The next summer, after she had finished her high school entrance exams and graduated from middle school, Shi Lin spent all her spare time with her new friend Qu-Fang. Although the friendship was very enjoyable, more importantly this provided a way for her to spend as little time as possible at home where she would be subjected to constant verbal and physical abuse by her father. They decided to go work for a family jewelry making business to get extra money to spend. The pay was a meager 60 NTD per hour but the work was not complicated and they had plenty of time to chat while stringing beads.
On there way home from working one day they began to talk about their families.
“You are lucky to have such loving parents Qu-Fang. You never have to fear going to your home like I do.”
“My brother Qu-Kai loved me even more than my parents but unfortunately, he is dead. I get sad every time I think about it. I think every one is born to suffer from some sort of painful experience.”
“I suppose now that we have graduated I will end up losing you but I hope not.”
“Don’t be silly! Our test scores are always pretty close so I think we will end up in the same high school so, no problem. Or, are you hinting that I annoy you and you want to get rid of me.”
Knowing that they would likely be best friends for all their lives, they both laughed at how ridiculous they sounded and then parted to go home. Qu-Fang was always so optimistic and her exuberance for life and living was contagious. Her attitude was that life doesn’t have to be that difficult. There is always a way to move on so just don’t worry about things too much
When Shi Lin arrived home, her mother was not there. Her father was watching TV as usual with a bottle of rice wine and some snacks spread around on the table in front of him. The volume was turned up so loud that it actually vibrated the walls. She was really annoyed by it but decided to tiptoe quietly past the living room in hopes that her father would not realize she was home.
Her mother was usually not gone for very long so she decided to hide out in the bathroom and take a shower while she waited for her to return. Bing-Xiang was like a time bomb waiting to explode and for this reason, Kaori was afraid to leave her daughter alone in the house with him. He had demonstrated his propensity for violence in the past and she did not want to risk the safety of her daughter.
Occasionally, he would go out for an evening with his friends. But he soon discovered that the number of friends willing to dine with him was directly proportional to the amount of money he had to treat them. His only source of income was day trading stocks and lately he had had a streak of bad luck with that. Kaori was worried about his ability to support the family and tried to persuade him to find another more reliable source of income but that always resulted in bitter arguments.
Kaori often considered divorcing him but he most probably would refuse out of spite. Even if he agreed, how would she make enough money to support herself and her daughter? Selling her paintings? Not a good enough market. Go back to working as a hostess in a men’s club? The thought of that totally repulsed her and she never seriously considered that option again.
She hadn’t gone to college and had never developed any of the marketable skills needed to get a good paying job. She didn’t want her daughter to end up the same way so she decided that somehow she would have to endure this hell long enough for her daughter to graduate from college and become independent. Then she would divorce the insufferable swine.
Her daughter often asked her why she didn’t divorce him so they could escape his abuse and she always replied, “How would we survive without money?
“I can get a job and with that money we could survive.”
“You are not of legal age yet. He would fight to get custody of you.”
“He hates me so much, why would he want to get custody of me?”
Even though she believed the words she spoke, knowing what evil he was capable of caused her to inwardly shutter.
“He would do it just to get revenge against me for divorcing him. We just have to hang on until you can get your college degree and then I will get rid of him.”
“But that’s so many years away. The days will pass so slowly.”
“After all, he is your father and he has supported us for all these years. I am indebted to him for that. Someday you will understand.”
Relaxing under the warm shower of water, she still couldn’t understand why her mother would say she owed anything to her father. But for now, the pulsing of the water cascading down her back washed away all thoughts of her unhappy life and relaxed her nerves. As she bent over to wet her hair, she thought she heard a loud banging on the bathroom door but wasn’t sure. She paused to listen but the running water made it difficult to hear what was going on so she turned the shower off.
Now she clearly heard her father pounding on the door and yelling.
“You’ve been in the bathroom so long. What are you doing in there?”
“Dad, I’m taking a shower. What do you think? Go away!”
“Open the door, I have to piss!”
She was shocked that he sounded so angry and was afraid of what he was going to do. Suddenly, he forced the door open and started toward her. She quickly covered herself with a towel and then went back into the shower and closed the door. She was trembling, partially from the cold but mostly out of fear.
She listened carefully for the sound of his pissing, anticipating his departure when he had finished. But the sound never came and she realized that he had entered the bathroom under false pretenses to do what? She never expected that he would open the shower door but suddenly she was exposed naked in front of him and she instinctively pulled the towel up around her neck to cover her breasts. She glanced down and noticed that his pants were unzipped and now total panic gripped her. She remembered witnessing him forcibly raping her mother and envisioned him doing the same thing to her.
“Come out of there!”
