Behind Closed Doors (Completed 9/20)

A/N: Yes, this story is about Munchausen by Proxy. Yes, it contains crimes against children. You have been warned.

I slowly inched my way to the podium when they called my name. My legs trembled beneath me so much I feared for a split second I wouldn’t make it. I had been coached all afternoon on what to say and how to say it. I had to appear strong and unafraid.

“The defense can smell fear.” Mr. Montgomery, the district attorney, had said. I only half believed he was joking. I wondered how strong I would appear if I fainted from nerves before I even gave my testimony.

“Answer only what you’re asked; don’t volunteer information. Sit up straight and give your answers confidently. If you don’t remember a date or event say, ‘I don’t recall,’ not ‘I don’t remember.’’ “I don’t recall’ means at the moment you’re not sure, but it could come back to you at any time.”

There was so much I was supposed to remember I didn’t think I could. All those medication names and side effects, most of which I couldn’t pronounce even if I read them off a slip of paper. They were kidding themselves if they thought I could “recall” any of this stuff off the top of my head. In truth, I had spent the last three years trying to bury the events of the past.

When I somehow miraculously managed to get to the front of the courtroom on my own two feet, I placed one hand on the bible and the other in the air.

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God?”

“I do.” My dry mouth made it sound more like a croak than any intelligible words, but the bailiff seemed satisfied. He led me into what seemed like a box and I took my seat. The microphone was positioned about two feet taller than where I sat, and I struggled not to focus on how many people were waiting on me as I fiddled with it.

“Are you ready?” The judge asked.

“Yes,” I squeaked. I knew I didn’t sound very convincing. “Your honor.” I threw out at the last minute. I could see Mr. Montgomery give me a smile and a thumbs up.

“Please state your name for the record.”

“Eliza Anne Thompson, sir.”

“How old are you, Eliza?”

“Fifteen, sir.”

The lawyers began to talk amongst themselves, before one of them, a tall slender man with brown peppered hair stepped forward from the defense side.

“Are we ready to begin?” The judge asked.

“Yes, your honor.”

“Then you may proceed.”

“Eliza, may I ask how you came to know the defendant, Miss Debrah Marie Martnif?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know Miss Martnif?”

“We were next door neighbors.” I replied. Her name ringing in my ears made my stomach do flip flops in revulsion. I briefly surveyed my surroundings wondering if there was a trashcan nearby in case I got sick. I spotted one by my feet to the left of me. I must not be the only one concerned about losing their lunch. I mentally thanked myself for skipping lunch. And breakfast. And the previous night’s dinner.

“How long have you been next door neighbors?”

“Since 1999.”

“Since 1999? And you know that as a fact?”

“Yes.”

“What year were you born, Eliza?”

“2005.”

“So you know, for a fact, she lived there for six years before you were even born?”

I bit down on the inside of my lip as I tried to calm myself. I didn’t like the condescending tone in his voice. Mr. Montgomery warned me not to take anything personally.

“Yes.”

“Have you seen with your own eyes the deed to the property?”

“No.”

“How about a renters agreement?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know for sure when they moved in?”

“My parents told me.” I said, before taking a sip of water from the glass on the podium. It was hard to talk with my mouth and throat so dry. I was trying to sound confident, but my cracking voice gave me away. The defense attorney laughed.

“Oh, your parents told you, did they?”

“Yes.”

“And like a good little girl you believe everything your parents tell you?”

“N-no, I mean yes, I mean. . . “

The defense attorney laughed again along with a quarter of the courtroom.

“Oh to be a naive kid again. Well, according to the renters agreement I have here, Miss Debbrah Martnif moved into the house in the summer of ‘97 not ‘99.”

Wow, I was a whopping 2 years off. I struggled to keep a straight face and not let my skepticism show.

“So i’m sorry to burst your bubble of innocence, but your parents aren’t always right.” I looked at him in his fancy suit and tie feeling dumbfounded. I was fifteen. A teenager. Of course I didn’t think my parents were always right. “Which brings me to my point.” He went on pacing back and forth before stopping and looking me dead in the eyes. “If your parents are wrong about this, then I wonder what other preconceived notions your parents filled your head with?”

I sucked in a lung full of air. Mr. Montgomery nodded in my direction. It was now or never.

“That she was a kind and caring woman who was down on her luck.”

“That’s what your parents told you?”

“Yes”

“And was she?”

“At first.”

“What changed?”

“I found out what she really was.”

“And what was she, Eliza?”

For the first time since the trial started I gathered all my strength and looked directly at Debbie, sitting with her lawyers. We made eye contact and she smirked up at me.

“A monster.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was October of 2017, and my parents decided to travel to Europe for a month leaving behind my younger sister and I. To most twelve year olds, this action was on par to high treason. I had begged, pleaded, cried, bit, spat, thrown tantrums and any other attention seeking behavior I could think of. I was never the most well behaved child to begin with, but being told my sister and I would be left in the care of our neighbor Debbie for an entire month had sent me into a destructive tail spin.

I had nothing against the woman, she was an icon in our neighborhood and her fundraisers had even been featured several times on the local news. People revered her for her struggles and her strength to get through them. They held her up to almost god status. If she asked you to jump, you asked, “how high?” If she said she needed her gutters cleaned, men formed a team and emptied those gutters, along with washing her car, mowing her lawn, trimming the trees, planting flowers, and fixing a leak in the roof. There were no ulterior motives either. Yes, she was a widow, but she wasn’t Miss America or anything. People just genuinely wanted to help.

When the family first moved in, years before I was even born, There was Debbie, her husband Paul, and her two sons, Jackson and James. I never knew Jackson, who was a good nine years older than me, but I’m told he was really sick for a long time. I don’t know the name of the illness he had, but it left him permanently bound in a wheelchair. As he got older, the disease progressed faster until it left him practically a vegetable. When he died at the age of nineteen, I vaguely remember bringing them a casserole with my family. I don’t know why my mother felt the need to rub salt in their wounds by presenting them with her cooking, but it’s tradition I guess.

James on the other hand, was only a year older than me and had been my closest friend at one time. We’d spend the summers over at each other’s houses and play in his large backyard in the trees. We’d pretend to get lost in the jungle and made up our own secret and primitive language to communicate with the “locals”, Aka the neighbors cat and the occasional grasshopper. We’d click our tongues together to signal whether the path up ahead was safe, or dangerous. One click for yes, and two for no. Sometime’s the indigionous wild tribes we’d stumble across meant us harm and we’d tap out a secret rhythm, that sounded suspiciously like the theme song to “What’s New Scooby Doo” on the nearest object to signal to our comrades behind us to back away slowly as we did the same.

When it was time for lunch, Debbie would call us back with a wild howl like a wolf and James and I would traverse the wild jungle once again in search of substance. We’d drag ourselves to the picnic table, telling tales of how we barely escaped with our lives from the invisible army of tribesmen along the back wall with their spears still clutched in their hands. We’d tell Debbie how we hadn’t eaten for days and how we thought we’d never see civilization again. I had really enjoyed my afternoons over there. It was amazing that even while caring for Jackson full time, Debbie always had time to indulge us in our little made up games and make us lunch.

Bad luck seemed to curse that family though. After Jackson had died when I was around seven or eight, it had only taken two years for Paul to follow suit. He had suffered a heart attack and gone peacefully in his sleep. This is when James’ behaviour towards me had started to change. He was no longer the happy kid I remembered him to be. He grew cynical and criticized all of my ideas. I’d often come home in tears and soon we grew apart.

By the time I was ten I had heard the terrible news. James had begun showing symptoms of the same disease that had taken his older brother. My parents commented on how terrible it must be for Debbie. She had already lost a child and her husband, now the only surviving relative looked as if he might suffer the same slow and painful death. The neighborhood had rallied together to raise funds for her for James treatment when it looked like she might be evicted. There were bake sales, yardsales, car washes, movie nights, anything anyone could come up with to help the struggling broken family. Together they had managed to raise her $15,000. That’s when she ended up on the news. No matter what travesty happened though, she always managed to keep her head up and a smile on her face. That’s why so many people seemed to admire her and I was one of them.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Debbie, but rather I don’t know how to explain it. Something didn’t feel right. The issue had never been Debbie at all that made me dread my stay. It was seeing James. No longer the fun spirited boy I once knew, but a prisoner to a disease I couldn’t possibly understand. My heart broke for him on the occasions I’d see him in his adult stroller getting loaded into the minivan her church had given her to help transport him. No longer able to climb the trees he once loved, instead he just sat there staring off into the distance.

I begged my mom one more time to let me stay anywhere else as we pulled our belongings out the front door.

“I don’t want to hear it.” my mom said. “We’re paying her twice the amount of anyone else to watch you.”

“Why? I don’t even want to go there!”

“Because she could really use the money, and we need a babysitter. It’s a win win.”

“Why not just give her money and let me stay somewhere else?”

“Because sometimes adults don’t want things just handed to them.” she explained. “Sometimes it feels better to earn an income than it does getting it for free.” I scrunched up my face in confusion.

“I love getting things for free.”

“You’re a kid. It’s different as an adult.”

“Free stuff!” my little sister Lily chimed in. She was only four.

“Ugh, why is Lily’s bag so heavy?” I groaned as I hoisted it up the curb. “Are you sure you’re not just leaving us there and running away forever?”

“Oops, you caught me.”

“Don’t joke like that!” I had never been one to show affection, hugs and kisses from mom and dad were for little kids, and I prided myself on my tough exterior. Now the sudden fear of being abandoned made me want to hug my mom and even put up with her kisses if it meant not being left here. I had always been a rowdy tom boy, my sister on the other hand was a princess. We were complete opposites. The only conclusion I could come up with was that Lily was adopted and my mother faked her pregnancy.

“It’s the bag of pull ups and diapers that are so heavy.” My mom said while a plastic princess potty was tucked under one arm.

“She’s going to be in diapers until highschool.” I said. There was one thing my sister and I did have in common though. We were stubborn. If there was something we didn’t want to do, we put our foot down and wouldn’t budge. Potty training hadn’t been on Lily’s priority list it seemed, despite already being four.

We had just finally managed to get her into pull ups instead of diapers, but when my mom had commented the other night about how leaving might make her backslide, I was pissed. They already treated me like Lily’s live-in babysitter. This was the fifth time we had managed to get her into pull-ups but it felt like something as simple as a cold, a change in schedule, or a shift in the wind made her regress. Guess who got stuck with 75% of the work when I got home from school. Me. If my mom and dad were leaving knowing full well it was going to make Lily go back to diapers again, they could deal with the consequences. I was done.

“Please behave yourself.” my mom said before she set everything down to ring the doorbell. I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious, I don’t want you giving this poor woman any attitude. She has enough to deal with without your snark.”

Was my mom trying to pick a fight because it sounded to me like she was trying to pick a fight. I was already in a foul mood at being forced to come here and here she was trying to twist the knife.

She quickly plastered on a fake smile as Debbie answered the door, who beckoned us in with an equally cheesy grin. We set all our stuff by the door, three full suitcases, and followed her around the house. It was a little different than I remembered, but not by much. Some of the appliances had been upgraded, there was no longer a bathtub but a walk in shower, and the porch and backyard had ramps. I took a moment to admire the large flat screen television in the living room, that definitely hadn’t been there the last time I had been over.

I remembered sitting with James on the carpet watching cartoons after school on their old bulky Sony television from the 90’s that sat in the hutch. I used to give him a hard time because it still had a VCR connected to it instead of a Dvd player. I didn’t really understand how strapped for cash they were with Jackson’s medical bills. I had only seen his brother a handful of times, despite this place once having been a second home to me. He had been bedridden, and his room had been strictly off limits.

I sat on the leather couch, another new addition, and surveyed my new prison while my mom and Lily stood in the hall talking.

“If she gives you any trouble feel free to smack her.” I heard my mom say. I thought they were talking about Lily, until I heard Debbie’s response.

“I can’t imagine her being any trouble. She was always so well behaved and such a delight to have around.”

My mom let out a bark of laughter.

“That was pre-hormones.” That seemed to be all she needed to explain for Debbie to understand because that’s all my mom had to say about me before rattling off Lily’s schedule. I had almost completely zoned out before I heard my mom say, “Don’t worry about changing diapers, Eliza can take care of all that.” Before I could stop myself, I was on my feet and storming over to set the record straight.

“I am not changing Lily’s diapers!” My mother glared at me, but I held my ground. “What’s the point of hiring a babysitter if you still expect me to do all the work?”

“Eliza!” my mother hissed. “I’m so sorry, Debbie, like I said, if she mouths off, you have my permission to punish her however you think is best. I’m sure it won’t come to that though because her attitude is going to stop. This. Instant. Isn’t it?” She finished her last sentence glaring daggers at me.

“It’s not a problem.” Debbie replied, raising and lowering her hands to try and calm us down. “Of course I don’t expect you to change diapers, sweetie.” She told me. I relaxed almost at once. “She won’t even need pull-ups by the time you pick her up.”

I doubted that, but I appreciated her optimistic demeanor. My mom also looked skeptical.

“We’ve been trying all year, but…” My mom trailed off. There had been talk of getting Lily tested for autism. My mom had said Lily was a little slower than other kids her age, but I had nothing to compare her to. Lily was just Lily to me.

Debbie still insisted she could handle it.

When I watched my mom leave, my insides were a convoluted mess of emotions which fought each other for dominance. I didn’t know whether to celebrate or break down and cry. I was angry, hurt, happy and depressed all at once. I realized I must have been staring at the front door longer than necessary when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“A month will pass in no time, sweetie. You’re going to have so much fun you won’t even notice they’re gone.” She leaned down to whisper in my ear, and my face scrunched in pain and confusion as I felt fingernails digging into my shoulder blades. “Now I know you won’t be giving me any trouble this month, will you?” Her voice was no longer sweet and syrupy. I swallowed and sucked in my breath.

“No.”

