Authors: Silla Webb
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, establishments, or organizations, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously to give a sense of authenticity. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Mend the Seams is intended for 18+ older, and for mature audiences only.
© Silla Webb 2015
All rights reserved.
Mend the Seams is the third installment in the Buried Secrets series, which is set in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields. Keepin’ true to my native Appalachian roots, my characters speak just the same as I do. If they didn’t drop their G’s, say ‘y’all’ or ‘ya’, the book would read scripted and stiff. So please, keep that in mind while reading. These are not grammatical errors, but the characters speakin’ in a true Eastern Kentucky dialect.
There may be some trigger scenes through the book. Just a heads up! My characters lead their story, not me.
Thank you so very much for continually supporting me, and readin’ the Buried Secrets series. I hope you love these characters as much as I do.
To my three rowdy, rotten and smelly little boys. You are my inspiration to strive for greatness, always reminding me to never give up! Momma loves y’all to the moon and back!
I never experienced anger before today.
I know, it’s a strange admission coming from a fourteen year old boy, but it’s true. I’ve always been the happy-go-lucky kinda kid, keepin’ my head up and a crooked, toothy smile plastered brightly on my face. It’s not that my life is all rainbows and sunshine…no, definitely not. I smile because of the darkness that surrounds me. If I allow that slight twinkle of happiness that I grasp to fade, the darkness will swallow me whole. I don’t want that. Despite the hand I’ve been dealt in life, I find beauty all around me. Anyone can see it if they look hard enough, but most people don’t carry an optimistic outlook like I do.
Something inside of me broke today. We’ll just say the universe tilted sideways, sendin’ my world into a million different directions. Up, down, left, right – all while spinnin’ at Mach Speed. The events that took place weren’t even misplaced…things like this happen in my day to day quite often.
From the moment my feet hit the floor this mornin’ I had a feeling of dread blanket over me. No premonition, nothing negative happened to forewarn me of any events that could alter my usual happy personality. Just a bad feeling. I stay hyperaware for most of the day, cautiously watching over my shoulder for what could possibly happen. Even my teachers remark on my nervousness, but I shrug them off and carry on. Other than getting into a shoving match with Colton Weston that nearly came to blows durin’ our fifth period gym class, the day was oddly ordinary. So much in fact that by the last class of the day I finally take a deep breath, relaxing into myself and let my guard down. This here is where the events of the day take a downward spiral and that inhibition of dread comes into play.
The last bell rang out alertin’ us that our seven hour sentence for the day was up. As I make my way through the hallway to the buses I hug the bank of lockers tightly, tryin’ to steer clear of the sea of bodies that litter the hall. Sweat beads at my brow as my legs pick up pace, my small hands wrapped tightly around the straps of my backpack. The stench in the hallway in the late afternoon hour is dreadful, the mix of flowery perfume and salty sweat mingle among the sea of bodies. I didn’t eat any lunch today and the hunger pangs nearly double me over as a wave of nausea crashes against my ribs as I get of whiff of body odor. Peerin’ through the corner of my eye I see Colton slam his locker shut and my pace quickens in hopes that I can make it to the bus before he does. I can see the large, steel double doors from here and I smile to myself knowing that I have a few extra steps on him.
I clear the double doors and pad down four brick steps when suddenly I feel a blunt force to my back, tumblin’ me forward into the gravel filled pavement. My cheek skids against the warm ground and small pebbles embed into my torn flesh. I push up from the ground, crouching as I raise my body to a full position, but before I can reach my full height a strong fist connects with the left side of my face, tumbling me back on my butt. That’s when I first feel it…my face flames and warm blood oozes from my cheek. It’s like a switch in my brain was flipped right in the center, hoverin’ between on and off in limbo. “Frickin’ pussy!” Colton yells in my face. Pushin’ up from the ground, I huff out a hard breath and charge at him, knockin’ him to the pavement. I swing a right hook, bustin’ his lip and seein’ the bright red flow of blood dribblin’ from his mouth fuels my anger. We grapple on the ground as I struggle to keep control of the fight. He’s too strong, while I’m small and weak. Pinnin’ me beneath him, Colton’s fist crashes against my cheek once more and stars litter my vision as my head smacks the concrete. Just as he’s about to deliver yet another bone crushing blow he’s pulled off me, but not before he spits blood in my face and yells a string of offensive bull.
