Anna has memories of her past, one that inlcluded a loving family. Taken away as a young child she relies on her dreams to take her back to her past.
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“Did the girls come down for breakfast yet?” Janet asked her husband James. He was sitting at the bistro table in the kitchen reading the morning newspaper. She didn’t expect a response; she was use to him ignoring her. James never had much to say to anyone, unless he was preaching to his small congregation. In his eyes, everyone was a sinner and would certainly burn in the hot fires of hell, except for him of course. After eighteen years of marriage Janet hated her husband with a passion.
Janet hurried to take a quick shower. Returning to the dining room it appeared that the breakfast hadn’t been touched.
“Did you hear me James? I had asked you if the girls had come down yet.”
He looked at her without answering. She knew that James was easily irritated by just the sight of her alone.
As James peeked over the top of the newspaper he wondered what he ever saw in this woman; she was no longer the pretty petite girl he had married. He didn’t have to tell her how he felt; his actions said it all. But what mattered most to him was that his congregation saw his family as being perfect.
“Anna, Lisa, Tiffany, get down here now, you’re gonna be late for school and breakfast is getting cold.” Janet shouted at the top of her lungs.
They just don’t listen she said out loud. “Fine, I don’t care if you eat or not.” Janet was sure that they were ignoring her calls. After all, who would want to eat her pasty oatmeal, burnt toast and runny eggs.
“Mom’s calling us,” Tiffany said to her two older sisters.
The three girls had been adopted by James and Janet. Tiffany and Lisa were real sisters; Anna came into the family after them, although she was like their big sister. Tiffany loved Anna and didn’t know what she would do without her. At seven years old, she was happy to have someone that truly loved her.
“If we ignore her long enough, she’ll stop calling, besides I can’t stomach that shit she puts on the table for us.” Lisa said.
Anna looked at herself in the full-length mirror. “Are you guys ready?”
Anna realized that her birthday was in another week, she would be thirteen years old. Just another birthday, it means nothing she thought to herself.
“We can leave through the back door. Hurry up the school bus will be here any minute now.”
Anna handed each of her sisters a candy bar that she had stashed away at the bottom of her book bag, candy bars that she stole from James’s desk drawer in his study.
James heard the big yellow bus pull up to the curve. From the kitchen window he watched the girls get on. He went back to browsing the newspaper, not bothering to tell Janet. Evidently they had slipped out the back way again. “Heathens,” he muttered under his breath. Hearing James, Janet shook her head. She wondered why she had stayed with him all these years; he had made her life miserable.
The car horn alerted Janet as she cleaned the uneaten breakfast from the dining room. It was her friend Connie; they were going to play bingo. Every Wednesday the VFW hall offered early bird specials, they had good jackpots.
“I’m leaving now, Janet shouted. I’ll be back before the girls get home from school.” She hurried out the door, not that she expected him to say anything; the only time they bothered to acknowledge each other was at church. The members of the congregation thought she was the luckiest woman alive. “Oh Janet, your husband is so wonderful, we just love him,” the women would gush over him. Little did they know their preacher was a son of a bitch.
When James heard the door slam he headed upstairs to the room his daughters shared. He thought about the big nice home he provided for his family, he felt that Janet and the girls didn’t appreciated the life he gave them. Yes, he admitted that while he was very conservative and refused to spend his hard earned money on frivolous items, his family was not deprived of their basic needs.
James thought about his previous life many years ago with his first wife Katy. He had come home from work one day and found that she had left him. It shouldn’t have been a surprise; Katy had been devastated after the death of their one and only child. She hadn’t blamed him for it but when she discovered he had been medicating her she was livid. James felt he had only done what he thought was best. After Katy left him he went through the process of changing his identity; nothing major just the last name, hair color and a few other cosmetic changes. He eventually met Janet. It was only after they married that he discovered she was unable to have children. Janet wasn’t crazy about the idea of adopting or becoming a foster parent. Although she loved children, she enjoyed her freedom. It took much convincing for James to finally get her to agree to taking in children. He was thrilled when they were approved to adopt Lisa and Tiffany; it was some years later when Anna came along.
James continued to rifle through the girls’ personal items, not really looking for anything in particular. He wanted to make sure they weren’t keeping anything from him, after all this was his house. He paid the bills; or the church did. After finding nothing significant to hold against them, he put everything back the way he had found it and went downstairs to his study. He needed to work on Sunday’s sermon.
“Ok Connie, I’ll see you at Sunday’s service,” Janet said as she was getting out of her friends car. She had won a little over a hundred bucks at bingo. She would stash it away; what James didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
“Hello, I’m home,” she called as she went through the front door. She headed into the kitchen to get dinner ready; the girls would be home soon.
Janet started for the kitchen to prepare dinner. She figured James was in his study, which is where he spent the majority of his time. No one was allowed in there; Janet wondered what he kept so secret, what was behind those locked doors she thought to herself.
From the kitchen window Janet watched as the bus drove up, the girls appeared happy as they climbed down the steps, waving by to their friends. They were laughing and talking as they headed towards the
back of the house, hoping to slip in unnoticed. Janet knew the girls used the back door to keep from having to run into James; she couldn’t blame them much. It was his idea to adopt; she never wanted to have children. Over the years Janet had come to realize that the man she had married was a fricking nut case.
Sneaking through the back door the three girls hurried up the stairs to the large bedroom that had become their sanctuary over the years.