Home » Child Abuse » Spiders and A Stuffed White Kitten

Spiders and A Stuffed White Kitten

The car finally arrived at the farm where I was kept  for the next 9 years. I was taken out of the trunk by a man. I remember meeting Lou for the first time. He leaned over. He was smiling as he smelled my hair. I didn’t understand why I felt icky when he did that, but would find out none too soon.

My new home was to be the root cellar of the old farmhouse. I don’t know where Cleo thought a three-year old was going to run away to. The farmhouse set far back from the road. The farm was located in the middle of nowhere.

My new name was Salina.  Mommy was Cleo.  Daddy was Lou.

It doesn’t take long to break a three-year old.

The cellar had cement block walls and a dirt floor. There was an old ringer washing machine and oil furnace on a cement slab in one corner.  The size of the basement was small, about the size of a typical bathroom.  There was a small very dirty window that  had bars on the outside.  The window did not open.

There were basement stairs.  The stairs were steep.

At the top of the stairs, there was one lone bare lightbulb with a pull string that I couldn’t reach. Cleo turned it on when she came down. Lou also turned it on when he came to “visit.” Other then when they allowed the bare bulb to stay on that it was off.

She let me know she controlled everything.

It was dark. It was so very dark at night. The only light came from the crack under the door at the top of the stairs. Even during the day, it was dark. The small barred dirty window let in very little light.

There was a bucket in the other corner. That was my toilet.

My bed was the floor.

Lou made sure to bring me a Disney princess sleeping bag. It had Cinderella on it. He made a table. The table was actually was six cinder bricks, with an old wooden door laid across the gap in the bricks.  He  put a dirty table-cloth over the old wood door.

The heavy door at the top of the stairs the basement stairs had four locks.  The door led out to the hall.  The room directly ahead was the dining room.  If you turned left instead, and then up the stairs of Cleo’s old farmhouse there was another door with four locks. This door opened to another enclosed room Lou called the ‘play room’. The walls in that room were covered with neon pink. There was a canopy bed with white sheets with little pink hearts.  There were dolls.  Lots of dolls. Cleo brought “guests” who paid for time with me.

I’m not going to describe anything that happened in that room, that is enough. One thing I will tell you,  is the pink wasn’t  for me, it was because Lou and the other men liked pink.

I learned every inch of the basement. I knew what the cracks in the block walls felt like. I knew the taste and smell of the dirt floor and I knew the spiders that lived in the windowsill, they were friends. With the dim light coming through that tiny basement window, I’d count their legs, inspect their webs, examining them, trying to understand why they were there.  I even named them.
Although it may be hard for you to understand, the basement terrified and comforted me at the same time. I was terrified of where Cleo and Lou might be. As long as that door was locked I felt safe. I learned to listen to every sound of the footfalls from the house above. I learned the creeks and noises of the house and how many seconds I had from the moment the first lock snapped to the crack the door made when it was opened.  As long as I didn’t hear that crack then I was safe. If I heard voices that was even worse because it could mean I would be entertaining soon.Silence meant no one was moving and no one was headed down to me.
I had my secret too.My soft stuffed white kitten.  Her name was Snowball.  I had her in the store.  I held her in the car and trunk too. Lou had taken Snowball out of the trunk.  He threw her on the ground. .  Lou was too busy smelling my hair and smiling.  I felt icky,  I picked her up.  Lou didn’t  notice me hugging a little white stuffed kitten.  Somehow I knew to hide Snowball in the cinder block holes in the table when Cleo was around.  Lou didn’t care about stuffed kittens.  
Snowball was the only thing they would never take away from me.  

One thought on “Spiders and A Stuffed White Kitten

  1. Pingback: The Cellar « Once Lost Child


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