Gracie awoke with a start. It took her awhile to get her bearings but then she realised where she was. Home, if you could call it that, and what had awoken her were her father and eldest brother fighting in the kitchen.
“How many times do I got to tell you to put out a cigarette before you pass out drunk, huh?” said Joey her brother. He hadn’t always been this responsible and thoughtful but since their mama’s passing he’d taken over as both of their parents.
“Look boy, this is my house and as long as you live here you won’t be giving me crap like that got it?” Her father retaliated, although he was still a big man he was somewhat past his better days. And the getting drunk on moonshine every night wasn’t helping any. As a man of 36 he should still be in his prime but after losing his one true love he’d almost given up as of late.
Gracie tiptoed through the old shack they called home and tried to leave without being seen. She didn’t like fighting at the best of times but especially in the mornings. “Gracie!” her father yelled and she quickly sprinted out the front door and down the dirt road. “Get back here girl!” she heard her father call but she kept running until his voice was a distant whisper. He wouldn’t come looking for her, that would be too hard but he had lately been telling Gracie that now she was 17 she should be acting more like a lady. “Well I ain’t no lady” would always be Gracie’s reply as she carried on with her chores leaving her father irritated yet speechless.
As she walked through the woods of Franklin County she absentmindedly combed through her ratty blonde hair, her mama used to brush it every night before bed but now that she’d passed the task always bought a lump to Gracie’s throat. As she’d been reminiscing she hadn’t heard the footsteps behind her until they were almost upon her. She shot around quick as a flash only to be tackled to the ground instantly. “ummph” was all she could say as her head tried to work out what was happening. “Hahaha I got you Gracie! I got you!!” Cricket laughed and shouted till Gracie was almost deaf. “You idiot!” Gracie shoved her brother and rose to her feet “You nearly gave me a heart attack!” She yelled although her brother had already ran off- probably to see Jack Bondurant.
She continued to walk aimlessly until she heard some twigs snap behind her “It’s not funny anymore Cricket” she shouted although she wasn’t too sure which direction the noise was coming from. All of a sudden someone stepped out from behind the trees “Well hello there Gracie, just what are you doing out in the woods all alone?” It was Danny Walsh a boy from the town. He wasn’t particular bad looking but he’d never taken an interest in Gracie before, she was surprised he even knew her name.
“Hello Danny, what are you doing out here?” she tried to sound casual although even she could hear her voice shake. She knew something was wrong with this situation- call it her gut feeling but she knew she should go. As she was about to though two of Danny’s friends emerged from behind the trees. “I really gotta go” Gracie said hurriedly as she walked past Danny, his friends leering at her. “Well just wait a second, sugar” Danny said as he snatched her arm and wrenched her closer “Me and the boys here thought we could have a little fun.” He said as he used his free hand to stroke her dress. “Look just let me go and I won’t be telling anyone about this” Gracie said defiantly and as steadily as she could despite shaking on the inside. “Ha! Who’re you gonna tell? Huh? Your simple brother? Your drunk of a father? Or maybe your other brother- the one who’s dumb as shit? No. You ain’t telling nobody and we’re gonna have some fun. Got it?” he shook her violently with this last sentence making her jaw snap shut.
She nodded solemnly while thinking of a way to escape. He put his hand up her dress while his friends got nearer. She built up her courage then with all her might head butted the bastard. It hurt like hell but Danny wasn’t expecting it and fell to the ground. Without a second thought Gracie began to run for her life.