Never Let Go

Never Let Go

Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers


Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers


Casper Willoughby, a seventeen year old kid who has a promising future ahead in Major League Baseball, is torn between chasing after his childhood dream, or giving up on his future in order to shield his younger siblings from the abuse that he endured throughout his childhood. What will he do? Author’s Note: This novel is rated M for mature audiences only and is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. To varying degrees throughout, this entire work of fiction contains content regarding domestic violence, explicit language, and self-harm, as well as sexual content and sexual abuse. These issues were all written in a fictitious manner to help raise awareness, and help tear down the stigma (against victims), surrounding the serious issues of domestic violence, rape, and self-harm.


Casper Willoughby, a seventeen year old kid who has a promising future ahead in Major League Baseball, is torn between chasing after his childhood dream, or giving up on his future in order to shield his younger siblings from the abuse that he endured throughout his childhood. What will he do?

Author’s Note: This novel is rated M for mature audiences only and is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. To varying degrees throughout, this entire work of fiction contains content regarding domestic violence, explicit language, and self-harm, as well as sexual content and sexual abuse. These issues were all written in a fictitious manner to help raise awareness, and help tear down the stigma (against victims), surrounding the serious issues of domestic violence, rape, and self-harm.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Dreams, Trials, and Tribulations

Author Chapter Note

Author's Note: "Never Let Go" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Also, the opinions of the characters expressed in this work of fiction are wholly imaginative, and should not be confused with the author’s. **Comments are welcome anytime, if you think something needs to be improved on, or you want to point something out. Thank you in advance.**

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 04, 2018

Reads: 991

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 04, 2018



Little nine year old Casper Willoughby frowned as he checked himself out in the mirror. Tears of relief formed in his distinct greenish hazel eyes, as he was glad his parents had gone out to dinner without him, but he was in charge of watching over his four year old sister, Leah.  He loved her more than anything, and did what he could to protect her from being abused by their parents, or whenever their father got angry for Leah doing something wrong.  Casper knew Leah was young enough yet that she could not fully comprehend everything that was going on around her, but all she really knew was that daddy was scary quite often.  Tonight, Leah’s mistake was that she accidentally knocked over and spilled daddy’s last beer he had on the coffee table in the living room, so Casper had jumped in front of Leah just a split second before she would have received the backhanded smack from their father.

By shielding his little sister from getting the hit, he of course got it instead, and then received it more harshly on a second turn once his father realized Casper got in the way of Leah’s punishment – again.  Mr. Gareth Willoughby was a horrible, despicable man who had no heart, and was truly cruel to his family, including his own pregnant wife, Joan.  Both were also terrible parents that never gave their children any love, and not once have they told their children they loved them.  As Casper continued to check out his newly formed bruises on the left side of his face, and as he examined his bloodied bottom lip that was now split in the center, he could hear a gentle knock on the bathroom door.  Followed by the door opening slowly came a soft voice that was almost too quiet for Casper to hear.


Casper knew the voice belonged to his little sister.  He turned in the direction of the door as Leah made her presence known.  She was a very small child with a beautiful brown coloring to her hair, which had warm red undertones, and she had fair skin.  She was even underweight for her age, as their mother would punish her by not giving her food, if she did something wrong, but Casper did his very best to make sure Leah ate every day.  When the blue eyes of this precious gem stared back into his, Casper could not help but mirror her tears, as he knew she was concerned for him.

“You’re hurt,” she stated as she quietly approached her big brother. “I’m sorry.”

Casper took her by the hands, and walked backwards towards the toilet.  When he sat down on the lid he put down, he then focused all his attention on Leah.  He could tell she truly was sorry for Casper getting hurt on her behalf.

“It’s not your fault, Leah,” he said. “Don’t ever apologize for mom or dad hurting me, okay?  I would do anything for you, because I don’t ever want to see you get hurt, and I promise with my life that I will protect you the best way I can - always.  You’re everything to me, Leah, and I love you.  Do you understand?”

Leah nodded and wrapped her arms around her big brother’s neck.

“I love you too, Cas.”

Casper was pleased to hear this from his one and only little sister.  He sighed in content as he gazed back into his loving sister’s eyes once the hug broke apart.  Suddenly, though, her tummy growled, an obvious sign that she was hungry.

