A Rude Awakening

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 14, 2017

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Submitted: February 14, 2017

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I woke up to the unpleasant, high pitched buzzing noise coming from the alarm clock. I rolled over onto my side and reached my hand out blindly for the clock. I squinted my eyes in search for the glowing numbers, but found only streams of sunlight spilling between the open curtains. The alarm went off for several more seconds before I found the wide button on top and slammed down on it. I could feel my husband Steven tossing and turning on the other side of the bed. I swiftly slithered out from under the covers before his body brushed against mine and slid out the doorway into the kitchen unnoticed.

The twins Natalie and Nathan were still sleeping and I decided to let them sleep in a little bit longer before waking them up. I debated what to make for breakfast, but when my eyelids slowly decided to droop I knew what I was going to make. Today just felt like one of those lazy days and in my lazy mood and morning exhaustion I grabbed the milk from the refrigerator and sorted through the bottom shelf of the pantry for cereal. Just then I saw Nathan shuffle his way into the kitchen. He rubbed his eyes and stifled a yawn while I seized two bowls from the cupboard and placed them on the counter before me.

"Did you wake up your sister," I asked already knowing the answer.

"Was I supposed to," He asked brusquely.

"Could you please go wake up your sister," I asked in a slow and joking manner. After I said that he stood at the end of the counter and focused his gaze at the ground. I didn't know whether he was pretending not to hear me or choosing to ignore me.

"Nathan," I said prolonging the word and making him look up at me. He stared at me blankly and I stared back looking at him expectantly.

"Fine," He finally said, but he said this like I was forcing him to go to school on the weekend. I laughed quietly to myself as he trotted up the stairs exaggerating each step. I grabbed the bowls from the counter and placed them on the round oak wood table. Before I walked back into the kitchen I made sure to fold back the tablecloth because knowing Natalie and Nathan they would make a mess somehow like it was their mission and they were over achievers.

I heard loud footsteps echoing from the stairs and this time I saw Natalie trailing behind Nathan. I filled both bowls with apple jacks and poured milk in with it. As they sat at the table I placed the bowls in front of them and observed them with my arms crossed. In unison they started to complain about who had more like they had been planning it all morning, but I had already knew this was coming because they do it with every meal except if it contained vegetables.

"You can keep what you have or you can go without," I explained with my eyes locked on theirs. They both grunted and started eating looking back and forth from their bowls to each other as if they were spies sending eye signals. I turned my back to them and walked back to the kitchen victoriously.

I glanced up at the clock on the stove and in luminous green letters it read 6:50. The school bus would come in half an hour to come pick up the twins. I ambled back into the dining area and , not meaning to rush them so that they would have an excuse to make a mess, I urged them to make haste so they would have time to get ready. Once they finished slurping the last few drops of milk from their bowls they raced each other up the stairs leaving their bowls still sitting on the table.

Twenty minutes later I heard loud footsteps racing above me as the twins finished getting ready. As the footsteps heightened in volume I wondered if they were stomping or jumping because I could practically see the ceiling caving in. I got to my feet as they dashed past me headed for the front door. As they were shooting out the front door they yelled bye to me and I called back did you brush your teeth. Of course they didn't, but it didn't matter now because they were already getting on the bus.

I watched the bus leave from the window above the kitchen sink and found myself wondering how they were already in second grade. I know how all mothers on my street talked about how fast time flies when you realize your children are in diapers then the next thing you know they're headed off to college. I never thought one in my life that I would be thinking the same thing as the elderly couple who lived on the street corner. If it seems that my children are getting older so quickly then that would mean I'm getting older too. I was only thirty-two though and unless I died in a car accident or something I still have awhile that I know of.

I walked back into the dining area and grabbed the bowls off the table. I stacked them in one hand and in the other I straightened the tablecloth back to its natural position. I set the bowls in the sink and reached for the sponge that was sitting next to the dish soap. As I picked up the sponge I realized how gross and raggedy it looked. I set it back down on the edge of the counter as I got a new one out from under the sink.

