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Angels and Their Demons – 2nd in the Angels Wear Lipstick Series


Angels and Their Demons

© Written and Published by Amarissa Amber Cale

© Copyright 2014 Amarissa Amber Cale

Now available on Amazon and Smashwords!

Synopsis:

The second installment in the ‘Angels Wear Lipstick’ series follows a young woman who escaped the cruelty she suffered at home as a young child. As an adult, she becomes caregiver to one of her abusers. Her peaceful life is soon interrupted by shocking accusations of murder. A whirlwind investigation leaves many to doubt Katie’s innocence, including Katie herself. She finds solace and support from an esteemed partner, but even he may not be able to prevent Katie’s conviction.Demons 1

Katie was born in 1964, to teen parents who treated her like a showpiece – and a punching bag for her antagonistic mother. Her life revolved around flashing camera bulbs and tyrannical abuse by her parents. When she was young, Katie was a well-behaved and adorable little girl, but as she got older, she came to understand hers was not a normal family. Despite suspicion surrounding what took place behind the Pryor’s closed doors, friends, family, and professionals alike remained silent.

After Katie is molested, and her tormentor dies, Leda is left to raise the young teen Katie alone. Katie never would forgive her mother’s reaction to the molestation. She became what her mother claimed was a ‘problem child’ and ran away from home. At thirteen, Katie left her mother’s abusive ways forever, making her way on the streets of Toronto.

A kindhearted minister and his wife take Katie in and nurture her, leading her onto a path of love and decency toward humanity. Katie’s young life is dramatically enriched and she finds peace – until duty calls her home to care for an invalid mother. At twenty-five, when Katie’s mother becomes disabled, she feels obligated to return and take care of her, despite their turbulent history.

Strong characters and the life-altering events that follow them will keep you riveted to the very last word. Angels & Their Demons is the second in the Angels Wear Lipstick series. The first book follows Katie’s troubled childhood and her abusive parents as she grows into an endearing young teen, and her escape from manipulating tormentors.

*Both novels are stand alone, and can be read as separate stories.*

Chapter One – March 1989

“Hello?” Katie said, annoyed at being awakened after her long shift at the restaurant. Who could be calling at this late hour, she thought, looking at her bedside clock.

“This is Dr. McNamara, from St. Thomas hospital. I am sorry to call at this hour, but it is very important I speak with you. Is this Miss Katie Pryor?”

Katie sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes and stretching. “How can I help you, doctor?”

“I have a woman here in my care who claims she is your mother. Her name is Leda Pryor. She has asked me to contact you and tell you she has had a bad fall and needs your help. You are a somewhat difficult woman to track down,” Chris chuckled.

One of her aunts must have given him the number, Katie thought. “That was the intention. How can I help you, doctor?” Katie repeated.

“Well, she had a bad fall on some ice a couple weeks ago and I have replaced Mrs. Pryor’s hip and repaired a break in her calf. However, I’m afraid before she can go home she will need someone there to care for her on a full time basis. That is why I’m calling you now. She will be ready to leave the hospital within a few days and I have no choice but to send her home. There are no alternatives here.”

“Then tell her to hire someone, or send her to some sort of home. She’s not my responsibility,” Katie said, desperate to end the conversation.

“I am afraid a home is not an option at this point, and she claims she can’t afford to hire a nurse, Miss Pryor. Can you come to my office tomorrow, so we can discuss alternatives? I’m stuck with a lack of options here, and I need your help. Mrs. Pryor tells me you would be willing to come to her home to care for her. You were the main contact on her medical record, but she did not have your phone number.”

“Leda is wrong; I will not go to her home to care for her. I don’t care what she tells you.”

Chris was stunned by what Katie told him. She was so blunt it took him off guard. “Miss Pryor, you are her daughter, aren’t you? Look, as I told you, I am at a dead end here. Please, can we talk about this?”

“Alright, alright. I honestly don’t know what I can do to help you, and the name is Putter, not Pryor. Listen, I have a little time after three, if that works for you,” Katie replied, exasperated.

Chris gave Katie the directions to his office at the hospital and contact phone number. “Thank you, Miss Putter. I will see you then.”

Chris tossed his pen on the desk and decided to chat with Leda Pryor before heading home. If he was going to get through to Miss Putter, he needed some background on this young woman. Perhaps Leda would enlighten him. She came across as a decent woman. Mrs. Pryor seemed easy to get along with. What confused Chris was he was told Katie was an honorable woman. He had to figure out what was holding Katie back from helping her mother.