“C’mon,” Casper said while he stood up, and flipped his curly, coffee-colored bangs to the side of his face as he wrapped his left arm around her shoulders. “Let’s go find something to eat.”

When Casper and Leah made their way to the kitchen, Casper opened the refrigerator, and they found very few items left in the fridge, a major sign that a trip to the grocery store was needed as soon as possible.  Casper found a little bit of liverwurst and lettuce left, and he also saw some mustard and mayonnaise as well, so he took out all those items, and placed them on the kitchen counter.  Leah then watched her big brother as he took out a clean plate and knife from the drain board.

“Can I have some tea?” she asked.

Casper knew their mother’s Turkey Hill iced tea was the only thing to drink in the refrigerator, and mommy dearest was quite good at knowing when something of hers was taken.  He turned to Leah quickly with a sad face.  Then he spoke up.

“Mom will get mad if we take any.  How about a glass of water instead?”

Leah was disappointed with Casper’s response.

“But the water tastes icky,” she said with a pout. “And I’m thirsty.”

Casper knew quite well what she meant by how the water tasted icky, because if he would have been honest with himself, he could not stand their water supply from the sink spigots.  He could taste chlorine and metal, which could perhaps be something along the lines of iron, but he quickly got used to drinking it early on, when he would go days without access to food or water, because he was locked up in his room for punishment.  If one went long enough without water to drink, even water with chlorine and iron in it would taste like it came from the rivers of Heaven.  Casper got down to Leah’s level after putting the plate and knife down on the counter next to the food items.  He had to get her used to drinking water, regardless of how nasty it tasted, because he did not want to get beat up over taking the last of their mother’s tea.

“I know the water tastes bad, especially on Mondays,” he started to say, which was true, as their water supply company would put chemicals in the water at the beginning of each week when they brought in more water after their well system would be low. “But we don’t have anything else to drink.  Besides, water’s good for you.  Not drinking this water would be a waste when there are people in other parts of the world who have no water, or very little water.  They wouldn’t want you to die of thirst, like they are, so if I get you a glass, will you please drink some water?”

Leah was not happy with this, but she knew she could trust her brother’s words, so she settled for water.

“Okay,” she said sadly as she looked down.

Casper quickly stood up, and picked up a glass from the drain board, and then he ran water in it under the spigot.  When the glass was nice and full, he turned off the spigot, and came back to his little sister.  Then he got back down to her eye level.

“I have an idea,” Casper said. “When I’m really thirsty, and I don’t want to drink water, guess what I think about?”
“What?” Leah asked.
“I think about milk and honey,” Casper answered. “If I think it long and hard enough, if I truly believe, then the water tastes just like milk and honey.”

Leah’s eyes lit up in excitement when she heard this.

“You mean like from the land flowing with milk and honey in the Bible stories that we read?”

Casper was not sure if he believed in God or not, as he had a hard time believing God would allow all the child abuse he had endured since he could remember, but he knew he needed to make sure his sister had some hope in this world; otherwise, what would be the point of living when one is surrounded by nothing but all kinds of abuse and punishment for no good reason?  So despite his struggles with his religious beliefs, he would read his children’s Bible that he got last Christmas from one of the school janitors he had a close bond with, and Leah quite enjoyed when Casper animated his voice as he read her the Bible stories at bedtime.  Leah closed her eyes as she took the glass of water from Casper, and she stood there for a good minute, and Casper knew what she was doing.  He smiled as he stood up, and headed back to the counter, to make her sandwich.  He also grabbed some rye bread, and even though the loaf was pretty much gone, the end pieces were still there, but those end pieces were actually Leah’s favorite.

“Mmm,” he heard from Leah after taking a sip of her water. “It does taste like milk and honey.”

Casper smirked in satisfaction as he now spread mayonnaise on one piece of bread, and then mustard on the other piece.  Then he took out what was left of the liverwurst, which he knew was not quite enough to make a full sandwich with, but it was better than nothing.  He tried to cut it really thin, so that he could evenly spread out the four remaining pieces of the meat, and the idea worked in his favor.  Then he broke apart the lettuce with his bare hands, as he knew it was hard for Leah to chew it in large pieces, and soon he spread it all over the liverwurst.  Once the sandwich was completed, he cut it in half diagonally, and served it to her at the kitchen table.

