“Grace!” Miss Derby shouted.
“Coming!” Grace hollered back, panicked.
“Grace!” Miss Derby was shrieking now. Grace found Miss Derby in the yard pointing down at her beloved Chompy.
“How many times have I told you that your disgusting toys are never to be left out in the yard making a mess of things?”
Grace looked around the yard. Besides a few scattered dying shrubs and Miss Derby’s old truck that had been parked in the yard since the day Grace arrived at the orphanage, the yard was empty.
In the corner of the yard in some mud sat Chompy. Grace ran across the yard, got to her knees, and scooped up her dear stuffed doll and hugged it close. The only thing that brought her security and happiness was now soaked through with putrid smelling mud.
Miss Derby stomped out into the yard towards Grace.
“Need I remind you of rule number one?” Miss Derby snapped.
“Never be seen or heard.” Grace repeated in a monotone voice.
“Correct. Now that I have had to see you and hear you, kindly remind yourself of what the consequences are.”
“You won’t let me eat today.”
“That is correct.”
“But I-“ Grace started to say.
“You need to learn where your place is. I did you a favor by keeping you all of these years. And this is how you repay me? By keeping my home a mess? My kindness and generosity is wasted on you. You do nothing but grow, eat, and take up space. I will be glad to see the day to be rid of you. Now run along. Before I make it two days.”
With her head hung low, Chompy in her embrace, Grace walked towards the back of the house. As she rounded the corner, Damien jumped out in front of her. Grace, reacting out of fear, put Chompy protectively behind her back.
“Hey, loser.” Damien chuckled. Terrified, Grace took a few steps back. Damien was always horribly mean to Grace. Living in constant fear of what he was planning to do to her next, Damien tormented Grace daily. Grace tried her best to pretend Damien’s bullying never bothered her, but when it came to Chompy, Damien knew how to cut her deep. Despite Grace’s best efforts to keep Chompy hidden, Damien always found him and either threw him in the mud or on the roof, far out of Grace’s reach.
“I thought Chompy could use a mud bath.” Damien snorted.
Grace fought hard not to cry. She didn’t want to give Damien the added satisfaction. Stepping around him, she started to make her way to the backyard. Damien wasn’t going to let her get away without adding more pain to Grace’s day and shoved her as she walked by. Losing her balance, Grace fell to the ground, skinning her knee. Rolling over to her side, she looked up at Damien.
“Miss Derby is right, you are a waste of space.” He snarled.