“Mrs. Pryor, how are you feeling? I just wanted to check in on you before I went home and make sure you were comfortable.”

Leda adjusted herself in the bed, wincing with the effort. “What a dear young man you are. I’m still in a lot of pain. Have you contacted my dear daughter yet, doctor?”

“Yes, I have contacted Katie. You didn’t tell me she has changed her name to Putter. Has she married? Chris asked.

“I frankly don’t know what she does anymore. I haven’t seen her for a few years,” Leda chuckled. She would not tell the good doctor her daughter ran away more than ten years ago. “Katie hasn’t spoken to me for a bit, although I don’t know why, to be honest.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I am however meeting with Katie tomorrow afternoon here at the hospital.”

“She’s coming here? Will I see her?”

“Yes, she’s coming to St. Thomas. Is there anything you can tell me about her past that may help me understand where her thoughts are? Maybe something about her childhood or relationships with family perhaps? She seems a mite distant.”

“Oh, doctor, she was always the apple of my eye. A blessing from the heavens above, she was. I loved her and nurtured her from the day she was born to me. Never had any other children but her to love. But you know, the very moment her dear father passed, she became a young tyrant. She always hated me after he died, but I don’t know why.”

Chris was intrigued. “How did her father die, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“He fell from a building he was working on out west. Katie always blamed herself. Before he passed on, she was angry with her father for some reason and told him she wished he were dead. For several years, she ended up blaming herself for his death. She was a baby though, when he died. Just thirteen then and still my heart. I adored her, I did. Still do. She was always so beautiful. All the best photographers wanted her as their first choice model, you know,” Leda boasted.

“Sounds like you loved, and still do love Katie, Mrs. Pryor. If I may ask, how old was Katie when she ran away?”

“She was thirteen. I have been distraught for all those years. No one could find my girl. Not the police, or private investigators either. I don’t know how you found her, but know I will always be in your debt for finding my little girl.”

Chris mulled the information over for a bit. “It was pretty simple once I called your sister. Your sister has connections at the hospital here, so she was easier to locate. Rose has been in touch with Katie for eight years or so, she tells me.”

Chris watched Leda for a reaction to his answer. Her one mistake was lying about her husband’s death and her daughter’s reaction to it. How did Leda know Katie blamed herself for her father’s death for years if she ran away soon after he died?

“I think Rose is a little off on her numbers,” Leda chuckled. “Rose always was a little flighty.”

“I hear you other sister, Grace says she has been in touch with Katie for as long as Rose has. But no matter, we will have to see what transpires tomorrow. You have a good sleep. If you need anything, be sure to tell the nurse on duty tonight,” Chris said. He noticed a picture of an adorable young girl at Leda’s bedside. The girl was adorned in an evening gown. Chris pointed to the photograph. “Is this your daughter?”

“Yes, that’s my Katie. She was in the auditions for the Raymore catalogue. She always looked older than she was. Wait until you meet her, then you will see how beautiful she is.” Leda tried to move herself further up on her pillows and moaned. “Doctor, can you please help me and push my pillows down a little?” Leda pleaded.

Chris did as Leda asked. “I will see you tomorrow after I have spoken to your daughter.”

“Oh, thank you, doctor. You are too kind. Good man you are, just like my Clark was, God rest his soul.”

Something about Leda’s manner did not sit right with Chris. She was trying too hard to impress him. What was she hiding? Chris lay awake for hours trying to decipher the family history at hand. Leda was hiding something, and Katie was avoiding something different. What occurred to Chris was both of them had something they did not want him to know. Why did he care, he wondered. Chris knew from medical records that Leda had a history of prescription narcotic abuse, and drank to excess. How far back, he wasn’t sure.