“No, what?”

“No, ma’am.”

“That’s what I like to hear.” All at once the pain and pressure in my shoulders dissipated, and her voice returned to its normal upbeat and chipper tone. “Now why don’t you be the sweet girl I remember and take your sister outback and play.”

3 Likes

Fantastic start, so wonderfully different from usual.
I feel like in the book or movie “A Time to Kill”

You will probably let us walk through a dark valley and yet you have not revealed the end in any way.
In the end, the lawyers ( I mean you) decide how it will end.

To start with a story from the last third of a story, is a great idea.
I’ve already done that, but I am somehow got bogged down.
And than come you now, with that story … realy great!

My story doesn’t end with the verdict too …
But I don’t want to reveal anything, if you are much like me, I know your way …

I love dark stories and I am very excited to see, how yours will continue.

If you could distribute stars / points here, I would give you 10 pieces for your start.

Really very good work, because especially you tell it everything much shorter and more tightly, than I did it.
I hope you maybe inspire me for my end.

You always need a different point of view when you have writer’s block …

I can´t wait to see much more, from your work.

“Eliza! Eliza! Wake up!” A hand gripped my wrist and I jolted awake. I sat up with a start, my chest heaving up and down as I struggled to control my breathing. I wrenched my arm back and flailed my limbs as I desperately tried to escape my invisible bonds. “Honey, calm down. You were having a bad dream.”

I took a swing at the voice, before my arms were forcefully held in place. It took me a terrifying minute to stop fighting against the intruder and let the world ever so slowly come back into focus. I was back in my bed at home, and the person restraining me was my mother. I began to weep before I felt arms close around me and gently rock me back and forth. I hated affection, but now I flung myself around my mother as if she was the only thing keeping me anchored to reality. I didn’t care if I was fifteen, or twenty, or thirty.

“Shh Shh it’s okay it’s okay. You’re safe, you’re safe!”

I didn’t feel safe. My body shook with involuntary sobs from the lingering terror of my nightmare. All at once I was beginning to feel trapped. I pushed my mother away and sprang out of bed. I danced in place in my room with arms spread out. I needed space and air. Then I would need my mother’s embrace once again before the cycle repeated itself.

“Sweetie…”

“Don’t call me sweetie!” I loathed being called sweetie.

“I’m sorry. I know, I’m sorry.” Her eyes were filled with sadness as she looked me up and down. Her stare drifted from my soaked Nightmare before Christmas pajamas over to my bed. I watched as she pulled the covers back to reveal the large wet stain on my sheets. “Oh, Eliza.” She whispered. Her voice was a mix of sympathy and concern. “You don’t have to go through with this.”

“I do.” my voice cracked with emotion. I had been putting on a brave face, but in reality, the stress of the trial, the stress of testifying, the stress of facing her was knocking down my carefully constructed tough girl facade faster than I could put it up. I felt like everything was collapsing around me. What I wanted more than anything was to go in the backyard and light up, but now that I’d woken up half the house I doubted I could sneak it without getting caught.

“She’s going to jail whether you testify or not.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Eliza, look at yourself. You’re shaking, you’re sweaty, and you’re covered in… If I had known this was going to affect you so much, I never would have allowed you to testify in the first place.”

“I’ll be fine.” I let out a snort of air as I paced the room.
“Lizzy, stop. Stop pretending you’re fine, you’re not fooling anyone, especially not looking like…like that. ”

I looked down at myself and cringed in disgust, noticing for the first time how bad it was. I had only been vaguely aware of a heavy dampness on one of my pajama pant legs, but now that I was beginning to calm down, the full extent of the damage became apparent. I let out a moan and hung my head. It was down my legs and up my back. I sighed in defeat and let my mom push me into the bathroom.

“It’s going to be okay.” She said before closing the door and leaving me to shower. As the warm water ran over me I leaned my head against the tiled wall and pounded my fist in the air as the memories once again filled my head.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I should have known something wasn’t right the moment I felt those fingernails dig into my skin. Never before had I felt such a terrifying aura, but she had turned it on and off so fast I chalked it up to a mix between my imagination and a warning to behave myself. My mom had said she could do as she saw fit but, I don’t remember her ever doing something like that before.

I thought back to when I was younger, but she had always been so sweet and kind. I saw her as a second maternal figure. Maybe I had just never acted out in front of her before?

I scooped up Lily into my arms and headed to the backyard as she wiggled and squirmed in protest. She hated physical contact about as much as I did, but I felt a great urgency to leave the house and the backyard didn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I stepped outside. I remembered their backyard being big, but they certainly didn’t have all this. There was a large above ground pool, a giant trampoline, trees, fountains, and adult sized swingset. Both Lily and I stood in stunned silence as we took it all in.

“I’m trying to make the best of what little time he has left.” a voice said beside me. Debbie must have sensed our awe. I had no idea this was all back here.

“Can he…can he use any of this?” I asked. I honestly had no idea what kind of condition James was in.

“He used to.” Debbie said. “It’s all second hand stuff. Donations mostly. It took a few days to get the rust out of the trampoline, and I was able to patch up the holes in the pool. We used that mostly for physical therapy. This though!” she said patting the swing set. “On his good days he still loves getting pushed in the swing.” Her smile fell into a frown. “The bad days though I don’t know where he is. I don’t know if he’s aware of his surroundings or not.” She let out a long sigh.

“Jump! Jump!” Lilly said pointing to the trampoline. Her eyes were filled with so much excitement I could hardly reign her in.

“Lily, shh” I whispered. She wasn’t having it. Patience was an unknown virtue to toddlers.

“JUUUMMMPPPP!” Lily screamed. I cringed.

Debbie smiled and squatted down to Lilly’s eye level. “You want to go jump on the trampoline, sweetie?” Lily nodded her head with enthusiasm with a huge grin plastered across her face. “Well, I don’t know… It’s awfully big, and you’re awfully small.” Lily was horror struck. She looked as if someone had just ripped her favorite stuffed animal into pieces right before her eyes. “I think… I think you’re going to have to prove to me that you’re a big girl. How can Lily prove herself…?” Debbie tapped her chin and pretended to think long and hard. “Well, maybe if we had her… no no, that’s much too hard. I’m sure there’s other things we can do besides jump on the trampoline.”

“No!” Lily whined. “I can do it!”

“Hmm… it’s an awfully tough challenge, but I suppose it would prove Lily is a big girl.”

“Lily is a big girl!’

“Alright, if you think you can handle it. Eliza!” Debbie said in a deep booming voice. “Go forth and bring out the Chalice of Champions!” I cocked my head to the side and mouthed, the what? “You know the…” she connected her hands to create a cylinder shape.

“Oh oh, right! The Chall-” my face fell. “Isn’t a chalice something you drink out of?”

Debbie cringed. “Maybe not the best name, afterall.” I laughed and she gave me a wink. I had forgotten how good she was with kids. I ran back inside and retrieved the “Not Chalice of Champions.”

“I have returned from my quest, M’lady.” I said bowing and placing the potty on the patio.

“Princess Lily of Cardinal Court, your throne awaits.” Debbie said, motioning to the hunk of plastic. “In order to prove yourself a big girl you must sit upon your throne and produce the Water of Midas!”

“The Water of Midas?” I asked with a snort of laughter.

“Hey, I’m making it up as I go along.” Debbie said.

Debbie was good, I’d give her that, but she had never come face to face with the likes of Lily, who wouldn’t hesitate to look you in the eye and proceed to poop on the floor if it meant doing the opposite of what she was told. There was also no way she’d warm up to a stranger this fast, she was a creature of habit and she hated breaking rou-

I stared in shock unable to finish my own thought as I watched my little sister, the most defiant little pain in my ass, not walk but run to the potty, drop her pull up and and sit. I was trying to make sense of what I was seeing. Okay, okay, so she got her to sit. Big deal. That was only half the battle. She would hold it though. She always held it until you gave up. It was a battle of wills to see who would relent first.

“I’m done.” Lily announced.

No. No. No. No. There is no way she went! No way! There is no way in hell it could be that easy.

“Well it looks like we have a winner!” Debbie announced when Lily stood up.

Debbie had to be pranking me, she just had to be. I peered into the bowl expecting to find it empty, but there it was. “Water of Midas”

I stared at Debbie dumbfounded. She just smiled smugly in return. I shook my head and laughed.

“Can we borrow your trampoline?”

I watched as Debbie picked out the bowl and examined it. I scrunched up my face in disgust. What was she doing?

“I don’t like this color; it’s too yellow.” she said. She was staring at it so intently I was tempted to ask if she could read my fortune in it.

“Umm, well, it’s pee…so?”

“Look at it.” I tried to understand what she was seeing that I wasn’t.

“Yeah, still pee.”

“It’s supposed to be clear. I think she’s dehydrated.”

“Oh,” Was all I could think of to say. I scratched my head in confusion as I watched her walk inside to dump it. “That was weird.” I mumbled to myself.

“Jump!” Lily said. “I’m a big girl.”
“Yes you are!” I said. “You did a really good job! But let’s wait for Debbie to come back and tell us it’s ok first.”

We waited for ten minutes, and I wondered if Debbie was even coming back out, but soon enough she appeared pushing James out in his stroller. My insides churned as I saw him, his head back against the headrest and his sunken eyes looking out into nothing. He looked even worse up close. He looked so thin and frail.

“I thought he could join us. It’s such a nice day out.”

“Yeah.” I mumbled looking away in an attempt not to stare. I watched instead as Debbie replaced the bowl back inside the Elsa decorated plastic seat.

“Jump!’ Lily begged. “Jump! Jump! Jump!”

“Yes, yes! You’ve proven yourself a big girl!” Debbie said. “Now I need you to continue to be a big girl! Think you can do that?”

“Yes!” Lily cheered.

“You can jump on the trampoline as long as you can keep dry. Wet pull ups and no more jumping until you can prove you’re a big girl again.” Lily agreed, but seeing how excited she was, she most likely would have agreed to sell her soul if it meant she got to bounce. “And I want you to drink plenty of water! I don’t want you getting sick!” She bent down and retrieved two metal canteen bottles with our names written on the side with black Sharpie. She handed one to each of us before telling Lily to go have fun. She didn’t need to be told twice.

I hoisted her up and she crawled through the protective netting on all fours and let out a loud shriek of pleasure as she began jumping up and down. I was about to climb up myself but Debbie stopped me.

“Eliza, I said only big girls get to jump on the trampoline.” I waited for the joke, but we just stood there awkwardly facing each other. I tried to play along.

“Uhh, How might thou prove one’s worth?” I winced half expecting a scolding for my attitude earlier, but none came. Instead my mouth gaped open as she pointed once again to the potty.

“You must sit upon the throne and produce the Water of Midas.” All was silent for a good five seconds before I burst out laughing. Her deadpan delivery really nailed the punchline for me. I was beginning to remember why I had liked her so much when I was little. Her ability to get into character was like nothing else I’d seen.

When we made eye contact though, the laughter ceased. She continued to show no sign of humor and it was making me uncomfortable.

“You’re not serious. I’m twelve! I can use the bathroom just fine.”

“I’m concerned about your inability to notice the problem with your sisters urine.”

“W-what? I- I don’t understand…”

“I’m worried about you. I need to know what yours looks like.”

“It looks like…pee?” I took a step back from her. This conversation had taken a bizarre left turn I wasn’t prepared for.

“I don’t think it’s normal. I’m now responsible for your health and safety and if I feel you’re not drinking enough water…”

“Then I’ll just drink more water, you don’t need to see-”

“You do not tell me what to do young lady.” The venom was back in her voice. She was coming closer to me now and I could feel myself shrinking in her presence. “While you are staying here you will do as I say, do I make myself clear? You will not question me and you will not back talk to me; your mother may put up with it, but I will not!” She was nose to nose with me now and as she looked into my eyes I felt a wave of absolute terror I had never felt before. I hadn’t the slightest idea what I had done to make her angry and the sudden shift in personality was alarming. I could feel tears welling in my eyes.

“The-the bathroom, then, you can see after.”

“No, the toilet water will dilute it.” she pointed again at the plastic potty.

“I- I can’t do it. I’m too big!”

“Then squat over it.”

“No!” I stood my ground. This was nuts! She was nuts! Did she really expect me, a twelve year old, to squat over a plastic potty in her backyard in front of everyone so she could see the color of my pee?

“Then you will stay out here until you do.” She whispered to me. “Now drink.” She thrusted the bottle with my name on it into my hands. I pulled the stopper and sucked down large mouthfuls of water. She seemed satisfied until I made a face.

“It tastes funny.”

“It’s called tap water. I’m sorry we don’t live up to your high class expectations.” I felt like she had just slapped me in the face. I was so stunned and confused by everything going on, I stuck the bottle back in my mouth and pulled a few more mouthfuls.

“Lizzy! Play with me!” Lily called from the trampoline. I looked at Debbie, who plastered on another grin.

“What are you waiting for? Go play.”

I hurried away from her as fast as I could as Debbie took a seat on the old picnic bench next to James and watched us. I jumped around with Lily for a bit but my heart wasn’t really in it. I kept looking over my shoulder at them. Debbie never seemed to look away from me. Everytime we made eye contact, she motioned for me to drink and I obeyed.

“Does your water taste funny?” I whispered to Lily. “Let me try a sip.”

“No, mine!” She chugged it down. This concerned me. My sister was picky about just about everything. She would have noticed right away if something was off about it. Maybe Debbie was right and I was the picky one. Maybe it was just tap water?

After another two hours I was absolutely exhausted. My sister’s boundless energy knew no limits. Despite my bizarre run in with Debbie that left me on edge, the trampoline had won over my full attention in the end. I jumped high in the air performing front flips and backflips to my sisters awe as she demanded I teach her how. I’d jump next to her and send her flying in the air, but the closest she ever came to doing a flip was landing on her back. This didn’t seem to bother her in the slightest. I could tell she was having the time of her life. With a little assistance getting up and down from the trampoline, she had even gone potty on her own without being asked.

