Chapter One - The static
Sometimes, when it’s quiet in the house I like to just sit, with my eyes closed and listen to the sounds that happen. The static sound that stays by your ear like a bee. The odd car that drives past to get out of town. The weird group of kids that go past the house laughing and giggling to one another...
But today... today is not one of those days. Today is one of those days where I open my eyes and tune back into reality. Today is one of those days where the reality is that my dad is a drunk and that my stepmother hates my guts.
The reality where I’m alone in this house because my stepbrother escaped when he got the scholarship to the university two towns over.
My eyes dart towards my door to see it vibrate from the force of my fathers’ fists knocking harshly against the wood.
I flinch when he finally shouts. “Open this damn door before your punishment gets worse.” There are a few seconds of silence where I could hear the static and the cars driving past, where my eyes slide over to my window, my mind wandering to see if I snu-
BANG! BANG! BANG!
My fathers’ harsh fists come crashing down, burning my little fantasy to the ground. I flinch once again when he kicks it, he kicks it hard, he kicks it so hard that I heard the wood break beneath his steel cap boots.
“I’ll give you one last chance... on the count of three this damn-“ BANG! He kicks the door. “-door better be open.”
“Three...” I stand up on shaker legs as he begins to count. My knees almost buckling, my mind pleading me not to go. My hands begin to tremble when I reach for the door.
“Two...” I push the lock to the side silently, a sob getting caught in my throat. My hand moves to the door handle as I push down.
“Three...” he says as the door opens. “Just in time.” His face distorts into a cruel smile, his mouth opening to show me his piss-yellow teeth that have discoloured from the amount of beer he drinks, they almost jump out at me as he laughs in a wicked way, watching my face fall as he grabs me by my hair. His nails digging into my scalp as he clutches my head in his large hand.
“How many times have I told you to clean up this damn house, huh?” He pulls my hair, forcing me to rise on my tiptoes, I reach his eye level. “Too many times.” He hisses, making me able to smell the alcohol that comes out, invading my nose.
“Now...” he shoves me to the floor. “You have to clean this damn house before my date arrives.” I almost gag, how can he treat his wife like that? Cheating on her out in the open like this.
When I don’t make a move to go down the stairs he levels our heads once again when he yanks my hair and whispers. “Oh, so you want to do this the hard way?” He chuckles darkly before I feel his hand leave and my body goes crashing down the staircase, sideways.
My ribs colliding with the stairs too many times for me to count. Once my tailbone hits the last step and my head hits the floor, my father comes running down the stairs, making me push myself back but to no avail.
I whimper when he grabs me by the collar of my hoodie and pulls me up and then shoves me yet again.
He comes up behind me pushes me, however, I failed to see him stick his foot in front of mine and when he forcefully pushes me, I go skidding into the living room.
Cans of beer litter the floor and little bottles litter the table to the side. The tv is playing but the smoke in the air makes it hard to concentrate on what’s playing. My hand have a mind of their own as they push me up from the floor so I’m standing and as they reach forward to pick up some cans.
My vision goes blurry as a foot pushes harshly on the back of my knee, making me fall forward onto my hands and knees like I’m some dog.
I fall on my side when his heavy boot harshly kicks my waist. I cry silently as his boot collided with my stomach in a series of heavy, painful kicks that make me cry out.
“This-“ another kick to the stomach. “-is what-“ a kick to the hips. “-you get when-“ a kick to the thighs, making me fall on my back. “-you disobey-“ he kneels down and straddles my body. “-me.” I cry out for the last time when he sends a powerful right hook to my jaw.
As vision goes black and I finally hear the static sound in the background, the odd car that goes past, the weird group of kids that laugh and giggle to themselves as they go. I feel my body finally relax like the world has been lifted off my shoulders.
My body is still relaxed even when his voice drifts through the static, stopping the buzzing momentarily when his voice appears near my ear. “If you’re not awake for before dessert, then this will happen again...” My mind begins to panic even if my body is relaxed...
Once I wake up, it’s dark.
So dark that I wonder if I’m alive or dead.
Some part of me is wishing for the latter.
The same part of me stiffens when I hear his laugh. However, when it is accompanied by a shy giggle and a soft-spoken: “Oh stop it, Chris.” My body relaxes slightly.
I’m safe... for now.
I look around the living room and see the tv turned off, the curtains pulled shut and the living room door shut and a sign that says, “You know the drill.”
