Authors: DeAnna Felthauser
A Million Wishes”
Book 1 in the “Wishes” series by DeAnna Felthauser
©Copyright DeAnna Felthauser February 2012
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.”
A Million Wishes is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, or places, events or locales is coincidental. These characters are purely of the authors imagination and used fictitiously.
This e-book contains material not suitable for readers 17 and under.
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I want to thank my dream team for supporting me and putting up with my numerous questions, and making my book look beautiful!
It all started with an idea of a little girl and her favorite hideaway, a large, gnarly old oak tree that she would climb, and spend her free time writing down her wishes and dreams to escape her sad reality. I told my friend Brett Noble what I was looking for and mere days later he gave me the most gorgeous picture of an old oak tree that he had taken.
I found Regina Wamba through a friend I met during NaNoWriMo, and I am so excited to have her as my designer and friend. I gave her the photo Brett took, and she turned it into the stunning cover that you see now. If you need a photographer or graphic artist you should check them out. Not only are they both supremely talented, but they are also great people.
Once the book was being written and the design was in the works I was blessed with a wonderful editor, Carrie Divine. It was a learning process for us both and I am forever grateful that she so strongly believed in me, encouraged me and helped me become a better writer. Thank you for that Carrie. You freaking rock, I can’t tell you that enough.
I want to point out that I went to school with Brett and Carrie, we haven’t seen each other in almost 20 years, but when they found out I was working to achieve a dream of mine, they were both on board and supporting me ever since. I love you guys for that. Thank you just isn’t strong enough words.
I want to dedicate my first book to my husband Marty, for his love, support, encouragement, and believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I love you baby. Thank you for being my rock.
I also want to dedicate this to my parents. They instilled in me the love of reading and getting lost in wild adventures. I miss them both more than words can say, and I know they would be proud knowing I finally went for my dream.
Thank you to my siblings, Johnnie, Harvey, Dean and Delinda, and my awesome stepmom Cleone for your love and support. You are all epically wonderful in your own special ways. I love you all.
Ever since I was little I've had a wish list. Starting out it was small things, kid things. Like…I wish momma would take us to town for ice cream, that we'd have one of those shiny red wagon's the other kids had or that I'd get a puppy or kitten. As I got older it changed and the wishes got bigger and more "wish worthy." I wished my stepfather Lucas would stop touching me or making me touch him in ways that made me feel dirty and ashamed. I wished that when I asked Momma to make him stop that she would believe me and protect me. I wished my parents would stop drinking and fighting and that we'd have a normal life. I wished we had more to eat than beans and cornbread or Bologna sandwiches. I wished that when my parents were drunk they wouldn't take it out on me and hit me. I wished I knew how to get rid of the bruises that scarred my soul.
A few things remained constant on my list. They were wishes that I was sure many had. I wanted desperately to fall in love and have my happily ever after with my prince charming and to have a family of my own that I'd protect and appreciate. I wished for wealth and health and the opportunity to do something amazing to be remembered by. I wished I would never
grow up to be like them. I wished that somehow, some way, I'd be special. So here's my story, my wishes that did...and didn't, come true. My name is Mikayla Ann Johnson, welcome to my charmed, and not so normal life.
"The only easy day was yesterday." —U.S. Navy SEALs
Sugar Creek, Georgia
Did you know 1 out of every 100 vasectomies fail to work? My parents graciously said I was their "miracle baby" but most of the time I felt like a mistake. As the baby of seven kids I was easily forgotten, not purposely I don't think, I believe by the time I came around they were just tired. I mean really...can you blame them after having 3 boys and 3 girls, Daddy got fixed so they wouldn’t have any more kids, then surprise here's a little girl with health problems to add to your already hectic and poor life? They did the best they could at the time. Luckily, as I grew up, I tended to enjoy being by myself, a sort of loner, and a dreamer. I could easily lose myself in books, living the adventurous life, and being whoever or whatever I wanted to be.
Most days when I wanted to be alone I would grab my backpack, leave the house early and venture out into the woods climbing high up in the old oak tree with its beautifully gnarled branches. No one bothered me there. No one touched me in obscene places; no one took advantage of me, ignored me, hit me or made fun of me. I was out of the way, out of sight out of mind. It was there that I cataloged my wishes and jotted down my dreams. I got lost in wild fantasies of better places with caring people, a place that was made for me, that accepted me, and allowed me to bloom into the delicate flower that was beautiful inside of me that no one had ever seen. I was so tired of being invisible plain me.