It was the first time she had ever shown any kind of initiative in that regard. By the time the four hour mark came and went, her still being in the same pull-up was a monumental feat. After her third successful trip, I was getting jealous. I wanted to go inside and use the restroom so bad. I had drunk two entire canisters of water at Debbie’s command and she just kept refilling it. She had never mentioned what she had demanded of me earlier, but I was still afraid to attempt going inside. I kept hoping Debbie would grow bored watching us and either call us in or go inside herself.

I didn’t have a solid plan if she did leave me alone, but I was quickly growing more and more desperate. I kept imagining terribly inappropriate scenarios,like asking if we could go swimming and peeing in the pool, or squatting in the trees like I used to when James and I would play, “jungle explorer.”

“Jump.” Lily demanded of me as I sat resting at the opening trampoline. One leg was outstretched, the other directly under me in an attempt to hold it better. I was really beginning to worry now. She couldn’t really expect me to do something so degrading and humiliating, did she? At this point I was even considering it a viable option.

“Not now, I’m tired.” I said. My legs were shaking from a mixture of over exertion and desperation. I was only minutes away from having to jam my hands against my crotch. That’s when Lily began bouncing over towards me. I gasped as the jostling made me leak. I was down to my last resort after all. I curled in a ball and held myself. The clock was ticking down. I was in penalty over time.

Lily, gathering all her four year old wisdom and discretion, saw what I was doing, and from the top of her lungs, shouted. “LIZZY HAS TO GO POTTY!” I wanted to curl in a hole and die. Under normal circumstances, I would have praised her for stringing together a complete sentence.

I could hear footsteps approaching now. I closed my eyes and buried my head in the rubber of the trampoline. I felt the presence of a larger figure looming over me and taking in my state.

“Eliza, is this true? Do you need to go potty this badly?”

I let out a moan, equal parts from embarrassment and desperation. I nodded my head. There was no point in lying. My situation was obvious.

“Eliza,” Debbie began sounding disappointed. “I expected this kind of behavior from Lily, not you. You’re almost a teenager. You know where the bathroom is, you’ve been here before. Do I have to remind you as well to stop playing and use the toilet as well as your sister?”

I wanted to cry. All this time I could have used the bathroom after all? That’s not what she told me!

“Bathroom.” I moaned as I attempted to sit up. I could feel myself leak again.

Debbie sighed in disgust and disapproval. “You’re not going to make it to the bathroom in time.” She said it not as a question, but as a fact.

I wanted to protest, but I knew she was right. I doubted I could make it off the trampoline. I was about to give up the fight, roll out and pee my pants in the grass (better there than make a mess on Debbie’s trampoline) but she said something that made my blood run cold.

“Lily, what happens to little girls who wet themselves?”

“No more jumps!”

“That’s right, but that’s what happens to little girls who wet their pull ups. What do you think happens to little girls who should know better and wet their panties?”

“Umm, diapers.”

“That’s right, Lily, you’re very smart.”

Lilly giggled and crawled over me. I whimpered as Debbie helped her down.

Wetting my pants in the grass was clearly no longer an option, but there was no way I could make it inside. What if I managed to get off, tug my pants down, and pee in the grass? Did that count as an accident?

“What about the grass?” I asked through clenched teeth. The precious seconds were ticking away while Debbie stood there mocking me. I no longer cared who saw me do it, as long as she didn’t make good on her threat to put me in a diaper. Not like she could though. All she had were Lily’s and they would never fit me.

“Are you an animal, Eliza?” I didn’t answer, the grass still seemed like my best bet. I ever so slowly managed to swing one leg over followed by the other until my legs were dangling over the rim of the trampoline. All I had to do was jump down, but I knew as soon as I did it would spell disaster. I doubled over, both hands firmly squashed against myself in the most unlady like posture imaginable. My mom would have an aneurysm if she saw me like this.

“Lily, are you allowed to pee in the grass at home?” Lily giggled and shook her head. “Where do you pee at home?”

“The potty!” Lily answered. That little liar I thought through gritted teeth. She’d sooner pee in her toy box than in her potty before today.

“Go get it.”

My eyes widened as realization dawned on me. Debbie had tricked me. I couldn’t believe it. I was completely without another option. Either I wet myself, or I do what she wanted in the first place. Only now, she had framed the narrative in such a way that it was my fault. To the onlooker, I was the one who didn’t want to stop playing and use the bathroom until it was too late.

Lily set the potty down in front of me. I was still on the trampoline and stuck. There was no way I could land, get my pants down and squat over it.

“I can’t.” I sobbed. “I can’t move.”

Debbie’s tone of voice changed once again. She no longer sounded mocking or angry, but back to the sympathetic mother figure. I was finding her ability to slip into different roles unnerving.

“It’s okay, sweetie, I’ll help you.” She began to gently tug down my pants and underwear, until they were around my knees. I longed to just pee through the metal rings under me and into the grass. I was in the perfect position to do so, and I didn’t think it would hurt anything. I had already leaked several times and it wasn’t going in my pants. Unfortunately for me, she seemed obsessed with setting a good example for Lily. It was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with.

I watched as Debbie scooped the bowl out of the potty. At least she seemed to understand I couldn’t get down and sit on it. I knew what she planned, but she still felt the need to say it out loud. I felt my cheeks grow warm, I was surprised I could even focus on a feeling such as embarrassment in my current state. “Jump down and i’ll hold this under you.”

Mortified and absolutely out of my mind with the need to relieve myself, I fell once again into her trap. I jumped down with my legs spread open and relaxed, only she never moved the bowl until I was nearly half way done. I stood for what felt like an eternity watching in horror as I peed directly into my lowered pants.

“I wasn’t ready!” She complained,“You were supposed to wait for my signal” before finally moving the plastic bowl into position. Lily cackled at the sight of me, soaked pants around my knees as if it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. Debbie had never said anything about a signal. Had I not given her enough time to explain?

I buried my face into my hands. The collected pee echoed deafeningly in the bowl and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the bowl filled up, or so I assumed. I never saw it. Debbie, without a word of warning, pulled it back. Then she stood and walked back toward the house with her prize, leaving me standing there dumbfounded to finish in my pants.

“What the fuck.” I muttered under my breath.

Three things became transparent to me at that moment.

One: Debbie was not who she pretended to be.

Two: She had wanted my pee and had gone to elaborate methods to get it.

Three: James was no longer lost in his own little world. He was staring directly at me.

2 Likes

When I stepped out of the shower at Debbie’s, I was relieved to find a pile of clothes waiting for me on top of the toilet seat. I slid my pajamas on, despite it only being 6 pm, while thanking the powers that be I had been given a pair of my panties. It had only been one day and I felt I was already at my emotional breaking point. It had taken me awhile to stop crying, but as I stood underneath the soothing spray of warm water, my hiccups and sobs eventually ceased.

I still felt miserable and sorry for myself, but underneath the surface was a feeling of tranquility that could only come after a good, heartfelt cry. The stress of knowing I was being dumped here, along with the many arguments with my parents, had been accumulating for days. It had been a matter of time. I could feel a heavy wave of exhaustion begin to wash over me. Between the hours spent jumping, and the emotional turmoil, I was ready to wave a white flag in surrender.

I wasn’t 100% sure where I would be sleeping, but I had a feeling it would be on the couch. I made a beeline for it and sprawled out. I closed my eyes for what felt like a mere minute, but before I knew it I was being tackled. I groaned in pain and clutched my stomach as Lily continued to shake me awake.

“Pizza!” she squealed. I groaned again and tried to push her off of me. This child had no off switch, and doctors had the nerve to diagnose me with A.D.H.D?

“I’m tired. Leave me alone.” I covered my face with one of the couch cushions.

“I let you nap for an hour, any longer and you won’t be able to sleep tonight.” Debbie said. I doubted I had been on the couch that long, but when I lifted my head to stare at the clock display on the television screen I noticed it was already 7:30. I let my head plop back down on the arm rest. I didn’t care if I had been asleep one hour or five hours. I was drained. I felt like I could sleep til Halloween.

“C’mon, time to get up and have dinner, if you’re still tired later you can go to bed. I’ve got the back bedroom ready.”

It wasn’t until I could hear the two of them conspiring to tickle the bottoms of my feet did I make an attempt to get up. As soon as I took three steps to the kitchen I knew I didn’t feel quite right. The world around me was swaying and I crashed into Debbie. With reflexes like a cat she flung her arms out to steady me.

“Woah, careful. Did you get up too fast?”

“Uh, maybe? I-I don’t know. I feel a little funny.” I admitted . “I think I’m okay now.” I took a seat at the kitchen table where a pizza box sat.

“Are you sure? You look a little pale. Let me get you some water.” I watched her dump the contents of the half empty bottle I had been drinking out of earlier and fill it with fresh water from the tap. She screwed the lid back on and handed it to me. I took a sip. It still had a sort of weird, almost sweet after taste. Since I had just watched her fill it right in front of my eyes I knew the problem was with me. I felt a small pang of guilt. Either I was being picky or something was up with my sense of taste.

Her words replayed in my head. “I’m sorry we don’t live up to your high class expectations.” I cringed. I didn’t want to believe I was that picky. I didn’t want to think about anything that had happened today. I wanted to be angry, but at the same time I had this sick, sinking feeling in my stomach I deserved everything that happened to me. I was the one who never made an attempt to go inside and use the bathroom. I was the one who had been complaining.

“Thank you,” I said as I accepted a slice of pepperoni pizza she handed me on a white paper plate. I wasn’t hungry, but I forced myself to take a few bites. I didn’t want to give her any reason to be mad at me. Lily on the other hand chowed down like she had never tasted anything so delicious in her entire life. I listened to her unintelligible toddler chatter and gave her a weak smile everytime she addressed me, but I was having a hard time focusing on what she was trying to say. I had forced down a slice, but now it felt like it was wreaking havoc on my insides.

“Eliza, are you okay? You haven’t said a word all evening.” I flashed her an unconvincing smile. She leaned closer to me and asked, “Are you still upset about earlier? I thought you understood it was all for show for Lily. I wasn’t really upset at you, I just-”

At that moment I could feel my mouth begin to fill with saliva and a painful cramp formed in my stomach. I knew I was in trouble. I jumped out of my seat and ran to the bathroom. I stuck my head in the toilet right before I began heaving up my dinner with a force I didn’t think possible.

I heard my name being called from the kitchen, but when I didn’t respond Debbie’s figure appeared in the doorway.

“Oh, Eliza, sweetie.” She said. I clung to the toilet bowl as the room began to sway again. I could feel sweat dripping down my chest and an unpleasant warm, sticky feeling in my pajama bottoms. When I managed to glance behind me I was horrified to discover my pants had done next to nothing to contain the mess. Myself and the bathroom floor were now coated in the foul brown liquid. I had but a moment to take in the damage as I could feel my stomach preparing to play another round of “Projectile Pizza”.

When I heard the bathroom door close in between heaves I had assumed Debbie had left me alone to deal with my situation in private. Instead I was surprised to feel a comforting hand begin to rub up and down my back. She knelt far off to my side away from the blast radius, but still close enough to reach me.

“Poor sweetie, no wonder your mom said you’ve been so ornery these last few days. You must have been coming down with the flu or something.” I moaned in agreement and rested my head against the rim of the porcelain bowl. After fifteen minutes of non-stop heaving, I felt my stomach cramps begin to subside. With eyes still closed, I groped around until I found the lever and flushed. “I’m so sorry, if I knew you were sick I never would have said those things to you.”

This afternoon now felt like spilled milk in comparison. In my current state I wouldn’t have cared even if she had slapped me in the face. We stayed like that a few more minutes. I didn’t dare check behind me to view the collateral damage for fear of re-triggering the nausea.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled. “I’ll clean it up in a bit.” I still felt too dizzy to attempt moving. Ever since I turned double digits, in my family if you made a mess you had to clean it up.

“Nonsense. I’m rinsing you off with the shower head, giving you some medicine and then putting you straight to bed.” She left for a moment and came back carrying a little medicine cup filled with Pepto Bismol and not the thermos I had been drinking from, but a cold Arrowhead bottle of water. I threw back the pink cup before wincing at the mixture of stomach acid and medication before washing it down with water. Compared to the water I was drinking before, it tasted amazing.

“Strip.” I heard. She held out a plastic grocery store bag, and I pulled off my soiled clothing and put them inside. “I hope you’re not too attached to these because I’m throwing them away.” She tossed the bag aside and stepped over the mess. “The nice thing about the modifications to the bathroom is it will make cleaning up simple.” There was nothing separating the shower from the rest of the bathroom since the bathtub had been removed. Debbie filled a bucket of water before stepping over the messy puddle once again and sloshed the water over it from the side. Just like that, there was no sign I had a moment ago attempted to repaint the walls using only a single slice of pizza and my butthole.

“I’ll disinfect later. Let’s get you cleaned up and into bed.”

“Shouldn’t I stay by the toilet?”

“Just let whatever needs to come out come out where you are. You won’t hurt anything in here. I don’t want you falling and hitting your head lunging for the toilet. At this point it doesn’t matter.”

I was still too weak to stand up for another shower, but it didn’t matter. I scooted myself over and Debbie detached the shower head, stood over me, and rinsed me off while ordering me to turn this way and that. I felt myself lose control of my bowels a couple more times but with a flick of her wrist, the mess was washed away. I was too miserable to feel any kind of shame. My head pounded, my throat burned, and it felt like I had attempted to eat Flaming Hot Cheeto’s with my ass.

“I have stuff that will help. Do you want it?” I nodded. I tried to stand, but the world around me started to fade out. I sat back down and leaned my head against the wall. She left again and returned with James’s wheelchair. She threw a towel over the seat and helped me into it before pushing me into the one room that had always been off limits. Jackson’s.