Rose had mentioned something about Katie not having her father around for several years before he died. She also spoke briefly of Katie being resentful of her mother’s neglect. Rose seemed reluctant to comment too much on the family history, and told Chris he needed to get the information he sought from Katie. This situation was not like any he had ever dealt with in his career. No other patient had ever kept him from blessed slumber, but this one had him troubled. Somewhere in the wee small hours of the morning, Chris fell into a fitful slumber. The photograph of Katie invaded his every thought and his dreams.

~~~~~~~

After Katie hung the phone up, she paced the floor of her cozy apartment, mulling over the conversation with Dr. McNamara. The more she thought about it, the more she felt the old grudges welling up in her mind. How dare that woman ask for her help after all she put her through, Katie thought. She made a glass of warm milk and turned the television on to distract herself. An hour or so later, Katie fell asleep on the sofa watching an old black and white western.

The next morning Katie woke with a dull headache. She knew intuitively from experience the doctor would bombard her with repetitive questions about her past. Questions like, ‘What was your upbringing like?’ ‘What did your mother do that was so horrible?’ ‘What did your father do to make you hate him so much?’ The afternoon proved Katie right.

Chris settled back in his chair and studied Katie. “Why do you have this lack of concern for your mother, Miss Pryor,” Dr. McNamara asked.

“It’s Putter, and if you had been through what I have with her, you would understand, doctor. I am not obligated to discuss my life story with you. I think we are wasting our time here. Now if you don’t mind, I have a class to attend.” Katie replied.

“Listen, Miss, we here at St. Thomas have no time for games,” Chris snapped at an impassive Katie.

Did she not realize he had no interest in wasting time? Why was she so cold to this woman who seemed so alone and desperate? Katie was nothing more than a beautiful, but spoiled 25-year-old in his eyes. He was not some intern who earned by the hour – he was a surgeon, for pity sake.

“I don’t know what we are trying to accomplish here, but I’m not about to help your patient. I don’t care what you have on file as far as her personal information goes, but she’s no longer any parent of mine,” Katie stated, rising from her seat.

“Listen, Miss Pryor, er, Putter, the long and short of it is your mother cannot stay here much longer, and we have nowhere to send her but home. In my opinion, you are obligated to do something as her sole relative contact.” Chris thought he had her there.

“I am not willing, in any form, to care for that woman. In my opinion, I am not obligated to do anything, Dr. McNamara. Please, have a good day.”

Katie turned to leave, but Chris was fascinated by this particular conversation and he wanted closure on this case. What was more, Chris needed Leda out of his way. Chris wanted to see this case to the end, and Katie was a mystery he wanted to solve. This young woman had his interest despite her hostile attitude. She was attractive and educated, and Chris felt compelled to know more about her and her past. Chris found himself oddly captivated by Katie.

“Wait, please,” Chris said. “I do not have anyone else to call for your mother, and no one who will take her in. Can we not come to some sort of agreement?”

Katie was not backing down. “I can’t tell you what to do with your patient, but I would not wrack my brain over her. She is not a nice person, and has not made or kept many friends through the years. She and I have never seen eye to eye, and there is no love loss there, I assure you. You will be unlikely to find someone willing to care for Leda Pryor.”

Chris was floored to hear such candid words from Katie. She seemed too closed off to expose her feelings in the frank way she just had. If he could get Katie to open up more, he may be he would get through to her after all. “Do you not think Leda deserves some care? She is now an invalid. I don’t know where to turn with this case but her family, Miss Putter. I need your help here”

“As I said, I don’t know where you can turn with her, but I will tell you it’s not with me. I have been done with that woman for a dozen years plus. Try her sisters or a distant cousin.”

“Mrs. Pryor asked for you in specific. How about this, Miss Putter, if you agree to oversee her at-home care, we can send her home with 24-hour nursing care. There would be minimal cost through government plans. You will not have to be at her home most of the time. However, you will have to sign papers for the day and night shifts as they come and go. Having to sign all those papers means you will need to meet with her staff three times a day at her home. Would this be acceptable to you and your husband?”

Katie sighed, expressing her annoyance. “There is no husband to debate with. It is my decision alone. Is it not your place to find a solution? What happens if I refuse?”

“Your mother will have no choice but to be released into a homeless shelter. There, they can provide skeletal care, such as meals. No more. Her bathing, dressing and bandages will be her responsibility, which she cannot do on her own. She has a leg brace to keep the ruptured bone in place and cannot walk. We are looking at another two months before she is partially mobile.”

