The Long Way Back

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Chapter 1

Has your heart ever hurt so much you thought it might just actually explode?

Like a void in your heart that ran so deep it felt unfixable.

Happiness was now nothing but a distant memory.

“You worthless piece of shit!” Dad screamed, his hand crashing down upon my cheek.

*bang* *BANG*

My father flung his fists over and over again against every square inch of my body within reach of him.

“You’ll amount to nothing, you know that?!” His voice came out a distant slur, enough alcohol in his system to knock any non-alcoholic out cold.

“Who do you think you are? tellin’ me how to raise my son. Ill do whatever the hell I want with him. Ya hear me?!”

He slapped me clean across the face with his bottle of vodka clenched tightly in his grasp.

“Not with Theo you wont.” I snarled, turning to face him. “You’re not touching him.”

“You want a punching bag, fine here you go I don't really care anymore, dad.” I spat, like the insult it was. There was no worse person in this world to me than my father.

“But you’ll not touch Theo, even over my dead body.”

Dad, seemingly done with the talking, flew at me, fists raging, mouth turned up in a snarl. Over and over again he took out all his unwarranted anger.

And I accepted it, I took it like the coward I felt I was. I’d given up fighting a long time ago.

Even if I got a few punches in against him, it always just made things worse.

If I won one night, he’d beat me worse the next until I fought back and it happened again. It was a vicious circle.

So what was the point?

I took it all for Theo. I was eighteen, I could leave. Oh how I yearned to leave.

But I couldn’t and would never leave Theo behind. There would be no worse punishment in this world. My innocent and harmless little brother didn't deserve that.

So I stayed.

Utterly broken and hopeless to fight against my fate, I stayed.

I stayed even when everyone else left. Be that willing or not, everybody always left me. I was alone in this world.

Maybe it was my own fault, after mum’s death I blocked everyone out. The more people you allowed into your life the more could walk straight out.

I built walls up so tall around myself I blocked myself from everything around me. It was easier that way.

I didn't want sympathy, I didn't want to feel broken, and so I would be okay with being alone.

Me and Theo. I willed myself to believe that one day we could lead a better life, find somewhere new to call home. Because this hell hole we were stuck in was anything but a home.

A dingy cramped house it may be, but not a home.

It lost that title the day we lost mum.

And so night after night, after I made sure Theo was safely hidden in the confines of our room; the attic. I handled my dad, we fought, he drank, he got angry, and I withstood it.

I spent the early hours of the morning nursing my injuries, keeping them hidden from anyone else who might see them. Not that anybody was watching.

I hoped that one day I could find somebody else to lean on, someone else who didn’t see me as the rough ‘bad boy’ the school made me out to be. Somebody I might actually open up to.

Most of all I hoped I could find somebody to make me smile. Laugh.

I hadn’t done that in a long time, and I think I missed it.

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