Distressed, she walked across the room and put her hands into tightly wound fists. "Damn you! You must be stupid you know that? Really stupid!"ÃÂ Little Layla cowered in the corner and wailed loudly.
"Don't cry, baby"ÃÂ her Mother screamed. "I will give you something to cry about!"ÃÂ She wiped the tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand and breathed in pockets of air in small gulps.
"Layla? Are you paying attention, Layla?"ÃÂ The teacher asked.
"Huh?"ÃÂ Layla mumbled, staring blankly at the teacher. "Oh I am sorry Mrs. McDowell, my mind is-"ÃÂ "Well now, I don't mind if you drift off, just not in my class, alright? Now please pay attention Layla, this will be on your test tomorrow and I do not want you to fail it."ÃÂ "Yes ma'am."ÃÂ Layla put her face in the palms of her hands and prayed the day wouldn't end.
"When are you going to listen to me for once?"ÃÂ Her Mother screamed at her, holding the book threateningly over Layla's little head.
"Mom I swear I was about to clean my room but I can't do my homework at the same time and-"ÃÂ "Don't back talk to me young lady, we aren't through yet!"ÃÂ Layla sighed and thought to herself, "ÃÂwhen will it all end?' "Layla! Oh gosh! What happened to your eye?"ÃÂ Layla looked down at the concrete and shuffled her foot, solemnly shifting it back and forth moving the dirt in neat rows.
"Nothing."ÃÂ She mumbled.
"No Layla"ÃÂ Lita said, "something's up."ÃÂ "I agree"ÃÂ said Jennifer. "What happened?"ÃÂ "Nothing I said, just drop it."ÃÂ Layla ran to the fence by the playground, sat down and cried. It was hopeless at this point.
"Oh Layla"ÃÂ Mrs. McDowell said, patting Layla's head. "Don't cry honey, tell me what happened."ÃÂ Layla whimpered softly and slowly raised her head and Mrs. McDowell saw her black eye. "Oh dear, come with me to the classroom and tell me what happened."ÃÂ Layla obediently went with the teacher to the classroom and promptly sat down at her desk and the teacher crouched beside her.
"Layla, tell me what happened. I need to know."ÃÂ "Nothing happened."ÃÂ Layla mumbled, an all-too-familiar phrase and tone. "Nothing."ÃÂ "Did your Mom do this to you?"ÃÂ "Don't talk to me like I'm a third-grader."ÃÂ Mrs. McDowell stood up and sat in the seat in front of Layla.
"I'm sorry. I do need to know what happened."ÃÂ "I can't say"ÃÂ she said automatically. "No one can know."ÃÂ "I have to."ÃÂ Mrs. McDowell said. "So I can help."ÃÂ "No one can help."ÃÂ Layla said before putting her head down on the desk between her folded arms. "Nobody can."ÃÂ "Ma'am"ÃÂ said the social worker, "we need to speak with you briefly about your daughter, Layla. I won't take but a moment of your time."ÃÂ "Of course"ÃÂ said Hanna. "No trouble at all"ÃÂ she said, a pleasant tone for a surprise visitor.
"Layla, you talked to them. You told them what happened. What was wrong. I am going to hurt you."ÃÂ Hanna said in a monotone voice looking solemn and defiant at the same time.
"I had to, they pushed me, I couldn't get away..."ÃÂ Layla's voice trailed off before she became unconscious.
When Layla awoke, she was in a hospital and Mrs. McDowell was hovering above her, stroking her hair.
"It will be alright, Layla,"ÃÂ she said in the most soothing of voices.
"Your Mother is going to be alright, she's being taken care of at the institute and I will make sure you will be alright too."ÃÂ Layla smiled and went back to sleep; willingly.