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"You know your father and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. And we're so proud of you for being such a big girl. But everything is okay now. We're going to work things out and be a family again. We decided to have another baby. A daughter just as perfect as you. And her name will be Hope. Isn't that a pretty name?"

They peered down at me. I couldn't speak. There was a strained look in her eye. His smile began to fade. This was the worst news they could have told me.

Things got better. The baby was born. A boy. They still named him Hope. I didn't like it.

He was around more. She seemed happy.

It didn't last.

He disappeared. She started drinking. He didn't come back this time. The food was running out. The water stopped working. The house got cold.

Hope was hungry. He wouldn't stop crying. I was hungry. I wanted to cry. We couldn't stay in the house. She wouldn't notice if we left.

I didn't know where to go. Just that we needed food.

I started walking.

An officer stopped me. "Hi, honey," she said. "Where are you walking to?" I don't need your help.

"Where are your parents?" I'm Hope's mother. We don't need parents.

"Are you in trouble, sweetie?" We've been in trouble for a long time.

"You can talk to me, honey. I can help you and your brother." I don't want to talk.

"Come on, honey. I bet that baby is hungry." She opened her car door.

We did need food. Could she really help us?

I climbed in the back seat with Hope.

Story by:

Emily Coleman

submitted at 3:59am

13 February 2012