Saundra Jones grew up in Cleveland, Mississippi and as an adult now resides in Indiana. Saundra works as an assistant property manager for a government agency in the public housing sector. She is married with two daughters ages 11 and 5. Originally, she started writing screenplays at the age of twelve, and as an adult, her need to create intensified. This intensity produced her first self-published novella titled Owning Up. Unable to stop there and with the voices and emails of fans requesting more, she penned two more novels. Her journey as a published writer began with Delphine Publications in 2012. She is currently working on her next project.
Mya Bedford is a seventeen-year-old daddy's girl from the Brewster Douglas Project in Detroit. When her father is sent to prison, and her mother suddenly develops a drug habit, making it her number one priority; it is up to Mya to raise her younger brother and sister. Alone and aware of the grimy hustle of the streets, Mya hopes to find another path for survival. But when the leader of the a notorious gang severely beats her mother for stealing money from him, Mya vows revenge on his crew by robbing them at gunpoint and hiding her identity behind a mask. Mya successfully pulls off her first robbery against one of them, but then she meets and falls in love with the very person who is attached to her enemy and is now determined to keep her secret a secret. However, when Mya's secret starts to unravel and death knocks at her door, things go horribly wrong. Mya learns that hurt and happiness are one and the same, but you have to have blood on your hand first.
After the visit with my dad I headed straight back to the Brewster feeling a little relieved and trying to figure out what he was talking about. As I approached my building I could see Li’l Bo standing in the hallway. Before I got to him I could tell that he was upset.
“What’s up, Li’l Bo? Why are you standing out here?” I questioned him as I felt myself getting nervous.
“Momma!” Li’l Bo eyes were filled with tears. “One of these suckaniggas beat her. And she won’t say who,” Li’l Bo said in short, hurried breaths.
“What!” I screamed. I pushed past him and rushed up the ten flights of stairs to get to our floor since the elevator was broken again. Shit is always broke in these damn projects. I’m so tired by the time I run up all those stairs I can barely breathe. The door was wide open to our apartment, and the living room looked like it’s been tossed.
“Ma!” I shouted out heading straight to her room. “Oh, GOD!” I screamed but I didn’t even hear the words as they left my mouth. One look at her face sent rage through me. Her naturally red bone face was black and blue, her right eye was swollen shut, and her bottom lip was covered in crusty dried-up blood. “Come on, Momma, we gotta get you to a hospital.” I reached down and tried to lift her off the bed.
“No, Mya. I’ll be OK.” One single tear rolled down her already soaked face.
“I’ve been trying to get her to go to the hospital, Mya, but she won’t listen.” Monica tried to speak through her choked up voice. Her face was also swollen from crying.
“You need to go to the hospital, Momma. Something could be broken, and why are you holding your arm like that? Can you move it? Do you think it’s broken?” I reached over to help her lift the arm up, but she quickly pushed me off.
“Ugh, ugh, Mya, don’t touch it.” She tried to lift it herself. “AGGHH!” she screamed in agonizing pain.
“I don’t think it’s broken, but it hurts like hell.” She bent over in pain.
“Fuck all this, I’m calling the cops.” I rushed over to grab the phone off the dresser, but the cord got caught under my shoe and it fell to the floor.
“No, no, Mya!” she shouted. “Don’t do that. You’ll only make it worse. I’ll be OK,” she begged me.
“Well, tell me who did this. Who did this to you?” I shouted again.
“That doesn’t matter. I’m OK,” she tried to convince me.
“Monica, leave the room.” I pointed toward the door.
“But—” Monica tried to protest.
“Monica, leave the room. Now!” I screamed.
Monica got off the bed slowly and walked out. I slammed the door behind her. In a quiet voice I demanded answers from Momma.
“I want to know who did this to you and why. I won’t leave this room until I know.”
“Why does it matter, Mya? I ain’t shit but a prostitute and crack ho,” she said calmly while looking off into space. “This type of thing is bound to happen to me . . . or worse. I’m lucky every day if somebody don’t rape me and leave me for dead in an alley.”
Not trying to hear a word she was saying, I broke her trance when I got directly in her face and started screaming at her. “Do you think it’s okay for someone to do this to you? And then you try to protect him? Tell me now, goddamit!” I screamed again. “Who did this to you?” The look in my eyes had to be raging because my insides felt like they were on fire.
I think I surprised her with my rage because she had shock in her eyes. “Mya, I’m still your mother regardless of my fucked life,” she said, her voice still calm.
“Right now you are acting like a teenager, Ma, but you don’t have to tell me who did this to you. I already know. This got Squeeze’s name all over it.” I turned to leave the room, but before I did she started talking.
“He came over while y’all was gone, okay? Is that what you wanna hear, Mya?” With agonizing pain written across her face she repositioned herself on the bed. “We had sex. When we were finished he went to the bathroom to take a shower. He came outta the bathroom and started getting dressed, and then he went into his pants’ pocket and started counting his stack. All of a sudden he starts accusing me of stealing from him. I told him I didn’t touch his stuff. And, Mya, I swear I didn’t.” She looked me straight in the eye convincingly.
“I didn’t move out of this bed when he went into that bathroom. I would never steal from a crazy-ass nigga, but he wouldn’t listen to me, Mya.” She started to cry. Seeing my momma cry sent me into more tears. “The next thing I know he was punching me. I must’ve passed out sometime during the beating. I don’t know what happened after that. When I woke up, Monica was standing over me screaming.”
“I knew he did this.” I broke down on the floor. “I hate living here. I hate our life.” At that moment everything my dad said to me suddenly seemed clear. These streets were grimy, and the only thing that was free in the street was hurt and pain. I stood up, wiped my face, and walked toward my mother’s bedroom door.
Mom jumped off the bed and grabbed me with her good hand. Unable to see straight because of that swollen eye and the pain she stumbled. “Mya, don’t tell Li’l Bo. I’m afraid for him, and if knows he might try to kill Squeeze. I don’t want to see him locked up or shot up by the Boone Squad. I just couldn’t take it.” She reached out and wrapped her good arm around me. For the first time in four years I felt like I had my momma back.
I quickly released myself from her embrace. “Even though Squeeze deserves exactly what he’ll get one day, I won’t tell Li’l Bo. But only because I love my brother. I don’t give a fuck about Squeeze or what may happen to him.”
I opened the door and left her room with a calm feeling that for some reason sent chills down my spine.
Wow, what a powerful and gritty story. I'll be checking this one out.
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