Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.
"Where's Mommy?" little Tommy asked his father. There was no denying it. Tommy's mother was dead and there was nothing George Ryan could do about it. The stillborn child was still nestled in his arms, looking as sweet and innocent as it had when it was born. He looked down at the little baby, realizing how small it was. The tears began to slip down his cheeks, and he suddenly remembered that Tommy was still standing in front of him, looking quizzically at the bundle in his arms.
"It's yer sister, Tommy." He knelt down beside his son. "She's dead, too. Guess it's only you and I now, son." Tommy may have only been just five years old, but he was smart, and understood what his whiskey-drinking father was saying. The tears came quickly, and soon were dripping off the little boy's face.
"Mommy!" he suddenly screamed, and raced into his parent's bedroom. His mother lay lifeless on the bed so he grabbed her, and shook her roughly. His screams echoed around the house, and soon his father was beside him. Roughly, Tommy was picked up, and immediately felt the stinging slaps. His father carried him into his room, shut the door, and clicked the lock shut. Quickly, Tommy ran to the door and began banging on it until his body collapsed on the floor in exhaustion.
His entire life had revolved around his father, the beatings, his lovely, gentle mother, and looking to the future, hoping for the best. Now his world was about to take another sudden turn for the worse. His mother was dead, and that shattered any shreds of happiness he had left to hang onto. As he lay in a heap in front of the door, the tears poured faster and faster as the hatred for his father grew. He stood, the anger glimmering in his eyes, and began kicking the door.
"Shut up!" his father suddenly screamed. "If you don't then you hain't gettin' any suppa!" Tommy's body fell into a heap on the floor again, and he sobbed quietly until the sun began to fall. He went to his window, and slowly parted the curtains.
"Good-bye, Mommy," he whispered, watching his father cover up the hole he had thrown his mother's body in. The tears welled up again, but he forbade them to fall and ground them out of his eyes with his small fists. He knew he would have to put up living with his father and his disgusting ways for a few more years. Then he'd leave to start a life of his own. His decision final, he crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep.
"Tommy, get up! I got someone comin' to see ya." Tommy sat up and rubbed his eyes. It had only been a few short weeks since his mother had died, and he knew his father spent every penny on whiskey. Entering the kitchen, he saw a beautiful woman sitting on a chair, talking to the handsome man seated beside her.
"Oh, he's so darling!" the woman exclaimed, looking at Tommy. "Don't you think he's worth the five hundred?" The man who Tommy supposed was her husband looked in disgust at Tommy's filthy clothes, dirty face, and tousled, unwashed hair.
"It's gonna take a good amount of cleaning to get him looking decent," the man mumbled.
"We'll take him. He's so precious," the woman cooed and gently pinched Tommy's cheeks. He backed away from her arm's length and glared at them both. He saw her wince and smiled inside.
"I don't think he's right for us, dear," the man whispered.
"Oh, we'll fix him up real quick," she shot back, smiling warmly at Tommy. "What's his name?" she asked.
"Tommy. You can change that, if you want," his father grumbled.
"I want to keep my name!" Tommy suddenly yelled fiercely.
"Tommy. How cute," the woman said sweetly. Her sweetness was becoming sickening, and Tommy wanted to slap her. Instead, he sat roughly on the chair and demanded his breakfast. His father smiled and sat a plate of discolored toast in front of him.
"You're really not going to make him eat that," the woman said, wrinkling her nose.
"Why not? He's eaten it every other day of his life," George said sharply.
"We'll take him," the man agreed, looking once again at the food on the boy's plate and turning green. He felt something bitter rise in his throat, so he quickly pulled out five crisp hundred pound bills and handed them to the man. The woman took Tommy's hand in hers and told him that he was coming with them.
"I don't wanna go with you!" he yelled. The woman put on her sweet smile again.
"But you're going to live with us now, sweetie."
"Why?" he asked, his voice softening.
"Because. You'll live in a nice house, have nice clothes, and eat decent meals. All you must do is agree to come with me." He nodded, mesmerized by something deep within her gray eyes. She gently tugged him off the chair and hand in hand they walked to a shiny car.
"Come on in," the man said, holding the back door open for him.
