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    Parker Owens
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  • 1,460 Words
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

A to Z - 1. A Journal

Warnings for violence, abuse, and sexual assault. Read with appropriate caution.

In the bedroom, on the far shelf, rests a set of old-style composition notebooks. A couple of them have yellow sticky-notes poking out at odd places. The story told in their pages isn’t just mine or yours. It’s ours. For the most part, though, you did the writing. These yellow notes are just the few places where you needed to know that something else was happening, things you didn't know about then, but I did – things had gone unsaid. These old journals don’t get read so much anymore. Time moves on, and the important stuff is what gets remembered. But it’s all there, our story, and that’s important, too.


April 29

My name is Stefan Anders Ericsson. It’s a Swedish name. Today is my 16th birthday, and this notebook is my present to myself. I don’t really deserve a present, I guess. I never have, really. Dad says that I’m a bad kid, and he means it. I guess he has a point, since I made Mom leave us when I was eight. Anyway, we don’t celebrate birthdays. But I had a little over a dollar left from the money I found a couple of days ago, and I saw this in the drugstore on sale, and I just had to have it. I can’t write in it every day, but it is the closest thing I can get to a diary. Still, this notebook will really piss Dad off if he finds it. He’ll tell me it’s a waste of time and money on a stupid kid like me.

It’s the first new thing I can remember that belongs to me.

Most kids in school think I’m stupid, but I can write well enough. They just don’t know me very well. On second thought, maybe I am stupid. Dad calls me that plenty, and maybe I’m dumb in some ways. Maybe kids think I’m stupid because I keep my mouth shut. I never say anything, if I can help it. I try to fade into the background if I can, and just watch things happen. When other people notice me at all, they make fun of my second-hand clothes or my bad haircut or that I don’t have the stuff I’m supposed to have for class. Dad says I don’t deserve all the fancy extra things other kids bring to school, so he makes me scrounge for stuff. For instance, the best time to stock up on pens and pencils is in the first few weeks of classes in the fall. Lots of people drop a pen on the floor and forget to pick it up. They don’t worry, there’s more at home. Their loss is my gain. By the third week of September, I’ll have enough dropped pens and pencils collected to get me through the school year, if I’m careful and don’t write too much. It’s the same with a lot of school supplies, though I’ve had to dodge the whole calculator thing all year long.

The best thing about this diary is that I can write about the things I would talk to someone about if I had a friend to hang out with. Lunch means being alone – my table is always empty, and I like it that way. Today, I got to write in this book instead of rushing through my bread and apple and then trying to disappear. I can tuck myself way into this corner of the cafeteria, and I doubt anyone will know I’m here.

Anyway, Dad wants me home right away after school, so it isn’t like I can do things with other kids once classes are done. He says I have to work in the house or around the garage to make up for all the problems I cause.

Writing about this is hard and easy at the same time – hard, because some stuff is really tough to talk about, even with myself. Easy, because I don’t have to tell another real person – just the blank page in front of me. Blank pages don’t judge. Dad says it’s my fault Mom isn’t around anymore. I can barely remember her. She had deep brown eyes, and she smiled for me when we were alone together. But she also cried a lot, and she fought with Dad over and over again, though it was usually at night. I could hear them, and I could hear Dad getting physical with her when he got mad. The next day, she’d be really quiet, and move slowly around the house for a while. But it wouldn’t last, then she’d be OK for a few days. Then they’d be back to fighting like cats and dogs.

And then one day, she just wasn’t there anymore.

Dad says they were fighting about me, about how bad I was, and all the trouble I caused. She up and left in the middle of the night. Just like that. So, here’s question number one: why did Mom run away? I can’t help asking – was it really me?

The first time I asked Dad why she left without saying goodbye, he got seriously angry and just backhanded me across the face. That wasn’t the first time I’d been hit – I’d been whipped across my butt any number of times before that. But that was the first time I got whacked in the face, and my neck and teeth were sore for a week after that.

It’s not the last time I’ve been hit either, and I guess I deserved the beatings Dad gave me. It’s not like I’m good like other kids are. I always seem to cause problems, by being too late, or too lazy, or too timid, or too something. If I finish my work list and stay quiet, I can usually avoid getting a whipping.

Everyone at school thinks I’m a clumsy fool. It’s the best way to explain the occasional bruise or mark that sometimes shows. Once in a while, I’ll fall into something like a desk or a locker on purpose, just to have an excuse to have a bruise. Usually, Dad gets me on the back or butt, so that nobody can see, especially if I wear a long sleeve shirt or a hoodie.

But it’s harder and harder to avoid getting thrashed these days. The work lists are getting longer, and Dad is getting edgier, and meaner. Almost anything sets him off. For example, yesterday, he came home from the quarry about six PM. He took one look at the dinner I made – it was on the list – and started telling me I’d gotten it all wrong. Somehow, the peas were too mushy and the potatoes too salty, or maybe the meat was underdone. I really don’t remember. He started yelling about how I’d been wasting the food he put on the table, and how ungrateful I was. Dad’s a big guy, and it’s usually better to apologize and back down with him, but it didn’t work this time. He just got madder and madder, and before I knew it, I was getting beat up pretty hard.

At least he didn’t get out his belt this time. When he gets out the belt, I know it’s going to be bad. Anyhow, I curled up in a little ball to keep the kicks from hurting too much. I just lay there on the floor for a while after he got it out of his system. Later on, he dragged me to my room and threw me onto the floor in my bedroom. I managed to get into bed somehow. I remember the door slamming.