Katie was fighting her inner demons. She was a woman of good faith and love, but dare she expose herself to that woman again? Could Katie be so close to a woman who almost destroyed her and still maintain her sanity? Could Katie resist the urge she had harbored for years to rid herself of the woman who almost broke her spirit? “Listen, doctor…”

“Please, call me Chris.”

“Listen, doctor, don’t get me wrong, I am willing to help almost anyone, but there are reasons you will never understand that come into play here. Leda Pryor is poison, and I will have nothing to do with her. Have a nice day, and good luck.”

Katie stepped into the outer office, but Chris wanted his answers, and followed. Chris pulled on Katie’s sleeve, turning her to him. “Please, can we discuss this somewhere besides my stuffy office? I do want to understand your point of view. I know sometimes things are not as they seem, and I want to know if I am making a misjudgment. I am a man of reason, and mean no disrespect to you.”

Katie watched Chris and listened to him make his plea and wondered if he could be one of them – the good people. “Fine. Meet me at Gracie’s Café on Main Street tomorrow at 4pm. I will be off work then and we can talk, but don’t expect miracles. Know this right now; I do not swallow bullshit, and I do not tolerate fools at all. Cliché? Call it what you will, but it’s me. Take it or leave it.”

“I’ll take it. See you then, Miss Putter.”

By noon the next day, Chris was miserable with anticipation. He never felt the same anxiety any time in his life. He wanted to see Katie more than he wanted answers about Leda. Katie had an aura about her he admired already, despite her cool, almost arrogant manner. The main desk paged just after 2 pm, and hearing the overhead call, Chris responded immediately.

“Hello, Dr. McNamara speaking.”

“Hello doctor. This is Katie Putter. I’m sorry, but I cannot make our appointment today. I’m afraid I have to work until six this evening. Can we meet tomorrow at the same time?”

Chris’ heart sank. “Can I meet you somewhere near your work? I will drive wherever it is to meet with you. You must understand, I have to close this case, Leda’s discharge is tomorrow.”

Katie was already exhausted. “Whatever. Meet me at the Café at six then.”

Chris’ heart leapt in his chest. “I know the place well. I will see you at six,” Chris said, grinning. The afternoon went by at a snail’s pace for Chris…

Release date – December 31st, 2014

 Other books by this author:

* Amazon Profile, where you can find all my published works http://www.amazon.com/Amarissa-Amber-Cale/e/B00OJ4DAVO

*Smashwords Profile, where you can also find all my published works https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amarissa

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank the love of my life, Wayne, without whose support I would have never finished this, or any other book.  Without him, this story would never have been told.

I would also like to thank my sweet daughter, Stephanie, who has been a major supporter, and my bestest fan.

I love you both with every fiber of my being.

 

About the author:

Live, love, laugh, then love some more!  = My motto.

I am a writer and research analyst, living in the great Canadian Northern wilderness with my hubby and ‘psycho’ dog, Tucker.  My specialty is in Ancient History.  (Both romance and historically accurate).  I have several novels in the works at the moment.  (When writer’s block halts one, it’s always good to have another to jump into!)  I also have a planned outline for a historical series, geared to youth, teaching them about the Bronze Age, while entertaining them.

 

Feel free to contact me via email: AmarissaCale@yahoo.ca

Or Visit my Facebook Page at:
https://www.facebook.com/writerammarissa?ref=hl

About Me:

http://about.me/amarissa.cale

WordPress Blog:
http://societalcontroversy.wordpress.com

Kindle Mojo:

http://www.kindlemojo.com/amarissacale

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AmarissaCale

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in New Releases

 

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Gallery

ANGELS WEAR LIPSTICK – Based On A True Story


ANGELS WEAR LIPSTICK 

© Written and Published by Amarissa Amber Cale

© Copyright 2014 Amarissa Amber Cale

Now available on Amazon and Smashwords!

(*Based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. This story is incomplete, and unedited.)

Prologue:

Dear diary: I saw her again today. The three-year-old with the rose lipstick. She was in the city, just as she was all those years ago. The pink lace and satin dress resting just above the knee. Her hair was up in the fashionable style of her day. Ringlets adorned her porcelain cheeks, and swayed in perfect harmony with her every step. Smiling that well-practised smile, she was as pretty as a peach today. Pretty as a peach. That’s what they used to tell her parents.

I was drifting backward in time as the salesman asked her if she wanted the red or black tap shoes.

Angels 3000 (2)She told him, “I would like the red ones, if you please, sir.”

