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Halfway Gone


Joanna Rozo

As Josie sat in her fifth grade class doing math problems, she was praying for the bell to ring. It was the end of the day and she was so excited. Her dad promised to take her to the fair after school. She was looking forward to it all day. She had been in a sad mood for a while and really needed some fun. She didn't know it, but she was at the beginning stages of depression, at only ten years old.

"Josie Stone, please come to the office your mother is here to pick you up," announced a voice over the intercom. Josie put her stuff away and went to the office. She thought her mom had to work late, but didn't think much about it. When she approached the office her mom was crying. Josie wanted to ask what was wrong, but decided to wait.

Josie's mom grabbed her hand and was walking so fast she was almost dragging Josie along. Her mom drove a small old beetle that Josie hated riding in because it smelled funny, Josie figured it was because it use to belong to her grandmother and she thought all old people smelled funny. Josie couldn't stand the silence, but her mom started talking before she had a chance to.

"Josie, there's no easy way to say this, but, ah, well-," she couldn't finish.

"What is it, mom?" Josie asked calmly.

"Your father has been in a car accident. They called me at work, he's in the hospital, I wanted to get you first before going to see him," she said still crying. Josie sat there is shock and she felt like she couldn't move. Tears fell from her eyes and she didn't even bother to wipe them away. "There was a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road while your father was on a curve, your father tried to turn, but he wasn't fast enough, the drunk driver didn't survive," she explained. Josie still couldn't move. Her world was spinning and she couldn't see anything. Then her mother's voice brought her back to reality.

"Josie, Josie, we're here," she said, she was already out of the car.

Since Josie seemed to be frozen, she grabbed Josie's hand and gently pulled her out of the car. Josie felt like she was in a dream, like none of this was really happening. Her mother asked the lady at the front desk what room Carl Stone was in. Or at least that's what Josie figured she asked, she saw her lips moving, but didn't hear anything. When the lady answered she still didn't hear anything. Everything around her was going so fast until they got to the room.

Josie stood in the doorway while her mother let go of her hand and ran to Josie's dad. She fell to her knees, her arms crossed on the bed and her face down. He was unconscious with broken arms and legs and a bandage around his forehead. Josie still stood in the doorway.

"Carl, oh Carl," her mother cried. Josie stood still while her mother cried. Then she spoke up, "Mom?"

"Mom?!" she spoke louder after getting no answer.

"Yes, Josie."

"Is he going to die?"


"Is he going to die?! Answer me!"

"I don't know."

The doctor was nearby explaining something to the nurse, and then he finally turned to Josie's mom. She got up slowly and Josie went over to her father. "Mrs. Stone, I'm sorry, but I don't think he's going to make it," he said answering Josie's question, but she paid no attention. Josie's mom cried even harder.
Josie grabbed her father's hand.

"Dad, please don't leave me."

"Josie," he said very softly.

"Dad!" she answered anxiously.

"I'm sorry, princess," he spoke softly again. Josie's mom rushed over to him and pushed Josie out of the way.

"Carl?" she said desperately.

"Beth, sweetie, take care of Josie…"

"Carl, Carl? NO!"

Josie stood there in shock as her world began to spin again. Then, she woke in her room, sweat and tears running down her cheeks. She had that dream almost every night since her father died. It's been four years. The death of her father pushed her off the edge, straight into depression.

Josie was a lot closer with her dad than with her mom. After he died Josie and Beth drifted apart. Josie pretty much stop talking to people, she lost all her friends and never made new ones. In the sixth grade she started smoking marijuana. She usually stole money from her mom to pay for it. Beth remarried when Josie was 13. Josie didn't understand how her mother could do such a thing. Josie hated her step-dad. His name was Ray, and he was very rude, especially to Beth. He got her into drugs and alcohol. She began taking pills everyday. Pills that Josie knew Ray stole. Josie hated how Ray was either at a bar or at home drinking, he usually didn't do anything else.

It was the first week of October and already Josie couldn't stand school. She wanted to drop out, but she much rather be in school than at home. At home there was always yelling. At school she was made fun of every once in while, but she didn't really care.

"Beth, I told you not to drink my beer. Buy your own beer bitch!"

"Maybe I would if you didn't spend my money buying beer for yourself!"

"What, don't talk back to me!"

"Ray, please calm down. You're going to wake up Josie."

"Don't tell me what to do!"

"Ray, please keep your voice down. Ray, what are you doing, don't. Ray!!"

Josie could hear the slap from her room. She got used to that every morning. She quickly got ready for school. Ignoring her hunger she grabbed an apple and left. She got to school and things got worse. She's been having a problem with falling asleep in class, which she blames on teachers for making the class so boring. School was getting harder for her, which she figured it was because of the drugs killing her brain cells. Josie fell asleep first period in her science class. It took a while for the teacher to notice.

