The alarm woke me up from a deep, dreamy sleep. Another dream about a mysterious, handsome man in a beautiful meadow. I sighed and shut the alarm off. It was 5am and I had chores to do before school. I pushed my thin duvet back and nearly fell over trying to stand up. The usual. I got dressed and then began to clean the floor tiles and sang quietly to myself. By 6:30 I had almost finished but had to begin breakfast for Phil and Renee. Phil was my stepfather. Renee was married to my dad, Charlie, until he died two years ago and Phil took his place. Renee is oblivious to what really goes on. She assumes I cook and clean willingly not because Phil beats me if I don't. Though she's at work all day so she wouldn't know. Renee is the perfect mother. Beautiful, kind, caring but she's always at work now, thanks to Phil. He convinced her he made all the money through his work from home business so she doesn't have a day off and works harder than anyone, which is completely unfair. Our family is pretty rich. We have a fairytale castle, its old but not too big. When we moved in with Charlie, Renee was looking for a project, she wanted to redecorate this place and then move out but when he died, she couldn't leave it so we're still here. Its full of winding staircases, beautiful features and secrets. My mum calls it 'Cinderella's Castle' because it reminded her of the Disney film. I have the smallest room at the very top even though we have five bedrooms that are all bigger, Phil thinks its best for me, so I don't get distracted from my duties. I don't have any nice clothes either. Phil says its not good if I spill something on them or get them dirty. I really hated this man. I made his usual eggs, bacon and pancakes and served them up just as he and Renee were coming down.
"Morning Mum, Phil."
"Morning Bella!" She said kissing my forehead. She suddenly gasped. "What happened to your cheek and eye?" Damn. When Phil beat me last night he cut my cheek and punched me in the eye and I completely forgot to put make up over it. I was in for it when Renee left.
"Um, I fell down the top flight of stairs. Don't worry about it." That was an awful lie.
She let out a small but worried laugh "Oh Bella! What are we going to do with you?"
I smiled at her but glanced at Phil who was eating his food with a smile on his face but pure anger deep in his eyes. He looked up at me and glared.
"Right, I'm going to grab breakfast on the way into work. I'll see you guys later." She came over and pecked Phil on the lips then kissed my hair and left. I quickly grabbed my bag and started to head out the door when someone grabbed the top of my arm making me wince in pain. He spun me around and made me look at him.
"What the hell was that? Why didn't you cover it up you bitch?" He shouted and spat at me.
"P-Phil, I forgot! I-I'm so s-s-sorry!" I was getting hysterical, and rightly so. There was suddenly a sharp pain in my cheek, then he pushed me to the ground making me hit my head against the hard floor tiles. I went really dizzy and I couldn't see when he kicked my chest. I blacked out.
I opened my eyes a few minutes later to see I was running late for school. I was having trouble breathing properly. I stood up quickly and looked in the mirror to see a bruise forming on my forehead going down to my chin. Great. As I opened the front door Phil shouted.
"Oh, Isabella? You are in for it when you get home young lady." That sent chills down my spine. I ran out the front door as fast as possible.
The school day continued as usual - talking to my best friend Angela, getting asked about newest bruises, getting homework. When the final bell rung, I began shaking. I was petrified and certainly in no rush to get home. Angela knew everything but swore never to tell anyone, she was my best and only friend and she could always tell if I was scared.
"Text me." She said. I only nodded, I couldn't speak. She hugged me and I set off home. When I got there I put my bag down and walked straight into the utility room where we kept the cleaning supplies hoping he was out or had just forgotten about it. But then as I got out the broom, I heard footsteps.
"Hello Isabella. How was school?" He asked in a mocking tone. I turned to see him holding a wooden baseball bat. Before I could take anything else in he whacked me in the stomach with it. I screamed stumbled back into the work surfaces.
"Hmmm," He said when I was cornered. "I think an aluminium bat may work better. Let me go and get it. If you are not here when I get back then I assure you, you won't wake up tomorrow – Its good that I keep James around isn't it?" He grinned and left the room. I couldn't stop myself. My legs wouldn't stop. I ran out the door and into the forest. I ran faster than ever before. I went through the forest not stopping. I was running for what seems like hours. It was dark and wet in the woods, there was a thunder storm above me and I kept falling over branches and other things I couldn't even see. I began to walk, hoping I was lost enough so Phil or James couldn't find me. Eventually I fell, letting myself stay that way.