105 people die every minute. An average of 3,287 people die in car crashes a day, today my mother added a number to each column. My father and I only added to the number of wounded, my father is still in the hospital in a coma I, however, managed to escape with a few big scars and daily night terrors. I watched as people gathered around listening to people who say they knew my mother. Pictures of my mother's face smiling as her thin black hair that seemed to frame her face, a straw hat with flowers in it sat so gently on her head. I looked to my aunt who was holding my hand as if at any moment it would fall off. “I can't believe how old you are now... What 8 now…” she said looking away from the photo and to me, her eyes red and dark circles bagging under them. I looked back to the photo my voice was gone I no longer had the strength to speak nor the urge. I gently touched the photo and she pulled me in a hug I stood numbly in utter disbelief of what was going to happen now. Days dragged and they quickly turned to months and I no longer was able to stay with my Aunt, and ended up going from house to house in Foster care. One day in school I was pulled out from my math class and led to the office “Your father is awake…” I stood scanning my memories for my father he was never home working at some office job 24/7. I was driven to the hospital by the police officer that worked at the school. I slowly made my way to the hospital room my father was in, I stopped at the door my body shaking at the thought of my dead mother would my father slowly die? The policemen took a knee and touched my shoulder and smiled “it’s okay bud you take your time.” I crept my head around the wall to see my father laying his bed sitting him up as the doctor spoke to him most likely breaking the news of my mother. I brushed off the hand of the policeman and walked into the room he slowly followed my father’s head turned toward me. “Hey, sport… guess I needed a bit of a nap.” I felt my fist clench up as the thought of my mother's body hanging upside down bloody and lifeless. I picture her torn and mangled body in the coffin the smile I once knew torn from her face. “Malcolm?” I looked up to see my father looking at me with worried eyes. The policeman stood behind me and rested his hand on my shoulder. “Why so quiet sport?” Why can't you shut your mouth you're alive breathing my mother will never wake from the ‘nap’. I clenched my fist harder and looked to him he laid smiling as if it was Christmas. I felt something hot drip down my fingers my father's expression changed. “Malcolm you're bleeding?!” I looked to my hand to see my nails embedded into my skin, I turned and ran out of the room not letting up on my clenched fist. My heart pounded with each step I ran, the policeman followed and despite his calls, I kept on. Running out the door I looked around and crept around the building into the woods not stopping I pushed hanging limbs and leaves out of my way as I ran my heavy breathing and stomping feet were so quiet in the slurred sounds of the car crash. I lost my footing and slipped down a hill rolling nonstop until I landed into a creek. The cold water soaked me I dunked my head into it and threw back my head, my hair soaked and the cold water running down my sweaty hot back felt good. I watched as the blood from my hands mix with the water and disappear. I laid my head in the mix of dead leaves and dirt and looked into the trees the sun came through the trees green leaves tinting the light green. Bits of the blue sky priced through the leaves, the sound of the water going over rocks and streaming over my body silenced the sounds of the crash and I drifted to sleep. Darkness surrounded me and my mother stood the wind blowing her light blue dress in the breeze she held onto her hat as she looked to something in the distance. I scrambled to her and she slowly turned her hat covered her face and when she was looking completely to me her face was bloody and torn. Flaps of skin hung from her face and her body became a bloody mess on all fours one step at a time crawling toward me the broken limbs bending and crackling with each movement. I fell back and crawled backward my breathing heavily and it grabbed my foot and pulled my closer screaming and kicking my voice made no sound my breathing faded as she got close her raspy breath got closer and closer her grasp was freezing. Her jaw unhinged from what little skin was left on her face and she swallowed me it's long tongue wrapped around my body pulling me deeper into its dark endless body that smelled of blood and rotting flesh. I woke up tearing and clawing at my own skin, I hugged myself and rocked myself my body shook and my vision was blurred noise slowly faded in and I realized someone was looking at me I backed up but my back hit a tree my breath picked up as they reached out to me I closed my eyes. A warm hand crept around my face and gently followed the curves of my