“Where have you been, young lady?” demanded Shauna’s mother as she walked in the door.
“Nowhere,” replied Shauna, trying to make her way to the staircase.
Her mother blocked her path, her hands on her hips. “Do you realize what time it is? Do you realize what day it is?”
“Where have you been going every night?”
“None of your business!” Shauna yelled, running past her mother and up into her room.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me!” Her mother followed.
“Just leave me alone!”
“What’s going on?” asked Shauna’s father, storming into the room. “Shauna! Where have you been?”
“That’s what I want to know,” whined her mother.
“It’s none of your business!” Shauna yelled, growing more courageous each time she said something.
“The hell it’s not!” screamed her father. “As long as you live under my roof everything you do is my business!”
“Fine! Then I’ll leave!”
“Excuse me?” her mother shrieked.
Shauna opened her closet and took out her school bag, stuffing it with as many items of clothing as would fit. “I’m moving out,” she declared once the bag was full.
“And just where do you think you’re going?”
“None of your business!”
She tried to walk past them but her father grabbed her arm and yanked her so hard she fell. She cried out and he was stunned for a moment so she had a chance to escape. As she scrambled to her feet he grabbed for her again but she swung her bag and he jumped back, yelling incoherently. Her mother kept telling her she couldn’t leave but she ran downstairs without a word, concentrating hard so she wouldn’t stumble on the steps. Her father was right behind her and he yanked on her shirt, strangling her. The pain in her neck was sharp and she fell back into her father, gasping for breath.
For a second she wasn’t sure what was going on but she forced herself to keep her eyes open. Her father had taken hold of her bag but she was still grasping the strap tightly.
“Go ahead and leave, Shauna. But everything in this house is mine and that includes this bag and your clothes. If you leave you can’t take anything that belongs to me!”
“Fine!” Shauna let go of the bag and her father stumbled backwards.
She snickered as he caught his footing and before she knew it his hand was striking her face. Everything went black and then there was a burst of white light. Sound was muffled for a second but she’d been hit enough times that she knew how to keep her wits about her as it happened. For the first time she decided to strike back. She lifted her foot and shot out her leg, kicking her father’s knee. She’d been aiming higher but this would have to do. He yelled out and stumbled again and Shauna turned before he could collect himself. She grabbed her bag, which lay on the ground and then bolted out the door. Without looking back she ran down the street and ran until she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t hear and couldn’t see and then she kept running.