“What a darling child. I will be right back with her size.”

The wiry man disappears in the back room and momma begins to fuss with the child’s hair. Nothing out of the ordinary for the girl. She sits, her countenance rigid, as her mother continues to fuss.

“Are you sure you like the red ones best, darling. They are the ones you want?”

“Yes Momma, more than anything in the whole world.”

She is lying.  I will tell you what she wants most in the world; to be a child.

Chapter One

Katelyn Marie Pryor was born to young parents, in the mid 1960’s, during a frigid Toronto winter. Her parents were still in their teens when she was born. Their heads were full of misguided plans and fantastical dreams. The youngest among their peers to marry, they quickly became the centre of attention. It was not their mediocre home or possessions that gained them notoriety, but the child they would have less than a year from their wedding day.

Leda and Clark Pryor had a small Civic ceremony, with only friends and few family members attending. Close relatives because of age and inter-family grudges opposed the marriage. Leda had an abusive childhood and grew up watching her parents engage in frequent drunken brawls. Clark’s childhood was difficult as well. Leda and Clark were determined to give their children the best of everything, but more importantly, all the attention they lacked as children. They went too far. Much too far.

The moment Katie was born, pale golden locks already present, the dresses, bonnets, and pretty shoes came pouring in from friends. Leda always had her baby dressed up and ready in case someone stopped by to see her. She was a little prize. Her doll, Leda called her. Kate grew and the clothes began to run short within a few months. Leda began making clothes for the baby and herself to save money. All the family friends fussed over baby Kate and the dresses, so Leda kept making them.

Between work and financial worries, Clark soon became resentful of the family he was now responsible for. Leda, sensing the change, became depressed. The only positive element in their lives was the attention they received when they were around other people. However, the attention was all on baby Kate. The more Katie was prettied up in flashy dresses and shoes, the more attention Leda and Clark basked in. Life was tolerable as long as Katie was smiling.

Katie didn’t mind the attention when she was very small; she slept through most of it. As she got a little older and needed space to explore her world and grow, Katie easily became over-stimulated with so many hands pawing at her. There came a point where Katie began pouting and withdrew whenever certain people came to visit. She would sulk in a corner or mess her hair.

Katie began to shy away from most people. Not only strangers, but even some she had known since birth. She enjoyed the trips to the park, before she had the independence of walking. Her parents figured that if she were in Leda or Clark’s arms, she would not get dirty or bruised.

Katie only really ever experienced the swings, as the rest of the play equipment was too risky for fall or injury. The ride in the carriage was soothing for Kate. She was able to rest and let the world pass unnoticed, unless someone stopped to fawn over the ‘pretty baby’ that was overdressed for her age.

At six months, Leda decided it was time to dispose of the diapers and started toilet training Katie, without much success. The doctor told Leda and Clark they were expecting too much from a child that could barely sit unsupported. Leda insisted the doctor was wrong, and changed paediatricians immediately. Needless to say, success was slow in coming.

During a visit to spend an afternoon with her sisters, who still lived at home, Leda was lectured by her mother when she brought the baby’s potty with her. Leda’s mother told her that she was pushing the child to do too much at such a young age. Since Leda vowed not to raise her daughter the same way she was raised, Leda decided her mother was wrong.

A few months later and a particularly hard day at work, Clark came home and lit in on Leda about the fact Katie still could not walk.

“She’s only nine months old! What do you want from me?” Leda fell onto the bed in tears.

She was already ashamed that her daughter could not walk yet, even though her shame was unfounded. Her dismay arose from the desire to have the best of everything when it came to Katie.

“Why don’t you get off your lazy backside and teach her to walk? What do you do around here all day anyway? You do nothing! You’re a fat, useless slob.”

Clark went to the stove and removed the potatoes that had almost boiled dry, leaving Leda to think about what he told her. Clark knew he was right. Leda didn’t do anything all day. At least nothing for him. All Leda’s time was spent washing the kid’s hair, or making new dresses for her and the baby. She spoiled that brat. His wife never had time for him. He tossed the pot into the sink and pulled a can of beer from the refrigerator. He plopped himself onto the sofa after turning the television up so he couldn’t hear his wife sobbing, or his daughter bawling.

“Shut that kid up, will you. I can’t hear the news,” Clark shouted, oblivious to the fact it was his fault Katie was crying in the first place.

