To look him in the eye, but

The litter box. One day his dad had come home from work, his jacket wrapped like a package in his arms, and a cruel sense of satisfaction ebbing from him like uncomfortable warmth from a heat lamp. Checkers had been hit by a car, dad told them grimly. His face had been so sad. His eyes were so helpless, as if to say, if only there was something we could do. Kevin had wailed even before opening the jacket. He had beat helpless fists against his father, begging they take the broken animal to the vet. Dad tried to tell him it was futile, he was too injured, and they hadn't the money. But there was no talking sense to Kevin when he was in a fit, and this had been the mother of all fits. So, because Kevin was upset, the family had piled into the car. It had been the longest ten minute drive of Josh's life. All the while, Kevin had cooed lovingly to Checkers, promising their cat that it would be okay. That encouraging concern dripped from him as if he had come in out of a downpour. Just pull twitter through. Just keep trying. Keep fighting, and soon it'll be okay. Everything would be okay. It hadn't been, of course. Dead on arrival. That was the day Josh understood what his father was capable of. Ever since, when Josh would know a beating was coming, he would hear his father's voice in his mind. I'm sorry, he would say, I haven't seen Josh since this morning. twitter Is everything all right, officer? Josh? Austin's tone suggested it hadn't been the first time he'd said his name. Josh cleared the memory from his mind. Dad wasn't here, and Josh wasn't Checkers. Josh screwed the cap back on the water bottle. Yeah, let's try again. They rose and took position in the center of the mat. Once more Austin took the stance as a warbler, and Josh adopted the form he'd been taught. How could all of this have happened in a week? He wondered. One week. When he thought about that, it seemed unreal. A concept his mind couldn't wrap itself around. One week since the fight with his parents, walking in the rain, and somehow spirited away to a warehouse with yahoo teenagers. Josh had slept like a log that night. No dreams, just a comforting darkness. When he woke, nothing was familiar. His first thought had actually been that his alarm hadn't gone off, and he would be late for school. Josh's bare feet had slapped the cold concrete floor instead of matted shag carpet, and the sensation had buy twitter followers startled him enough to take in his surroundings. Definitely not buy twitter followers his buy twitter followers room. The events of the day before had slowly settled over him, out of order. Was it real? Had all of that really happened? Looking around at the hard beige walls and minimalist furniture assured him that, yes, it had happened. Josh finally had had enough of his parents and left. Panic rose up in him then. Not fast, but gripping nonetheless. They would find him. They would go to his work, or his school. They would call the police. No place was safe. His life was over. His father would--no. Anger came to bear, all at once a stranger, but welcome as a protector. Let them come! Josh was no longer the victim, no longer the cowardly child looking to survive one day to the buy twitter followers next. That resolve was surprising, buy twitter followers but Josh had wrapped himself around the idea with abandon and made it a part of