I’m startled awake when I hear what sounded like glass shattering and my Mommy screaming. Daddy must be home and I want to hide under my bed so he can’t find me but mommy needs me. I hate it when Daddy hurts her, it makes me sad. I slowly get out of bed and creep down the stairs, I make it to the last step when I hear him shout,
“You are nothing but a worthless whore. I work hard all day to keep this town safe and you can’t even have a decent meal cooked for me!” It sounded like flesh hitting flesh and then a thump, Daddy is really in a mood tonight and really drunk. When he has a really hard day he goes out with the other guys and drinks until he gets kicked out, then he comes home really late and expects Mommy to be at his beck and call.
“I had made dinner for you but it was getting cold so I wrapped it up for you.”
“Don’t talk back to me Woman!” Thwack. “You don’t get to open your filthy mouth when I’m talking to you.” Then it sounds like he threw something at the wall. “I don’t want this preheated shit! Get off your fat ass and make me some food right now!”
“It’s three in the morning, Tom.” She pleads.
“I don’t give a fuck what time it is, now do what I say before I change my mind and decide to just kill you and that bastard son of yours.” I move around the corner and peek into the kitchen and tears flood my face when I see him grabbing mommy’s hair and pulling her up with it. Her eye is already turning purple and a large gash on her forehead, blood is pouring from the wound and mixing with her tears, painting her face red. She looks like that girl from the movie I saw Daddy watching once. The girl in the movie had blood all over her and it was so scary.
I walk into the kitchen and mommy sees me, she knows what I’m about to do but someone’s got to do something. “Please Day; just go back to bed baby. I’ll be okay.” Daddy noticed me and his blue eyes glow with wicked intent. I falter in my step, but I can’t show him he terrifies me. He lets go of mommy’s hair and throws across the room, she lands with a thud and cries out when she hits her head on one of the open cabinet doors. I can’t take my eyes away from her and try to run and help her when I see blood pouring from her head.
I’m stopped by the monster stepping in my way; he puts his hand on my shoulder and pushes me to the ground. He towers over me and sneers, “You are a pussy and no son of mine!” I scoot away from him but the stalks me, my heart is running a marathon in my chest and I’m trembling with fear. I know what this man is capable off; I have the scars to prove it. I feel his boot covered foot press down on my thigh, hindering all movement. “Is this what that pretty boy and his family teach you? They tell you to run away from your Father?” I don’t answer; I know I’ll get hit if I say anything. I just keep my gaze on him.
He leans down and grabs the color of my pajama shirt, I’m lifted into the air and he made to face him. This man isn’t a man, his eyes are black as night and face contorted in evil. “Answer me!” He shouts as spit flies from his mouth and hits my face. I suck in a breath and take a hold of the strength I have in me.
“What does it matter, whatever I say you’ll hit me. You think picking on a helpless woman and an eight-year-old makes you all tough? Guess what Sir; you are nothing but a big fat coward.” Next, I know I’m flying across the room, and instead of hitting the ground I land on something soft but grainy.
I push myself up and see my surroundings, it’s all sand. I look down and see I’m now twenty and dressed in an army uniform and ready for combat. All around his is gunfire and at first, I’m confused, not sure how I ended up here when just seconds ago I was back in my childhood home. I glance around and notice a few other guys running towards me with their weapons out and shooting at something I can’t see.
“Damien get down!′ I hear someone shout my name, it sounded like my best friend Dan but why would he be here? “Get down now!” he yells again and that’s when I see it, a child coming towards me. He has his rifle pointed at me, I go to grab mine but the second I turn my head a pain shoots through my stomach and I’m falling to the ground. Dan runs to me,
“Damien, it’s okay, just hold on.” I close my eyes. I want to let go, peace is calling to me. Dan calls out to me again. “Damien! Damien, wake up!”
I open my eyes and my hand instantly goes to my stomach, it comes away clear and I let out a giant breath. Ever since that last mission, I’ve been having more nightmares and it always starts with my Old man. I’ve talked about this in my sessions with Doc, he explained that when I experience something so traumatic other memories I’ve locked away will start to surface. I survey the room and see Dan sitting on his cot with a grimace on his face.
“Are you okay?” he asks. Dan knows I’m having nightmares but we don’t talk about them. He’s been having them too. Lately, for him, It’s when he hears a loud noise he starts to panic, but he’s able to pull himself together pretty quickly.
“Yeah, just another one, what about you?” He nods his head.
“We’re all having them.” He says. The last mission was very brutal and we almost lost two men including Dan. Jordan has been shot in the shoulder and is now being treated but can’t return to active duty so he was sent home. I never thought I would become friends with these guys but they have become my family and when Jordan was shot it felt like I was losing a brother.
Something else was bothering Dan though. “This is about more than the nightmares, what’s going on?” His eyes drop to the ground.
“I thought it would make me happy and don’t get me wrong I’m very relieved but still very concerned. ”
“About what, Bro?”
“Emily called off the wedding and Zeek attacked her in the bridal room. His mother made threats as well so she’s terrified they will both come after her. He stands up and starts pacing the room.
“What if they do Damien? His mother said she would take the baby away from her. I’m not there to protect her so what am I supposed to do?” Dan is so stressed about this; he has been since she told him she was getting married. He felt something is off with the guy but then he thought maybe he was just being an overprotective brother but I knew he wasn’t. Dan is never wrong about people; he knew Derrick from high school was bad news.
“I don’t know man, maybe you need to take a step back and let her figure it out.” I expected backlash but I only got one question which made me ponder my answer.
“What would you do?” What would I do?
“Well, if I was healthy enough and felt like I could be good for her I would fight for her and do what I could to keep her safe.” He turns his green eyes on me,
“You still love her don’t you?” I used to deny it but I can’t to him. He would see right through it.
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