Leda barrelled out of the bedroom and rounded on him, fed up with his cruelty and complete disregard for her feelings.

Arms akimbo, Leda shook her thick finger at her husband and hissed,

“Who do you think cooks your meals and cleans your clothes? I do. I take care of this child twenty-four hours a day, with no help at all from you. I wipe every spill on Katie’s chin, so she doesn’t stain her clothes. Heaven forbid that should happen, and ‘daddy’s little princess’ wasn’t perfect.”

“You wanted the damn child in the first place. You are the one who parades her around all day. You walk to your mother’s house for a coffee and walk back. Why? I will tell you why – you love the attention from the people who stop you in the street to look at Katie. You treat her like a puppy in a dog show. Your own friends don’t come around anymore because all you do is dote on Katie, or brag about how beautiful she is.”

“How dare you! You are jealous of our daughter. My mother said you were, but I didn’t believe her. Now I am having my own doubts. No, I no longer doubt, I know it’s true.”

“I am not jealous of Katie. I’m glad it is her and not me you suffocate with all the fussing all day long.”

Clark snorted and pretended to turn his attention back to the television. The very idea that he would be jealous of his own daughter. How could she even think such a thing? Leda’s mother had some really stupid things to say sometimes, Clark thought. She never really liked him from the start. No wonder she was saying stuff that would make Leda doubt him or undermine him as the ruler of his house. He would have to make sure Leda didn’t go over there so often, or at least without him.

“Go attend that child. I’m tired of hearing the noise. Bring her to me while you clean yourself up and fix my dinner.”

Clark gulped his beer, setting the empty can down with a belch. You are such a pig, Leda thought, glaring at the man she was young and stupid enough to marry. I will show him who’s in charge of Katie. She dressed Katie in the prettiest dress she owned.

It was red velvet with with lace trim at the neck. The sleeves were long and made entirely of lace. Lacy floral designs adorned her white stockings as well. The lace theme was completed with frills on her rear end. She wore shiny black dress shoes and hair was in neat ringlets and a red silk bow. Then off to daddy she went.

“Jeez Leda, she looks like a China doll. She looks like she’s going to break if you touch her, or something.”

Clark bounced his daughter on his knee and played peek-a-boo with her, secretly hoping the child would throw up on her perfect, fancy little outfit. Maybe he was pushing the girl too hard by wanting her to walk at her tender age.

What did he know about babies anyway? His sisters raised all the younger kids in their house growing up. The farm work was his and his brothers’ domain, not kids and babies. Plus, Clark was sure kids were supposed to be walking before they went to the bathroom on their own.

“Da-da. Da-da,” Katie babbled between hiccups.

That was all it took to change Clark’s mood. The Da-da gibberish always worked. It was as if she knew just what she was doing, and how to bring her father out of a foul mood. At least she knew who he was. He really did like the little rugrat, even though she wasn’t born the boy he’d wanted. He wondered what Leda would think if he taught her to use power tools when she was older. What did it matter what Leda thought? She was his kid too.

Chapter Two

“Park momma? Please, momma? I wanna play park,” Katie squawked.

“No park today, Katie. We have to get your picture taken for the magazine, remember? That will be more fun than the park. I promise. We will have plenty to keep us busy there. You’ll see.”

“Not fun momma. I don’t want cameras again. Too many lights and it’s too hot in there.”

“We are going, Katie. Now stop complaining. There will be plenty of people there to talk to and keep you happy.”

Leda snatched Katie up and plunked her onto the bathroom counter to finish primping the last lock of her hair.

“Now sit still so momma can finish your hair and we can get going. Isn’t this exciting, Katie? You’re going to dress up in lots of pretty clothes and be in a big catalogue that all kinds of people will see.” Leda was clearly more excited about the prospect of her daughter modelling for a catalogue than Katie was.

“Yes, momma.”

Katie wanted to shake her head no and run off on her momma, but was very bright for her age and didn’t dare. Instead, she just let her momma finish pinning her hair, while Katie fought the urge to close her eyes and sleep. The bathroom had the best lighting in their cramped basement apartment. Leda was becoming frustrated with her daughter. Lately, Katie seemed to be more obstinate than ever. She had gone as far as running from Leda when it was time to go to these photo sessions and messing her hair, or even undressing before Leda could stop her.

It took Leda more than an hour to set the ringlets just right each time, and Katie didn’t sit without wiggling most of the time. The last time they were supposed to go to a photo session for the Sears catalogue, Leda was pressed for time and Katie was disgruntled. Katie kept complaining she was hungry and tired and Leda was sure that when she messed her hair, it was to spite her.