“Thank you.”

Casper watched as Leah now bit into her sandwich, as he was glad to know that she was not much of a picky eater, like most kids her age.  He began to clean up the mess he made on the kitchen counter, because he knew if his parents found it like that when they got home, he would get a major ass whooping from daddy dearest.  He avoided as much trouble as he possibly could when it came to the Mr. and Mrs., because he hated having to lie to his teachers at school when they asked why he had bruises on his face here, or why he had a split lip there, etcetera.  He once told the truth at school in the first grade, and the school called the Department of Children Services, who then showed up unexpectedly at his house for a random inspection.  Their investigation was closed immediately once they saw everything seemed to be fine, but when they left that day, Casper got into a lot of trouble.

“Want some?” Leah asked as she handed her brother the uneaten half of her sandwich once he cleaned up and sat down next to her at the kitchen table.

Casper did not know when more food would be brought home from the grocery store, so he smiled, as he knew Leah needed the nutrition more than he did.  He was older and had a better understanding of patience when it came to hunger.  At least he could get food from his good janitor friends at school, if he was really that hungry. He softly shook his head as he gently pushed Leah’s hand back towards her plate.  Then his lips parted kindly in response to her question.

“No, pumpkin, that’s all yours.”

Leah smirked and she brought the sandwich back up to her big brother’s face.

“Take a bite,” she said. “I know you’re hungry too.”

Casper loved the fact that she was beginning to really understand the concept of sharing, and he just had a feeling she was not going to stop trying to feed him, so he gave in to her little demand.

“Okay,” he said, mirroring the smile on Leah’s face. “Just one bite.”

With that said, Casper took a bite out of the one triangular end closest to his lips, and then he chewed in satisfaction and soon swallowed.  After Leah finished her sandwich, Casper went and got her bath started, and she spoke up once she hopped into the bubble-filled bath.

“What do you think the new baby’s name will be?” she asked as she began to play with her bubbles.
“I heard dad tell mom that his name will be Matt,” Casper replied. “Matthew Kristopher James Willoughby.”

Leah lit up in joy.

“He’s a boy?!”

Casper nodded, and smirked again when Leah clapped her hands in joy.

“Yay, he’s a boy, he’s a boy!”

Casper was pleased that Leah was so excited to have another brother, but truth be told, Casper did not want another sibling.  Protecting Leah from their parents was a full-time job in his book, so now he was going to have to do the same for the baby, and he was afraid he would not be able to protect both of them at the same time.  This had been his biggest fear since mother dearest announced her pregnancy five months ago, but Casper already knew he was going to do the best he could to help raise the baby, but now he had a little helper who was all too excited for baby Matt’s arrival.  Leah soon focused all her attention on her bubbles, but Casper helped to make sure that her hair was shampooed and rinsed.  Once bath time was over and Leah’s hair was dried, Casper settled Leah into bed, and by this time their parents were home.

“Don’t you EVER speak to me like that again in public!” shouted their father.

Leah and Casper were silent when they could hear a smack from the back of their father’s hand, and a short scream followed from their mother, which brought fear to Leah’s eyes.

“Stay here, Leah,” Casper said quietly. “Stay here and don’t make a peep.”
“I’m sorry, baby, I just didn’t want-” their mother replied in a scared tone, but another smack from her husband interrupted her statement.
“Cas, I’m scared!” Leah exclaimed with tears in her eyes.

Casper ran his left hand through her freshly dried, but really soft hair, and he did his best to comfort her.

“Do you trust me, Leah?”

Leah nodded furiously, but stayed quiet, as her brother had asked.

“Then no matter what you hear, don’t leave this bed, okay?” Casper told her. “I’m going to turn the light out, and you’re going to pretend like you’re sleeping, until you fall asleep, okay?”

Again, Leah nodded, and this time Casper grabbed her teddy bear from over on the rocking chair across the room.  He brought it up to her and she grabbed it, and held it to her chest.  Then their eyes met once more.

“I love you, Cas.”

Casper smiled when he heard those words.

“I love you too.”

