By nj.

This is the first time I publish a story. I used to write a lot of short stories when I was a little kid, and ofcourse they were in my native language (Dutch).

What you can read below is what I have written so far.

Thanks in advance, and I hope you'll have fun reading.

PS: I'll post all chapters in this thread. Feel free to comment in between my posts. PPS: Cian is pronounced like Kean PPPS: Assuming most of you are American, excuse my British. A fag is not a homosexual, but a cigarette

I always thought he had a strong will. I never thought heíd fall this far... He ran away from me. I fucking wanted to help him! Itís not his fault... I canít be mad at him. But what can I do if he doesnít want me to get him out of this? Canít he see itís no good?

Three years ago. I can still remember. That day I came home after my footy training. I scored a great goal in the training match. Coach said I had a good long distance kick. Still proud of myself, I came home, got some food out of the fridge and watched some TV. Dad wasnít home yet. I was sure he was at the pub, drinking, as he did ever so often. He once told me that "that bitch you call Ďmotherí ran away with a dirty Russian that could give her better sex, when you were three". He hated everyone with an accent that slightly resembled Russian from then on. Telling him that it could have happened to everybody, and that Russia wasnít to blame, didnít stop his racist slurs.

I believe he started drinking at that time. All I remember is that heís always done it, but my memory is unwilling to cooperate when I try to remember things from before my third year. My life wasnít really interesting when I was three, I guess. And at the time, it wasnít much better. The only hobby I had was football, and wasnít more than training twice a week and a match on Saturdays. You canít fill your weeks with just that.

I wasnít really bad at school, but I didnít stand out either. No one really paid attention to me and I rarely talked to my peers. I was just too shy. I thought I was worthless. My dad made me believe I was.

After watching a stupid game show with high prizes for easy questions, I turned the TV off and went upstairs. It was 10 oíclock, and my dad wanted me to go to sleep at that time. Ridiculous time for a sixteen year old. He often stayed away till midnight, though, but I couldnít risk it. At eleven, I really needed to take a piss. I forgot to go after brushing my teeth. When I flushed the toilet, I heard the keys in the lock. I rushed upstairs, but I could hear my dad bellow: "You filthy little rat! Come here now, or youíll be sorry!"

I froze.

"Do you call that ten?!"

"ButÖ", I protested.

He started breathing heavily. You could almost touch the smell of beer coming from his mouth.

Before I knew it, his fist struck my face. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. I stumbled a bit. He lifted me up by my collar and dragged me upstairs.

I tried to resist, but that made his anger even worse. He couldn't seem to reason. He tossed me onto my mattress, grabbed my head, and smacked it into the wooden board behind my bed. Then, he grabbed my throat and shook me back and forth. I could taste the blood in my mouth. I coughed. Dad showed no mercy; he seemed to go right through my stomach with his punches. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion.

All of a sudden, the room went black.

I can't remember if he turned the lights off and left the room, or if I were unconscious from that moment on. All I do know is that I was left there to bleed till I woke up the next morning. It was half past seven. I was in great pain, and there was dried out blood all over my face. I was lucky I didn't choke in my own blood. I had trouble getting out of my bed. I peeled the blood-stained sheets off my skin with care, and lifted myself off the mattress.

My shin hurt. Everything did, really.

I knew my dad was off to work. On Thursdays he always had an early shift. I was glad I didn't have to face him that morning. I was glad for him too. The previous time he had hit me, he was really sorry the next morning, when he was sober again. At least, he said he was. I'm sure he wouldn't have known what to do this time, had he still been at home. I washed the blood off my body in the shower, and dressed for school. I couldn't skip school. I couldnít call in sick myself, and an important Geography project was scheduled for that morning.

On my way to school, I wondered why my dad did it. Perhaps I didn't support him enough. I should have helped him to quit drinking. Maybe I should have talked to him more often. I was so egocentric. It was probably my fault. Now it was too late. I was such a weakling too. I never stood up for myself. Maybe I'd be able to stand my father's punching if I were stronger.

After Geography class, which was my second class that day, a kid called Stuart came up to me. Stu was one of the few kids that bothered talking to me. He sat next to me, most of the time. He had this group of friends that he hung out with outside classes, though, so our conversations were limited to making jokes about the teachers or exchanging opinions on the headlines from the news. He had short, black hair, two silver earrings in his left ear, and he always wore a t-shirt, even if it snowed. Even though he was pretty short, no one ever called him names for it. He seemed to be a nice kid with no worries on his mind. Today he had a worried look on his face, though. No wonder; I had a black eye and a cut in my eyebrow, amongst many other injuries, covered up by my clothes.

"Now be honest with me man, what have you done!?" he asked me.

Normally I'd tell people I got a football on my head when a team-mate took a free kick. My imagination would go wild in those situations. I'd tell my lie in great detail. About how he had miss-hit the ball, and how it swerved away from his target, right into my poor head. Most people just replied with, "Oh... well, good luck with it."

Before I could say, 'Ah, just a ball again', Stu said, "...And don't say it happened on the pitch again, 'cause thatís the result of a brawl".

I told him he was right. But I didn't want to talk about it. After all, he didn't know anything about my life. He'd probably give me wrong advice anyway.

"It's not good to bury your problems. One day they'll resurface. Then you won't be able to deal with them anymore." he said.

"Did you read books on psychology or something?" I chuckled. His worried smile made him look like he really cared. That's when I decided to tell him.

"Man... I thought you had problem with some gang, or something. I..."

The bell rang.

We didn't have any classes together after that, and I didn't see him anymore that day. After school, I walked past a sports shop in the town centre. I loved walking in the city. So many people with so many stories. Old, worn faces; women with layers of make up to conceal every blemish on their face; kids pulling their mum's coat, whining to get a bag of sweets... And there I was, with my own problems.

"Everybody in this town has a problem", I thought. "It's ridiculous to think that mine are more important. I shouldn't bother asking for help. They've got their own worries; that's enough for them."

I walked into the sports shop. I never really dared to go into shops. I didn't like the attention of a person trying to sell things to you. But now I had made up my mind: I was going to buy the dumbbells that were displayed in their window. I had to get stronger. •

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