house many times now and they talked about that day. They laugh and laugh that a 90 pound, 16 year old brat was able to break Lisa’s arm.

Penny’s in college now, studying business. When she come home she stays at Doc’s. After all, they are sisters.


ARTEMIS said...

I think your writing is getting better evry week. I like Fiction Friday!
Email is on the way....

Anonymous said...
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DNR said...

Thanks Artemis!! Everything came through GREAT!!! You’re the best!!!

Kat said...

AWWWW... I luv happy endings! :) Great job!

Betme said...

I agree... Each piece you write is more and more captivating!

DNR said...

kat - Yeah, after 2 not so happy endings, I thought a happy on was in order.

betme - Thanks!! You're too kind.