Casper proceeded to get up and walk away, but Leah quickly grabbed her big brother’s left arm, and he knew she did not want him to leave her alone.

“Don’t leave me, Cas,” she begged quietly. “Don’t let me go.”

Casper smiled warmly as he brought his face close to hers once more.

“You know I’ll never let go, pumpkin, but I have to get to my own bed for now.  I promise I won’t fall asleep until mom and dad have gone to bed, okay?  Dad won’t hurt you, I promise.”
“Pinky swear?” Leah asked as she brought her left hand pinky up to their faces.

Casper smirked and he took his right hand pinky and interlinked it with his little sister’s.

“I pinky swear.”

When the pinky promise was sealed, Casper kissed Leah on her forehead and got up.  Then he turned on his old dinosaur night lamp that he gave her, and it then began to rotate various lit dinosaurs around the room on the walls and ceiling, which always comforted Leah into a peaceful slumber.  Casper then gazed into his adoring sister’s eyes.

“Good night, Cas.”
“Good night, Leah.”

Casper headed to the door, turned off the overhead light, and quietly closed the door once he saw his sister turned her back to him as she snuggled with her teddy bear that he got for her last birthday.  Just as he had done that, he heard a clashing sound that came from the living room, as well as grunts coming from his mother.  They lived in a double wide manufactured home that was thirty-two feet wide and sixty feet long, so they lived comfortably in their spacious Oakwood Village of Bath, Pennsylvania, but no matter where he was in the house, Casper knew when his father was hurting his mother. 

He quietly walked down the hall towards the living room, and looked to find his parents on the living room sofa, with his burly father on top of his very petite mother, and he stripped her clothes off one piece at a time.  The last time Casper tried to stop his father from raping his mother, he got beaten so bad that he had two black eyes from his father’s fist, and a few open lacerations on his back from his father’s belt.  Luckily, that was in the summertime, or social services would have been called by the school system again.  When Casper realized his mother’s smile seemed to consent to what his father was doing to her this time, he decided it was best not to interfere, so he went to bed instead.

When Casper went to school the next day, which turned out to be a normal day as always, he made sure to get some food from one of his janitor friends, so he had something for Leah when he got home.  After school, he sighed deeply as he walked along home, until he reached the playground that was across the street, and down a block from his house. He saw a bunch of kids swinging on the swing sets and in the baseball diamond, and he quickly realized it was a junior high baseball game. Casper noticed a lot of people sitting in the bleachers and that somebody had made a home run. He ran over and sat in the grass area, and folded his hands in his lap.

That's when Casper developed a love for baseball, and his love for the sport quickly became his number one passion. Baseball was soon the only thing in his life that made him completely happy. It not only made him happy, but it also took his mind off of matters in his home. At first, Casper was shy and did not really interact with anyone due to his lack of social skills his parents were supposed to help him develop. As the days went by though, Casper grew more active and more hyper, and he really started to come out of his shell.

Pretty soon, Casper was able to figure out all the skills and tricks done in baseball. He began predicting what was going to happen and where the ball would go. One day, when Casper came to the park, he realized something totally different was going on. It was a girl's softball game instead, and it was young girls playing, too. He noticed one girl in particular.  She had dirty blonde hair and wore a navy blue and white uniform with the number two on the back of her shirt, along with the letters K-E-N-N-E-D-Y. Her team belonged to his school system, Oakwood School District, and this team was the elementary school softball Falcons.  Casper wondered why had he not noticed this girl before?

“C’mon, Luna! You can do it!” shouted the coach.
“So that's her name,” Casper answered to himself out loud.

He ran up and got a closer look at Luna.  She was cute!  Casper looked up at the score board and found that they were in the last inning and the Falcons had two outs. The score board was one to four, the Falcons behind. They needed three home runs for a tie plus another to win the game. Luna was their last chance.

Casper noticed Luna did a trick with her feet and bat moments before she signaled for the ball. She had the glare and she was ready to send that ball flying for her team. As soon as the ball left the pitcher's hand, Casper noticed Luna had closed her eyes right before she hit the ball. Casper watched as the ball flew high right over the pitcher and went past the baseball field. It was still going and soon out of sight.