Katie had run into the bathroom and locked the door when Leda chased her. Katie adamantly refused to open the door for ten full minutes. When she finally unlatched it, Leda already knew they would not make the bus on time and would be late for the Sears photo session. Leda yanked the girl by her arm, and raising her from the ground by the wrist, whacked her bottom with her free hand several times. Katie wailed from the pain in her shoulder and the burning on her rear end.

“Shut up, you stupid brat! Do you know what you have done? You have cost us the contract, that’s what! Thanks to you, we won’t be in the catalogue now,” Leda screamed at the top of her lungs, scaring Katie half to death.

Leda tossed her toddler to the floor. Katie scrambled to her feet and ran and hid in her bedroom closet. She cried as quietly as she could, trembling violently. Leda was not done with her and went after her. Leda threw the closet door open, and yanked Katie by the same arm, tossing her onto her bed. Leda stripped the rest of Katie’s clothes from her and continued to swat the toddler’s bare bottom until it blared red.

Katie fought and kicked through the assault, which only enraged Leda further. Katie screeched in agony. Her shoulder had been sprained and her rear felt like it had been split in two. Leda shoved her hand over her daughter’s mouth to muffle the noise. Katie struggled to breathe, fighting against Leda’s hand and her stuffy nose.

“I said shut up,” Leda growled at Katie through clenched teeth. “I’m warning you, Katie. I will beat you senseless!”

Leda held fast and continued smacking the child until she lost consciousness. Leda panicked, fearing she had gone too far when Katie went limp in her lap. Leda splashed water on Katie’s face and shook her hard to rouse her. Gradually, Katie came around, and immediately began to scream from the pain.

“Stop that, or I will spank you again,” Leda warned, raising her hand so Katie would understand she meant business.

Katie buried her face in her pillow, trying to be as quiet as she could. Leda left her daughter’s room as soon as she was sure that Katie would stay quiet. Katie would have no dinner that night, Leda decided. After all, the child had to be punished for ruining any chance they had for the spring catalogue, she thought.

The reality was Katie had been among over a thousand other entrants and nothing was guaranteed as far as any modelling contract went, ever. This time was no different. Although, this time Katie dared not to mess her hair or defy her mother in any way. When Leda raised her voice even the slightest, Katie trembled. Katie hated the constant camera flashes, both at home and at the studios, but had little choice where the matter was concerned.

If she complained the least bit, Leda would hit her and Katie would lose her dinner for the next day or two. Katie remained silent as her mother finished fixing her hair, even though the pins used to keep it in place pinched her scalp. Almost two hours later, and Katie was ready to leave for the next photo session.

Leda packed an extra few items in Katie’s accessory bag, just in case, and was ready to go, even though Katie was not. There was no time for play. Not today. Leda was taking a very dressed-up Katie to see a man about having Katie put into the fall catalogue.

Katie still wanted to go to the park, but once she was able to walk, the trips to the park stopped almost completely. Leda was afraid Katie would get her dresses and stockings dirty, and get scuff marks on her shoes. The park was something the Leda avoided for the last two weeks now, for fear Katie would fall and scrape her knee or something. She had to be perfect for the big day in front of the camera.

Katie was already past time for her nap and quite cranky. Katie sulked quietly, while her mother waited for the bus. Toronto buses were always crowded at this time of day, and usually late. The photo studio was downtown and too far to walk, especially with a two year old.

Leda carried her red-faced daughter onto the bus, and as expected, it was packed. A kindly man offered the flustered mother his seat, which Leda gratefully accepted. Katie sat on her mother’s lap and stared out the window. Katie didn’t like the bus. She liked the car much better, but daddy had the car at work that day.

“What an adorable little girl,” a woman laden with groceries nodded toward Katie.

That was all it took to get the dreaded ball rolling. Even at this young age, Katie knew what was to come next. Katie buried her face in her mother’s sweater, before the hands could get her. They always wanted to touch her or her hair. Leda scolded her and told her to thank the woman. Katie pushed her face further into her mother and shook her head. Leda apologised for her daughter’s rude behaviour and explained that the girl was tired.

Katie was in fact tired enough that she could not fight the slumber any longer and dozed fitfully on Leda’s lap. The sway of the bus, and missed nap had gotten the better of the small toddler. Then the familiar dream began again. It always started the same way. Katie was sitting alone on a chair. There were bright lights all around her. Then the faces came, and Katie began whimpering in her sleep. Her nerve endings jarred to life, causing her body to twitch as she watched the faces edge closer to Katie from behind her closed eyes.

