I peaked around the corner. “Mama?” She was on the ground. Sitting next to the bathtub, leaning against it with her torso. Her left arm resting on the edge and the expression on her face – what was it? “Mama?” I repeated, unsure why she did not react, since she had been the one calling out to me. She suddenly looked up, as if she had been lost deep in her own thoughts and brought back by the sound of my voice. There was something strange about the deep-set, brown eyes which looked back at me. The same eyes that I had seen every day for my entire life, belonging to the women who had shown me unconditional love, protection, and warmth. The longer I looked at her, the more confused I became. The warmth was not there anymore. In fact, it felt like there was nothing there. I thought it was an odd sight, looking at another human being who did not express any sort of emotion. She just existed. “Come here,” she begged after a few seconds of silence and reached out her arm to make me come to her. I looked at her for a minute, not because I was scared but because I was confused. “It’s okay,” she added with a hint of irritation in her voice which immediately made me come to her. She sat up straight, reached out, grabbed my shirt and starting unbuttoning it as I stepped closer. “You need a bath,” she pushed my shirt off of my shoulders.
“Is something wrong?” I finally said, although I was almost afraid of hearing the answer. She slightly shook her head no but for some reason did not look at me. I was tempted to ask again but at the same time, I knew it would be a mistake. You should only speak when spoken to and do not ask any stupid questions. Those were the rules I had been told at home, at school, everywhere, and only the bad kids broke the rules. I was not a bad kid. She undressed me with a fern hand until I was completely nude and then with a lowered voice ordered me to get in the tub which had already been filled with water. The water felt warm, calming, and completely surrounded the lower part of my body and most of my torso. Out of the corner of my eye I saw mama fold up her sleeves, move closer, and then lower her hands down into the water, gather some, and pour it onto my head. For a minute we sat in complete silence, the only sound being that of the drops hitting the surface of the water below. “I love you,” she suddenly whispered as her hand ran through my hair. “I love you too,” I replied as usual. The hair on my arms stood up. There was something about her voice that made it sound flat and almost dead in a way. “And I’ll always love you because I know, he’ll forgive you.”
I looked at her, confused as to what she meant, although I had a feeling. A day had passed since she had found out. A day since she had opened the door to the garden shed, screamed and grabbed me so hard by my arm that it had left a bruise. She had screamed at me, cursed and shaken me, but what frightened me the most was the complete and utter silence that followed, as she threw me in my room and left me there. I did not dare to make a sound and spent the rest of the day and the night alone with my thought and the question: Why? Lily had squealed and cried, resisted and told me to stop, but I had done the same, the first time it happened to me. I knew the feeling of an unwanted touch, the fear of being held down and unwillingly pressed down against the floor, the table, the mattress. I knew the deep, burning pain that happened during penetration and how it would sometimes linger on for hours afterwards, and I knew how the invisible marks that had been left on the skin could not be washed away with soap and water even though, they made me feel unclean. I did not enjoy it but then again, I doubted anyone enjoyed it but no one ever said anything and everyone else loved their dad, so why should I not do the same.
Lily was a few years younger than I but we were almost the same height. She lived with her parents on a farm only a couple of miles away from ours. The only thing that visibly separated the two pieces of property was the forest that with its thick threes shielded the view from one side to the other. She was tall for her age, had short brown hair, heavyset, and shy which in turn meant that few of the other children were willing to talk to her. She was nice and like many other children, she trusted me because I was the older than she was. I was able to control her and it was something I had become aware of early on, even though I was not sure exactly how or what it meant. The more I tried to push her, the more powerful I felt and for the first time, I was the one in control.
“You’re the devil,” mama whispered, her eyes opened wide as she looked at me. My heart sank and I could still feel her hand resting on the back of my neck as she moved the other one and placed it on my chest right above my heart. “And I won’t let you take my baby.”
Suddenly she violently pushed me down below the surface of water. Unprepared I immediately inhaled water into my lungs and felt everything inside me burn as I started kicking, reaching out trying to pull myself up and scratch her at the same time. She kept pushing me down, one hand against my chest, the other wrapped around my neck and from there, below the surface, I was able to look up at the woman had harmed and betrayed me more than anyone ever could. The pain was greater than anything I had ever felt. Deep and intense like I was burning alive and still slow enough that I was aware of every second that passed by and how they each brought me one step closer to death. I tried to cough, I tried to inhale but none of it was voluntary. My body was reacting while my brain was slowly shutting off – and then, after what seemed like an eternity, she let go. I fell back into the darkness. Weightless and no longer in pain. My senses disappeared and I was gone.
I would like to thank everyone for the positive respons my previous excerpt has received. Your kind words and feedback means so much to me. This week, I decided to share another excerpt. So far, it is just a rough draft but I hope you’ll like it anyway. Next week, I will be back to doing posts on the paranormal and again, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has commented, liked, and followed my blog. I love and appreciate every one of you. Thank you.
Original photo: Travis Wise