"Josie, Josie, Josie!" she yelled. Josie jumped out of her seat and something fell out of her pocket.

"Josie Stone, I can't believe you brought drugs to school!!!" she screamed so loud that the class next door heard her. "Go to the office Ms. Stone. "When the teacher turned her back Josie's picked up her belongings. When she got to the office the principal was waiting for her, the teacher had just called and told him what happen.

"Ms. Stone do you understand how serious this is?" he asked not expecting an answer. Josie stared blankly at him. "Wait there while I call your mother," he said pointing to a chair. She sat there and waited, getting nervous, her mom didn't know she was doing drugs and she didn't want to see the look on her face when she found out. She looked around and realized there was no one else in the office. So, she ran. She ran as fast as she could. After a long while she noticed no one was following her so she slowed down. She wasn't used to running and had to stop completely.

After her rest she went to a nearby park. The park was mostly trees and there weren't a lot of people around. She got a joint out of her pocket, she had been smoking so long it didn't really get her high anymore, but she felt the need to smoke. She was at the park for about an hour and no one came looking for her.

She started walking again. Not knowing where she was going, stopping every once in while to rest. By early afternoon the pain in her stomach was too strong, she had to get something to eat. She searched her black Jansport backpack for money, but found none. She knew it was wrong to steal, but at the moment she was too hungry to care.

The closes store was 7-11. Josie was thankful she was wearing her big coat; it was easy to hide things in the sleeves. A can of Pepsi was easily placed up her sleeve. Then she went to search for the candy. She picked up a bag of Kisses; it was her favorite kind of candy. Her dad always had Kisses. Reminiscing brought a tear to her eye, so she tried to think of something else. The Kisses were too big to put in her sleeve so she got a Crunch bar instead. She made sure no one was watching her.

She left the store without getting caught, though she was sure the guy at the cash register was staring at her. She was so hungry that she ate the chocolate bar in three bites and drank the Pepsi with out stopping. She was still hungry, but she didn't want to steal again.

Realizing that she wasn't going to get far with no money she decided to go home. She got to the same park she was at early. It was dark now and she was exhausted. Since the park was deserted she thought it was okay to sleep on a bench. She used her backpack as a pillow. She was so tired that she didn't noticed how cold it was; she fell asleep very quickly.

Josie woke up freezing cold. She got up slowly and walked home, shivering with every step. She wondered why she was so cold with her coat on. She knew the city very well and got home quickly. The first thing she saw when she opened the front door was her mother half asleep on the couch. Beth had been up all night waiting for her.

"I knew - you'd, uh- be back soon. That's why I didn't go looking for you." She paused and yawned a couple times, then started talking again. "Josie, honey, you shouldn't be doing drugs, it's not good for you," she lectured. Josie's mind started wondering off. I was gone all night and she doesn't even ask if I'm okay. And she does way more drugs than I do. Then all she could think about was getting more pot. Her mother's voice popped back in her head when she said something Josie didn't want to hear.

"I took all the pot I found in your room, if you start smoking again you will be punished," she finished.

" Punished? You haven't punished me in almost seven years, you probably don't even know how to anymore. And it's not like you care anyway, stop pretending that you do," Josie replied rudely.
"Young lady, if you don't do something about your attitude then I'll, I'll," she was too tired to finish, she didn't know what to say, and Josie knew she wasn't sober.

"You'll what? I don't go anywhere, besides school, so you can't grown me. I don't watch television so you can't take that away. I have no one to call so you take away my phone privileges. Mom, you can't do anything, face it, you're powerless," Josie said without thinking.

"Josie, go get ready for school," Beth said coldly.

"Fine!" Josie yelled. She knew she was suspended, but she wasn't about to tell her mom that. She had to get out of the house, and the more she thought about it made her realize that she didn't want to come back. When Josie got to her room she went straight to her desk to look for money. Luckily she found a 20. She brushed her hair and left. When she got to school she tried not to be noticed. She didn't want a teacher to call her mom. Jason (her dealer) was usually smoking in the boys' bathroom. So she looked there first. She was glad to see he was the only boy there.

"Hey," Josie greeted.

"Hey, Josie," Jason replied. Josie handed him the 20 dollars.

"Weren't you suspended?" He asked.

"Yeah, but I had to come see you, my mom found my stash."

"Whose class did you get caught in?"

"Miss Cassie's first period Science class."

"Oh, are you okay Josie, you look like sh*t?"

"Thanks, Jason," she answered sarcastically.

"Sorry, um, I have some pills that will work better than pot, do you want them?"

