This is an extremely rough first draft. The prompt Her Deepest Wish came from Peggy Tabor Millin at Clarity Works.
Jan flew out the door clutching her brand new shirt in one hand while fumbling with her phone to dial 911. Her long auburn hair streaming behind her. Her emerald green eyes glistening wet from her tears. Her hands were shaking way too much. She never thought her deepest wish would ever come true.
Jan lived at home with her mother and step-father. Her step-father came into her life when she was only seven years old. Her Dad having passed away from a massive heart attack.
Her step-father Rory was not the type of step parent anyone would wish for even their enemy. The horrors started when Rory lost his job and her Mom Sheila had to take on a night job at a local IHOP. IHOP is the International House of Pancakes a restaurant located in the downtown area, about a 30 minute drive for Sheila.
Rory would begin drinking at one in the afternoon, after spending the morning looking for a job. He would put in application after application to no avail. By four o’clock he would be out like a light and at five thirty Sheila would be heading out for her job. She hated leaving Jan alone with a drunk Rory, but she had no choice. They couldn’t afford a babysitter, not with Rory losing his job and all.
The nights started out easily enough, Rory waking at around six wanting something to eat. Jan would make something easy, frank and beans, or something her Mom might have left in the frig for them and she just had to heat it up. He then would go back to drinking to only fall back asleep until the morning when he would start his day over again as any other.
Rory would get dressed, put his iPad and resumes in his briefcase. Grab a to go cup, fill it with black coffee and head out the door to fill out job applications or sit at a nearby cafe, go on the Internet and look for jobs. Internet connection was one of the things that had to go after losing his job. They just couldn’t afford the extra hundred bucks it cost for Internet, cable TV and phone. It was a choice he had to make between them and his cellphone. He opted to keep his cell phone and have prospective employers call him there. That way if the brat picked up the phone and left it hanging while she tried to get him and then forget, that would be horrendous.
However, things started getting worse for Jan as the months progressed without Rory finding a job. When he woke up in the evening he wanted his food, right there and then. It didn’t matter that his waking time was not steady, he could wake up anywhere from five to nine. There was no way Jan would be able to tell when he would be awake in order to have dinner hot and ready for him. God forbid if she served him food the was hot and had a cold spot in it. Even though she was thankful for microwaves as it made her life a little easier, they always didn’t heat evenly. There were many times Rory would run for his pants to pull off his black leather belt and threaten Jan with it. At first they were only threats but then they started into actual hitting and developing into real beatings.
Then in the middle of the around midnight Rory would come to her room to apologize. Just to give her a hug and say he was sorry and then he would leave. Again as was his pattern, these also progressed, from him giving her a hug, to a hug and caressing her hair, to a hug, caressing her hair and back to eventually feeling her small, firm nipples in his fingers.
Jan knew deep inside this was wrong, even though she wasn’t old enough to know. No one had ever told her about this. No one ever said Jan it is not appropriate for a man to touch you anywhere. Not like they told her not to touch the stove or oven when it was hot. Or not to go near the fireplace because she would be seriously burned. Or don’t go running into the street for any reason; whether it would be to chase a ball, or just to run across and see Mrs. Schneider. No, no one said anything about this.
Rory would whisper things in her ear, telling her she smelled nice, how her mother never smelled like this. Or how her mother did not understand him and Jan did. How Jan was always there for him to get him his beer, dinner, or whatever else he needed. Jan was the one he loved and he wanted to show Jan how much he loved her.
Then came the fatal night. The night she had wished for, for two years. Her deepest wish was that one day they would find Rory dead. She never thought it would be like this. It was a Saturday just before school was to start and her mother took her to the dollar store to pick up some school supplies. The store wasn’t far from home at all, maybe thirty seconds away. There was one time at the store when she couldn’t find her mother anywhere, she thought maybe she went next door to the gas station to get some cigarettes as the dollar store did not sell them. She turned the corner around the magazine aisle and there sat her mother, a magazine in one hand and she was just staring, off in the distance somewhere, she was lost. Her hair was a mess, it looked like she had on a different shirt, but Jan couldn’t be positive. She tapped her Mom’s arm only to have Sheila jump a mile. She had startled her so bad that Sheila started crying. This was so unusual Jan didn’t know what to do or say. Finally she just hugged her Mother until her sobs resided.
They headed for the checkout counter and Jan wanted one of those bright shiny packages of gum. Something she was no allowed to have. Today was her day thought and Sheila allowed her to pick out one package of gum. This year Jan was going to start junior high school and turn thirteen next week.
Once inside the car Sheila showed Jan what else she bought her. A silver sequined top she had stumbled upon in the clearance section of the dollar store. The top was only two dollars but she knew Jan would love it. Love it she did.
They pulled into the driveway, and before she grabbed any packaged she ran into the house to show Rory her new shirt and that Mom allowed her to have one of the pink lipstick gum packages she always wanted. Jan stopped short in front of the puke green recliner that Rory always sat in. There he was, his eyes wide open, his tongue just peaking out from his pearly white teeth and a huge knife sticking out of his heart.