I’m quick to get on my feet and race to the window, remembering what he said. I quickly climb out, careful not to make any noise and I grab the bag that’s waiting outside and walk through the door, careful not to let it slam.
“Riley? Is that you dear?” His soft voice drifts through. I roll my eyes at how fake it sounds but I put on a smile just as fake and walk through to the kitchen.
Once I see the woman, I’m almost shocked. The long brown hair, the hazel eyes and the long nose. She... she looks nearly identical to my mother.
I look to my father and the same fake smile that’s accompanying the fake happiness on my face is present on his. There’s a silent look on his face that says “Drop it.”
My head slightly nods but then snaps to the mystery woman when she gasps. “Honey, what happened to you?”
Before I could say anything, my father steps in and says; “She does MMA, so she’s prone to injuries.” He smiles as he tells the lie, his face scrunching up to a fake happy face. He’s lying right through his teeth.
As I think this, his head moves achingly slow to me, waiting for me to say something stupid so he can hit me later. “Isn’t that right Riley?”
His eyebrow raises in a challenge and I nodded my head quickly. “Well Chris, I’m sure she can speak for herself...” I’m shocked when the mystery woman speaks up, bringing her hand up to rub his upper arm in a calming way.
“Actually... she can’t. She doesn’t speak.” He says, watching the expression on her face.
Her head snaps to me and my eyes snap to her hands when she begins to sign to me. ‘Is that true?’ She signs.
‘Yeah, my mother died and I became mute.’ I sign back the fake story. My hands automatically signing.
“Oh okay, I’m sorry to hear that.” I wave her off and turn to my father.
I point up the stairs and put my hands together and rest my head on them, not bothering to sign as he doesn’t understand.
He nods his head quickly, his eyes slightly narrowed. “Goodnight.” He says emotionlessly.
I jump when two arms wrap around me and the woman slips something into the back pocket of my black jeans. “Goodnight, sweetheart.” She says softly.
My eyes feel damp as she calls me that, my arms had a mind of their own as they wrap around her waist, holding her close to me. The familiar sound of static finding its way back to my ears as I relax into her arms.
It gets ripped away, way too quickly. As soon as my back hits my bedroom door, I breakdown. The static, getting ripped away from me too quickly, making me yank the bag off my shoulders and throw it across the room. My hands run through my hair and my mouth opens to scream but nothing comes out.
My eyes snap to the mirror on the wall and once I see my reflection I cry once again. My hair is dishevelled, my cheeks are pink, my eyes red and watery. My appearance ruined after such a small amount of time.
Why am I so pathetic?
My eyes wander over my face once again, stopping at my mouth.
Open. Say something, anything. Please.
My mouth opens as I try to speak and yet all I get in return is my sputtering and coughing. You’re so pathetic.
My body slides down the door, nodding slightly agreeing with my conscious. I am pathetic.
My hoodie sleeve is bunched up slightly letting me gaze down at my arms and at the bruised and scratches that run up them, probably from the stairs and I cry more.
A tear dropping on my hands as my fingers trail up my arms, I push my sleeve up further and my fingers run along with the scars that run deep in my skin.
The wall bangs quietly as my head hits it, the air around me is tense as I breathed deep into my surroundings, closing my eyes as I try to calm down.
I flinch slightly as my ice-cold hands touch my red hot cheeks to wipe away the tears that are still streaming down. The floor creaks slightly as I stand.
My reflection stares back at me. Pathetic. It says, almost taunting me. She’s back. My thoughts whisper in a panic.
I walk up to her, letting her taunt me as she stares back at me, letting her judge me. So pathetic. Why are you- SMASH! My fist collided with the mirror to silence the girl staring back at me through the jagged pieces.
Blood starts to seep to the surface of my skin as tiny pieces of glass stick to the red liquid. I unclench my fist, the blood still running out.
The light shines on the blood, making it seem brighter than in actual fact. Making it seem happy in a weird, messed up way. I wonder if that’s what I look like when light shines on me. My thoughts say.
No, you just pathetic. It says in reply.
When the teardrop mixes with the blood on my knuckles and drops, my body flinches back, acting as I’ve physically been hit. When I look back up at the mirror, my body jumps back.
It’s always the mirror. My thoughts say.
Tightly, my fist clenches. Letting my palms feel the crescent moon shapes that are being dug into them from my nails. Letting them sting in their silent plea to stop.
Go. She leaves once you do it. You know that.