face. “It's okay, ” I opened my eyes to see a boy with torn clothes gently patting me he took off his jacket and put it on me and took his shirt off and began to gently dry my hair and face. He took my hand and looked to the cuts from my nails he went over them with his warm fingertips. “It's okay now” after a while I stood and he helped me get out of the woods judging from the light of the sky I had been asleep for a few hours. When we got to the main road he took my hand and gently held it “where do you live?” I pointed down the road and knew the walk but it was far without a car. My foster parents were most likely scanning the streets for me and would find me. “Okay, ” we walked and walked the sun crept behind the mountains that surrounded our town and it quickly got cold. Wearing his shirt and jacket this boy shivered with each step. I tried to give back the shirt or jacket but he refused “where are your parents?” He said rubbing my back during one of our breaks. I hugged myself and pulled my knees to my chest “you must be Malcolm…….” I nodded and he sighed “well I'm Jonas I'm 10 and I hang out in the woods all the time if you ever want to talk I'll be in the creek.” We stood and began walking again my feet hurt and the darkness didn't help my dizzy walking. Time seemed to drag its feet as I walked with block I walked it seemed time had only gone by two seconds. When I finally got to my house my foster parents' car was there and the lights were on inside I could see them sitting waiting for me I walked into the house and Jonas stopped at the doorway I went back to hand him his jacket and shirt but he was already gone. Time, finally seemed to resume and pass far faster days went on each day I had to visit my dad before going home and each day on the way to my house I looked in the woods stumbling around looking for the creek each day no success not as if I wanted to talk to him but to return his jacket and shirt back and with the shape they were in that he didn’t have a lot of clothes. Before I knew it the jacket was something that laid lifelessly in my closet and my dad was out of the hospital and we were living together again. But I couldn't tell he was never home he became a truck driver of all things was it the fact that mom was driving that made him hate himself for that day? I went to middle school just fine getting beat up every day and taking it without problems today was no exception. I held the straps of my backpack as I walked looking down my text to speech device in my pocket. I heard footsteps gather around me and shadows on the ground crept up on me, A boy grabbed my backpack and hunched over to my ear. “Go behind the school.” I did as he said and he pushed me into the wall my black hair flung in my face and I slowly moved it aside looking to him and three other boys that towered over me laughing. “Lets even out your eyes.” I looked down knowing what he was talking about one of my eyes was an Amber firey red while the other was a bright yellow. He punched me in the gut and grabbed my hair lifting my face to him and punching my right eye then left. Throwing me on the ground I was kicked a few more times pissed on and spat on. I watched as they left and slowly stood walking down the school hallway to my locker several spare outfits due to the number of times it happened daily. I grabbed the spare and changed and by the time I did the bell rang and I was late to class. “Mister Malcolm glad you could join us better late than never.” I went to my seat and sat down watching as people whispered the reasons for the torture I received on a daily basis. I will spare you all the horrible rumors that have the even the special students hating me, and tell you straight oh wait I can’t quite do that cause I am not straight. I am Gay ah yes the gay the thing your parents warned you about as a child to fear it, hate it and utterly destroy it. Luckily for me, I have not gotten anything serious a few broken bones here and there but nothing life threating. I sat down and got out my things, an outcast of the class watched and I acted as if I did not notice their gaze and began to draw the classroom every student looked the same and as for me I had color and music notes exploding from my head as I drew the outcast next to me watched in utter amazement. I tore out the page when the bell rang and folded it and left it on my desk knowing that the whole time I was drawing it she was watching. I left the classroom and headed to the next one, I was pinned to the lockers and briefly made fun of by the football players I stood and said nothing as I had for years. He pulled on my ear and made fun of the fact it was my only one, I had lost the other in the car crash having a large scar where my hair refused to grow no matter the strange internet things I tried. The bell rang out and teachers began to break up other gatherings and they pushed me into the locker my head banged onto the cold metal and left me with