"What about my things?" Tommy asked, becoming angry again.
"Oh, honey, you won't need those. You'll have all new things, fancy things."
Tommy gave her a pleasing smile, and she hummed proudly. "That's a good little boy. Now get into the car." He obeyed, watching her face carefully. The smile vanished and was replaced with a hateful look. He closed his eyes, pretending he didn't see it. When he opened them, the smile was back, and they were starting off down the road.
Tommy had never known the modern comforts of living. His family had always lived in the same, shabby little shack on the hillside overlooking the town below. The wash line had hung crookedly outback, and he remembered how he used to play while his mother hung up the clothes. She would pick him up and kiss his cheeks lovingly. Then, holding hands, they would trudge inside always to be met with his father who was either drunk or passed out on the table.
Tommy now watched the scenery fly by, not paying attention to the conversation the man and woman were having. He had never seen anything away from his little shack besides what could be seen on the hill. Now, he'd see it all. His smiled brightened when he saw a deer fleeting through the woods. Suddenly, it ran onto the road.
"Damn deer!" the man yelled, the brakes squealing. The car roared forward, past the deer who was now munching on some grasses far back in the field. Tommy watched in amazement and felt the car speed forward. They entered the town, the buildings becoming closer together. He saw many shops and restaurants with bright-colored signs hanging outside. His eyes tried to wander everywhere, to drink in everything, but it was impossible. Things flew past on either side, and he couldn't keep his eyes on one or the other for more than a few seconds. After awhile, he grew nauseated. They began exiting the town. The rhythmic movement of the car caused Tommy to fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.
The squeal of the tires coming to a halt abruptly awoke him, and he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. It was apparent he was very farm from home because the land was more flat, the trees sparse, and air more humid and muggy. He stepped from the car, and his hand was immediately taken by the woman. She practically dragged him into the house, quickly showing him the rooms, and explaining his chores while talking a mile a minute. Finally, she dropped him off in what would be his room and told him she would be back with some soap, shampoo, and towels so she could properly wash him down. His head was still spinning when she returned. She picked him up and brought him into the bathroom. First, she instructed him to strip down. Slowly, he began to remove his clothing and hand it to her. She took it with gloved hands and disposed of it in a large black bag. Then, she drew a bathtub full of warm water and told him to get into it. He did so, and found it to be scalding.
"It's too hot!" he complained.
"Oh, is it dear? I'm sorry," she said and turned on the hot water, hoping he would believe it was cold. He put his finger in the flow and briskly drew it back.
"That's hot, too!"
"Oh is it? I'm sorry. Here," she turned off the hot and turned on the opposite faucet. She left it on for only a few seconds before instructing him to sit and raise his arms. Roughly, she scrubbed his skin with what felt to him like steel pad. It reddened and burned when the water hit it. He screamed out in fury, and in pain. Her soft hands gently stroked his hair, trying to sooth him.
"It's okay. This is just the way to get all those collected germs off." Tommy sat and sulked in the tub while she continued scrubbing against his skin. His whimpers stayed in his throat, desperately waiting to be uttered. He kept silent until she lifted him out, and let him dry off. Then, she handed him a flannel shirt and pants.
"Those will be your bed clothes for now. We will go shopping for you tomorrow. In the meantime, there are some clothes in the closet."
"Thank you," he whispered. When fully dressed, he left the bathroom, his skin still stinging. It was raw and very red. Even the soft, warm bed sheets made it burn when he brushed up against them. Still, there was nothing he could do, for he was just a five-year-old boy whom no one thought had any real sense.
"Tommy, dear! Your breakfast is ready!" came the all so familiar sickeningly sweet voice.
"What's your name?" he asked, when she stepped into the door frame.
"My name's Abigail and my husband's name is Philip. You may call me Mother, if you like."
"No, thank you, Abigail," he said coldly, and watched the smile on her face dim.
"Well, suit yourself," she said harshly. "Your breakfast is ready, but will not be served to you until you are dressed and look like a proper young man." She turned and quickly left the doorway.