For once... I listen to my thoughts. I go to my bed and get the box from under my bed. Once I push it open. My reflection smirks back at me from the silver reflection of the blades.
Once my hands touch a brand new blade, I see my reflections smirk deepen. Her eyes darken once I grip it in my hands.
The box hits the ground once I push myself off the bed, the blades flooding everywhere over my carpeted floor.
You can’t do anything right! She shouts in my conscience, making me whimper.
The floor takes my harsh landing when my knees buckle and fall to the carpet, my hands scatter to collect all my blades... all my happiness.
Please! Just hurry up and make her go! My thoughts shout over her comments.
Once I shove the box back under my bed I let myself take a deep breath and walk to the door. The door opens and it’s like I’m not controlling my body as it walks to the bathroom on its own.
I shut the door and face her in the bathroom mirror. She’s smirking deeply at me, staring at the blade. Her eyebrows perk up once I move the blade to my skin.
Her jaw ticks once I push the sleeves up of my hoodie.
Her jaw clenches once I set the blade on my wrist.
Her eyes shut as I push down and her face screws up in pain whilst I feel mine stay emotionless.
I glance down at my arm and see the streams of blood trickle down my arm. When I look back up at her, she’s staring right back.
Me and her... we look exactly alike. Her hair is dirty blonde, just like mine. The necklace she wears is identical to mine. Her dark green eyes stare right back at me as I slide the blade across my skin two more times.
Her face shatters in pain as I keep the blade there, not moving as the blood trickled down to the sink, down the drain and never to be seen again.
The static comes through momentarily before leaving when her and I’s eyes connect. I furrow my eyes brows when it leaves.
When my eyes see the blood coming from my veins down my arm, I look back up at her and see her smiling at me.
Fuck! My thoughts shout.
I slice two more times across my wrist and when I look back up at the girl staring back. The blade drops from my hand into the sink and I sigh in relief.
She’s gone. My thoughts whisper in relief.
Both hands connect with the edges of the sink and they clench the sides as my eyes close. My back relaxes and my shoulders slacken.
Clean yourself up before he finds you. I hear.
I panic when my thoughts say that, my hands frantically turning the tap on. Letting the cold water run along my skin, letting the blood rinse away.
Once all the blood is gone from the sink I turn the tap on and bandage my arm quickly. When I look back in the sink a small smile makes it’s way back onto my face.
Staring back at me is two dots of blood and a small, curved line underneath. Even my blood is happier than me.
Once I hear myself say that I turn the tap on harshly and let the water run the happiness away. My hands collect the blade and slide it into my back pocket.
I freeze once I feel a piece of paper in my jeans. I take it out of my jeans and see it’s a folded, white piece of paper. Just like you’d expect but once I unfold it and my eyes zero in on a single word... my heart shatters.
There’s writing on the inside but before I can read it I fold it back up and shove it back in my pocket. My eyes start to well up with tears as my mind whispers the word to me.
My mouth opens to scream but yet again the noise just doesn’t come out.
Because you’re pathetic. She flickers back and I whimper and fling the door open, running back to my room. I shut my door and lock it before sliding down.
When I see a blotch of red on my bandage, I feel my cheeks become wet again.
I wipe the tears away and sit down a while and think about what I just did.
The flackbacks come before I was ready for them. My hands cover my ears when I hear her voice come through to me.
My hoodie comes ripping off of me when my body becomes hot from the flashbacks.
So hot that my skin is red.
So hot that the blood matches my skin.
So hot that my shirt comes off.
My eyes trail down my stomach at all the bruises and scars and my eyes screw shut at the flashbacks. My eyes snap open when my hands come into contact with my jeans.
My body is sticky with sweat by the time they come off.
I wipe my eyes as I look at myself in the shattered mirror in my room, hung on the wall. My hands touch my reflection before I can process what’s happening.
The mirror fogs from the closeness of my breath as my fingers trail along with the jagged pieces of broken glass that follow my every touch.
When my finger touches a sharp bit of glass I don’t flinch. I don’t help and I don’t whimper. I just hum in confusion.
My mind doesn’t process it but when a long, baggy shirt and some loose shorts dress my figure and when I climb into bed and the duvet touches my smith legs my eyes processes the time.
They begin to sting with exhaustion and they begin to flutter in time to the low and slow beat of my calm heart before shutting and letting the darkness welcome me.
I fall asleep with a confused pout on my face when the static doesn’t come back. Because the static is gone.