In the middle of the room was a bed that looked like it belonged in a hospital instead of someone’s house and surrounding it were piles and piles of various medical supplies.

“Wow.” I croaked.

“Sorry, I know there’s a lot of stuff in here. I use this room mainly for storage. This is all the stuff I need to take care of James, so I apologize in advance If I’m in and out all hours of the night. I guess if you’re going to come down with something, you’re in the right place. There’s so much different medical stuff in here it’s like you’re already in the hospital.”

Debbie helped me climb into bed. It was such an ordeal that by the time I was able to lay back down, I was once again sweaty and panting. I must have looked eerily pale since she thrusted a pale pink tub in my hands.

“In case you get sick again.” she explained. I nodded and set it down next to me on the bed. “And if you want to sit up.” She picked up a remote, pressed a button and the upper half of the bed rose. I would have found it amusing on any other day. She lowered me back down and set the remote aside. “I’m sure you just want to go to bed, so let me finish getting you situated.”

“Yeah, thank you.” I closed my burning eyes. I could hear her humming an upbeat tune as she dug through boxes and bags.

“I’ve got the medicine for you. Do you want me to apply it, or would you prefer putting it on yourself?” I mumbled something unintelligible in response. I was already half asleep. “I’ll do it.” she said. She rolled me over onto my side so that my back was facing her. I heard what sounded like latex and without warning I felt a finger knocking at the back door. I yelped in surprise, but the cooling relief from whatever she had just rubbed on was immediate. “Better?” It was indeed.

She rolled me onto my back once again. “Just one more thing. Think you can lift your waist?” It took a lot of effort, but I managed to lift myself up high enough so she could slide something under me. I didn’t even notice what it was until it was taped on me. I looked down at myself and back at her. “So you’ve got your tub here if you feel like you need to throw up, some water, a blanket. I’ll set Lilly up a spot on the couch so you can get some rest. My plan was for you two to bunk together, but I don’t want her catching whatever you have. I hope it’s not too late already. I’ll let you rest now. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. Stay in bed, if you need something just call me on the baby monitor over here. I don’t want you to try to get up and hurt yourself.”

“Thanks, and sorry about…”

“It’s not your fault. What’s one more diaper to change?”

“I-I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.” I protested even though I had no way of knowing if my stomach would strike again in the night. “I can make it to the bathroom.”

She flashed me an indulgent smile similar to the one’s she gives Lily. “For now stay in bed if I’m not there to help you. You got yourself a nasty bug. Normal rules don’t apply, so don’t worry about it.” She flicked off the light. “Feel better soon.”

It was indeed a rough night. Debbie had been right again. It seemed every other hour my stomach decided to purge itself. With the pizza long gone, I heaved up mouthfuls of bile. I was thankful for Debbie’s forward thinking. I at least now had the peace of mind I wasn’t destroying the bed below me, though it wasn’t much solace. At this point I didn’t care, I just wanted the pain to stop.

By two in the morning I was beginning to hallucinate. I could swear I saw a figure crawling towards me on the floor. I tried shutting my eyes, but it made the room spin, further agitating my nausea.

I opted instead to focus on the smoke detector on the ceiling, it seemed to keep the dizziness, and my imagination at bay. I kept telling myself my mind was playing tricks on me, but every time I looked down, the figure was there, moaning as it pulled itself closer to me on the floor. I wanted to call for Debbie, but I was paralyzed with fear. The only thing I could think of was Jackson’s ghost was haunting this room. It was where he died after all.

“You’re stupid; it’s just a fever.” I had the blanket over my head now. What was I doing cowering like a child? Someone just dropped something in the hall, like a towel or a blanket and my delirious mind can’t figure it out.

I tried to sleep, but I kept feeling like I was being watched. I sighed knowing what I had to do. I was never going to sleep until I figured out what it was.

“On the count of three i’m going to take the blanket off my head, get up, and figure out what the hell that was. One. Two. Three.” I lowered my shield, peered over the bed and screamed at the top of my lungs.

Looking up at me from the floor was a pale disfigured and sunken face. “Help… me…” the voice rasped. It opened its mouth and blood poured out and down its chin. “E-li-za…” It gurgled out once more before It scurried out of the room on all fours.

“Eliza, are you okay?” was the last thing I heard before the mixture of fright, fever and dehydration took me.

I only had time to utter a single word before I went under.

“Jackson.”

3 Likes

Well this is different. Not sure i like the horror aspect but take a pineapple anyway, it’s extremely well written. and vivid. One thing though the Defense attorney’s conduct would get so many standing objections i don’t even want to count. But that’s a small thing didn’t break my suspension of disbelief once we got into flashbacks

:pineapple:

Yeah, it’s a bit different than my usual thing. It’s for a “forced diapering” contest. I know it’s going to be rushed since the deadline is on the 20th and I completely procrastinated since I wanted to finish Ella first. I’m just throwing this together and hoping a story comes out.

It’s causing a bit of controversy over on DD since it’s pretty obvious where this is going. Some people are telling me it has no place on a “sex site” and think im getting off on abusing children. I just like crime and medical stories, and try to make the plot stand alone without diapers.

Not surprised. I’ve had a few emails about it. I pretty much told them if they want to complain about it they need to man up and post an actual reply. :slight_smile:

Edit: actually I added a staff notice to this thread to say the same thing. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

I might be in the wrong here , but I don’t really consider these “sex sites” Yes, there’s definitely sexual content, but everyone has their own reasons for being interested in it. I’ve tried writing adult fiction, but damn, I sound like the 40 year old virgin XD It was not sexy… It was R/menwritingwomen cringy and I am a woman.

I sat with my mom on the psychiatrist’s couch unwilling to contribute. I was pissed. I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to ”talk about it”. That’s what was causing all the problems to begin with. I was doing fine with the medication I got from my GP.

“I can see that this has caused a great strain on your relationships with authority figures, and for good reason.” He said. I shrugged my shoulders in response. “I can see your mother is concerned about your recent behavior.”

If by concerned he meant her snooping through my things and confiscating the little bit of weed I could afford, then yes. She was “very concerned”. Just knowing it was there at the bottom of my sock drawer was what had kept me going, like an emergency escape button. Now that it was gone it was like I was on a runaway roller coaster with no brakes.

“That defense attorney is just so, so , Argh!” said my mom. She threw up her hands in frustration. “He has the medical reports right there, but he has to go and second guess every little thing it says. ‘Maybe it was this, maybe it was that’. He even went as far as accusing Eliza of making herself sick for attention!”

I clenched my fist together and jiggled my knee. I really didn’t want to talk about this. I could feel the burn in the back of my eyes. I wanted to run out the door. At least in court I had a reason to relive it. I had a goal. To see that obese cow of a woman with with her blonde hair, hideous make up and fake smile rot in prison. I needed people to see her for who she truly was.

“There’s a reason people hate lawyers.” he said. “They’ll do whatever it takes to discredit witnesses and leave reasonable doubt. A good chunk of my clients have been referrals from Fred Montgomery.”

“He really has gone out of his way to support her in this.”

“Eliza, I’ve been following along with the case, and I think what you’re doing is very brave.” I shrugged again. “Not many people could keep their composure under that kind of pressure like you have.”

I wanted to laugh. I wasn’t keeping my composure at all! I’ve already forced three recesses because I could no longer speak a single intelligible word through my choked sobs. The moment that bastard Raymond, the defense attorney, hinted I had done this to myself I had lost it. Some people on the internet have been saying it’s a sign of a guilty conscience, but I was just so fed up and frustrated.

I keep Googling the case everyday. I know it’s a stupid thing to do and it’s just causing more pain, but I need to see people’s reaction. I need to know the public’s thoughts, because maybe that’s what the jury believes too. It’s still fairly split. The town I had lived in wasn’t so small where everyone knew everyone, but it seemed like everyone knew Debbie. I had become infamous and so we were forced to move.

When news had first spread of Debbie’s arrest, my name hadn’t been mentioned in the press and yet somehow everyone in town knew. We’d wake up to find our house egged, the cars keyed, and hate filled letters in the mailbox. Someone had even urinated on our front door and spray painted, “LYING BITCH” in big red letters across the sidewalk. We thought it was just kids, but when my dad installed security cameras and reviewed the tapes, we were shocked to discover it was members of our own church.

When we moved a few towns over, away from Debbie’s influence, things had gotten a lot better. I was no longer infamous. I was a victim. We lived in peace for three years, as I tried to move on with my life and make sense of what happened. Lily had been oblivious during our stay there. I was thankful at least Debbie hadn’t done anything past making her repeat what she had been told to say. All Lily remembered was the trampoline and the big screen TV.

“Eliza, are you in there?” he asked.

“Huh? Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“How is school going? Your mom says your grades have been slipping.”

“It’s hard to focus.” I admitted. “I keep losing track of what’s due and when.” I didn’t mind talking about school. It had nothing to do with the mess I was in.

“Have you been taking your medicine at night?”

“Yes.”

“Have you been sleeping at night?”

“Not really.”

“She’s been having nightmares and wetting the bed.” My mom threw in. I glared at her.

“I can try you on something to help you sleep, but if the bedwetting continues I want you to go see your GP about it. Given what you’ve gone through it might just be psychological, but it could also indicate kidney damage. How many times do you think she-”

“Three times for sure.” I said cutting him off. “I was sick every other week for three days.” I didn’t want to hear the actual words. The betrayal still stung like a scraped knee to my heart even after all this time. I had trusted her, and opened up to her in ways I hadn’t with anyone else. She had been kind and gentle when I had been ill, never complaining if I had left a mess somewhere. When I was clear headed though, I could see the wheels in her head turning. Every action she made was calculated down to the very last spoken word. She was always ready with a story and a quick explanation. I had learned this the first time I had gotten sick. I knew the “what”, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the “why”.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I sat huddled in a sheet in the doctor’s office. Debbie had driven me to urgent care first thing in the morning as soon as she could find someone to keep an eye on the rest of the kids at home. I had stopped vomiting hours ago, but I was still very weak and shaky on my feet. I ached all over and the lights did nothing to help my agonizing headache.

Nurses were coming in handing me cup after cup of water to drink. They wanted a urine sample, but my first attempt 15 minutes ago resulted in me dropping the cup of urine in the toilet when I had nearly passed out. Debbie told them she’d help me this time since I didn’t seem to have the motor skills necessary at the moment. The nurses, who seemed to be growing impatient with me, thanked her.

I wanted to protest, but I was too out of it. Why did everyone want my urine lately? Was I wasting some big money making opportunity here by flushing it down? Was there a market I didn’t know about?

By my fourth cup of water Debbie was leading me by the arm back into the bathroom.

“Lift up your gown and spread your legs.” she ordered once I sat on the toilet. I had to clench every muscle in order to fight the reflex of going right then and there. She handed me the sterile wipe and I cleaned myself before throwing it in the trash. When she squatted down in front of me holding the cup in place I had to look away. It felt like a replay of yesterday. I tried to relax but I couldn’t. The awkwardness was only made worse by Debbie trying to hold a conversation down there.

“Are you having any more hallucinations?”

“No.” I mumbled. I couldn’t believe I had thought I saw a dead Jackson coming for me. Now that I was awake and feeling better, it seemed more and more like a dream. Debbie explained what sleep paralysis was, and it was far more likely my illness had brought on an episode than a dead teenager crawling on his hands and knees haunting the house. I admitted I had watched The Grudge the other night on my phone and that seemed to end that conversation.

“Anything yet?” I shook my head. She got up and turned on the faucet and that seemed to do the trick. After another minute I was able to go enough for the test. Debbie’s ability to play catch seemed to have improved.

After another ten minutes of sitting on the wax paper covered table the doctor came in and began asking questions. Debbie spared no details in telling the tale of how I played Picaso on her bathroom floor. She even mentioned changing diapers and waking up the whole house screaming. The doctor agreed with her theory and chalked to up to a mixture of childhood imagination and illness.

He poked around my stomach and sides. I winced when he began touching my lower right side. He talked with Debbie instead of me and I grew irritated. I kept hearing the words “stones” and “crystals”. I knew he didn’t mean gemstones, but I amused myself by imagining that’s why everyone wanted my urine. I peed diamonds.

By the time we left I still had no idea what was wrong. He hadn’t said a word to me, just talked medical jargon that went over my head with Debbie and handed her a prescription.

“What was he saying?” I asked as we sat in the drive thru at Walgreens.

“He said he found evidence of kidney stones in your urine.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It means you’re going to take it easy for a few days, drink lots of water, take your medicine and hope your body takes care of the rest.” I didn’t like the way she had ended that sentence.

“What’s ‘the rest’?” She grimaced and flashed a sympathetic smile. It seemed my trouble was not done just yet.

“The medicine should help things… come out easier.” I really didn’t like where this was going. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but you’re going to have to pee it out.”

It didn’t sound that bad, until she answered my next question.

“Will it hurt?”

“Maybe.”

That was a large red flag for “yes”

Debbie handed me a large bag from the drive through window, and we headed back towards the house. I peeked inside and pulled out what looked like a funnel with mesh on the bottom. What in the hell kind of torture device was this?

When we got home, I had planned on going back to sleep. I still felt like a mix between human and whatever it felt like to be a squashed dead squirrel on the side of the road. I stopped when I got to the doorway though. Try as I might, I couldn’t entirely rid myself of the memory of seeing the boy with the bloody mouth. I knew it wasn’t real, but I just couldn’t get myself to go in. It gave me the creeps sleeping where someone once died.

I made my way over to the couch and nudged Lily over, who watched television so intently as if it held all of the answers to life, and laid down. I winced as my lower stomach gave off a dull ache in protest. I tried to relax, but I could smell Lily from the other end of the couch. New day new rules I guess.

“Lily.” I moaned. “You’re supposed to use the potty.” She ignored me in favor of Yoohoo to the Rescue. I doubted my stomach could handle changing a messy diaper right now. It made me want to gag. I hid from the smell under my blanket and wondered how Debbie managed to put up with me last night. The smell alone must have been tear inducing. If I was at home my parents would have left me in the bathtub or something and sealed the door with caution tape.