"You mean instead of pot?" Josie just wanted to leave so she decided to take them even though she never did drugs other than pot. "Sure, why not." She snatched the pills from his has and turn to leave.

"Wait, Josie. Never take more than one pill at a time; you have to wait a couple of hours. Okay, it's very important that you remember that."


Josie answered, she was getting annoyed and was glad he was done talking. When she left she slammed the door. Josie went back home hoping her parents were gone. Her mom's car was gone, but Ray's wasn't. He was trying to sleep off a hangover. She looked in the window before going inside. She wanted to make sure Ray was in his room. She was thankful the door was unlocked. She went inside as quietly as she could. She got to her room and emptied out her backpack onto the floor. Josie put her hair brush, tooth brush, toothpaste, a small blanket, and a picture of her dad and her at the zoo in her backpack. She searched her desk for any more money, but found none. That meant she had to go into her parents room and get some.

She walked in very quietly; she really didn't want to wake up Ray. His wallet was on his dresser. He only had 20 dollars, but she knew her mom had money somewhere. After a few moments she remembered that her mom kept money in a shoebox under her side of the bed: in case of emergencies. She had $200 all together.

Josie was off to the mini mart next to the 76 gas station. She got a six-pack of Pepsi, lots of Kisses, and a large bag of chips. Hoping it would all last for a week. She noticed the lady at the cash register giving her a funny look (which Josie hated almost as much as she hated her step-dad). She tried not to let it get to her, but she couldn't help it.

She tried to calm herself down before she got to the register. She wished she didn't get angry so easily. The lady's name tag said Pam, she was over weight, and she had red-orange hair, but you could tell her hair was really gray. She raised her busy eyebrow at Josie. Pam scanned Josie's things and was just about to tell Josie the price.

"Shouldn't you be at school?" Pam asked.

"Maybe," Josie answered coldly then flipped her off. She grabbed her paper bag and didn't pay for things. She had a feeling Pam wasn't going to chase after her, but began to run just in case she called the police. Josie slowed down after a while. She didn't really know where she was. Josie kind of wished she had a friend's house to go to. She stopped and sat down on the curb of the narrow sidewalk. She really needed her dad. He always could make her smile, no matter how bad of a mood she was in. But he was gone, and in a way, so was she.

Josie reached into her pocket and took out the pills Jason gave her. She didn't think she was going to take them when she bought them, but at the moment there were very tempting. She swallowed one without taking a drink of anything. The pill acted quickly. Josie felt light headed, everything around her was spinning, and then it suddenly stopped. She threw up all over herself and then passed out. She hit her head hard on the cement sidewalk.

Twenty minutes later she woke up with a huge headache, she knew it was 20 minutes because of her wristwatch, but she felt like she'd been asleep for years. It took a while for her to realize she wasn't on the sidewalk any more. Josie was in the back seat of a car and it reeked of beer. The car was going fast so she put on the seat belt.

In front of her was man with long gray hair and a bushy gray beard. He was wearing a tie-die shirt and a hemp necklace with a skull on it. The man was talking to himself, but Josie couldn't understand him. When he noticed she was awake he started talking to her.

"I told you I'd find you Julia, you ran away, but I found you," he said as if he was talking to a three year old. Josie was too scared to talk.

"You won't get away again, Julia. Nope, not this time, I'm keeping my eye on you," he said in the same voice, scaring Josie even more. The man started mumbling to himself again. Josie started rocking back and forth holding her knees up to her chin; she was still too scared to talk. This lasted for a few hours.

"Are you thirsty, Julia? There's a store up there," the man said before stopping the car. The store seemed to be in the middle of no where. Josie watched the man get out of the car. When she was sure he was inside the store she got out quietly.

Josie noticed a baseball bat next to the dumpster. Something told her to pick it up. Josie looked around and saw no one. She ran towards the car with the bat tightly in her hand. She didn't know what was happening; it was like someone else was controlling her. She smashed the windows of the car, and for some reason she couldn't hear the shattering sound. She went after the man's car like it was her step-dad. She never hit her step-dad before, but she was often tempted to. The man came out of the store and his voice brought Josie back to reality.

"Julia, what the heck are you doing?!!" he yelled. Josie dropped the bat and looked at the car, then looked at the man. She quickly grabbed her backpack from the car and ran. The man went after her.

"Julia, come back here!" Josie was too scared to look back, she just kept running. The man was too old and tired to catch up to her so he gave up.

"Fine, I don't need you Julia!" he yelled again then started laughing insanely. Josie kept running, and she felt like she couldn't stop. After a while her legs couldn't go anymore. She took out a Pepsi from her backpack. She looked around at the unfamiliar city. Josie had no idea where she was. She drank her Pepsi and threw the can. She saw a rest area that wasn't that faraway and thought she rather be there sitting on a bench than on the side of the road.

