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The Girl In The Closet (Southern Heroes #2)
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Escaping an unthinkable nightmare, I’m given a second chance at life. Cole Trenton is the first person to look past the broken girl. But the moment I give him my heart he leaves.
Secrets never stay buried, and mine returns with a vengeance.
But my biggest fear remains.
I always knew Birdie Liles was different, but that didn’t stop me from falling for her.
If I had known about the monster from her past, I never would’ve left.
But I’m here now, and I’m ready to send Birdie’s demon right back to hell.
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‘rattle them bones’
Since grandma died Daddy’s been smoking more, and it’s stinking up the trailer we live in.
Knowing I’ll be in trouble if he finds out, I steal his lighter while he’s in the bathroom. I run outside and quickly bury the lighter in the patch of sand behind the trailer. With a pounding heart, I glance over my shoulder and hearing the toilet flush, I begin to panic. If Daddy finds out what I’ve done, he’ll give me a beating.
As fast as I can, I dig up the lighter, but when I try to make it work there’s not even a spark. Scared of how angry Daddy will be, I shove it back into the hole and cover it with dirt. Not wanting to be caught, I run back into the trailer and hearing him whistling in the bathroom, I quickly rush into the bedroom. Frantically, I look for a place to hide, and when I hear the bathroom door creak open, I duck under the bed. Dust motes tickle my nose, and I place a hand over my face so I won’t sneeze.
“Where the fuck’s my lighter?” Daddy roars, and it scares me so badly I crawl further under the bed until I press against the wall. Seeing an old suitcase, I pry it open and squeeze myself inside it. Curling into a small ball so I can close the lid, I try to slow my breaths so he won’t hear me.
As the minutes tick by, my fear grows. Daddy’s gonna be so mad.
After a long time of hiding, I drift off to sleep, but when the suitcase moves, it startles me awake. The lid gets thrown open, and Daddy glares down at me with a mean look.
“You little fuckin’ cunt,” he hisses angrily. Grabbing hold of my arm, he hauls me out of my hiding place. “’Cause you like small spaces you can live in the fuckin’ closet.”
I start to shake my head and pull back against Daddy’s hold on me. My heart’s beating hard in my chest, and it makes my body tremble.
“No, Daddy. I’m sorry.”
He yanks the closet door open and forcefully shoves me inside. The smell of old shoes and dirty clothes fill the air. He slams the door shut and locks it, leaving me in the tiny, dark closet.
“Fuckin’ stuck with the kid ’cause the ole’ bitch croaked,” Daddy grumbles from the other side of the door. He slams his hand against the closet, then growls, “I’m gonna make you a skeleton like your momma ’cause you killed her. Fuckin’ evil little bitch.”
The words are scary, and I crawl to the corner of the closet. Shoes dig into my body, but as I hear him moving outside the door, I’m too scared to shove them away from me.
“Yeah, the evil cunt deserves to stay in the closet,” he chuckles darkly.
There are a few minutes of silence, and I strain my ears to hear where Daddy is when music comes from somewhere in the house.
The song is creepy, and I pinch my eyes shut, wondering when Daddy’s gonna give me a beating for being naughty.
There are different shades to black. There’s normal black, then there’s the kind where it’s so dark you see things.
Things children shouldn’t see.
You see the Boogeyman. It’s the one Daddy whispers about through the door. “Here comes the Boogeyman. The Boogeyman’s comin’ to get you.”
It’s so dark you see monsters in every speck of dust.
The Boogeyman’s real.
The Boogeyman’s my daddy, and every day he sings to me, “I’ve got a skeleton in the closet and she ain’t ever comin’ out.”
‘oh, rattle them bones’
(17 years old.)
“You almost ready, dear?” Mom calls.
“Yeah, just a second.” Sitting on the floor with my back against the side of the bed, I don’t miss the flash of sadness as Mom takes in the sweater I’m wearing.
“You sure you wanna wear that? It’s hot out. Why don’t you wear one of those pretty t-shirts we got you last week?” she tries again.
I know she’s looking out for me, and I love her for it, but I wish she’d let it go. This is what I want to wear, and it makes me feel better knowing my scars aren’t visible for the whole world to see.
It’s been twelve years since I was rescued and adopted by Pastor and Mrs. Liles, and even though my father is currently serving a fifteen-year sentence, the memory of him still haunts me every night.
“Nope, I’m good,” I mumble while sticking a picture on the page I’m busy with. I have a weird hobby of writing out the lyrics to every song I like then surrounding them with matching pictures. Today’s song is Cross That Line by Joshua Radin, and I’ve just finished sticking a picture of Cole Trenton next to it.