This story is by P.E. Writes and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
At fifteen, Rose Carter’s parents, William and Vicki Carter got a divorced. Like most children of divorce, she took it hard. Rose and her dad had always been very close. But now, her mom wouldn’t let her see her dad claiming that he was no good. To Rose her mom turned into a wicked witch since the divorce. Everyday Rose was expected to clean their modular house. Do laundry, have her homework finished, and make sure that dinner was ready before her mom got home from work. She and her mom exchanged harsh words most every day. Then Rose got in trouble and her mom kicked her out. So now, Rose stays with her dad, and new step-mom, Lilly in a small camper out in the country.
Summer vacation in the middle of Foley, MN was not fun for this teenage girl. Her cellphone felt like her only link to civilization. Early every morning William and Lilly would go off to work in the city, leaving Rose alone to do whatever during the day.
This was one of the hottest and most miserable summers that Rose had ever experienced. And the camper was the only place for Rose to find relief from the hot summer sun. The other day the air-conducing went out in the camper, and the fans weren’t even enough to keep anyone cool. Relief of any kind would be welcome to Rose.
She hated living in the small camper, but that is all her dad could afford. He had lost most everything in the divorce. So, she made do sleeping on the couch in the living room. Every morning she would straighten up the camper, play on her phone and maybe play some video games. The lonelier Rose would get the more her mind would start to wonder. That is when Lucy would appear, Rose’s demon. To Rose, Lucy was very real. She would talk to Rose and play games with Rose. Lucy was someone Rose could relate to. The only times Lucy liked coming out to play was when Rose was alone and lonely.
“Come, play with me,” Lucy would taunt her, “you know no one really cares for you … but for me.”
At first, the Rose found Lucy easy to ignore. But the lonelier she got the more Lucy would taunt her thoughts wanting to play.
“Look at you, … you have no real friends. The ones you thought you had don’t even respond to your text or snap chats,” Lucy whispered in her head.
Then Lucy would remind her of the argument she and her mom had; the words her mother said to her would ring loud in her head as if it were happening all over again. “You’re no good … You will never turn out to be anything but a slut or a druggie.” Rose was starting to believe her mother was right.
Last year, when Rose was living with her mom she had fell in with the bad crowd at school. Most of them ditch school to do drugs. Rose trying to fit in had experimented with smoking weed and skipping school. Then Rose got picked up by the police for shoplifting, her mom was furious. Rose knew that what she had been doing was bad behavior … she just wanted to fit in and belong somewhere.
As Rose would reflect on her painful past, Lucy dug her claws in deeper rustling up more painful memories in Roses’ mind. They would take her into the deep dark world of her mind where Rose’s self-doubt resided. “I’m no good … I’m ugly … I don’t really have friends …. I don’t even know why I am alive, I just don’t belong anywhere … no one wants me.” As the tears would pour down her cheek. The thoughts would whirl in her head as the self-hatred grew inside Rose; making her feel dark and empty.
Soon Lucy became Rose’s best friend. Her only friend … Rose’s self-image was that of despair and hatred. She was appalled with her dad for leaving her alone. She detested her step-mom for trying to be her mom. She hated her mom for everything, no one was immune to Rose’s hatred. Lucy would take advantage of all Rose’s rage, planting thoughts of destruction in her head. Rose found some of Lucy’s adventures in her mind to be fun planning the destruction of those whom she felt betrayed her.
“Oh, my sweet Rose,” Lucy whispered to her, “I know that you are lonely, and it tears you up inside, you don’t really have anyone… you know if you just take this knife and make a small cut in your arm it will relieve some of your anguish.”
Soon Rose was not only cutting herself but other objects. Inflicting pain and destruction was her relieved to some of the anguish growing inside her.
One night when William and Lilly came home from work. Willian saw that his favorite chair had been sliced, he looked at Rose questioning her on why. When he saw that she had long sleeves on in the middle of summer. William went to grabbed Rose’s arm, but she dodged his grip.
“What’s the difference to you,” Rose retorted, “you don’t really care about me, anyway. Nobody does … I’m just here because mom doesn’t want me, no one wants me.” Rose stomped out of the camper crying.
“Rose, NO!” William yelled, chasing his daughter, “I love you very much, you are my precious Rose. … sweetie why are you doing this to yourself … please let me help you!”
He had no impact on Rose. Lucy had too tight of a grip. Desperate to help, William consulted a professional to find answers that might help his daughter. But before any help could be received William received the phone call that no parent wants to receive.
“Hello is this Mr. Carter,” the voice began, “this is Officer Smith, we were called to your residence by your daughter. It appears that she has seriously harmed herself … I’m not sure, how but she called us before she passed out … She is alive. We are now transporting her to St Cloud hospital.”
In total panic, William and Lilly hurried to the hospital for Rose. By the time they got to the hospital, Rose was in stable condition. William told the doctors what had happened the other night and that she and her mother were not on good terms.
William knew the doctor, he had grown up with him, Dr. Jesse Newman. They were on the football team together in high school. The Dr. Newman, talked to William and Lilly about teenage depression, and how serious it was especially in children of divorced parents.
“Children, and teens in todays world don’t have it anything like we had it,” Doc Newman ranted “Oh, yes we had our challenges. But these kids are having a new round of challenges unique to this generation. … Every day they are bombarded with drugs, sex, self-mutilation all glorified by the boob tube and social media … Then because we all have to work our children are either left along or farmed off for someone else to parent. Just so that we can make a living … I’m sorry Will and Lilly I should have kept my options to myself. I just see this way too often … it’s starting to get to me. This is the seventh teen I have seen this week alone. Your daughter was one of the lucky ones, she lived.”
“Wow, really Doc,” William responded, ‘I knew something was wrong the other day when I came home to see my chair cut up, but I didn’t have any idea that it was this bad. I did talk with Dr. Cartwright here at the hospital and scheduled an appointment for Rose with her, but she couldn’t get her in for a couple of weeks. If I would have known Doc I would have done something sooner.”
“Well Will, she is in the right place now. We will get her into counseling right away … Oh, sorry to hear about you and Vicki. Divorce isn’t easy on anyone,” Doc Newman replied.
“Yeah, Doc what can I say.” William sighed.
Doc Newman then set up a plan of action for Rose and William. Rose stayed in the hospital for a month undergoing counseling before returning home to the camper.
As Rose entered the camper she felt her loneliness return, then Lucy said, “Hello …”.