"Until you are dressed and look like a proper young man," he mimicked gleefully in the woman's sickening voice. Crawling out of bed, he threw open the closet door and came face to face with the clothes he was expected to wear. There was a sleek pair of dark blue pants, neatly creased, and a starched white shirt. To be worn overtop was a double breasted suede jacket. He threw the doors closed and stomped downstairs.
"I want my old clothes back! I don't wanna wear what's in that closet! I hate it!" he screamed. The woman looked up at him, shocked, her mouth ajar.
"How dare you come down here yelling like that? The neighbors will hear you!" He thought about this. Neighbors? No one lived as far as you could see. "And for another thing, you will wear what we want you to wear without objection! Do you understand?"
His eyes clashed with hers, both burning with anger.
"I wanna go home!" he finally yelled, knowing he would be defeated.
"Well you can't go home. We bought you, fair and square. We own you now. Your father has no more ties to you. You are ours," she declared.
"No!" he screamed. "I want my father!" He ran upstairs, the tears gliding down his cheeks and threw himself onto his bed. Was the rest of his life going to be like this? Why did he have to listen to these awful people? Why did his father sell him? Didn't he want him anymore? Didn't he love him? So many questions, and so few answers. He laid there, and sobbed into his pillow.
"Tommy, honey, I'm sorry. Please come out and eat something. I promise I won't yell again. Please come out. I'll try to be a better mommy for you, really I will."
"I want my own mommy back!" he yelled.
"I'm sorry, honey. You can't have her back."
"I know, she's dead!" he screamed, and pounded his small fists into the pillow. The door opened slightly.
"I know, but now you have me. I'm gonna be your mommy now, and everything is going to be just fine." She stroked his hair, and the pounding stopped.
"I don't want you!" he hollered. "I want my mommy and my sister back!"
"You can't get them back. I'm sorry, but you can't. You'll see them soon enough."
His sobs stopped and all was quiet. Lifting his head, he looked at her soft face.
"I don't wanna wear those clothes," he whispered and pointed to the closet.
"That's okay, dear. We'll get you all new things, but if you want to go shopping, you're going to have to put those on."
"Okay," he said, and forced a small smile.
"Good. I'll take you as soon as you eat something." He nodded in agreement so she left the room. He crawled off the bed, and opened the door, looking into the hall. Abigail was gone, so he carefully stepped into the hall, and closed the door behind him.
"What are you doing in here?! Didn't I specifically tell you that you were never allowed to enter this room!" the man roared.
"No," Tommy said, weak with exhaustion. He had been exploring the house, inside and out, on an empty stomach. Now he was extremely hungry, and tired.
"Well, you're not! This is my private study, and no one is allowed in here. Not even my wife, and especially not you."
"I know you don't like me, Philip, and I don't care," the boy responded sharply and left the room, slamming the study door behind him. Philip stood there, absolutely stunned. He sat in the large, leather armchair, and cradled his head in his hands.
"Why does my life have to be so complicated?" he whispered to himself.
"Philip, honey? What's all the yelling? Do you know where Tommy is? He has disappeared, and I'm so worried."
"He was here. He just left. I yelled at him for being in my office. He believes I don't like him."
"It's going to take some time honey. Just relax. He'll come around soon. We'll be a happy family."
"I'm sure," he mumbled, and stood to join his wife in the hallway. "I knew that kid would be trouble for us."
"Oh dear, don't fret over the poor boy. He's not used to this environment yet. He needs some new things, so I'm taking him shopping." She pulled his wallet from his pocket and went upstairs to find the boy.
Tommy ran from the man and hid under the bed. His sobs were soft, smothered by the thick carpet on which his tears fell. He had shed so many tears those past few weeks, it was surprising he had any left. It wasn't long after that he heard the woman's sweet voice call his name. Determined not to come out, he didn't respond, and instead, fell asleep there.
"Tommy!" the woman screamed. She was becoming awfully frantic in her search. The entire house had been searched three times over and still no sign of him. Philip had to admit that after hours of searching, he too was growing worried. Finally, they plopped down on the couch in exhaustion.
"I'm such a bad mother," Abigail whispered.
"No, you're not. You just need some practice and time," Philip assured.
"I just wish I could find him. He's worried me to death."
"We'll find him. He couldn't have run away."
