Saxon's Savior (Protect and Serve #3) - Pandora Pine Page 0,1

and she was demanding more pills. My father begged her to get off the opiates and get help. He pleaded with her right until the day he packed his bags and left. I came home from school one day, and he was gone.

Things only got worse from there. After Dad filed for divorce, Mom lost her job and the health insurance keeping her flush with those little white pills. Things were okay for a little while until Mom lost the house. With no home and no pills, Mom moved us into the Mockingbird Motel. It wasn’t the sort of place with a pool or vending machines with snacks. It was a shithole, stinking of stale booze and desperation. I hate to say, but those were the motel’s best qualities. It was infested with roaches and the occasional rat. Mom didn’t care as long as she had her syringe and a ready dick to pay for the heroin.

People think kids are stupid because they’re kids. We’re not. I’m not. I knew what was going on with my mother. I knew she’d switched from pills to heroin. I knew men paid to have sex with her. I knew she fucked the motel manager to supplement the rent. I may have known what was going on, but I had no way of solving the problem.

I realized early on there was no helping my mother. My father and I had begged until we were blue in the face. My dad was lucky enough to walk away. I was stuck here with her, living my sorry excuse for a life.

After I grabbed my books, I swung through the cafeteria. Sometimes there was leftover food or milk a day away from its expiration date. Debbie, the head lunch lady, would leave a bag for me when she could. There was no bag today, not even a small carton of milk.

I trudged home, my thoughts on tomorrow’s history test. Brian Hastings aside, history was my favorite class. Learning about great men and women who came before gave me hope for my future. Abraham Lincoln had grown up dirt poor and became president. If he could do it, so could I.

Thankfully, there were no cars parked in front of Unit Nine. Home sweet home. Nine times out of ten, this meant Mom wasn’t entertaining a member of the dick parade. The tenth time was when she was “entertaining” old man Hoskins, owner of the Mockingbird. I whispered a silent prayer today wasn’t his day to pay a visit.

My key turned easily in the lock. The shitty thirteen-inch television was playing some Hallmark movie. Mom loved movies about falling in love. Yeah, as if some millionaire would swoop in with his Bentley and save my mother from her life of sex for drugs at the Mockingbird.

“Mom?” I called out. She wasn’t on the cigarette-burned sofa watching the ridiculous movie. Dirty dishes were piled in the sink and there was a rancid smell coming from somewhere in the direction of the bathroom. It was probably the remains of dinner from last night. I’d brought home hot dogs and nearly stale rolls from school, along with beans. I assumed the beans were the most likely culprit.

I banged on my mother’s closed bedroom door. Loudly. I’d once made the mistake of walking in without knocking and seen more of my mother’s day job than I’d counted on. There was no answer from her, and all I heard from inside the room was complete silence.

Slowly turning the knob, I opened the door. My mother was lying on her left side with her back to me. “Mom? I’m home. Did you eat anything today?” No answer. Usually she’d grunt at me on bad days or throw something at me on good ones.

Stepping into the room, I saw the dinner plate I’d brought her last night sitting, untouched, on the scarred bureau. Drug paraphernalia was scattered on the nightstand closest to the door. Syringes, a burned spoon, and granules of white powder littered the surface along with some loose pills I knew were Xanax. “Mom?” I said, louder this time, but she didn’t budge.

Gathering all the courage I had, I gave her shoulder a shake. She rolled to her back. Dried vomit clung to her bluish lips. More covered the pillow and side of the bed she’d been lying on. With shaking hands, I set two fingers against the side of her neck. No pulse.

Darting from the room, I grabbed the phone and called 911,