by Angela Santistevan
It was close to an hour walk to Sissy’s house. Katie would often do cartwheels, front walkovers, skip and run across the front lawn of her yard to entertain herself. But not today.
Today she would ride her brand-new bike. It was beautiful, a purple ten-speed. It was her maintain-straight-A’s-all-year reward. She had no clue how long the trip would take on the bike, but on the way to her friend’s house there was a really big hill. Katie couldn’t wait to glide down that one.
She always went to get Siciley, ‘Sissy’ to her. That was their everyday routine. When Sissy did come to Katie’s, it was because Siciley’s mother had returned. Katie loved it when Sissy stayed with her and her dad. She hated the reason why Sissy stayed, but it seemed like Sissy belonged there, with Katie and her dad. They had fun just being together; even teeth brushing was fun. The girls went to school together, just like sisters would do, and everything seemed right. It was as if they were a real family.
Siciley’s daddy was the town Sheriff. But even Sheriff Llewellyn couldn’t protect his daughter from her mother. So, he gladly let his daughter stay at the Pastor’s and Katie’s until his wife inevitably took off, to who knows where, again.
The whole town, which was a simple, South Carolina country community, where everyone knew everyone, knew what Terry Llewellyn was like. She was what everyone imagined the world’s most hideous drunkard could possibly be. Terry would take off, leave her husband and daughter, and stay gone for weeks at a time. There were rumors about where she would go, but no one really cared. It was just what Terry did. When she was at home she mostly slept, or at least barricaded herself in her room. It was when she decided to join the world of the living that Siciley’s world became unbearable. Terry Llewellyn abused her twelve-year-old daughter in every way possible, even sexually. Nobody, except for Katie knew about that part of the abuse; it was horrendous. But up until the day at the river, the two girls never kept secrets from each other. They also never shared their secrets – the secrets between them – with any other living soul.
The neighborhood never looked down on the Sheriff or judged him ill, for putting up with his drunkard wife’s habits. In fact, the Sheriff was admired for not giving up on her. Of-course, no one knew how horribly the little girl was tormented or the neighborhood would have most likely had a very different opinion altogether.
A native of Virginia, Angela Santistevan has lived in many regions of the United States, as well as Central America. She received her education at Purdue University in Indiana. She has two previously published novels; Downfall, and Good at Being Bad. Katie and Siciley is the first short story she has published.