I had almost fallen asleep when Debbie walked by and got a whiff.

“Woah, which one of you is that?” Lily and I both pointed at each other. “Eliza, you didn’t get sick again, did you?” I shook my head but she lifted up the blanket anyway. I was back in underwear so it was easy to rule me out as the culprit. “Lily! We were making such good progress yesterday!” She just shrugged, eyes glued to the tv. She was still in her diaper from last night, so at least it wouldn’t be the blow out from a pull up.

Debbie left for a few minutes before coming back and placing Lily’s changing mat on the floor. I was normally immune to Lily’s butt bombs, but I didn’t trust my body right now. I rolled over and hid my face back under the blanket to block out any unpleasant stimuli. I didn’t want to give my brain any reason to hit the eject button.

“Alright, Lily, you’re all set. Let’s try and make it to the potty next time.” I uncovered my head when I felt a tap on my arm. “You’re turn.”

“My turn for what?” I asked. She held up a tube of cream.

“Come lay down.”
“Oh, umm, I can do it myself.” The sight of the cream made me realize how much it still burned down there.

“Let me handle things for now until you’re more stable.” She patted the mat again. I looked at Lily, but she was glued again to the tv. I gingerly made my way to the floor, wincing at all the aches and pains. “How are you feeling?” She asked as she pulled my underwear off.

“Sore,” I replied. I audibly moaned as I tried to roll on my side. My stomach was so tender any movement made it ache. It felt like I had been doing crunches all night.

“I bet.” I heard the same elastic sound as last night and I turned my head to find her putting on a purple latex glove. “It’s going to be cold. Ready?” It wasn’t nearly as bad as last night now that I knew what was happening. “There you go.” I tried to get up, but she stopped me. “Where are you going? I’m not done with you yet.” My face fell when I saw what she was holding.

“I’m not sick to my stomach anymore.” I protested.

“And i’m very glad to hear that, sweetie, but now we have a new problem that needs addressing. You know those pills you got? They’re meant to relax your urethra, and you’re going to be drinking lots of water for the next few days. I bet you’re also tired and miserable, and going to want to sleep. So why don’t we just have you wear it just in case and see how you do. I’m quite attached to my furniture.”

“I don’t want to.” I tried to sit up, but in my current state Debbie kept me down with a single hand. “It hurts.” I groaned, holding my stomach. Trying to fight against her was a bad idea. It didn’t hurt like I was going to be sick, but I was in no shape to resist. If I wanted out of this i’d have to use my words.

I tried to talk her out of it, I really did, but in the end she managed to lift me up by the legs and slide it under me so fast I knew it pointless. One way or another I was staying in this diaper whether I wanted to be or not. With my spirit broken, I laid still and let her finish.

“I really didn’t think Lily’s diapers would fit me.” I admitted when she let me sit up.

“Of course not.” She laughed. “These are James’s”

“Oh.” I said. It made sense. “So you’re used to this.”

“Yes. James has a foley catheter, but needs diapers for solid waste.” I stayed where I was for a moment as I tried to phrase my question. Unable to make it any less blunt, I decided to just go for it.

“What’s wrong with him?” She smiled a sad smile before listing off a dozen or so conditions from seizures to multiple organ failures. She went on to explain how he spends the majority of the day connected to a TPN and how he was no longer able to absorb nutrients in the traditional sense. The number of surgeries he’s had over the years was staggering.

“Sometimes he’s lucid enough to somewhat communicate, but usually he just stares off into space. He even says random words at times, but they usually have no meaning. He had a stroke last year.”

“Does he walk at all?”

“Oh no, he’s not strong enough for that. If I stood him up, he’d fall back down. Here, let’s get you up.” She offered me her hand and managed to help me back to the couch. She came back with a bottle of water, a pill and a heating pad. I took the medicine and held the heating pad to my stomach as I settled down.”

“Lily, sweety, how about you let your sister watch tv?”

I didn’t really want to watch tv, but I wasn’t opposed to something playing in the background that didn’t have drawl of a program aimed at small children.

“Anything in particular you want to watch?”

“I don’t really care.” I said closing my eyes. “Just not a toddler program, the voices are a little too annoying right now.”

“Oh I know, you two used to love this show.” I smiled as Scooby Doo came on. James and I had definitely been nuts for it. I drifted off to sleep with the fond memories of searching the backyard jungle for monsters.

I was in and out the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. I could hear Debbie’s voice coming from the kitchen and Lily chattering on about something.

“Oh, no worries, it’s nothing serious! It’s my fault, really. I fed her a bunch of junk food and let her out on the trampoline. She got an upset tummy and threw up once. Ten minutes later and she was back out like nothing happened.”

“Lies.” A raspy voice said. I spun my head around. My mouth hung open. James was sitting in a wheelchair next to me. We stared at each other, and I saw intelligence and lucidity in his eyes. He looked awful, but he looked there.

“Can you-” He put his finger to his lips.

“Lies.” He whispered again. “Always.”

“I wouldn’t say she’s been giving me an attitude, but she does have a bit of a flair for the dramatic. When she’s with me she acts like she’s on death’s door, but when she thinks I’m not looking she’s up and around like nothing’s wrong.”

I knit my eyebrows together. Was she talking about me? What does she mean I threw up once?

“I guess you could say she’s been acting out, but it’s more like immature behavior than anything. Some of it surprised me. No, no, nothing like that. It’s something I’d expect from someone Lily’s age. Well, take yesterday, she was having fun and didn’t want to come inside to use the restroom and- Yes… she did. Well first she asked if she could pee in the grass and when I said no. . .Well she’s not here right now. I let her walk down to the corner and get something to drink. She’s been complaining about the tap water… yes yes I’ll let her know you called. It’s really not a problem, Lily’s been an angel. We’ve been making good progress. Alright, you enjoy your trip.”

Was that…my mom? Why would Debbie say that? I never… well, I did technically ask to pee in the grass. And I did have an accident. And complain about the water, but the rest were lies! I felt a pang of hurt.

“Lay down.” he said. “She’s coming.”

I did as James said and Debbie walked to where we were carrying a syringe. I peeked out between my blanket to see an empty glaze in James’s face and a mouthful of drool gliding down his chin in a way that looked all too familiar. Debbie pulled the syringe out of a tube connected in his upper arm and I felt a chill run down my spine in realization. It wasn’t Jackson I had seen last night in my room. It was James.

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Today was my mom’s turn to take the stand. She looked a little pale, but other than that she kept her head up high. She had wanted me to stay home for this, but there were certain things we had never talked about. I never had gotten a straight answer as to why she had taken Debbie’s word at face value and not mine. I had begged her to call the clinic Debbie had taken me to. One phone call. That’s all it would have taken for Debbie’s story to begin to unravel.

My dad sat with me as we took our seats. It was the first time I had been so close to our former friends and neighbors, who wore “Free Debrah”, “Exodus 20:16” and “Proverbs 12:22” on their shirts. I looked it up on my phone the first time I had seen them, and they were scripture about “bearing false witness against your neighbor” and “God hates liars.”

“Don’t pay them any mind.” My dad leaned over towards me and whispered. “Look at all the people here.” I looked to where my dad was pointing. The free Debrah lot were certainly the minority today. The only ones left at this point were the hardcore believers. When the trial had first started, they had packed the courtroom, but now as medical reports, eye witness accounts, and bank statements appeared, they began to dwindle one by one. It gave me great satisfaction to see Debbie’s smug face begin to crease as she looked for her supporters.

The thing that made my blood boil wasn’t the defense trying to discredit my statement, and it wasn’t Debbie’s supporters calling me a liar as I took my seat. It was the ones who had left,
more specifically what it had taken them to leave.

Was it the evidence of Ethylene Glycol in my blood work? Nope. Was it the murder and attempted murder of her husband and sons? Nope, Think again. It was money. It all boiled down to money. She had been telling everyone who would listen James’s medical bills were running her to the ground. When it was revealed that the state was picking up the tab and Debbie hadn’t spent a cent of donation money towards him, that’s when shit began to hit the fan.

I knew Debbie’s motivations were deeper than monetary gain. I had a suspicion money was never the driving force, but more like an added bonus. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw her ask for money despite complaining of money issues. Someone else had set up the go fund me in her name, someone else organized all the fundraisers. I think Debbie just wanted the attention, and sympathy.

What no one seemed to be able to wrap their heads around was why me? Debbie had all the love, and attention and money she could get her hands on from Jame’s illness. She had spent years perfecting her story and her method. Why take such a huge risk, and a sloppy one at that, knowing my parents were coming back for me? It’s not like they wouldn’t notice I had dropped nearly 20 pounds in a month. What did she think, that they would congratulate me on my diet?

A very small part of me wonders if she did it so she would get caught. Maybe she didn’t want to kill James, but knew she couldn’t stop herself? Or maybe she was just so bat shit crazy and high on getting away with it for so long she thought she was invincible. I want to believe she poisoned me because she knew I’d run and tell anyone who would listen. Unfortunately it boiled down to the fact that I was 12 with a track record for acting out and she was a beloved member of the community.

Yesterday the defense tried to claim the faucet in the kitchen was full of lead, and without knowing, they had all been ingesting it for years. They explained why Debbie hadn’t gone sick, but her husband, Jackson and James had. Paul must have passed on a genetic marker that made them more susceptible to heavy metal poisoning. Since Debbie didn’t have that genetic marker, she was oblivious to the symptoms it was causing. When Mr. Montgomery questioned why then I had gotten sick so quickly, the defense stated my illness was unrelated. Angry that my family had left me, I must have decided to make myself a banana and antifreeze smoothie in an attempt to make them come back. Yummy.

According to the defense, I liked the attention so damn much I did it two more times. I had to ask myself, who was on trial for munchausen again here? Because last time I checked my go to after school snack had been a Pb & J sandwich and a cup of chocolate milk, hold the engine coolant. My mom was about ready to take a swing at him. Thankfully Mr. Montgomery had a witness to dispel that theory. It was one of the nurses from the clinic Debbie kept taking me too.

Debbie had made a miscalculation the first time she poisoned my water and took me in to get treated. She hadn’t expected calcium oxalate, the creator of the most common form of kidney stones, to be in my urine so fast. She had expected the doctor to give me a half assed exam given my age and lack of medical history, and write me off as another case of the flu.

That’s where the nurse’s testimony came in handy, and why Debbie had wanted my pee so bad the first day. She couldn’t just give her urine and say it was mine since she was diabetic. So she had helped me again and she swapped the sample when she had taken me to the bathroom. So while the test had come back normal, the nurse had mentioned to the doctor she had doubts the urine was a fresh sample. I don’t know how she knew that, I don’t go around holding cups of people’s pee all day. So instead of relying solely on that, they had ordered a blood test, but Debbie never took me to get it done. On the third and final visit, Debbie knew she fucked up.

“Are you nervous?” dad asked. I nodded. I must have been one little hell raiser back then for no one to have believed me. I watched as my mom was sworn in, and the questioning began. Objections were flying left and right, and it was hard to keep track with everyone yelling at each other. Words were thrown around like “sustained” and “overruled”, and several times the judge made them rephrase their questions. I was impressed by my mom’s composure. I think it was taking all her willpower to keep it together at the underlining accusation that they put their vacation over my health.

“Did Debrah tell you your daughter was sick at all while you were away?”

“Yes.”

“In your own words, what did she tell you?”

“She told me the next day she ate a bunch of junk food, got too worked up and got sick. She made it clear it wasn’t anything serious.”

“And what did your daughter tell you?”

“When I talked to her a few days later she said her stomach was hurting a lot and she had been throwing up the last couple of days.”

“Why a few days later? Didn’t you talk to her the day Debbie told you she was sick?”

“No.” My mom admitted.

“Why? Didn’t you want to make sure she was ok?”

“Everytime I asked to speak with her I was told she either wasn’t there or was sleeping.”

“She didn’t have a cell phone you could call?”

“Debbie said she had taken her cell phone away for bad behavior.”

“That didn’t raise any red flags for you?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because at the time my daughter was a handful. I had told Debbie to punish her if need be. Confiscating her cellphone would have been a logical thing to do.”

“So when you heard her story was quite a bit different than what you had been told, what did you do?”
“I called Debbie on her cell phone.”

“And what did she say?”

“That Eliza had been healthy, but acting out. The same thing she told me the first time I heard she had been sick.”

“And you took Debbie’s word for it, no questions asked?”

“No.”

I sat up surprised. I had always assumed Mom bought everything Debbie sold her.

“What did you do?”

“I asked to speak with my youngest daughter, Lily.”

“How old was Lily at the time?”

“Four.”

“What did Lily tell you?”

“That she was having fun.”

“Did you ask about Eliza?”

“I did.”

“What did she say?”

“I asked if Eliza had been sick and she said ‘No.’”

I remembered the moment when Lily told mom I was fine. She had been sitting right next to me as I moaned in pain and threw up on myself just an hour before. With my cellphone in Debbie’s custody, it had taken all my will power and strength to get up and get the phone. It was the first time I had talked to my mom on the phone and 90% of it was her yelling at me. When I told her how sick I really was she said she would ask Debbie about it. I had never heard their conversation, but I had heard Lily’s. My own little sister had sold me out for 20 minutes on the trampoline.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I was starting to suspect something wasn’t right, and I wanted to investigate. By day three I was feeling much better. I was walking around pain free, and no longer having issues with my stomach. My only complaint was my constant need to pee thanks to the medication and volume of water I had been drinking. I had only been diapered that one day so Debbie could check for stones.

I knew something was wrong that first afternoon when Debbie began to pull down the front of the diaper before taping it shut again.

“Lily, do you want to go jump? Go in the backyard and I’ll meet you out there in a minute after I finish with your sister.”

