Trigger warning ahead
The best memories I have of mum was when he was not there. She would smile and we would laugh, sing, and dance and have fun. I got to do my extra-curricular activities and see my friends. But when he came home, the bracelet went back on mum’s wrist, she always seemed tired, and they always argued.
It had always been this way. Dad was a trucker and was away from home for weeks at a time. When he was at home, which was always only a few days, there is shouting and yelling and throwing of things. He has broken our microwave and our plates. Our dining chairs had been broken and there are holes in the wall. I hate him.
When I was little, mum would read me stories of Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White. Stories where the prince came riding along on a white horse and rescue the princess. That’s how we are supposed to be treated, I felt. Not the way he treats mum.
I'm seventeen now, and dad hardly comes by anymore. I would hear my mum cry for him. She would tell me she felt a pain in her abdomen when he's gone, and that it felt unbearable. I've watched her double over in pain sometimes. I wonder how someone can do this to their wife. Aren’t they supposed to protect them?
So, when I heard a car pull up into the driveway of our little two-bedroom house, I ran to mum’s room. She had just come out of the shower after her long shift at the diner.
“He’s here,” I hiss, running to the jewellery box where her silver bracelet is kept. Quickly I grab it and put it on her wrist. She cries out in pain as it burns her skin.
I am not allergic to silver as she is, I'm lucky. As I've grown, the touch of silver does prick at my skin a little, but I generally ignore it. Mum sighs as the bracelet is put on her and sits on her bed. I can see how the pain of the bracelet affects her. The energy she usually has is gone, tiredness reflects on her face, and I can see her wince in pain.
A banging begins on the door, and he is yelling to be let in. I rush to the door before he tears it off the hinges, again, and I let the monster in.
“Where’s your whore mother!” he yells. Knowing not to look up, I point to her room.
“Fern, get here!” he yells, lifting my chin up to look at me.
“You look just like her,” he spits. Mum walks in. Like me she has her head bowed to the floor. Her demeaner shows weakness, just how he likes her.
“Andrew,” mum says meekly.
“This is for you,” he growls, shoving a box into my chest. I look at it and opened it up. Inside is a silver bracelet, just like my mothers.
“No Andrew, please. You can’t do this to her,” Mum begs. She makes the mistake of clinging to his arm, and in one movement, he shoves her off. Mum falls to the floor, her back hitting the wall.
“Put it on,” dad growls again.
“Please Andrew. I did as you wished. I’ve never told her. Please, not this,” she pleads.
“Shut up whore!” he yells, whacking her across the face. Mum's head flips to the side and her hand goes to the cut she now sports on her lip. She stumbles a few steps backward before straightening herself up again.
I look from mum to dad. His eyes are changing colours, his sign that he's getting angrier. They change from their amber colour, to black and then brown. Carefully I put the bracelet on my wrist, feeling the pricks from the silver again. Mum's crying.
“Stay!” he said to me, walking over to mum and grabbing her by the hair.
“Fucken bitch! First you defy me and then you cry? You stupid cunt. I’ll give you a reason to cry!” he yells as he drags her out the room, banging the door behind him.
I sit in the corner furthest away from mums’ room, curled up and pushing my hands against my ears. The noise is all too familiar to me. Mum's screaming, pleading him to stop. Why isn’t anyone coming to help? Can’t anyone hear? I yell into my mind. Then everything goes quiet. I take my hands away from my ears and look up at the direction of mum's bedroom. My face is sore from my tears.
“Say it, say the words!” I hear him yell.
“I, Fern Aubert of the Riverwood Pack, accept the rejection of Andrew Aubert of the Phenora Pack.”
What the fudge? What was that? I think to myself. There's a pause, and then another scream from my mother. I placed my hands over my ears again, my head back down between my knees and I begin to rock.
I hear an angry animal noise, then silence. I’m not sure how long I sit there, rocking, and crying into my knees. I’m not sure when dad left, but it took a while for my ugly crying to calm down, before having breathing under some sort of control. I slowly get up from my spot in the corner. The house is quiet, and I could no longer smell the scent of alcohol my father had brought in with him.
Slowly, I walk into my mother’s room.
“No!” I yell when I saw her body sprawled on the bed, her eyes looking lifeless out. No! I yell at the same time inside my head.