When she got to the bench she took out another Pepsi and the pills. She took one and drank the whole Pepsi. The pill had the same effect. When she woke up she looked at her watch and it was midnight. "Why was I passed out so long?" she wondered. Josie looked around to make sure she was still at the rest area. She wasn't that tired so she decided to start walking again. The moon and street lights gave her enough light.

When the sun came up she was still walking. She kept walking until ten in the morning. She sat down right where she was, the side of the highway. There were no buildings for miles and miles. She was far from any city.

"What am I doing?" she asked out loud. "I have no clue where I am and I have no place to go. Why did I run away?" she asked almost expecting an answer. For the first time in years, Josie started crying.
"Why did you leave me dad? Why?!" Josie yelled with so much anger.

Josie swallowed the rest of the pills, one by one. The pills acted differently, and she passed out and hit her head, not knowing she would never wake up. Her spirit lifted out of her and started floating up to the clouds.

"What the heck? What are these pills doing now?" she questioned. Josie looked down and saw her lifeless body lying on the side of the highway. Josie closed her eyes, but when she opened them she was in her bedroom. She felt like she needed to go to the living room. She heard yelling and crying and started to run. She found her step-dad beating her mom with a baseball bat that looked similar to the one she found next to the dumpster.

"Ray stop, please stop!"

"How could you let Josie leave? The cops came here asking me questions. You know I don't like cops. You're such a stupid bitch!"

"Stop, leave her alone!" Josie yelled, but they didn't hear her. "Leave her alone!" she yelled again, but no one heard her. Josie ran over to Ray trying to take the bat from him, but her hands went right through him. Josie tried to hit Ray on the back of the head, but it didn't work. Josie was so confused, she started screaming. As she did the windows shattered. Josie saw it all in slow motion, the pieces of glass purposely hit Ray in the arm. He dropped the bat and sat down.

"What the heck was that?" Ray asked, sounding as confused as Josie.

"I don't know," Beth answered softly. She was curled up in a ball, in a corner. No glass hit her even though she was closer to the windows. Ray went to the bathroom to tend to his arm and Beth ran to her room, Josie followed. The television was turned on to the channel six news and there were unfinished beer bottles everywhere. "And in other news a girl was found dead on highway 99, which the police said was nothing other than suicide," said an anchorwomen. Then the picture of Josie and her father at the zoo was put on the screen and the anchorwomen said the photo was found with the girl's belongings.

A few miles away Jason was watching the news too, he felt like it was his fault. Josie didn't know, but Jason had a crush on her which made her death hurt even more. He went to his room and threw away all the drugs he had. Then he started crying.

Beth got some Aspirin from the cabinet in her bathroom, and shoved a handful of them in her mouth. She picked up one of the beer bottles.

"NO!" Josie screamed. The bottle in Beth's hand broke in many pieces, but didn't cut her at all. Beth opened her mouth not knowing what to say and the pills fell out of her mouth. She collapsed to the floor and started rocking back and forth. Josie sat down next to her mom; she had never wanted to hug her so badly. When she tried it actually worked and surprisingly her mom hugged back. Josie finally realized that this wasn't the effect of the pills. She was dead, but she came back to help her mom. The phone rang and they let go of each other. Beth let the answering machine get it.

"Hey honey, it's me. You didn't come over last night, I missed you," said a women's voice, making Beth want to pick up the phone.

"Who is this?" Beth asked in a shaky, but angry voice.

"Uh, this is Lisa. I'm calling for Ray. Is he home? Are you the cleaning lady?"

"No, I'm his wife."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know he was married."

"Sure you didn't bitch." Then she hung up. Beth got out a pen and piece of paper.

Dear Ray,
Lisa called. You never really loved me, did you? I saw the news earlier, they found Josie, dead. You were my love, she was my life. You don't love me, and Josie is gone. So why does anything matter any more. I'm leaving Ray and I'm not coming back. Good-Bye, I love you.
Your wife,

Beth got a gun that was hidden in one of Ray's drawers. The pen was still in her hand. Josie took Beth's hand and started to write: You can't so this mom! Just leave Ray and start a new life. I'm sorry I left you, but you can't do this!  Beth stood there in shock. She put down the gun and Josie let go of her hand.

"Josie?" Beth said softly. She smiled then packed a few things and got her purse. She went out the back door so Ray wouldn't see her. Josie was right behind her. Beth bought a bus ticket; she was going to her sister's house. Josie was about to get on the bus with her, but she started floating again. She drifted up to the sky, passing the clouds.

"Goody-bye mom, I will wait for you in limbo."

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