Prose Header

Pushed to the Limit

by Bonnie Gibson

Table of Contents
Part 1 and part 2
appear in this issue.
part 3

Chapter Six

Stanley went over to the Weaver’s house to retrieve his son. “I’m so sorry Mrs. Weaver,” he said. “I don’t know what’s come over Henrietta. I know I’m gone a lot. I know I need to spend more time with her, but right now it’s hard to get time off. I need more time with Billy, too. I’m going to do some serious talking to her.”

“Something has got to be done about this, Stanley,” Betty said. “You can’t just leave a four-year old by himself. It could damage him for life, leaving him locked up in a closet. Now if she leaves this child alone again it’s going to make me very unhappy. What if we hadn’t been home? What if the house had caught fire?”

“Mrs. Weaver, if you see her leave without Billy just call me. I’ll come home at once,” Stanley replied. Now where’s Billy?”

“He’s in the den, watching television,” she said. “Go on in and get your son.”

Billy ran into his father’s arms the minute Stanley came into the room. “I’m sorry Billy. I’m sorry Mommy left you. I won’t let her do it again, okay?”

“I was scared Daddy. I was all by myself,” Billy said.

“I know son, I know. I’ll talk to Mommy. She won’t do it again.”

“Daddy, are you gonna get me the puppy you promised?” Billy asked.

“We’ll see Billy,” Stanley answered.

Chapter Seven

Brenda was the youngest of three children. She had an older brother and sister. Brenda’s parents were pretty strict. When they said be home at midnight they didn’t mean a minute after. Brenda tried to be obedient to her parents. She knew that they loved her and just wanted to make sure she was safe and doing right.

“Turn right at the next drive, that’s my house,” said Brenda. “I’m on time, it’s just 11:50.

“Can I come back to see you?” asked Billy.

“I’d be unhappy if you didn’t,” replied Brenda.

“What about tomorrow night?” Billy asked. “I get off work at 3:30 and I can be here by 6:00.”

“That’s fine,” replied Brenda. “As far as I know, my parents will let me go, but you’d better leave me your telephone number just in case.”

Billy pulled up in Brenda’s driveway and began looking for a pencil to write with. After looking through the glove box he couldn’t find anything.

“Just tell me, I’ll write it down when I first get inside,” Brenda said. “I’m pretty good at remembering numbers.”

Billy told Brenda his number and gently reached over and got her hand. He gave it a little squeeze.

“I had a great time tonight Brenda,” Billy said. “I can’t wait until tomorrow night. We’ll have more time together.”

“I gotta go in,” said Brenda. “I don’t want to be late. Can’t chance not getting to go out tomorrow night.”

Billy jumped out and ran around the door and opened it for Brenda. He walked with her to the porch and gently gave her a kiss on her cheek.

“Goodnight,” he said.

“Bye,” said Brenda. “See you tomorrow night at six o’clock sharp.”

“You can count on it,” Billy said as walked back to his car.

Brenda went inside and closed the door. She watched through the glass in the door as Billy drove off. She was singing softly to herself when her mom walked up behind her.

“Have a good time?” her mother asked.

Brenda spun around to see her mother.

“Mom.” Brenda yelled, “You almost scared me to death. I thought you were asleep.”

“I heard the car drive up,” her mother replied. “That wasn’t Cindy’s mom was it?”

“No Mom, it wasn’t,” Cindy answered. “ I met a boy at the game tonight. He’s really nice Mom. He even opened the car door for me. He’s really good-looking too. I didn’t think you’d mind if he brought me home instead of me riding with Cindy.”

“Well Brenda, you know I don’t like you leaving with strange boys,” her mom said.

“I know mom, but I felt safe with him. I don’t know, it was just something about him that I knew I’d be fine. I have a date tomorrow night with him. I want you and Dad to meet him tomorrow okay?”

“All right Brenda, we will,” her mom said. “I hope you are right. I hope he is a nice boy because you seem to already like him a lot. Now go on to bed and get some sleep. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

“Goodnight Mom,” Brenda said. “I love you.”

“Love you too,” her mother replied.

After jotting down Billy’s telephone number, Brenda climbed into bed. She was very tired from cheering and dancing. The bed was so warm and comfortable that she fell asleep really fast. She awakened early the next morning to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon. She knew that her mother had gotten up and was preparing breakfast.

Billy... Oh my gosh, it wasn’t a dream. I really met him, Brenda thought as she sat up in bed, and I have a date with him tonight.

“Brenda.” her mother, Judy, yelled, “time to get up; I have breakfast almost done.”

