“Stop” she begged.
“I promise I won’t do it again” she whispered.
A fist full of her long, dark, brown hair was dragged upwards, forcing her to look at his face. She grasped at his hands, trying to relieve some of the tension on her scalp, as she felt strands of hair being stripped away. Her legs dangled behind her, halfway between a kneeling and a standing position.
It had only been fifteen minutes at the most since she was yanked out of her bed and dragged into the kitchen. The shock of being forced awake and hitting the cold wooden floor resonated through her body.
The pain pulsed from her back to her ribs. He was always careful not to leave visible marks that couldn’t be hidden.
Torso, back, upper thighs, upper arms, breasts, stomach and hips, however, were all fair game. It had only been fifteen minutes, but she knew this episode was going to leave multiple bruises. She was pretty sure he had fractured a few ribs, with a brutal kick he had used, to send her hurtling across the kitchen floor, into a cabinet.
She then blocked out what happened after that. The brain is a wonderful thing, and she was certain, it was her bodies attempt at self-preservation. She can’t be broken by what she can’t remember.
“Next time you do as I fucking say” he rumbled low and deep, staring straight into her eyes.
They were only centimetres apart, so she could see every detail etched in his face. He stood still, firmly grasping her hair with one hand.
“Did you hear me?” He asked in a quiet, calm, menacing manner.
She let a barely audible yes escape her lips.
He finally released her hair from his grasp, and she fell in a ‘humph’ into a pile, on the floor.
She glanced up into his deep black eyes again and had never felt hatred like this. It burned deep. It made her hands shake. If there was a god she thought, he would smite this piece of shit, right where he stood.
It’s hard to believe in fairy tales when your life has been reduced to utter misery.
‘Noone’s going to save your fat arse now, not even the almighty,’ her inner voice told her. She chuckled in her mind, at her own dark humour, knowing her life was definitely no fairy tale.
He smirked at her, and it drew her attention away from her thoughts and back to her current shitty situation.
He turned toward the kitchen sink and grabbed at something and she couldn’t quite make out what it was. Please don’t be something hard, she repeated like a mantra in her head. He threw a tea towel at her face as she winced, through squinting eyes, she peeked at the piece of cloth, she was grateful that was all that had hit her.
“Clean yourself up.... you look a fucking mess”.
Ah, she thought inwardly, the first sign that he was giving up the fight. She knew he had appeased, whatever dark and sadistic urge had engulfed him that morning. A small wave of relief passed over her, but she didn’t let him see it. She knew if she just stayed still and said nothing, he would eventually leave her alone. It felt like minutes had passed, as he stood leering over her, looking her up and down.
“Uugh..... you make me sick.”
And with that, he took three steps back, his eyes still fixated on her crumpled form, on the floor. He smiled and a look of content and pride beamed out of him. He turned on his heel and started whistling a merry tune, as he strode away, his head held high, his shoulders relaxed, slamming the back door.
A lump formed in her throat and she tried to push it down into her stomach, as tears threatened to drop from her dull and bloodshot blue eyes.
“Not today mother fucker....”
“Definitely not today.”
She had to convince herself that he didn’t deserve her tears and she held them back triumphantly.
She took in a deep breath, and it went down into her soul and calmed her shaky breathing. Her pulse slowed down. What was racing only a minute ago, became a less thumping reminder of her fight or flight reflex. A beautiful wee face popped up as an image in her mind, and she half-smiled. Her eyes remaining closed, as she took another breath. If it wasn’t for the absolutely precious little man, that was fast asleep in her bed, completely unaware of what had transpired, she would have given up a long time ago.
For Rhea, this nightmare had lasted what felt like a lifetime. She never thought her life could have fallen so far down into despair. However it had only been five years. Five years of torment. There was only one thing that kept her going. One foot in front of the other, one day after the next, one step at a time. She was going to save herself and her son.
She just had to hang on a bit longer.