At the age of 13, I had an epiphany as I sat in that old oak tree. I was beaten down, both emotionally and physically and was replaying in my mind the most recent reason I'd been beaten by my Mother. She saw the cover to a cassette tape I'd had playing in my Walkman of a current glam rock band and she flipped out when she read the names of the songs and saw what they looked like. The first slap didn't really surprise me. I'd kept it hidden from her because I knew she wouldn't understand. She would see it and judge it as evil and wicked, which she did, instead of asking me why I liked it or even listening to my favorite song to see it wasn't all that bad.
I'd been at a friend's house and she had played one of the songs for me and it was a beautiful and inspiring anthem about making your dreams come true no matter how tough life gets. But when Momma got into her furious rant about how music like this would send me to hell and all that jazz, I for once stood up for myself and smarted off to her.
"If this music is gonna send me to hell Momma, then where do you think yours and Lucas’s drinking problem and abuse to me is gonna send you!"
For one moment I felt victorious. Ha! I told her. Gave her a dose of her own medicine! I wasn't quite prepared for the wrath of her anger mixed with the bottle of whiskey she'd been nursing as soon as she'd woke up. My jaw exploded with pain when her fist slammed into me. I'd always read people saw stars when they got hit in the head, but I never really thought it was true until it happened to me. I think for a moment, I blacked out until the acrid taste of blood was enough to clear my senses some. Well, that and the swift kick to the stomach she'd rewarded me with that had me retching there on my bedroom floor. "You little bitch!" She screamed at me, one kick after another, her voice was so full of venom it seared my very soul. "God I hate you. I’ve hated you since you were in my belly. Days like this I wish the doctors had let you die when they took your weak little body out of my belly. I wish you would have died in that car accident instead of your father, God rest his soul. Get out of my house. NOW! You evil little ungrateful heathen! Go live in the gutter with the other trashy people that listen to that devil's music you're so fond of!"
I crawled to my backpack, sobbing and stinking of my own vomit. I shoved my journal and Walkman in it and grabbed hold of my closet door knob and pulled myself up, wincing when pain shot through my side so sharply I couldn't breathe. I looked up at her, the woman that gave me life that I'd loved so deeply, and wanted so badly for her to love me back, and saw her for what she really was. She was pathetic. She was just a wasted away, worn down woman, with nothing but sickness in her from alcohol abuse and miserable life with my stepfather. I straightened my shoulders best I could and limped out of that room and never looked back. I was determined not to give her the satisfaction of seeing just how shattered I was inside.
Once I was outside and the fresh air washed over me I again felt tears sliding down my cheeks. I wasn't sobbing like I probably should have been. My tears were silent. Each one that dripped onto my shirt was just a salty testimony of a young girl's fear of being cast away into the world homeless and broken. I had no idea where to go. I had a few friends, sure, but I was a mess. I stank of vomit, blood and brokenness. I probably had busted ribs and a gnarly bruise forming on my jaw since I could barely open my mouth. My brothers and sisters all had lives of their own at that point. None of them really ever acted like they cared a whole lot about her anyways. Well, except for Callum, but he was always busy between work, college and girlfriends. So I ventured out into the woods to my own secret hideaway. The only place I really felt at home; the old oak tree.
It was in the shade of those branches that my stepfather found me the next morning. Unconscious and barely breathing, lying on the ground because I had been in too much pain to climb up onto my favorite branch. I still to this day don't remember actually making it to the tree, nor do I remember my stepfather carrying me back to his old pickup truck and rushing me to the hospital. My first memory after my mother kicking me out of the house was waking up in the hospital with tubes in various places and the low beep beep beep of the heart monitor I'd grown so familiar with throughout my young, sick life. I tried to move, wanting to sit up and see if there was any family around, but the pain in my head and down my side took my breath away and had me wincing in regret for smarting off at the wrong time to her. I never was one for good timing. I was so thankful when the darkness enveloped me again into a deep sleep so I no longer felt pain, physically or emotionally.