“Okay Mom.” Brenda returned the yell. “I’ll be there in a minute.”

Brenda put on her robe and began walking down the hall to the bathroom. As she approached the bathroom door, her father Archie, jumped right out at her and yelled, “I hear you got a new boyfriend.”

Brenda screamed and almost fell to the floor. Archie reached out and grabbed her and said, “ I didn’t mean to make you pass out,” his head rolling back with laughter.

What’s with you guys, scaring me to death?” Brenda asked. “Mom scared me last night and now you. I’ll get both of you back, just wait and see.”

Archie always loved to carry on some sort of mess with his kids. He was just a kid at heart. He had always paid his children a lot of attention while they were growing up. He didn’t make a lot of money and couldn’t provide for them what other children had, but he sure did give them of himself. All of his children loved him for that. One thing they knew is that their parents loved them, even if they didn’t have all the modern conveniences that most other children had.

The aroma of the food lured she and her father to the breakfast table. Her mother always had plenty to eat for breakfast. This morning she had bacon, eggs, cheese grits and home made biscuits.

“This looks great Mom.” Brenda said as she pulled out a chair and sat down. She remembered her mother always telling she and her brother and sister as they sat at the breakfast table, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day; you need to fill up your empty tanks before you start your day.”

Brenda missed having her brother and sister at home. She did love getting all of her parent’s attention, but she would always miss having them around.

“You want coffee today, Brenda?” Judy asked.

“Sure Mom,” Brenda replied. “I need some get up and go today, I have a lot to do. Maybe the caffeine will help.”

“Well I don’t know what you have planned for today but I know what I need to do and I’m going to need you to help me,” Judy said.

“Oh Mom.” Brenda exclaimed, “you know I have a date tonight and I have to get ready.”

“Well I hope it isn’t going to take all day,” Judy said in a sarcastic voice.

“I don’t what in the world I’m gonna wear, Mom. I need some new clothes,” Brenda said as she gobbled down a bite of scrambled eggs.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Judy said.

Brenda looked over at her dad.

“Don’t look at me,” Archie said. “I’m not made out of money, you know.”

“Yes, Dad, I know,” Brenda said, “but could you just this one time spare enough money for me to get a new outfit for tonight. I won’t get anything really expensive. I’ll be careful not to spend too much.”

“This boy must really mean something to you,” Archie said.

“Yeah, Dad, I think he just may,” Brenda replied as she stirred in her grits with a spoon.

“Well this one time won’t make us or break us I guess,” Archie said.

Brenda jumped up from the table and ran over and gave her dad a big hug while kissing him on the cheek.

“Boy, if I knew I’d get a hug like that I’d buy you a new outfit every day,” Archie said.

“Thanks, Dad. I know you would if you had the money. I just want tonight to be special.” Brenda said.

“Don’t you go and get too serious about this boy too quickly now, you know you still have another year of school to go yet. Your mom and I want you to graduate like your brother and sister did.” Archie said.

“I know Dad, I want to graduate too. I want to be able to get a good job to help my husband out, whoever that might be,” Brenda said.

“Are we going to get to meet this guy tonight?” Archie said.

“Yes sir,” Brenda said. “I want you both to be here when he comes now, I want to see what you think of him.”

“Well finish up your breakfast and help me get this kitchen cleaned up for starters,” Judy said, “or you won’t get to the mall to get your shopping done. Remember I still have chores for you to do before tonight.”

“Yes Mom,” Brenda said. “Are you or Dad taking me to the mall?”

“Your mom has lots to do today, I guess I’ll take you this time if you’ll give me another one of those hugs you gave me earlier,” Archie said.

“Oh Dad,” Brenda said, “you know you can have a hug anytime.”

Chapter Eight

It was Billy’s seventh birthday. He was looking forward to getting the puppy his father promised him many times over. Over and over his dad had told him that he would get him a puppy but never did. Over and over Billy begged his dad to play catch with him. Stanley was always too busy.

With Stanley in the military, he had to move his family often. Tom and Betty Weaver had lost track of them. They tried to keep in touch to make sure Billy was taken care of, but they had finally given up.

“Mom, when’s Dad getting home?” Billy asked. “He’s supposed to get me my puppy for my birthday you know?”

“Billy don’t get your hopes up too high now,” Henrietta said. “I’ve got to get my nails done. I’ll be back in a while.”

“Mom, can I go?” Billy asked.

“Not this time Billy, I have a lot of errands to do after I get my nails done.”