It hurt, but I deserved it. I ruined dinner. I don’t really know why it’s so hard get things right, why I can’t be good person, why I mess things up way too often. I just wish I didn’t manage to screw up so much.

It was no fun getting to school this morning. When the alarm went off, I dragged myself out of bed so I could get the morning chores done and the breakfast made. I ached, and if I stepped wrong, I got serious pain shooting across my sides and ribs. I dressed in my usual t-shirt and long sleeved denim jacket. They hide the scars pretty well. I’m glad the jacket is a little too big, so the bruises don’t rub so much.

Still, the ride on the bus was agony. Every bump and pothole hurt.

Things got better as the day went on. Moving around helped some. That and I skipped out during my study hall and went into the drugstore for some aspirin.

I doubt anyone here at Carlsberg Central High School noticed I was missing.

Many thanks to Craftingmom for her peerless editing and suggestions.

Reviews and comments of any kind would be welcome.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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  • Love 4
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  • Angry 6
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

On 10/03/2015 12:14 AM, Valkyrie said:

I just want to give Stefan a hug. :,( It's not surprising his self esteem is so low with the way his father treats him. I'm very curious as to where the story is going to go. Since we are reading journals, we don't have any idea as to the protagonist's fate. The image of the journals sitting on the shelf, containing Stefan's story makes me wonder where they are. Is it his childhood room and we are reading them after an unspeakable tragedy? Or is it in a home he's created with a loving partner and the past is relegated to a dusty shelf? (please don't answer that...I want to find out as the story develops) Nice first chapter. As you can see, you've drawn me in. :)

Thanks very much for reading and telling me what you think. Stefan has had a terrible life, and it was hard not to give him the hug you mentioned while writing this. There is more to come, of course.

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On 10/03/2015 01:32 AM, Puppilull said:

Poor Stefan! What a complete asshole for a father! I hope things will eventually start to look up for him and that he makes a friend or two. He needs to get out of that house too. I will follow his story and keep my fingers crossed for him.


Besides, how can I not get drawn in to a story with a Swedish connection...?

Tak so mycke! Stefan has to endure, because his world is really awful. And how many other kids live a reality like this every day? Too many.

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On 10/03/2015 03:12 AM, skinnydragon said:

A great beginning Parker!

For the story, that is, not for Stefan. Naturally he believes all that crap his father feeds him because it's a 'normal' part of his life and has been since he was small.

Stefan needs a knight in shining armor. :(

Thanks for the review! As for Stefan, he seems to have been born under a wickedly nasty star. He could have had a doctorate in sad-face by the time he turned sixteen.

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On 10/03/2015 06:41 AM, craftingmom said:

You know I love it :) I'm not going to say much, since I know what's coming, other than good job!

Thank you for all your help. And there were a couple of final tweaks...

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On 10/03/2015 09:51 AM, Defiance19 said:

Nice first chapter. Painful to read, but well done. It may get worse for Stefan before it gets better but I'm in.

Stefan is in a terrible place. It is very painful to read, and it hurt to write it, too. His story is like so many. It is hard not to want to intervene.

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On 10/04/2015 11:45 AM, flamingo136 said:

Excellent beginning Parker........I've had my own personal issues with abuse, so I definitely relate.....Hoping that Stefan can and does survive his Hell............:) Mike

Thanks for reading. It is a hard story, I think, but one that bears telling. Hold on and endure with Stefan for a while.

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On 10/06/2015 10:38 AM, Diogenes said:

What a powerful first chapter - very emotional. I like the device of narrating the story as a diary - it gives the sense of being given access to something very private. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

It's hard not to feel for Stefan, and to hope that he can somehow make his way.

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On 10/23/2015 05:04 AM, aditus said:

This was very depressing. Stefan's self-esteem is so low, it's only sad. I will definitely read more. And hope for the best.

Thank you for reviewing. It is a hard story to read. But Stefan is an engaging character, and it's hard not to read his diary.

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On 10/30/2015 11:56 AM, Cynus said:

I have a hard time with abuse, normally. It makes me exceptionally angry when I read about it; angry enough that it affects everything I do afterward. Surprisingly, that didn't happen here. Which is good news for Valkyrie as that means I'm going to give Penguin another shot. :lol:


You definitely presented the introspection of a journal entry very well, and I think you've got a good handle on the personality/issues of an abused individual. Well done.

I look forward to seeing Stefan's dad get what's coming to the bastard. Especially if he killed Stefan's mother as i suspect.

Thank you for reading this. I really appreciate your review, and your reactions. Writing journal entries is very hard sometimes, as I am not a natural diarist.

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On 11/10/2015 11:01 AM, WolfM said:

Wow... What an incredibly powerful first chapter. I'm looking forward to reading more. Just from my own experiences I know what I'd like to do to Stefan's father.

Thank you for beginning this story. I hope you continue to enjoy what you read, though it is sometimes hard going. Stefan's father is clearly a tyrant and a brute. Poor Stefan hasn't a chance against him.

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On 02/28/2016 11:31 PM, Shoyrstuff said:

Hi Parker, I am new to the site. My first review! You share your words with us and they become stories. Very well written. Heading to Chapter 2. Again Thanks for Sharing.

Thank you. I hope you continue to read, A to Z, of course. I really appreciate your reviewing what I wrote; all authors do. That's how we know if we've got it right. You are most welcome, and enjoy them story!

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