The faces without bodies closed in, stealing all the air around Katie. Closer and closer. Then there were many more of them. Always more and more. Katie could smell the breath of a woman who had black teeth. Another one had no hair. The gnarled fingers began pointing. Then the one with big green eyes glared at Katie, her face inches away. The voices. Loud at first, and suddenly Katie could no longer hear her mother calling to her.

The voices overpowered Katie’s cries to her mother for help. Her mother’s silhouette moved further away. Leda would not come to her. Katie kicked and cried out for her momma, when her momma turned away. The faces with the shrill voices were all around Katie, blending together.

“What an adorable baby. She’s so beautiful. Oh, look at the pretty dress,” the voices screamed in Katie’s ears.

Louder now, and Katie couldn’t get away before they had her. They were there. It was too late. The screeching voices had hands. They were grabbing at Katie, and pulling at her dress and hair. Pawing her and leaving their deplorable foul stench all over her. She struggled to get out from under their grasp, but couldn’t move. She was trapped. The hands got her, grabbed her and pulled at her. A thousand hands ripped her from her seat and the faces with the screaming voices snatched her far from her momma’s sight.

“No! No!” Katie screamed and her hands shot to her ears.

The passengers on the bus that were watching Katie’s display did so in alarm. To see such a small child have this horrible fit. She struggled in her sleep against her mother. She struggled to get away from the hands. The hands were suffocating her. The hands were taking her and hurting her. She struggled to breathe. Katie shrieked and wheezed, her throat closing up on her.

Katie was having her fourth anxiety attack. Leda was utterly embarrassed by her daughter’s conduct. People stared as she tried to explain her daughter was prone to nightmares. Leda was livid that Katie would cause her such humiliation. She would be properly punished for this stunt when she got her home. Another child, frightened by Katie’s incessant squalling began to cry.

The bus driver pulled the crammed bus to the curb and opened the door. He looked back at Leda, who was still trying to awaken her terror-stricken child. Leda got off the bus and dumped the child onto the sidewalk. Katie was crying and grabbing for her momma, who treated the nightmare as though it was a tantrum.

Passerby shook their heads at the naughty little girl who held her hands out, desperate for the safety and comfort of loving arms. Tears streamed down the child’s cheeks, her air hitching in her throat. Katie’s tiny hands, palms up, opened and closed furiously, as though willing her momma to come to her. Katie fell and scraped her elbow trying to stand on trembling limbs. Leda yelled at Katie for making them late for the photoshoot and ruining her hair.

It took Katie almost an hour to calm down enough to walk and board another bus home. When she finally calmed, she was exhausted, but still without the comfort of loving arms. The nightmares and anxiety attacks always drained her. As tired as Katie was, she was afraid to sleep. The nightmares Katie had about the crowds of faces and hands coming to take her away to a place she could not breathe in would plague her for a very long time to come. A very, very long time…

 Other books by this author:

* Amazon Profile, where you can find all my published works http://www.amazon.com/Amarissa-Amber-Cale/e/B00OJ4DAVO

*Smashwords Profile, where you can also find all my published works https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amarissa

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank the love of my life, Wayne, without whose support I would have never finished this, or any other book.  Without him, this story would never have been told.

I would also like to thank my sweet daughter, Stephanie, who has been a major supporter, and my bestest fan.

I love you both with every fiber of my being.

 

About the author:

Live, love, laugh, then love some more!  = My motto.

I am a writer and research analyst, living in the great Canadian Northern wilderness with my hubby and ‘psycho’ dog, Tucker.  My specialty is in Ancient History.  (Both romance and historically accurate).  I have several novels in the works at the moment.  (When writer’s block halts one, it’s always good to have another to jump into!)  I also have a planned outline for a historical series, geared to youth, teaching them about the Bronze Age, while entertaining them.

 

Feel free to contact me via email: AmarissaCale@yahoo.ca

Or Visit my Facebook Page at:
https://www.facebook.com/writerammarissa?ref=hl

About Me:

http://about.me/amarissa.cale

WordPress Blog:
http://societalcontroversy.wordpress.com

Kindle Mojo:

http://www.kindlemojo.com/amarissacale

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AmarissaCale

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in New Releases

 

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