He hadn’t seen her naked since she was a baby and was astonished to see the curvaceous body of a fully developed woman. He looked at her face and again was reminded that she bore no resemblance to him. The chagrin at the thought of raising another man’s child consumed him. Now, the way he looked changed from resentment and anger to lust. He rationalized that the inevitable result of this unnatural feeling would be deserved remuneration for all the years he had given her a good life. He supported her for sixteen years and now it was her turn to serve him.
He reached out and ripped the towel away from her grasp, completely exposing her naked body.
“What are you going to do to me?
She really was afraid to hear the answer and did not wait for him to speak. In desperation, she lashed out and cut a gash in his face with her fingernail. He felt a sharp stinging pain and the blood from the wound dripped down his chin onto the floor. He felt anger welling up inside him and with it a strange kind of excitement. He pushed her back and her head slammed against the wall much the same as he had done to Kaori before he raped her and she cried out in pain and fear.
“I have raised you since you were a baby. What part of your body haven’t I seen? And why do you need a bath in the middle of the day? Were you having sex with some guy and trying to wash the smell away?”
Just then, Kaori returned from the supermarket and heard the commotion in the bathroom. She quickly put down the vegetables that she had bought and ran to the bathroom to see what was happening. She was horrified to see her husband grappling her naked daughter with a lust in his eyes.
“What the hell are you doing with my daughter? Let go of her and get the hell out of the bathroom!”
Bing-Xiang was startled by Kaori and immediately let go of Shi Lin. Then he tried to deflect her anger by making false accusations against her.
“Ask your precious daughter if she wasn’t taking shower because she was sleeping around like a whore and needed to clean up!”
“That is a total lie! He is the one that was trying to rape me just like he raped you. I hope this will show you what a pig you married!”
“What! That’s total bullshit!”
“Look at him. Why do you think his pants are unzipped?”
Shi Lin channeled all her years of fear and anger into her hands and started punching Bing-Xiang but her blows were not strong enough to cause him any damage. He on the other hand responded with much heavier blows. Kaori stepped in between him and her daughter to protect her and bore the brunt of his fury. Clutching her stomach where he had punched her, she was barely able to catch a breath to shout a warning to Shi Lin.
“Put your clothes on and get out of here!”
This angered him even more and he resumed beating her with a renewed fervor.
“Instead of teaching your daughter a lesson you believe her accusations against me and tell to her leave. You always blamed me for your misery. No wonder she never even looks at me. Well, if I am the bad guy in all this mess, I’ll just have to live up to my reputation and finish you off. Then I’ll go get your daughter and teach her how to serve a man!”
Kaori begged him to stop beating her but his assault was relentless. Shi Lin was frantic and thought he was killing her mother. She grabbed a pair of scissors from the counter and stabbed him the back with all the force she could muster. He let out a roar as the blood started spurting from the hole in his back. He instinctively swung his arm around his back and knocked Shi Lin and the bloody scissors to the floor.
He stopped beating Kaori and now redirected his anger toward Shi Lin. Kaori tried to hold him back by grabbing his legs as Shi Lin rolled across the floor toward the bathroom in a desperate effort to escape him. But, he was too strong and kicked himself loose from her grasp. Then he grabbed Shi Lin by the hair and struck her across the face, momentarily stunning her. She felt her arms weaken and could barely support herself with her hands enough to crawl backwards away from him.
Suddenly, he paused as if contemplating how he was going to slaughter his prey. To Kaori, it was an obscene primal action and she could see his eyes glaze over with an animal like lust. Without thinking, she grabbed a brass antique vase and slammed it against his head as hard as she could and he collapsed to the ground.
“Is he dead or just unconscious?”
“I’m not sure but either way, it is not good for you. You have to leave here and let me deal with it.”
“Let’s go together. I can’t leave you here all alone.”
“I have to call an ambulance and get him to the ER. If he is dead, then we would both be considered murderers. If he doesn’t die, he will call the police and we will be wanted even if we escape. Go to your room and clean up. Get ready to leave and I will prepare the things you will need to survive.”
After Shi Lin went to her room, Kaori gathered up all the cash she could find along with her bank card for a savings account that she had hidden from Bing-Xiang. She grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled down the bank card pass word and her friend Mei-Dai’s phone number in Taipei then put it all in Shi Lin’s hands.
“You go to Taipei and find Mei-Dai. This is enough money for you to get a place in Taipei and live there for a while until I finish dealing with this mess with your father. When I am done, I will come to Taipei and find you. Don’t call me and don’t worry about me. I am strong and I can deal with this without you. Go now and remember that I love you more than anything else in the world!”
She-Yin reluctantly left with tears streaming down her face and Kaori immediately called 119 and then Mei-Dai in Taipei to tell her what had happened and asked her to let Shi Lin live with her until she could rejoin her.