Cheers and roaring sprang from the bleachers as all three Falcons on the bases ran home with Luna close behind. Then the game ended. The Falcons had beaten the Tomahawk School District’s Warriors five to four. After the game, many people left, but few were still there in the park area. Casper noticed Luna swinging by herself.  He walked through the park and sat on a swing next to her. He saw that she was not in the slightest bit happy. He decided to talk to her and compliment her with a job well done.

“Hi there! I was watching you in the game. You're a good player.”

The sad little girl looked over at Casper, smiling a little bit moments before she looked down again.  Those eyes!  For the few moments Casper saw them, he wanted to melt within her gaze, as she had gorgeous slate grey eyes that were sharper than any other color of eyes he had ever seen.  She was amazing on the field with her sleek ponytail of long, dirty blonde hair that was kissed by the wind while she ran from all three bases to home, but the few strands of hair that were now loose and free did not take away from her beauty at all.  In fact, she was even lovelier up close.

“Thanks,” she spoke in a soft voice.
“What's wrong?” he asked.

It was clear as day that she was really, really sad.

“My mom had to work again.”

Casper felt bad now for asking her this question, but now he understood why she was sad.  He figured she must be close to her mom… or wanted to be.  He certainly could relate on how disappointing a mother could be.

“You wanted her to see you play, huh?” he asked softly.
“Yeah,” she spoke softly once more.
“I'll come watch you play anytime… if you want me to.”

The little girl looked up at Casper again, this time smiling a real smile. Her perfect teeth had shown through and Casper fell in love with that smile.  It was safe to say that Luna Kennedy was now officially his first crush.  He had to know her better.  He just had to!

“I love your smile. It's beautiful.”

The little girl began to blush. Casper knew he made her happy and he liked this. Aside from Leah, he had never made anyone else happy before, and he loved how it gave him butterflies.

“You're so beautiful,” he stated.

Luna smiled wider this time, and brought her complete attention on Casper, so their eyes met again.

“Thanks,” she replied. “What's your name?”
“Casper.  Casper Willoughby.”
“Well, Casper, you're not so bad yourself. I'm Luna.”

Those eyes!  Oh, Casper knew he would be dreaming about those eyes for many nights to come.  They were just so mesmerizing!

“I know. I heard your coach calling you that. I like your name. Are you nine, too?”
“No, I'm ten.”

Well, that explained why Casper did not recognize her from his school, because she was in a grade above him, so she was on a totally different schedule than his grade.

“Oh,” he replied softly.
“We can still be friends though,” she said with a brief pause, and then with an even bigger smile. “If you want to.”

Casper looked over at her and he could not help but mirror her gorgeous, pearly white smile.


There was a quiet moment of peace between Luna and Casper, but before he could speak again, his name was harshly announced behind him.

Casper Dean Willoughby!

He turned his head instantly and found his mom standing just inches away with a very angry expression painted on her face.

“You were supposed to clean the living room and dining room before I got home!”

How much time had passed since he got out of school?  His mother did not get home from work until around seven in the evening.  He quickly realized he had not managed his time out here efficiently, and now he was in trouble, and embarrassed that Luna had to see this.

“I'm sorry, mom, I didn’t mean to – owwwww!”

Mrs. Willoughby pulled tightly on her son's ear and forced him off the swing. Then she grabbed ahold of the back of his neck and walked behind him as they walked home. Casper fussed at first and began to cry. About halfway through the park, he figured it was useless to keep fussing, since he knew he was going to get a beating anyways. Several more years of abuse and neglect had gone by and Casper was now almost fourteen. He was in eighth grade and that meant he was now finishing up his last year of Oakwood Junior High.

Among his peers, Casper was well known, and well liked for his positive outlook on everything, and for his sweet personality. He was also a favorite student among the entire staff of his school, because he absolutely enjoyed his schoolwork, and he seemed to have such a positive outlook on life – a mask to deter them from ever growing suspicious again of his home life. He always smiled and never let anything bother him. He tried to be the best that he could be, and he challenged himself quite often in his studies, but nothing helped when he was mistreated at home. He never wanted to be home and often times stayed after school to delay his trip to the household that he called a heartache.

