It had gotten so bad that she couldn't even remember what it sounded like to hear someone else say her name. Her parents were drunk most of the time, and the slurred syllables coming out of their mouths sounded nothing like her name.
At school, the other kids called her lots of names, but never once her real one. So at night, when the loneliness and hopelessness threatened to overwhelm her, she whispered her name.
"Hannah. My name is Hannah."
The words were faint and ghostly in the bare attic, carried on the cold drafts from the foggy windows.
Be strong. That was her motto. When the other kids threw her books down the hallways and stomped on her homework, or when they broke her pencils or stole her meager lunch, those were the words that stopped the tears from coming. Stopped her chin from quivering, stopped her legs from just running away.
Instead, she'd quietly pick up the now battered books, gather her crumpled papers, and try to spread them out as smooth as possible.
The teachers had no idea what was going on. They just saw a shy, quiet girl who got surpisingly good grades but seemed to take little care of her books. She would get even better grades if the teachers hadn't of had to take off for the mud and tears in all of her homework.
After she'd walked the two miles home she'd sit cross-legged on her bed and carefully labor over her schoolwork. It kept her mind off of all her troubles, if only for a little while. And if there was a paper that needed typed, she walk to the library, her only other haven of peace and quiet.
Everyday she woke up, she told herself that today would be the day, the day that things would get better. The day her parents would wake up sober and not with a massive hang-over, the day someone would say something ncie to her in the school hallways or maybe ask her name.
It was wishful thinking, really, and she knew it.
Today, when she woke up, she told herself today was the day. The day she was going to end this living nightmare.
She hadn't quite figured out how she was going to do it, but those were minor details.
She had never thought that she would come to this point, but she just wanted it to be over, wanted it to be done. She was tired and lonely, out of hope, and didn't feel like fighting anymore. She'd given up. She was tired of taking the hard path, so now she choose the easy way out--death.
She hated herself for it, but she was too weak to keep going.
She gathered up her books and papers, and began the long walk to school. It was an overcast day, but she didn't even notice. Her brain was in a fog, and her body was numb. It was as if, after all these years, the final strand that had held her together had snapped.
When she reached the school, she walked down the hallway to her locker, eyes straight head, ears dead to the taunts and jeers.
She reached her locked and punched in the combination. The locker door swung open, and she placed her books and papers inside. She shut the door and turned away, heading to homeroom.
She'd almost reached the homeroom, when one of the other students stuck out a foot and tripped her.
As she fell towards the floor, time seemed to slow down. Her brain was still foggy, only registering You're falling. She wasn't even embarrassed, didn't even care. She didn't even know why she was here.
Halfway to the floor, her body halted, suspended in mid-air.
"Hey, are you all right?" A boy's voice cut through the fog. Now she could feel his hands on her shoulder and arm, holding her.
She forced herself to stand up straight and felt her face flushing.
"Y-yes, I-I think so."
He smiled, letting go. He peered closely at her face. "I'm Jacob. I don't think I've meet you before. What's your name?"
Had someone actually asked her her name?! She stared at him, wide eyed, before realizing what she was doing. She shut her mouth with a snap. "Oh, um, uh, sorry."
"Sorry?" he smiled in bewilderment.
"No, no, it's Hannah."
"Nice to meet you Hannah."
Hannah made her way into homeroom, taking her usual seat in the back of the class. Jacob moved on to his own class, leaving her lost in a daze.
Someone helped me. Someone asked my name.
She took a deep breath. Stay strong.
Kara: A new home.
Kara lay on her regular sized feather bed. She felt like ending her life because of all the pain she felt. All the kids at school were mean to her. She wished she could disappear off the face of the earth.
And she was living with a foster parent. Her parents had died on their way to a health conference when she was younger. It had been raining a lot and had lost control of their vehicle. They ended up sliding across the road, drove off it and went flying over the side of a hill. The car was found the next day with no survivors.
Her foster Dad did not treat her well. He shouted at her because she spent too much time in her room. Where else was she supposed to be, or go? The other children in the neighborhood did not like her. They thought she was a strange kid.
Kara liked to talk to animals. She cared for them. No one else did that. They all would pass by and if they saw even a baby deer, it was killed and eaten for the lunch/dinner. She tried to tell folks in her communtiy about protecting the forest & animals. But no one wanted to listen to her words.
She spent most of her days in her room. Even though her room was in the attic, she made it her own personal, comfy and a lovely place. It had stars hanging from the ceiling. A bonsai tree by the window sill. She even placed some pictures of birds, animals and flowers on the walls.
Later in the night, Kara heard a loud thud right around the house. She went all the way to the living room and peaked around the house through the windows.
Kara could not believe her eyes. Standing outside was an elf. He was planting seeds and inspecting the plants around the house. She quickly run to the front door, and went outside.
Jay~ You do not have to hide. I can sense when someone is watching me. I’m Jay. What’s your name?
Kara moved away from the rose bush and approached the stranger.
Kara~ I am Kara.
Jay~ That is a wonderful name. Kara. I really like it.
Kara~ Thank you.
Jay~ I noticed that you like nature.
Kara~ What? Have you been following me?
Jay~ No. (Laughs) I am not a stalker. I promise. I can tell from the health of these plants that they are being cared for quite well.
Kara~ (smiles) They are. I water them and feed them everyday.
Jay hands Kara some seeds and heads into the forest. Kara looks around her to see if anyone was around. The cost was clear.
She was drawn to the forest. A part of her wanted to be there forever. She did not feel like going back in the house. What about school? She didn’t even like being there.
Kara slowly walks towards the forest and then stops in her tracks. She takes one last look at the house, and then goes further into the forest.
She followed the tracks of the stranger she met. The more steps she took into the forest, the less her sadness became. She glanced around her and saw evergreen trees with deeply grounded roots. Kara also knelt down and smelt the flowers around her. There were roses, dandelions, tulips, gardenias, petunias and lilies & so many more.
Then she heard a branch snap. She looked at where the sound came from. It was only a brown beaver collecting twigs from the ground.
Kara soon heard chants and voices singing. The sound and noise was not too far away from her. She walked towards it.
Soon she found a grand gathering of elves in the forest. Kara joined the mingle and made herself at home. The elves were dancing and being merry. They were celebrating the lives of the trees that had past and we’re looking forward to the coming of the new life.
One of the elves gasped when they saw a human in their midst. Who was this stranger among them?
Kara~ Calm down. I am not here to hurt you. Believe me. I mean you no harm.
From the crowd, a familiar face approcahed Kara. It was Jay. She was glad to see his face again.
Jay~ I see you know your way around the forest.
Kara~ I guess I do.
Jay grabbed Kara’s hand and pulled her closer to him. They were soon twirling and dancing to the beat of the maracas.
After their dance, Jay passed a plate of food to Kara. She ate all the great tastes of the fruits, rice and meat provided to her. When the festivity was over, she told Jay about her life.
Jay~ If you want to stay here with me, I mean us, you can. What do you say?
Kara~ I do not know. Maybe. Why not? It does seem like a fun place.
Jay~ Do not worry. I can show you all the parts of this great forest.
Kara then hugged Jay and he gave her a tighter hug too.
There with the elves Kara stayed. & Not once did she ever feel like leaving her new home.