Note: The following passage is a short excerpt from my in-progress novel for nanowrimo, “Volkoff”. If you enjoy this, please support the official release when it is eventually published.
While I was born in 1978, my earliest memories are of 1982. And while there’s plenty I remember before this, my story begins at a very specific point.
It was Winter, most likely February based on how cold it was. The day was a miserable one. Freezing rain was pouring down, the sky was dark, and, as usual, our miniscule apartment smelled of tobacco, marijuana, and whatever other drugs my birth parents smoked.
I was sitting in our living room, which was about the size of a college dorm room, sitting on our old, dilapidated couch, watching a stupid cartoon on our miniature black and white TV.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t happy. After all, I was wearing used, ripped clothes, I hadn’t showered in weeks, my parents limited my water usage to a cup of drinking water a day, and my body was in horrible shape. Even from a young age, I was incredibly tall and big boned. I’d say at this point in time I was already well over four feet tall, and with barely any food to eat, I was basically a twig. A twig which could be easily snapped.
In addition, my voice was unnaturally deep for a girl. If my birth mother actually cared about me, she might have tried to get me to speak in a higher pitch. It would have been a rude and unreasonable demand, but at least she would have been taking an interest in me.
Our apartment was pathetic. There were only three rooms: the living room, the bedroom, and the filthy, disgusting, rat infested bathroom.
Well, to be clear, the whole apartment was infested with rodents. It’s just that the majority stayed in the bathroom.
As you could probably guess, this arrangement left me a very dirty child. Even if I didn’t frequently play in mud, I would still have been filthy. I believe my later desire to stay clean comes from this upbringing.
The living situation should have been simple. My birth parents should have slept in their room and I should have slept on the couch.
But no, back then, life couldn’t even give me a hard sofa to sleep on.
Most nights, my birth mother, Petra, kicked by birth father, Sergei, out of bed. This would result in him throwing me off the couch so he could sleep there, leaving me only one place to sleep: The bathroom…with the rats.
Much as I hate them, I hate my younger self just as much. So foolish and naive. She honestly believed that her parents loved her, and that they were perfect. If this had been the me from a few years down the line, I would have tried to run away. Maybe I’d even have had the guts to kill them in their sleep.
Oh, how I wish I’d done that.
The living room, is addition to being tiny, was almost as horrible as the bathroom. Everything was covered in dust, there were nails coming out of the floorboards, the dark green sofa was as hard as a rock, and I didn’t even have an escape to the outside world as the windows were boarded up.
While I was watching my childish tv show and eating my breakfast, a hard boiled egg, Sergei came barging in, screaming at Petra about how leaving Russia was their biggest mistake.
After stating that, he stared down at me and sighed.
Sergei was an ugly man. His beard was massive and unkempt, his cheeks were large and puffy, he had enormous bags under his eyes, and his fingernails were more yellow than the sun.
“Whatever,” Petra said, entering the living room in a slutty red dress. Similarly to how Sergei just had, she stared at me and sighed. “Sergei, is everything prepped for tonight?” she asked, putting on a coat to match her dress.
“Yeah, yeah,” the drunken bastard answered, scratching his enormous neck beard.
Petra wasn’t ugly at all. As much as it kills me to admit it, she probably was beautiful underneath the slutty make-up she wore. I’m not positive though, as I don’t have many memories of her without the make-up.
She had big red hair, the same color as mine, blue eyes, and for those who liked their women skinny, she had a perfect figure. I’ve never seen the appeal in girls who look anorexic myself.
“Mommy, mommy!” I exclaimed, getting up and running over to the bitch. My Russian accent wasn’t as strong as those of my birth parents, since they were the ones I spent my time around, it was still present. “On the show I was watching, one girl was able to make copies of herself. Can I do that?”
Petra laughed in my face.
“No Olivia. People like us don’t get powers.”
“But why not?”
Even with my height, you may be imagining that I was cute. Don’t. I’m ugly now and I was ugly back then. It’s obvious to me that I got my looks from Sergei.
“Because,” Sergei said in his gruff voice, putting on a jacket. “Only successful people get powers. And I think you’re old enough to tell that we’re not successful.”
I walked over to Sergei and asked, “Why not?”
Sergei answered my question by backhanding me, sending me to the hardwood floor.
It wasn’t the first time Sergei had hit me, but it still wasn’t something I was used to.
Like the weakling I was, I began balling, my tears soaking into the wooden floor. A truth of this world is that pain builds character. But this was just needless abuse.
“Sergei!” Petra screamed, coming over to help me up. “Don’t damage the merchandise!” she whispered loudly.
“What’s…mercandis?” I asked, sniffling, mispronouncing the word “merchandise” as I got up, rubbing my head.
“You’ll learn tonight,” Petra said, kissing my forehead. “See you then.”
Sergei held the door open for Petra. As the two left the apartment, I could just barely hear Sergei mutter, “Fucking manwoman.”