“What about my birthday?” Billy asked. “Aren’t you and Dad going to be here for my birthday?”

“Your Dad will be here in a few minutes and I’m sure he’ll take you to get your puppy,” Henrietta said. “Just stay inside now. You’ll be fine. There are cookies on the table and milk in the fridge. You can put on a movie. Just don’t go outside. We don’t need noisy neighbors sticking their nose in our business.”

“Yes mam,” Billy said.

Billy hated being left alone. It seemed Hennrieta always had things to do that didn’t involve him. His dad loved the military and never seemed to be home. Sometimes he’d be gone for weeks and Henrietta would leave Billy alone for days.

He’d never forget the time she had left him alone for four days when he was only six years old. She went to the grocery store and brought home lots of goodies. Billy was excited to see all she had bought. She only told him that she’d be gone for a few hours. It turned into four days.

Billy was so scared the first night. He never left his room. He wouldn’t even go into the kitchen to get anything to eat. He was afraid to move. Finally daylight came. He was starving. He went into the kitchen and fixed him a bowl of cereal. After he had eaten all he could, he made little men out of the dry cereal.

He heard someone at the door. Someone was shaking the doorknob trying to get in. He eased into the living room. He could see the image of a man through the glass in the door. He wanted so much to open the door but was afraid of who it might be. He was afraid someone might hurt him. He knew his dad and mom had a key and would let themselves in. He didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood.

He hid behind a chair in the living room. Finally the man went away. Billy got up and went back into the kitchen. His heart jumped when he heard a noise at the back door. The man was trying to get in through the door. Billy quickly ducked behind the door entrance. He peaked from behind the case opening. He could see clearly that it was a man. He was wearing a baseball cap. He had on a green shirt.

The man pressed his face against the glass in the door, looking into the house. Billy wanted to call the police but was afraid. He knew his parents would get into trouble for leaving him alone. He loved his parents in spite of them leaving him alone all the time. He didn’t want to get them into trouble and he knew his parents would be furious with him if he did call.

Finally the door was kicked open. Billy ran to his room as fast as he could and got under his bed. He was crying. He tried to be quiet. He hoped the man wouldn’t hear him. He was so afraid. He heard things being moved. He heard rattling sounds coming from the kitchen.

Then he heard footsteps coming down the hall toward him. His heart was beating very fast. He heard the man say, “there’s nothing in this room fit to take.” Another one answered, “let’s see what’s in the other rooms and then get out of here before someone comes home, Jack.”

Billy realized that there were two men in his house. He was only six but he knew he was in grave danger. He kept completely quiet. He was hoping that they wouldn’t come into his room again. “Jack!” one of the men called. Look here!”

“What have you got?” the other said.

“It’s a safe. I don’t how to get it open though,” the other said.

“We’ll have to take it with us and try to get it open,” the one named Jack said. “It’s not big so we can manage. Get the other things in the car. I’ll take this one.”

Billy was so frightened. He was crying. He was trying to think of other things to keep him from crying loud enough for the men to hear him. It had worked before but it wasn’t working this time. He was shaking from head to toe. He gasped as his little body needed air.

Then men heard him. “What was that?” one asked. “Sounded like a kid,” the other replied. “Where are you kid?” the one named Jack asked. “I know you are in here, we’ll find you.”

Billy ran out from under the bed and tried to reach the back door to get away. A large man grabbed him by the shoulder and brought him crashing down to his knees. “Where do you think you are going, kid?” he asked.

“Damn, I never looked for this,” the man named Jack said. “Frank, he’s seen us, now what?”

“Give me time to think,” he mused. Billy was shaking.

“Why are you here alone?” Frank asked. “Are your parents plum crazy leaving you here by yourself?” Billy just looked at the man and cried. “Tie him up,” Frank said to Jack.

“But he has seen us, he can identify us,” Jack said.

“We’ll have to take him with us,” Frank said.

“Please,” Billy cried. “Just leave me here. I won’t tell. I promise. If I tell my mom and dad will get into trouble for leaving me here alone. They won’t call the police either, I promise.”

“We don’t need a kid along, Frank,” Jack gasped. “Just leave him here. Go ahead and tie him up so he can’t get to a phone.”

The two tied Billy up and left him. He couldn’t get to a phone or get anything to eat or drink. The two men didn’t know that Billy’s parents would leave him alone for days. They didn’t realize that Billy would do without food for two full days before his mother came home. Billy spent his birthday alone, with nothing to eat or drink, tied up to a kitchen chair.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2006 by Bonnie Gibson

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