“Jump! Jump!” Lily yelled as she bolted from the room.

“Have you started your periods yet?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you on it now?”

“No, not for another two weeks, why?”

“There’s a little blood, I wasn’t sure if you were squeamish or not, that’s why we’re doing it this way. How’s your pain level?”

“A six.”

“Do you want to go lay down in bed? It will be easier than getting up and down off the couch.” I nodded. The aching in my body was almost unbearable. I wanted to help James, but I couldn’t do it like this. I almost didn’t care that I was 75% sure Debbie had been talking to my mom on the phone despite her telling me I must have dreamed it.

“AHA!” Debbie said. She showed me something on the tip of her finger. It was so small I could barely see it, but when I focused my eyes, there was a tiny grey speck. “This was the culprit,’’ she said. I took it and examined it closer. It was hard and sharp. She set it aside, “Hopefully, that was it and you’ll start feeling better now.”

It hadn’t been it. My day had been spent curled in a ball in bed with the heating pad, until I had finally peed out two more. That’s when things had begun to calm down. When I got up the next day, I could almost move pain free. I took another day off school just in case and spent it peeing into a strainer over the toilet. No more stones came out.

Tomorrow I knew I’d be going back to school so when I wasn’t peeing my brains out, I was snooping. The problem was I had no idea what I was looking for. There were pill bottles everywhere in the kitchen, and they all said James’s name on them. I went through the cupboards, the bedrooms, the drawers, the kitchen, the fridge, the living room. I gave up. Without knowing just what I was looking for, it seemed impossible.

Instead of snooping, I’d have to go straight to the source. I asked Debbie if I could watch how she took care of James. I was curious after all and I asked a lot of questions.

“Can he really not eat or drink?” I asked as we went into his bedroom. I had watched her chop up what looked like ten different pills into a fine powder, mix it with a little water, and suck it up with a large syringe.

“That’s right, that’s why he spends so much time here connected to this.” James was lying in bed, connected to a machine which was threaded with small tubing. I watched in interest as what looked like milk was pushed through the tubing by spinning widgets and into a separate tube coming out of the side of his chest underneath his armpit. “Since he can’t eat, this machine delivers nutrients straight into his veins. This is called a central venous catheter and this is a TPN machine. It means Total Parenteral Nutrition. Without it, he’d starve.”

I was surprised when James made eye contact with me and clicked his tongue twice. I blinked.

“I think he’s trying to say hello! Didn’t you guys used to make that sound a lot when you were kids? That’s so sweet! He remembers!”

He clicked his tongue once more before looking away.

It meant something, I knew it did, but I struggled to remember. I felt better physically, but my head was still foggy. I watched as Debbie pulled the blanket down a little more to reveal another tube coming out of his stomach. She flipped the cap open and began injecting the crushed pills inside.

“What were all those for?” I asked.

“Oh different things. Seizures, iron supplement, pain medication to make him more comfortable. There’s another one that helps flush his kidneys. It’s a lot I know. Can I ask you something?”

I looked up surprised. “Uh, sure.”

“You two used to be the best of friends. What happened?”

“Oh.” I struggled to remember. “I guess we just grew apart. My idea of fun was pretty dumb and childish.”

I could hear James click his tongue twice again.

“One click for yes, two clicks for no, five knocks for danger!” I remembered him saying. We had had a code then. Was he using it? We locked eyes again. I had to test it out.

“He’s 16 now, right?” Click.

“That’s right.”

“So was he born with it?”

“Yeah,” Click. Click. “Unfortunately, there was no treatment at the time for his brother.” Click Click.

“Random question. Do you think i’ll get sick again?” Click.

“Well I hope not.” Click click. “But I really can’t say for sure. You just need to keep drinking water and flush out your system. You were probably dehydrated.” Click Click. “My someone’s talkative tonight.” She leaned down and affectionately brushed back his hair.

“I had the craziest dream last night. You put James’s medicine in my water to make me sick. “ I gave a weak chuckle for show. Debbie laughed too.

“Oh, sweetie, no. James’s medication is way too expensive for that. If I wanted to poison you I’d use antifreeze.”

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

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I’m still not sure i like this, but the writing is excellent. I think I’ll be ok with it so long as good triumphs in the end. I think you need some diversity in flavors so.

:tangerine:

I was pretty sure I had everything I needed for school. The bus would be stopping at the corner in the next ten minutes, but Debbie was still working on my note for my two absences. How hard was it to say I was sick? From the looks of it, Debbie was writing my biography. When she finished, she folded it up and sealed it up in an envelope. I frowned as I held the envelope in my hand that prevented me from reading what she had written. I watched as she took out a new piece of paper, wrote a couple sentences and handed it to me. This I could read.

   To Whom it May Concern:

Please excuse Eliza Anne Thompson’s absences on Monday, October 5th and Tuesday, October 6th. She was sick and in my care.

   -Debrah Martnif

“That one goes to the office, or whoever keeps track of attendance, and the other one goes to the school nurse.” She explained. I looked at the sealed envelope that said Chastity Reynolds.

“You know the school nurse by name?” I asked.

“She’s a friend of mine from church. You do go to Woodhill Jr. High, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I’ve just never had to see the nurse before. I’ve only been going there for three months. Why am I giving a note to the nurse though?” I asked. I’ve never had to give anyone a note to anyone but the front office before for being sick.

“I explained that you’re staying with me, and that if you came in sick and needed to come home, it’s me who needs to be called and not your parents.”

“Oh, okay.” That made sense.

“I also explained the kind of medication you’re on and that you need a special pass for the restroom.” I felt my face heat up. Now that I was well again, I was horrified that I had been in diapers the last couple of days. Okay, so that one night may have been necessary, but I totally could have gotten up and used the bathroom on the second…every ten minutes… while in excruciating pain… or maybe not.

I picked up my backpack and water bottle off the counter and headed out the door. Debbie had tried to get me to wear James’s old pull ups and I had adamantly refused. If I was getting a special pass to use the restroom during class, I saw no reason I couldn’t make it. Sure it felt like my bladder filled up to the brim every 30 minutes, and my muscles were less than helpful recently, but that was no excuse to send a 12 year old to school in a diaper. I had to change in front of other girls for P. E. and oh crap. I forgot about P.E. I debated whether or not to run back to Debbie’s and get a note excusing me from participating, but I knew the bus would be here any minute. Sure enough, I could see it coming around the corner. Oh well, I’d deal with it later.

Once aboard I sat down in an empty seat and put my headphones in. I bounced my knee to the beat of the song and contemplated what I should do about James’s situation. Was he really serious about not needing any of the stuff? Was Debbie going overboard with his treatment? I’m sure she thought she was just doing what was best for him. I was no doctor so his medical needs were far beyond anything I could ever hope to understand.

What about his warning though? He had told me everything was a lie and hadn’t I witnessed this first hand? Debbie said I had been dreaming about overhearing her talking to my parents and she was so convincing I was beginning to believe it myself. I had been in and out all day that day. It was possible I had dreamed it.

That comment she had made though about the antifreeze. It had taken me so off guard I had been left speechless. When she had turned around and saw the look on my face she had burst out laughing. She had tried to assure me over and over it had just been a joke, but I was on edge about accepting anything to eat or drink from her. The tap water never did have a funny taste after that first day though. Maybe it had been just from being sick? Nothing ever tasted right when you were sick. Try as I might I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of her poisoning us. She seemed so genuinely concerned about my well being.

As I walked up to the school I knew I had to at least tell an adult my suspicions, even if it didn’t seem likely. James had reached out to me after all. Just because I didn’t fully understand what was going on, maybe someone else would. I owed him to at least try.

After standing in line at the attendance office and handing them my note, they wrote me a pass to return to class. After that I went directly into the office, but was stopped by a bald guy with a whistle around his neck. Ugh, it was the P.e. coach.

“What are you doing in here?” he demanded.

“I need to see the nurse.” I had just seen an older lady enter the nurses offices and had assumed that was her.

“About what?”

I scrunched up my face and bit my tongue. “I need to give her a note.”

“Well, students arn’t allowed back here. Give it to me and I’ll make sure she gets it.” He went to grab the envelope out of my hand, but I pulled it back.

“No, it’s personal.”

“It’s okay, Bruce, I’m back here, let her in.” a voice called from back. “I was expecting her.”

The beefy armed man jabbed his thumb towards the back and stepped aside. I hurried past before he changed his mind and opened the door to the nurse’s office. A grey haired woman was sitting at a desk typing something into the computer.

“You must be, Eliza, Debrah texted me that you would be stopping by.” she said. “Have a seat and i’ll be with you in just a moment.” I sat in the plastic chair and waited for her to finish typing. Once she was done she rolled over to where I was sitting. “Good morning, what can I do for you?”

I handed her the envelope. She opened it and read the contents. “Oh, you poor thing. Ohh, you haven’t had a fun week so far.” I shook my head. “Yes, those will do that, not fun. Let me get you a hall pass for class. Just show it to your teachers, and they shouldn’t ask you any questions if you need to leave.” I watched as she filled out an orange slip of paper and handed it to me.

This student has permission to leave class at any time due to medical reasons.

“Now I better not hear stories of you abusing this. That pass is so you can have quick access to the restroom, or if for whatever reason, you need to come see me. She said they were in your backpack so let’s take a look.” She opened my backpack and my mouth fell open. I hadn’t put those in there so that only left Debbie… Why? “The note said you were refusing to wear them, and that’s fine if you think you can go without, but I’m warning you, if you do end up having an accident you will have to wear them. Are you sure you don’t want one now?”

I shook my head. I was sure. I wasn’t going to need them. I was still shocked Debbie had snuck diapers in my backpack in the first place. I had stuck a period pad on just to be safe. I had no idea if those absorbed urine, but it was better than nothing. As long as nothing set off my allergies and made me start sneezing and coughing I should be fine. Yesterday I had sneezed and left a dime size wet patch on the couch.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Well,” I said looking away. I didn’t know how to phrase this. I didn’t want to outright accuse Debbie of anything, especially if it really was my imagination. “I sort of have a question…”

“Yes, go ahead.”

“Say, hypothetically speaking, if I thought someone was hurting me and someone else. What should I do?”

The school nurse stared at me a moment. “I think you need to tell someone.”

“Even if it wasn’t very likely and I’d get in trouble?”

“Reports can be made anonymously. Are you in danger? Is someone hurting you? Your parents?” She eyed me through her glasses and I shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.

“No, not my parents. Well, ever since i’ve been at Debbie’s I’ve gotten sick. My sister’s okay, but Jame’s said we’re in danger and-”

“Honey, I’ve met James, he hasn’t been able to speak in the last year.” I shook my head.

“He said his mom is lying about that. I’ve seen him move around as well, even though she said he couldn’t.”

“So what makes you think she’s hurting either of you? So maybe he can move a little, but Debbie doesn’t want him too because he might get hurt?” I didn’t have an answer for that. “James is very sick, honey. I can guarantee Debbie isn’t doing anything to hurt him.”

“I saw her drug him.”

“She was just giving him his pain medication. Debbie loves him very much, and James is very sick. The doctors have already said there’s nothing more they can do for him but make his last days as comfortable as possible.” My eyes were beginning to water. Was James really going to die?

“Okay,” I mumbled.

“I’m sure Debbie would appreciate you being concerned for her son’s well being, but I can assure you he’s in good hands. Now is there anything else I can do for you before sending you off to class?” I shook my head and grabbed my backpack. “If you need anything, don’t be afraid to ask. My door is always open.”

I thanked her and left. The thought that Debbie was poisoning us seemed more and more silly the longer I thought about it. Of course no one would want him crawling about if there was a good possibility he could get hurt. Maybe he was just paranoid and it was rubbing off on me? Either way, I did what I could and told someone my suspicions as cringy as they may be.

The day went on with no major hiccups, other than the piles of homework I was collecting from the days I had missed. Health class wanted a 1,500 page essay on the cardiovascular system, I had three worksheets on finding the area of 3d shapes in math, and English wanted me to catch up on all the chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird I had missed. Those were just half my classes. I still had to stop by my science and geography classes at some point. I’d do that after lunch.

I nearly collapsed at the lunch table I shared with a group of girls I hung out with.

“Look who finally came to school!” Katie said. “We were starting to think you stowed away in your parents suitcase or something.”

“I wish.” I groaned. The day was only half over and I wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed. I was starting to feel shaky on my feet. The special bathroom pass had been a god send. One minute I would be fine and the next I would be dancing in my seat.

My bladder seemed to fill at five times the speed as normal, but my bladder itself felt five times weaker. My last class I had to just walk out since I couldn’t seem to get my teacher’s attention. I wasn’t in danger of having an accident until I had gotten inside a stall. My brain seemed to feel that it was close enough before giving the signal to open the gates. If I hadn’t been wearing that pad I would have had to do the walk of shame to the nurse’s office. I rolled it up in toilet paper and tossed it in the feminine hygiene products container in my stall.

My pants were a little damp after that fiasco, but it wasn’t noticeable. I figured they would dry out before the day was over.

“What happened? Were you sick?” Vicks asked. Her parents had the unfortunate timing of naming her Karen, so we as a group just called her by her last name. She seemed to appreciate this. It wasn’t her parents fault. How were they to know we would turn the name into a representation of every overly entitled american female.

“Sicker than I had ever been in my life.” I admitted. I gave them all the juicy details and they all took turns thanking me for ruining their appetite. I looked in my lunchbox to see what was there and frowned. Apple slices, baby carrots, and a salad. Where was all the good stuff? I

sighed before taking the salad out and poking at it a bit. I don’t know how vegetarians live off this stuff. It tasted like Debbie had gone out back and plucked the nearest handful of vegetation she could find before throwing it in a tupperware container. After choking down a few bites I moved on to the apple slices. I wasn’t that hungry anyway. I still didn’t trust my stomach. It had been fine the last two days, but I wasn’t in such a forgiving mood quite yet after that “pizza party” I had thrown. It had been like the 4th of July and I had been a double ended Roman Candle. I feared I was a walking bomb just waiting for something to light the fuse.