One day as he walked in the halls of the school he loved so much, he stopped and looked at the bulletin board in the main lobby. He noticed that baseball tryouts and practices were being held for the next month. He smiled as he looked at the times they were held, but his smile faded as he realized what he needed. He would need his actual birth certificate, and social security number, considering it would be his first time playing. He would also need a physical done, but luckily they were offered by the school nurse.

He knew his parents were not going to allow him to play baseball, just like any other sport he asked to play in when they said no. They always told him that it was not worth wasting his time on such stupidity, and that they needed him to take care of the house for them. Even though he did not depend on his family, they depended on him. It was like he was head of the house when it came to responsibility and cleanliness. If he did not do anything around the house, he would get a beating and a, ‘What good are you for? You might as well not even exist!’

Even when he did do everything he was told, he would still be taught about negativity and how he would not make it in the real world. He loved his family and he would do anything to protect them from harm, but he knew they did not love him and did not appreciate his shield of love, except eight year old Leah of course.  Four year old Matt was a slow learner, so he could not yet fully comprehend why Casper did what he did to protect him. It hurt Casper a lot to hear such negativity from his parents, and it made him the complete opposite when it came to people outside the home. He did not want anybody to see the pain he held deep inside, so he pretended that his life in the home was the best anybody could ask for.

Both Luna and Casper remained friends throughout the four years and were really close. Even though Luna was a year older than him, and in ninth grade up at the high school, he grew a crush on her and loved to make her happy. Baseball was one of those things that made them both equally happy, no matter what else was going on in their lives. Casper still kept his eyes on the bulletin board, until he decided he was going to participate in this sport, and keep it a secret from his parents. He smiled sinisterly as he came up with a plan to get himself started in baseball.  At the end of the day, Casper went to the main office to collect himself a physical form. He then ran home as fast as he could, and darted immediately for his room, and then he hid the physical form in his dresser.

“Casper! Get your ass out here!”

He set his back pack on his bed, and ran back into the living room, as he knew his father caught him in the middle of something.

“Yes, dad?”
“What was that you ran to your room with?”
“Just a paper I figured I had to throw away, considering I can't join any sports.”
“Yes, and why do we not allow you to join sports?”

Casper did not want to answer this, but he knew he had to.  He avoided eye contact and looked down at the floor in front of him.  Then he parted his lips, as he could feel his father’s eyes burning with hatred for him.

“‘Cause it's a waste of time and I'm not worth their time.”

The burly man, who was balding and unemployed, had his lazy bum right on the sofa with a beer in hand, and a television dinner rested on top of his large gut that protruded from his wife beater tank top, which was three sizes too small.  Casper momentarily studied his father’s shirt underneath his barely fitted suspenders, and he wondered when the last time that shirt was washed, as it was covered in putrid looking sweat and old food stains.  It must have been at least a few weeks, and Casper could only imagine that if he stood anywhere near his father, he might start to smell that disgusting shirt.

“May I go do my homework now?”
“You're such a goody two shoes. Haven't you learned that you won't make it in the real world?”
“Yeah,” Casper stated softly as he looked away in disappointment.
“Go on. Get outta my sight.”

‘Bastard’ Casper thought to himself as he ran back to his room. His mother would not be home for a while yet, and he knew his father was going to be in the living room drinking, so he knew it was best to stay out of his father’s hair. His brother was in daycare, and his sister was on the elementary school bus, on her way home now. When he caught a break with his father taking a little evening nap, Casper quietly snuck into his parents’ room, and got ahold of his social security card, as well as his birth certificate. Then he ran back into his room and started filling the physical out where his parents were supposed to sign.

He thought about what a real family was and he wanted desperately to make one up, but because of his birth certificate, he knew he could not falsify any names.  He did, however, discover that Mr. Willoughby was not his biological father, as the birth father listed was unknown.  Once he filled out his mother’s section of the form, he then moved on to where it asked for a home phone number, and a cellular phone number. He made up a home number, and used his own cell number, which his parents knew absolutely nothing about. He did the same thing with the email of his parents as well, and had secretly set one up in their names, so that they would not get any wind of this sport activity that he wanted desperately to be a part of. He did not want his parents to know that he was about to go behind their backs, but he was also not about to let them interfere anymore with what he truly wanted, which was to be a baseball player in the sport of Major League Baseball.

© Copyright 2019 Jenah Pierce. All rights reserved.


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