a dull pain in my head I walked to my class and nearly ran to my seat in the back. I looked out to the window and my name was suddenly called “Malcolm… Malcolm Stanely are you here?” I looked to see a sub “He’s here” A student who sat next to me rang out, and they sub pushed up her glasses and her wrinkles hung from her face and chin like a shaggy dog. “He can speak for himself,” There was laughter and the student next to me rang out “Actually no he can’t.” She paused and looked to me she gestured for me to go to her I stood and pulled out my text to speech as I walked to her desk. She began to wave her hands around with sign language and I held up my hands and shook them not knowing any sign language. She sighed and looked me up and down noticing my scar right away I saw the pity fill her face. “If you ever need to talk to someone I am here,” I scoffed and walked out going down the hallway despite her calls. I picked up speed and darted into the bathroom and smoke flowed from the bathroom, a group of boys grabbed me and pulled me into the smoked it wasn’t the smell of drugs but of mint vape juice. One of the boys had called himself a homework buddy meaning I did his homework and he didn’t beat me up. “Oi it’s you I have been meaning to talk to you,” I was pinned to the wall and he smacked his lips and paused looking down on me. “You got quite a few math problems wrong my friend.” I watched as he moved his fist beside my face against the wall. “I am sure I can overlook it if you meet my demands.” I watched as he got closer his fist slowly loosened and I felt my heart drop as he laughed, “I will see you later.” He gave a smirk and bit at his lip I pushed him away and walked on he was an in 8th grade supposed to be in the 9th. I ran out of the bathroom to be met by a teacher a rather disgusting pig, I sighed as he grabbed my arm leading me to his office. I used to have a bit of a crush on him until he was married and sleeping with students in order to boost their grades. I stood he sat down in his fancy throne behind the wall he was a king and I was a simple commoner he sat as if I was graced with the honor to speak to him. But what he didn’t know was that his wall and throne did not control me, “young man would you like to explain those bruises? Would you like to explain why you are skipping classes in a bathroom filled with smoke?” I stood I could care less what would happen to me each day was a struggle and every day I doubted more would could doubting the fact I would make it to the end of the day not to mention the week. Each day each week each month I stand amazed at the fact I am not with my mother. “I could make this disappear.” The teacher stood to adjust the blinds creeping around my back his fingers ran over my shoulders and he leaned over to my ear. “I know you used to have a bit of a thing for me, I am sure I could look over this and give you some extra credit?” I looked away and he gently touched my chin lifting it to him chills went down my back I threw off his hands and went for the door running out and down the hall, he didn’t call after me or try to stop me. I kept going the books and binders in my backpack poked me as it swung with each pounding step. When I made it home a bark rang out and I smiled as my wolfdog Meatlug ran toward me, she charged me and put her front paws on my chest so she could lick my face. I patted her head and she closed her eyes as I rubbed behind her ears she jumped down and I looked to the living and kitchen not having eaten in a few days because I simply didn’t feel like it. I slowly made my way into the kitchen toward my fancy coffee marker, fixing up a rather sugar-filled drink and went into the backyard. Meatlug danced around me and picked up her toy bringing it to me happily I threw it. Looking at the brick walls filled with paintings of my dogs I have had and sadly lost. I sighed as Meatlug brought back the toy, she had brown reddish fur on the top as for her belly it was white and bright keeping it clean wasn’t easy but thankfully she enjoyed having her hair done. Mealug rested her head on my lap knowing something was wrong I patted her head and she closed her eyes. A high pitched bark rang out and I smiled as my husky pup ran over stumbling through the giant doggy door. It’s pitch black fur was lightened with a patch of white on his right eyebrow and right front foot, a blue collar around his neck was bright and matched his blue eyes. I watched as his gaze slowly changed from me to the brick wall he then froze giving the reason for his name; Drifter. I patted my leg and watched as he sat unfazed, however, Meatlug came to my side sitting so nicely. I patted my leg and clicked my tongue I watched as Drifter swung his head around looking to me he ran and jumped into my lap. I chuckled and sat him and began to work on hand signals training dogs this way wasn’t easy but it had been years since a word left my mouth and I didn’t plan on changing that.