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A TRUE SMILE



Who would ever think that 7 and 8-years-old boys would have the instinct to kill another human being? I learned about the urge to kill when I was living in the Children's Home Society Orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida.

I stood holding my breath, just watching as one of the boys had his arrow cocked back in his bow. The sharp tipped arrow pointed right at the heart of another one of the boys. I will never forget looking into the face of a young boy lying defenseless on the ground, his dirty hands trying to cover his face, just waiting to see if he would die.

I watched as the boy's arm started to quiver and shake. I was not sure how much longer he could hold the bow cocked before his strength gave out and the arrow flew forward into the chest of the boy lying on the ground.

"You ain't the only one who had to do it," said one of the boys in our group.

I looked up and saw the boy with the bow look into each and every one of our faces. Carefully, he lowered the bow and arrow down to his side. All at once, he re-cocked the bow and let the arrow fly. It landed only inches from the head of the young man who was lying on the ground.

"Shouldn't make fun of me for that," said the boy as he threw the bow and arrow to the ground.

The boy ran as fast as he could over to the tetherball pole. He grabbed the pole with both hands, placed his head against his arms and began to cry aloud.

"Well, we all had to do it. We did," said the tall, thin boy shaking his head back and forth.

"Yea, but you ain't supposed to say noth'n about that and you know it," said another boy in the group.

I was 7 or 8 years old when the head matron, Mother Winters first started molesting me, not to mention many of the other boys at the home. For me, it was not so much the sexual abuse that bothered me. Over time, I learned to live with that. It was how she treated me right before she molested me. It was how she constantly slapped me in the face and head, and how she would verbally degraded me before I had to do what she ordered. It was how she told me I was worthless and should have my throat cut. That if it was not for her, we orphan kids would have no home or food at all.

Yes, I do have to admit that I do have some memories that still haunt me. I am sure, as some may say, that I still have a ways to go before I can carry a smile on my face.



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