Mrs. Tackett helps me up from the ground and urges me to go see the nurse. I can’t afford to miss the bus so I refuse. Momma had to work a double last night. If she’d have to get up to come get me, she’d be pissed. Mrs. Tackett assures me Colton’s attack will be handled first thing tomorrow mornin’ and I wave her off as I pick my backpack up from the ground and hurry to the bus. I find an empty seat and fall back against the ripped, green vinyl releasin’ a heavy breath. The dread that has lurked behind me all day now fills my bones. It’s the worst feelin’ ever and I just can’t shake it. After bein’ attacked by Colton twice and bein’ beaten up yet again, I was really hoping I’d shake this feelin’, but it’s gotta hard grasp on me that I just can’t identify. I spend the fifteen minute bus ride home analyzin’ everything from the day to figure out what I’m missin’, but come up empty handed.
When the bus comes to a stop by the tracks at Millers Branch, I jump from my seat and hurry to the exit. My face is throbbin’ in pain. I kick rocks all the way home with my head hung low. Colton Weston has picked on me for as long as I can remember and I’m ‘bout sick of him. Dad used to haul coal for his dad’s company – Dalton Truckin’. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, while my family has always struggled make ends meet. One of these days he’s gonna push me over the edge and he’ll regret it.
The closer I get to home, the heavier this dreaded feelin’ gets. My mood is at an all-time low, and to be honest, it’s frightenin’. I’ve never felt this negative and it’s a feelin’ that I hate. Suddenly, I hear a very recognizable shrilling voice and the sound stops my heart. I dig my feet into the ground running the short distance to my house as fast as I can. I rush up the steps and pull the screen door open quickly, runnin’ inside to look for my momma. Her cries are endless, only growing louder as I approach her. With a strength I didn’t know I had, I grab my dad by the shoulders and pull him off her, slingin’ him into the wall. I hunker over her limp body checking her over from head to toe. She’s breathing, but hurt badly. Just as Dad stands on wobbly legs, I turn and shove him against the wall and put my face in his.
“Never again will you touch her.” I spit and I can feel the all-consuming anger controlling my every move. It’s the most alien feelin’ to me and it’s terrifying. Dad ain’t quite sure what to make of my sudden bravado, so he throws his hands up in defeat and stalks off to the kitchen for another bottle of beer. Frickin’ drunk. I turn my attention back to Momma who’s layin’ with her knees drawn up tight in her chest, sobbing aimlessly. I sit down beside her frail body and carefully pull her up into my lap. Her face is already swelling, turning a deep shade of purple and black with small cuts below her left eye and across the bridge of her nose. Her lip is split in two and there’s a small dribble of blood on her chin. She winces each time she moves and I’m worried she may have a few broken bones somewhere, but she’s too tore up to tell me where the pain is. This is the worst he’s ever beat her. Usually she has a fat lip, or a bruised wrist, but he’s never beat her beyond recognition.
That switch that was hoverin’ between on and off has switched to ON and it feels like fireworks explode all at once in my head as the anger surges through me. This – this is the moment that I fully experience raw fury. This is my breakin’ point. I don’t understand violence, I don’t understand the thrill of causing harm to another individual, and as angry as I am right now, all I can think of is
protect her, shield her.
I’m sick of the violence! Colton Weston has always been my nemesis, beating me up and calling me names just because he thinks he’s better than me. No matter how hard I try to stay away from the prick, he gets off watchin’ me suffer. I’m no match for him. He’s a year older than me and much bigger in size. But I’m tired of havin’ the brakes beat off me just for shits and giggles.
My dad – he’s just an alcoholic. There is no excuse for his disease. He’s always been a drunk, drownin’ his sorrows in the bottom of a bottle and unleashin’ his pain on Momma. But he’s gettin’ worse. He’s allowed his alcohol to nurse his injury and the depression he faced when he his coal truck was hit by a train last year. When I was little I’d try to protect her when Daddy would slap her around, but he would get even angrier and hurt her worse. Eventually I gave up and only comforted her when he would finally pass out.
When will the sufferin’ stop?
No more! I can’t stand by any longer and watch my momma be harmed like this. I will not allow anyone to make me feel any lesser of a man than what I am. I refuse to. I’m only fourteen and as small as I may be, I have the inner strength of a full grown man and a heart of gold. I’ll gain my physical strength if it’s the last thing I do. No woman deserves this.
“I’m sorry, Momma. I promise you one day I’ll be strong enough to protect you. One of these days, Momma, I’ll make the pain stop. One of these days, I’ll be a hero.”