He muttered a few choice words when a bit of the chocolate chip cookie fell to the floor.  He sat and looked at the bit of cookie wrapped around a chip laying next to his foot for a moment before he reached down and picked it up.  He threw the bit of confection toward the trash can as hard as he could manage.  He felt as though he wanted to throw it through the wall. Why did it have to fall off anyway?  The cookie wasn’t that large and now he had lost a good portion of it.  He stuffed the rest of the cookie in his mouth and worked at chewing for a moment.  He looked at the plate in the middle of his table.  No more cookies.  That just figured.  He picked up the plate and threw it as hard as he could.  Now there was a hole in the thin wall and a hundred bits of plate scattered over the floor.  He stood up quickly, knocking his chair backward.  The sound of the chair hitting the floor made him angrier still.  He hated loud noises.  The loud noises woke the voice in his head and the voice was evil. 



“You are no good for nothin!  Stupid fool.  I shoulda just kilt ya when you’s borned!”  The woman screamed at the small boy.  He sat in the middle of a puddle of water.  It was a hot day and he wasn’t allowed in the house where it was cooler.  His Mama gave him a piece of bread, sometimes with a bit of butter on it, and a drink of old tea in the mornings then she chucked him out the door and locked it behind him.  He was 8 years old and he was on his own until darkness arrived in the evening.  At that point, his Mama would yank him into the house by his ear, sit him down at the table and give him whatever was nearby. She would tell him to hurry and eat and get out of her way.  Usually, he would tuck whatever food he was given into his pocket and hurry off to his room before she could say any more.  If she had to tell him to go, it was usually done with the back of her hand across his face.  He had learned very early that to keep from having bruises and bleeding cuts, he should stay out of her way. 

This time Mama had come out of the house before it was dark and caught him playing in the puddle of water.  She grabbed his arm and yanked him to his feet.  He felt a rip of pain go through his shoulder but stayed quiet.  Mama dragged him to the porch where she tore off his wet clothes and tossed them aside.  She then opened the front door and kicked him through it.  He headed toward his room as fast as his legs would take him.  Once he was inside, he heard the lock on his door turn.  He knew from experience that she would forget to open it anytime soon.  Once he had been in his room for three days before she unlocked it.  When she found that he had used the bathroom in his waste can, she beat him with a belt.  He thought he had been about 5 years old then.  Since then, he had managed to get his window open enough so he could sneak out long enough to use the bathroom in the bushes and then get back inside before she ever knew what he had done.   Now, he pulled an old shirt and a pair of shorts from his drawer and dressed himself.   He sat down on his bed and took a deep breath.

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