I noticed Katie squeezing something blue in her water. “What’s that?”

“Water flavoring, you want some?” I nodded eagerly. Debbie had been pushing water on me non-stop, and I was dying for something with taste. I handed her my giant hydro flask and she squirted a few pumps in. After having nothing but tap water it tasted like heaven.
“What is it? It’s good.”

“Mio blueberry lemonade. I have a bunch of others at home. You can have it if you want, I’m not big on that flavor.”

“I love you,” I said to Katie as I cradled the little silver squirt bottle in my hands. I put it in my lunchbox where it would be safe and sound.

When P.e. came around, my last period of the day, I went to the nurse’s office instead.

“Eliza, what can I do for you?” She looked me over and lowered her voice. “Did you have an accident?”

“N-no!” I almost yelled. “My next class is P.E. but I can barely stand on my feet. Can I lay down until the bus comes? I’m feeling a little shaky.” In truth I was feeling a little more than shaky. My heart was hammering by the time I got here, and I had leaked from the physical strain. I had almost gotten my underwear dry too, dammit. Some of it had even gone down my leg before being absorbed by my pant leg.

“Hmm, you do look pale. Are you running a fever?” I shook my head, but she took my temperature anyway. “No fever.” I was really going to pass out if she didn’t let me lie down soon. I was breathing heavy now and gripping onto the sides of my chair for support. “You’re sweating.”

“Please let me lie down, I don’t feel well.” I blurted out.

“Of course,” she said. I stood up, but my blood pressure dropped, making my vision go hazy. I stumbled to the ground, landing in a piled heap on the floor. “Eliza!” she called. I rested my head against my arms as I waited for the room to stop spinning. “Eliza, are you okay?” She knelt down next to me and rested a hand on my back. “You’re shaking.”

“I’ll be fine in a minute.” I could feel my center of gravity beginning to return as my stomach righted itself. I ever so slowly sat myself up with her help. “Sorry, I’m still a little weak from whatever I had. I just want to lay down for a bit.”

“That’s fine, but before you do…” She said, before dropping her voice down to a whisper. “You need to get cleaned up first.” I looked down only to realize I was sitting in a puddle of my own creation. I moaned and buried my face in my hands. “It’s okay, there’s a bathroom right there. I’ll give you a washcloth and I’ll see if I can find any pants in the lost and found. I doubted kids were losing their pants, but sure enough she came back with a pair of PE shorts. She held my hand as I stood up. I tried not to focus on the sound of urine dripping on the floor as my bladder decided, “what the hell” as I stood up.

I didn’t think my face could turn a darker shade of red. I wanted to rush for the bathroom, but she held me in place for what I could only assume was an attempt to keep me from making a larger mess. The hissing sound lasted a couple seconds, but that was all it took for any ounce of dignity I had left to go flying out the window. I did my best to hold back a sob that wanted to escape my throat, and I had almost managed to do so until Vicks showed up looking for a band-aid.

Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in surprise. I was the tough one in the group and the one who never cried, yet there I was bawling in a puddle of my own urine.

“I’ll come back later.” Vicks managed to blurt out before ducking back in the hallway.

“Shh, shh. It’s okay.” the nurse said guiding me into the bathroom. “Leave the door open a few inches. I want to make sure I can get to you if you fall.” She handed me a pile of things and I took them. I slid my shoes off followed by my pants and underwear. I kicked them off into a pile as I wet the rag down in the sink, sobbing as I did so. I cleaned my lower half off as best I could before sitting on the toilet.

“I really hate this medicine.” I mumbled as the rest trickled into the toilet.

“What was that?”

“Nothing!” I said before flushing. I reluctantly picked up the shorts knowing what was wrapped inside them. I sighed and pulled out the diaper. How did Debbie always know? I stuck my legs in the holes and pulled it up my waist before sliding the shorts on top of them.

“You get everything on okay?” she asked, handing me a trash bag for my clothes. I nodded and stuffed my clothes inside before washing my hands. She had drawn the curtain around the bed before helping me lay down. I hugged myself and curled into a ball facing the wall. “What happened? Did you over do it today?”

“Yeah,” I mumbled. “First half went okay, but I started getting light headed after lunch.”

“You should have come and laid down sooner.” she scolded. “Do you want me to call Debbie and have her pick you up?”

“No, school’s over in an hour. I’ll just lay down for a bit and take the bus home.”

“Okay, but if you come back to school tomorrow I want you more prepared. This can’t happen again.”
I woke up when someone else came into the room. “What in the world happened here?”
A deep male voice asked. It was Mr. Philips, the school janitor.

“Clean up on aisle three.” the nurse joked.

“I know it’s never a good day when I hear your voice on the walkie.” I could see him through the gap in the curtain examining the puddle on the floor with his hands on his hips. “You better tell me that’s apple juice, Charity.”

“Sure.” I saw him shake his head and drag the mop bucket over.

“Now what are you doing to these poor children to scare them into peeing themselves? I didn’t know we offered flu shots.”

Charity laughed and let out a high witch’s cackle. When she stopped I heard her say in a lower voice, “got a pretty sick one in there.” Mr. Philips looked up from mopping. He made eye contact with me through the gap in the curtain and I looked away in embarrassment. “Should have stayed home another day.”

Debbie didn’t seem to need an explanation when I walked in the house with my head hung low wearing different shorts than I had left with.

“Rough day?”

“I’m gonna go lie down.” I mumbled. It didn’t take long until I was being woken up for dinner.

I poked at my food as Lily babbled to Debbie. I had taken three bites of spaghetti but even that felt heavy in my stomach. My head was pounding under the kitchen light, yet I knew I couldn’t go to bed. I was swamped with homework. I did as much as I could after dinner, but after a couple of hours I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

In comparison to my first day back, the rest of the week went rather well, besides the two other accidents I had during gym. The pull up had absorbed them no problem without anyone being the wiser. I still felt weaker than normal, but every day I seemed to improve little by little. Things were still awkward around Vicks’, and I could tell she had told our friend group about what she saw by the way they stole glances at me during lunch. Nobody ever mentioned anything and I didn’t feel the need to explain.

Whenever I made eye contact with Mr. Philips I always looked away. I felt like he was watching me for some reason. He had even tried to make small talk with me once, but I had made up some excuse and scrambled away from him.

By the weekend I had managed to catch up on all the classes I had missed, and finished up the medication. I was so ready to throw these pull-ups away, despite the fact that they had saved me several times so far. I didn’t want to admit I had gone through more of them than my little sister. Lily was happy I was finally up to jumping with her on the trampoline again. She still insisted I teach her how to do a backflip.

For some reason Debbie had seemed a bit cold to me. It felt like she kept sending me on pointless quests to get rid of me. She wouldn’t let me anywhere near James anymore, which led me to believe the school nurse had tipped her off. Anonymous my ass I thought sourly. By the third time Debbie had sent me into the garage to find her pink hair dryer, I knew she was making it up to get me out of the house after my homework was finished. Her mood swings were giving me a headache. She had been so kind and gentle to me while I was sick, but now that I was better, she didn’t want me around.

I spent much of my time outback with Lily as I could, either jumping on the trampoline, swimming in the pool or playing under the trees the way James and I once had. Except instead of primitive natives chasing us, Lily insisted we were on our way to princes castle so she could get married. I was her bodyguard assigned to keep her safe and remind her to go potty.

“Princes won’t marry a princess who smells like pee.” I reminded her. It seemed to be a good enough reason for her. This was the closest we had ever gotten her potty trained. In less than a week Debbie had gotten farther than we had in a year. By the time my parents came home she’d probably be in panties, just like Debbie had said. I didn’t want to admit it but she had probably had less accidents than I had this week.

I had thought Debbie had been cold to me my first week being well, but by the second she was down right frigid. She had taken my phone away for texting while doing homework and once during dinner had accused me of being anorexic. I couldn’t keep the disbelieving look off my face as I was clearly chunky and overweight. I wasn’t anorexic, I was just picky as hell. She had even confiscated my Mio when she caught me putting it in my water bottle.

“That’s pure sugar!” she yelled at me. “Are you trying to make yourself sick?”

Things had grown tense and uncomfortable once again and I found myself in trouble more often than not. I came to dread when she’d hand me the phone. I wasn’t sure what she was filling my parents head with, but the only conversations I had been having with my mom was her telling me I was grounded when they got home, and to “Enjoy goofing off while you can, because it’s going to be a long time until you see the sun when we get home.” I kept telling her I had no idea what she was talking about, but that seemed to just egg her on.

For the first time this week Debbie pushed James in front of the tv in the living room next to me. I noticed he looked even worse than before. I tried asking a few questions to see if he would respond with clicks of his tongue like he did before. A chill went down my back. I looked at Debbie, but she seemed clueless as to what he was doing.

“James, honey, what’s the matter?” she whispered, ruffling his hair. He didn’t respond. All he kept doing over and over was knocking.

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There was some broken formatting related to these lines:

I tried to fix to what I think you meant, but if I got it wrong, let me know how you meant it to be formatted and I can help you fix it. :slight_smile:

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I don’t often review stories, but I have to say that this is a very interesting crime drama developing. Your portrayal of Factitious Disorder by Proxy is pretty freaking good. However, I might point out that those who have this disorder generally commit these crimes out of a deep-seated need to garner attention and to project the image of a caring, selfless parent/person. That being said, you are really diving into this area and I am impressed with your prose.

Thanks! It’s just something I threw together this week for a forced diapering contest. …I may have gotten side tracked :sweat_smile: The prompt was a female dominating a male (or female) The majority of the entries are sissy stories. …and then there’s me writing about murdering children :upside_down_face:

Yes, that they do. I find the psychology very interesting. I always wonder what’s going through people’s heads with that sort of thing. The CIA agent monitoring my search history has been growing concerned with my obsession with antifreeze.

No, thank you. It looks great!

I thought things had been going in the right direction, but Mr. Montgomery seemed worried. Since Debbie’s supporters were dwindling fast I thought that meant we were winning.

“Public opinion isn’t what decides a jury’s decision.” He told me. “Evidence does.”

I thought about everything that had been presented so far. We had receipts, an open antifreeze bottle under the sink, blood work results, facebook posts, you name it.

He tried to reassure me he’d get the conviction, but I could tell he didn’t have the confidence he once had.

“I don’t understand.” I admitted. “We have so much evidence.”

“Our whole case is based on circumstantial evidence. No one’s saying you weren’t poisoned, but our job is to prove it was her without a shadow of a doubt.”

“Her fingerprints were all over the bottle!”

“Yes, but it was her bottle. Don’t worry though, there’s been lots of cases convicted with circumstantial evidence, I just want you to be aware that it’s not a slam dunk case just because people think she did it.”

I was baffled. I thought the whole point of this was to make the jury think she did it. It seemed more complicated than I had originally thought.

“What would be considered hard evidence?” my mom asked. She sipped her cheap instant coffee from the vending machine and I nursed my coke. We had 15 minutes left of recess before court readjourned and he was coaching me again on what to say.

“We would need to be able to prove no one else had access to the antifreeze bottle but Debrah. As we know though, several people had access including neighbors coming in and out, you, your sister. The defense has eye witness claiming you poisoned yourself-”

“I did not!” I fumed. I thought of my former friends taking the stand the other day. “I can’t believe they did that to me!”

“It’s not their fault, honey. They were subpoenaed.” My mom said.

“Of course we know your drink had been tampered with, but without an eye witness, it leaves too much reasonable doubt.” Mr. Montgomery said. “You were seen by three people putting antifreeze into your drink and chugging it.”

“I didn’t know there was antifreeze in it.” I moaned.

I relaxed my clenched fists and sighed. I was really starting to hate the phrase “reasonable doubt”

“Of course you didn’t know, honey.”

“Unless we have an eye witness who saw Debbie pour the antifreeze into your drink, the best we can nail her for is negligence for leaving the bottle under the sink around children.”

It was bad timing my science class had talked about the dangers of people trying to get drunk off of household products that week. It was just my luck antifreeze had been one of such household chemicals mentioned. The defense was now claiming along with being an attention whore, I was also just plain stupid.

According to the defense, I thought it was a great idea to try and get drunk off ethylene glycol after hearing about it in science class… despite having been shown horrific images and stories of what it does to you. Just seeing that cup of activated charcoal you would have to chug to absorb the poison was enough to make you gag. That’s not even mentioning getting your stomach pumped. Oh and yeah… the whole your kidneys shut down and you die thing was also kind of a turn off.

Mr. Montgomery had done a pretty good job of shutting down their theory. If I had wanted to get drunk, I could have just gone home and helped myself to my parents alcohol stash in the cupboard. I had a key. I wanted to know who the hell thought 12 year old girls were trying to get drunk in the first place. Although…I may have sampled from the forbidden grape juice bottle. I wasn’t impressed. Grape juice wasn’t supposed to burn!

“You guys ready?” Mr. Montgomery asked. I looked to my mom for reassurance and we both nodded. It was time to talk about the second time I had gotten sick.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I had really and truly believed that was my phone on the counter. I wasn’t trying to snoop. We had the same purple case and everything. The moment I heard the shower turn on Sunday night I had dove for it. I just wanted a few minutes to check my facebook feed. Like any 12 year old girl, tomboy or not, I was having major social media withdrawals.

When I turned it on, I realized right away this wasn’t my phone. The amount of open facebook messenger chats was staggering. I panicked. The phone kept buzzing and buzzing with incoming messages. How many conversations could this lady hold at once? I was about to turn it back off when I saw a message from someone I recognized. Chastity Reynolds. The school nurse.