"Oh, no! I'd feel so terrible if he did."
Tommy silently crept down the stairs, taking notice of the man and woman sitting in the living room. He sneaked down into the basement. It was final. He would go back to his father. He hated these people, and they hated him. Opening the door, he ran up the steps and out into the pouring rain. It blinded him, and he ran forward, into the woods, underneath the shelter of the trees. Shivering, he pulled the jacket tighter around him and raced forward into the woods.
Three Days Later
"Look at him. He's so beautiful."
"Is he all right? He's not sick, is he?"
"The doctor will be here soon. I'll try to find something warm and dry for him to wear. Such a pity. What a beautiful little boy," a woman's soft voice whispered.
"We should keep him," the man's voice answered. "It doesn't look as if he has any real home. Besides, he would be a good help around the farm, when he gets a little older."
"It only looks as if he is about five or six years old," the woman answered, returning with some clothes she had pulled from a trunk in the attic. Tommy's heavy eyes finally opened, and he stared into the faces of the man and woman.
She had a soft face, light in its color, her features drawn perfectly. Her eyes lit up when she smiled, and were the shiniest green eyes he had ever seen. He liked her almost immediately. His gaze fell onto the man's face. His eyes were dark, but full of warmth. His complexion was rugged and very handsome.
The woman slowly ran her hand over her stomach.
Tommy shivered and realized how wet and cold he was.
"Hold on son, we're going to give you something dry to change into." The woman approached with the clothes, a few sizes too large, and a large bath towel.
"Here you are. You may change in the bathroom." Tommy sat up and surveyed the room. The walls were a drab beige, and the room itself, sparsely furnished. The cot he was laying on was narrow and hard. The two left saying, "Let us know if you need anything." He went into the bathroom, dried himself off, and tugged on the large clothes. When finished, he began exploring the house. Suddenly, he realized he hadn't eaten anything all day. While searching for the kitchen, he overheard the couple talking.
"Why can't we keep him? I don't believe he has any family, the poor boy. He's such a beautiful child, and a strong one, too."
"Darling, with the baby on the way, I don't think we can afford to keep him."
"Please?" she begged. The man sighed deeply.
"I suppose, but he'd better be a good worker." Tommy peeked his head around the door frame. They were sitting on the couch, his arm around her shoulders. Her head was rested gently against his chest, and they looked peaceful and contented. They didn't need someone as raucous as him. The thought of running away came through his mind, but he liked these people.
"Can I stay?" he whispered. The couple looked at him, then motioned for him to join them. When he was settled in on the couch, they began asking questions about his past.
"Do you have any parents?"
"No," he said, shaking his head for emphasis. "My daddy sold me to these people who I hated."
"He sold you? Why would he sell such a sweet little boy like you?"
"He doesn't love me. After Mommy died, he locked me in my room and didn't feed me until the day those people came and bought me."
"So you ran away?"
"Yes'm," he answered.
"When did you run away?"
"I don't know. I hid under my bed, because I didn't want them to find me. They gave up, so I left."
"Oh, I see. Well, we found you this morning, in the barn. Do you know how you got there?"
"No, not really," he admitted. "I remember bein' awful tired."
"Would you like to stay here, with us?" The smile on his face widened considerably.
"I don't have any other place to go, ma'am."
"Oh, you poor boy," she cried, and pressed his face to her breast, stroking his hair softly.
"You can stay here with us, if you wanna," she told him. He pulled away and looked at the man. There was a small hint of doubt in his eyes.
"Thank you. I think I would like that," he told them, his eyes lighting up. Unexpectedly, he asked, "Are you gonna have a baby?"
"Why, yes, I am."
"Mommy died having my baby sister. She was stillborn or at least that's what Pa tole me. Don't rightly know what stillborn is."
"It means that the baby was born dead."
"Oh," said Tommy, now understanding.
"You hungry?" the man asked.
"Oh yes, very. I haven't eaten anything." The woman smiled. She took Tommy's hand and led him into the kitchen.
"You can have anything you desire," she whispered. She opened the icebox and pulled out a few dishes. "Go on, take whatever you want." He smiled and sat at the table. Finally, he had found where he belonged.