Behind Closed Doors
Author: Auty

Chapter 25
Telling the truth

"And so you take the negative number and then plus it to the two positives and you get..."
I listen to Miss Godwin drone on about a maths problem. No-one is really listening. My eyes go really heavy and I rest my head on the table for just a few seconds. Before I know it, I'm asleep.
Someone is gently shaking me and I groan, "Not again Daddy, please".
I sit up, realizing Daddy isn't shaking me. It's Miss Godwin.
"You dropped off in class. It's break, everyone else is outside", she says sitting down in the chair next to me making it clear I wasn't to join them.
"Are you tired Leah?"
"A bit", I mumble.
"Are you getting much sleep at home?" she asks.
"Leah I'm worried about you".
Here we go, the talk again.
"First, you find it hard to concentrate, you don't make friends, you look like your in pain and then you fall asleep in class. Is everything OK at home Leah? I want you to tell me otherwise I might have to contact social services..."
"NO! Everything is fine!" I say a little too quickly.
She raises her eyebrows at me.
I sigh, resting my head in my hands. Everything was so messed up.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. Not a rough kind like Daddy but a gentle, reassuring kind. I take a deep breath, "It's not his fault Miss", I mumble into my hands hoping she won't hear.
"Not who's fault Leah?" she asks.
"Daddy". I whisper the word so quietly I might not have said it at all. But she understands.
"What does he do to you Leah?" she asks quietly.
Then I start crying. Once I've started I can't stop. I cry all the tears of anger and sadness and hurt and pain. I sob into my hands for what seems like hours until I feel an arm round me and a tissue handed to me.

I dry my eyes and try to stop the hiccups in my voice.
"He hits me", I sob, "And makes me do things".
"What things?" Miss Godwin asks.
"He makes me sleep with these men and it hurts", I sob harder, the tissue now soaked with tears.
Miss Godwin doesn't say anything for a few minutes. She bows her head and closes her eyes like she's doing a little prayer.
"It's Ok", she says quietly after a while. "Your safe now".
"I'm not", I whimper, "When he finds out I've told someone..."
I trail off thinking of the threat he had said if I ever dared tell someone. 'I'll kill you'.
"Listen Leah", she says, "Sometimes in life, adults do bad things. Very bad things and people don't know why. What your Dad has done to you is one of those things. It's wrong and bad. Do you understand?"
The 'do you understand' but makes me think of Daddy and I cry harder.
"Come with me", Miss Godwin says standing up, holding out her hand.
I sniff and take her hand, wondering where we are going.


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