I clicked on it and began to read. I was right. She had told Debbie I was accusing her of child abuse. I couldn’t believe it. This had to be illegal. Wasn’t there confidentiality laws? Wasn’t she a mandated reporter? Why would she run straight to the abuser in question and tattle?
More importantly were Debbie’s messages. My mouth almost dropped. The way she had managed to narrate the events in her favor was nothing short of pure poetry.

Debbie: I’m so over my head! I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I just want to spend the remaining time I have with James in peace. I couldn’t believe her parents just dropped them off on my doorstep and took off to Europe like I have nothing better to do.

Chastity: I can’t believe how selfish they’re being! Don’t they understand your grieving? If there’s anything at all I can do for you please let me know!

Debbie: Thank you, I don’t know what I’d do without you. God has truly blessed me by sending you into my life. I’m making myself sick trying to take care of all three of them. I just want to be with my boy in his final days. Eliza clearly has problems of her own, but I just can’t wrap my head around her accusations. Why?

Chastity: You poor thing, I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through. I don’t think Eliza understands the situation. She is just a kid. I wouldn’t worry about it, given what you’ve told me, I think it’s a mix of concern for James and a cry for attention. You were waiting on her hand and foot when she was sick, and now that your attention is back to James, she is feeling left out. With the four year old still in diapers, I have a feeling the parents aren’t very attentive to them. You have an amazing heart to be caring for them the way you are, despite everything. They are truly blessed to have you in their lives.

Debbie: Thank you, but I’m so scared. What if she keeps spreading rumors and the police come knocking on my door and take James away? I couldn’t live with myself if I missed even a single minute of his life.

Chastity: Don’t worry, you just leave that to me. No one’s going to separate you two.

I exited out and began going through the other conversations. They were all filled with the same sort of thing. “There’s a girl staying with me making accusations against me. I’m so scared I’ll lose James.” They all seemed to follow the same pattern. Everyone showered her with compliments and praise and let her know she was a terrific mother. I was so engrossed I hadn’t heard Debbie come in.

“What are you doing with my phone?” she demanded.

I exited out of facebook and brought up the calculator. I showed her. “I needed it for homework and I couldn’t find one.”

“I saw you doing something, don’t lie to me.” I hung my head.

“Well, I- I just wanted to check my facebook.” It wasn’t entirely a lie.

“So you thought you could sneak it while I was in the shower?” she asked, hands on hips.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

“Bed. Go!” She demanded. I picked up my stuff and headed over to the back bedroom. It was only a little after eight, but I felt like I had dodged a bullet. I wondered how mad she would be if she knew I had been reading through her messages. And she had the nerve to tell me I was looking for attention? I was starting to understand why she didn’t want me around. It was so she could talk on the phone about me to her friends. She was fishing for compliments and using me as live bait.

I hugged my pillow to my chest. I still had math homework, but it would have to wait. I really did need a calculator. After the week I had, I was tired of always being portrayed as the bad guy. I really didn’t want to know what kind of texts she was sending my mom. I knew they weren’t good. I started refusing the phone whenever it was handed to me, and after a few days my mom stopped asking to talk to me. I was scared to know what kind of trouble I’d be in when she got home, but I missed my parents so much. I’d deal with the consequences of whatever half truth she told them if it meant being home and feeling safe.

I was even halfway tempted to call for Lily just to feel some kind of affection. I didn’t think she was mad at me, but I knew Debbie had turned her into a pawn. Lily never left her side.

“What’s wrong, Eliza? You look down.” Vicks asked. I shrugged and took my seat. I had gotten after school detention for not finishing my math homework. Now I would miss the bus and have to call Debbie and ask for a ride.

“Rough week.” I admitted. I unzipped my lunch pail and looked inside surprised to find my container of Mio sitting there along with a sandwich, orange and crackers. I picked it up and ogled it. “That’s weird.”

“What?” Katie asked. I held up the Mio.

“The lady I’m staying with took it away because it was bad for me.” I shrugged and squirted it into my water flask. I took a swig and sighed. “Ahh, flavor.”

Vick’s let me borrow her cell phone so I could catch up on facebook. I was disappointed to find I hadn’t missed anything in a week. I half heartedly sipped on my water bottle and scrolled through the page, stopping on a picture of my parents standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. I hit the heart icon in an attempt to show them I meant no ill will. I stared longingly at them wishing they would be home soon.

“I miss you.” I wrote in the comments and hit send. I just wanted to talk to them without getting yelled at.

I was about to scroll down further, when the letters on the page began to dance and swirl. I tried blinking, but the words on the page wouldn’t sit still. I closed my eyes as the cafeteria began to sway back and forth.

“Thankth, I’m done.” I said handing the phone back to Vicks’. I rested my head in my hands trying to get the swaying sensation to stop.

“Aren’t you going to eat?” Katie asked. I looked up at her. My stomach rolled with the waves of the imaginary ocean.

“N-no.” I said. I could feel myself breaking into a cold sweat. Not here. Not now. Please no. I imagined a lighter flickering to life with the fuse to my stomach just inches away.

“You don’t look so good.” Vicks said.

“I think I thould go to the baththoom.” I could hear my speech beginning to slur. I stood up and stumbled. One of my friends caught me by the arm before I could hit the ground. The flame was getting closer to the fuse. This was bad, this was very bad. If I lost control here the whole school would see. It would cause an unprecedented chain reaction that would forever go down in history.

I remember making eye contact with a pair of brown eyes across the cafeteria belonging to Mr. Philips. And then… all hell broke loose. The fuse had been lit. There was screaming, running, gagging and vomiting. I had nailed one friend from the front and the other from the back. Why oh why had I worn thin shorts today? There was a mass stampede out of the cafeteria. It was every man, woman, and child for themselves. With every exit blocked I had nowhere to go. My heart was racing. My blood pressure was crashing. I could no longer see where anything or anyone had gone. The ringing in my ears was drowning out every other noise. I collapsed to the floor in a puddle of I didn’t want to know what. It wouldn’t stop.

I was convinced everyone had left me when a pair of huge, strong arms picked me up off the ground and began to run. I repaid their kindness by shitting on them with every other step they took.

“CHASTITY!” The person carrying me yelled. They set me down on the pavement before running inside. I made quick work of claiming the spot, and the surrounding area, as my own. “Over here!”

My eyes were shut tight. I didn’t want to see. Everything hurt so bad. My head, my stomach, my throat. How had things changed so much in ten minutes? What was wrong with me? I felt a pair of hands gently guide me down, and turn my head to the side so I could lay down without drowning in my own vomit.

“What happened?”

“I don’t know, I heard kids screaming and looked up to find her gushing everywhere. Should we call an ambulance?”

“Let me call her guardian and see what she wants to do.”

“No,” I gasped between heaves. “Debbie did this. Hospital!” I begged. I opened my eyes to find Mr. Philips leaning over me.

“Debbie Martnif?”

“Yes.” I rasped. I could see his lips tighten in disbelief. Why would no one believe me? Why did every single person in town seem to know her? “Please help.”

“Help Is coming.” he promised. He held my hand despite it being coated in guck.

“She’s on her way.” Chastity said. I moaned.

“She’s hurting me!”

“No one is hurting you.” Chastity said.

“What’s going on out he- oh my god!” I heard a gagging sound and looked up to see the school principal. He had a fist pressed against his lips and his eyes shut tight. “What happened?”

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out. I called her guardian, she’s on her way!”

“What was that you said about someone hurting you?” Mr. Philips asked.

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.” Chastity said.

Mr. Philips held his hands up. “This doesn’t look like nothing to me. Let her talk.”

“This doesn’t concern you, I’ve already contacted the proper authorities. It sounds like you should be in the cafeteria where this started.”

“What is this about? Who is she saying is hurting her?” The principal stepped forward, before turning his head and fighting against his gag response with several coughs.

“The police have already investigated and found her claims to have no merit.” Chastity said.

“They’ve investigated who? Why wasn’t I informed of this before? What’s going on?”

“Because she was making outlandish claims brought on paranoia due to an illness and-”

“Lies!” I choked out. I could feel darkness closing in now and I wanted it to take me more than I’d wanted anything else. “She’s covering-” I couldn’t finish before another wave of dry heaves attacked me. I gagged, burped, coughed, choked and vomited blue stained bile.

“Shh, it’s okay.” Chastity said. “Save your strength.”

“Do I need to get the police involved?” The principal asked.

Chastity answered, “no” while Mr. Philips and I answered, “yes”.

“I’m calling.” He said before pulling out his cell phone and dialing 9-1-1. He stepped a few feet away so I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

“We’re going to get you help now.” Mr. Philips said. “They’re on their way.”

“What did you take, Eliza? We need to tell the police what you took.”

“Nothing.” I whispered. “Things started moving and-”

“Did you take a pill or a tablet?”

“What?” I was so confused. Nothing was making sense. Was an ambulance coming to pick me up? I closed my eyes and refused to answer any more questions. It felt like less than a minute had passed before I heard Chastity shout. “Over here!”

“Oh my God, Eliza sweetie, what happened to you?” I could hear Debbie’s voice going in and out.

“No,” I moaned almost inaudible. “It’s her.”

“Ma’am you need to wait here, the police are on their way.”

“I can’t wait! I need to get her to the hospital!” Debbie said. She knelt down next to me and rubbed my head. “We’re going to get you help.” I kept hearing that, but here I was still lying in a pool of my own waste. “Tell them to meet me at Community Memorial.”
The only problem was she didn’t take me to the hospital. She took me back home and gave me a shower. After rinsing me off, changing my clothes and putting me back in a diaper, she drove me back to the little clinic off the avenue. She had to push me in a wheelchair to get me in the door with Lily trailing along behind us.

“Is she gonna die?” Lily asked.

“No, sweetie, she’ll be fine. She’s just having an allergic reaction.”

I wish I could say how the appointment went, but I really don’t remember. Debbie did all the talking to the lady at the front desk while Lily occasionally poked me and asked if she could have my stuff if I died. The next thing I knew I was lying down on a gurney in the back connected to an IV of fluids. After what I thought was ten minutes with my eyes closed I found myself back in the bedroom at Debbie’s.

I sat up startled. Had it all been a dream? The soggy diaper around my waist told me it hadn’t. I tried yelling for Debbie, but found I didn’t have a voice. I grimaced as I swallowed. It burned so bad. It was dark now as I tried to feel around the room. My hands felt something cool. I picked it up, unscrewed the cap and began guzzling it.

“Debbie.” I moaned, barely over a whisper. There was a baby monitor around here somewhere. Unable to yell, I took to banging the water bottle against the side of the bed until she came.

“How do you feel?” she asked, placing a cool hand against my forehead. She flicked on the light forcing me to shield my eyes.

“Bad.” I croaked. If I thought I had felt sick last time it was nothing to how I felt now. I wanted to cry from the pain. Something was pinching my wrist. I held it up to find a plastic medical bracelet tight against my skin. I tried prying it off with my hands, but I was too weak. I held up my wrist and she cut it off with a pair of scissors.

“Your wrists are swollen.” I rubbed my wrist and found I couldn’t wrap my fingers around either one of them. “Drink some more water.” I took another swig as Debbie filled me in.

They had given me some pain medicine that had made me a little too loopy. She said I had been awake for the appointment and somewhat coherent, but I couldn’t remember a thing.

“Eliza, I want you to be honest with me. Were you drunk?”

“No.”

“Did you take anything? A pill? A tablet? Did someone offer you something?”

“No.” I whispered. It hurt to get any words out, but I tried my best to explain what happened. “It was like last time. Felt bad, tried to get away, but…What’s wrong with me?”

“I don’t know. Your urine came back clean this time, but they gave you another round of the same medicine as last time just in case.”

“What time is it?”

“A little after 3 am. You’ve been sleeping all day.”

I nodded and laid back down.

“You have to stop telling people I’m doing this to you. Eliza, look at me. I am not making you sick. I am not making James sick. I don’t know what’s going on with you right now, but I can’t afford to have people questioning my parenting. I just want to be with James. The police came by this afternoon. I answered all their questions, walked them through James’s care, and let them have a look around. They said everything was in order and left. I hope this calms whatever suspicion you seem to have about me.”

I let out a soft grunt. I didn’t care right now. I felt like I was dying.

“We’ll discuss this later when you’re more conscious. Lay back and I’ll get you situated. You’re leaking on the bed sheets.”

I closed my eyes and was asleep before she even finished unfolding a fresh one.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It had been another emotional day in court. I had had to relive one of my worst memories in front of a courtroom full of strangers. According to Mr. Philips, rumors of what I had done to the inside of that cafeteria still circulated to this day, spread on to the incoming 6th graders by none other than Mr. Philips himself.

“Worst day of my career by far.” he had said. “After we made sure that girl Eliza was off to the hospital, I got sent to the cafeteria. I almost threw down my mop and quit on the spot.”

“Swing by the mailbox before we get home.” My mom said. My dad pulled around the corner and checked the CBU. He flipped through the letters and I could tell he wasn’t happy with something he saw in them.

“What is it?” My mom asked him when he got back inside. He handed her the letter.

“It’s a subpoena.” He said. “For Lily.”

Hey !

I like the pitch of this story and as for the rest of your work the style and the quality of your writting.

The only black spot here is that it feels a bit rushed in terms of character development. It lacks a bit of suspense too at first (even if I like the jumps in time at the beginning of the chapters) the last two chapters, however, really built up the pressure. But I understand that the conditions for writing this story were not the most comfortable for you.

I quite don’t understand why peoples would complain about your story as you even put warnings at the beginning …

As your supply of fresh fruit is taking care of I will only add that I hope to read more soon.

Thanks for your work.

1 Like

Because people are dumb sometimes. That, and unfortunately, way too many people, even with the fetish, have trouble with the concept that fetish != sexual.

That’s actually a big problem with ABDL in general though. For some it is sexual, some it’s not, and for some it is both sexual and non-sexual so people get antsy whenever kids are brought up in any association with it at all.

Can they really subpoena a 4-year-old? And wouldn’t her parents have to allow it in any case?