Tales of the Storage Space, Part 87

Imogene couldn’t like believe Real Life.  Her dad was going to kill her.

Her mom held her tight.  Imogene fumbled for her effin phone.

Her mom held her tight.  Imogene remembered her effin phone was dead anyway.

Her mom pressed Imogene’s head into the crook of her neck, forcing Imogene to close her eyes.  The scent of her mom’s skin sparked something odd, memories from Real Life.  From like some snuggly long ago that Imogene never thought about any more.

Her mom rocked her.  Imogene suddenly remembered her mom used to sing to her, though Imogene hadn’t heard her sing in a very long time.  Like her phone flickering in and out just before the battery died, Imogene just barely began to feel a calm warmth she’d forgotten all about.

Then she heard a heavy footstep.  She didn’t have to turn and open her eyes to know who it was.

“Let her go!” her dad bellowed.

Her mom dropped her so fast that her head hit one of the metal walls.

“Where’s my elephant?”

The elephant she’d thrown against a wall and heard break?  Her dad was like really going to kill her.

Where was her mom?

Finally she opened her eyes.  Her mom was standing next to her dad with her head bowed.  Behind them the old woman with the beautiful voice and the blonde who worked at the storage space seemed to be sneaking away, heading for the stairs.  The girl with the great sweater who’d poked her a lot to be sure she was okay was fumbling for her phone, which was attached to a charger.

Imogene moved like lightning, snatching the charger off the other girl’s phone, and finding an outlet in the hall.  “I, like, really, really need this!”  Just as she attached her own phone a heavy hand fell on her shoulder.

“I said, where’s my elephant?”

“Dad, it was like, really like an accident?”

Behind him, Imogene saw the girl with the sweater’s eyes widen.  That girl didn’t sneak, she ran for the stairs.  Now Imogene’s family was alone.

The first blow was nothing, almost like lame, since her dad was standing and Imogene was seated next to her phone she’d just plugged into the wall.  It was the second one that caught her by surprise, a kick to her stomach.

However feebly, something in her stomach kicked back.

It was then that her mom fled, deeper into the storage space.

The beating went on and on.  But something strange, something new was happening to Imogene.  She started to laugh, even when another tooth loosened.  Even when the laughter she couldn’t stop, like some insane case of giggles, had her spitting up blood.

A lot of clattering footsteps from both ends of the hall at once.

From the end of the hall she was facing, she could see her mom running towards them with some kind of heavy lever.  Imogene’s life experiences were such that she immediately recognized that the stuff the lever was caked with was a whole lot of dry blood.  Her mom swung hard just as the clattering footsteps at the other end of the hall stopped at the top of the stairs.

Her dad swung around at the same time, facing her mom as the lever hit his head.  Blood flew.  But his movement had wrecked her mom’s aim.  He still stood.  Though dazed, he grabbed her mom’s wrist.  The lever with its fresh blood clattered across the floor and came to rest at her mom’s feet.

Did Imogene imagine that her dad was like fighting to suppress a smile?  He turned, still struggling a bit to regain his balance.  First he looked a bit absently at Imogene, then over her shoulder.

Imogene turned around to see a bunch of cops with the blonde, the old woman, and the girl with the sweater behind them at the other end of the hall.

“You got here just in time!”

It was her dad speaking…

“It’s not her fault, really, my wife’s insane.  I have the paperwork at home to prove it.  I kept hoping I could control it, keep our family together somehow, but you see what she just did to my daughter before she started in on me.”

Her mom was looking straight into Imogene’s eyes now, while she fished her phone out of her purse with her free hand.

Phone!  Phone!  Yeah, that was like all that mattered!  Imogene tuned out what her dad and the cops were saying and grabbed her own phone, which now had enough charge to work.

Snapchat…

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  U there?

Nothing.

Her mom was still looking straight into Imogene’s eyes, struggling with her phone a bit before she started to type.

A new message drew Imogene’s attention back to her own phone.

^URSunPC&proud:  I’ve always loved you.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  ?…always?…don’t even no who U R

Imogene looked up to see a cop take her mom’s wrist away from her dad and handcuff it.  Her mom was still looking at Imogene but now tears trickled down her cheeks.  She hurried to type something into her phone before the cop grabbed her other wrist and the phone clattered to the floor.

Imogene stared at her mom’s phone.  On it was Imogene’s Snapchat with ^URS.  Imogene read:

^URSunPC&proud:  Sec…mayB very long sec…

Then her mom’s phone blacked out.

The cops took her mom away.

Her dad smiled down at Imogene, but it wasn’t exactly a smile.

Imogene couldn’t like believe Real Life.  Her dad was going to kill her.

Her mom might never again hold her tight.

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