David grit his teeth while pushing firmly down on the wrench, forcing the nut tight onto the bolt. Having received the tool only two weeks earlier for his tenth birthday, it already looked as if it had years of use.
The sound of his mother’s desperate cry for help caused his hand to slip off the soft-grip handle, his palm scraping over a sharp piece of metal, slicing a wide open gash on his otherwise flawless skin.
She wouldn’t stop crying for help.
David turned his hand palm up, looking at his wound; the cut had gone deep in the soft meaty flesh. He watched without expression as the blood trickled off the side of his hand and dripped onto the idling lawnmower engine where each maroon droplet pooled, then dried, then sizzled from the heat and rose again in thin ribbons of smoke.
She was still crying for help.
David rose from his kneeling position, wiping his bloody hand on his ragged jeans. He walked with his head down as he passed through the kitchen and through the door leading to the back porch. Once there he crouched over a packed pillowcase, bulging and lumpy with its contents, and removed a golden music box from within it.
He twisted the small key on the side and a soft melody began to play.
He could feel the numbness begin.
No longer did his hand hurt.
No longer could he feel the ache in his back.
No longer would he feel the hurt that had welled up in his heart.
He retreated into—and out of—the insanity.
Holding the still plinking box in his bleeding hand, he gazed through the small window on the door that lead back into the kitchen.
David watched the actions in the room. Mute. Emotionless. And a world away.
Slowly he turned the key to the box again, winding it as far as it would go so that the music would drown out his mother’s constant screaming.
She wouldn’t stop screaming.