In the middle of me washing the dishes two arm wrapped around my waist and I could feel his body press against my back. His face was buried into my hair and his breathe softly moved my hair to the side of my face.

"Good morning Kat," He whispered into my hair.

"Morning," I said so quiet that one would think I was talking to myself"

"When do you have to be in at work today."

"There is no work today at the diner," I said hurrying to finish washing the last few dishes, "We're closed for Thanksgiving."

"No work today," He said letting out an exasperated sigh with a scowl on his face," How the fuck are you supposed to make money if they let you have every other fucking day off."

His voice kept raising to higher and higher levels and I knew that I needed to get out of there. Right now the conversation was on work then it could go to a deeper and more painful conversation in the matter of seconds and I didn't want it to get that far. At least not today.

His hands were on the counter a few feet away from me for now. Steven threw his hands trying to make a point about something else he was now ranting about. I didn't want to listen to anymore about every possible way I was doing him wrong in detail, but when he threw up his hands and I flinched I realized I had just made a big mistake.

The room was now dead silent as Steven fixed his focus onto me and I looked at the ground not wanting to make eye contact with him. He slowly inched closer to me, but as he did this I also took small steps, but in the opposite direction until I came into contact with the wall and couldn't take anymore steps backward. I was literally cornered between the counter and the wall and I had nowhere to go as he slowly made his way toward me.

"What the hell did you do that for," He questioned me.

I stood at a loss for words as he asked the question again. I felt powerless to him as his voice got louder. I thought that whatever happened next I had no control over even though in my heart I knew that, that statement was wrong. My brain fought harder though for years. Until I actually started believing it and thought that I couldn't of changed my fate even if I wanted to.

He had finally came within reaching distance and then outstretched his arms and grabbed me by the shoulder. His grip was tight, but I hardly noticed. The only thought that crossed my mind in that moment was a familiar one. One that I had became accustomed with. What was he going to do next. Usually the answer to that question was the same as the last and I had a feeling that, that was what was going to happen this time as well.

Everything beyond that point was kind of a blur. It was more like a skip and I don't remember exactly what happened, but I was sitting on the couch when I came back to and I was as confused as ever. I was just in the kitchen cowering down in the corner, but now I was sitting on the couch with my legs crossed and I was staring out the window. I tried to recall what happened after he grabbed me, but I could only retain bits and pieces.

I tried to remember what happened after Steven grabbed my shoulder. The pieces I am able to regain are limited and seem like short clips playing before my eyes. I could see him ranting about something else to me as he got closer, but I couldn't quite make out what he was saying. Then another short clip showing me actually saying something back to him. Again I couldn't make out what the words were, but the thought of me talking back to him itself was hard to believe. That couldn't be right because I still didn't believe I could do that . I had never done that before, but there it was imbedded into my brain.

After that no more memories came back. I put my head down and my hands on my temples trying to regain more, but nothing came back. As I slid my left hand down from the side of my face though I noticed a burning sensation coming from the top of the left side of my head. For the first time since I came to I looked up from the couch and noticed a blood handprint smeared on the edge of the wall. I got to my feet slowly and walked towards it.

I guess in some way I was scared of it because the house was filled with dead silence meaning that Steven wasn't home. The scarier thought though was that if he was home he wasn't making any noise and I couldn't remember what had happened. What if I had did something, but once I got to the handprint I placed my own finger tips to the edge of the blood and compared. To my relief the handprint was too big to be mine, but that feeling didn't stay long as I realized the alternative and then gently placed the tips of my fingers against my scalp and slowly pulled them away revealing blood. I could now feel the warmth of the red liquid creep down past my earlobe tickling the side of my face.

I followed the blood smear in the direction of the kitchen. Once I reached the spot where I had, had my brain skip I stopped cold in my tracks. I found blood spotted everywhere on the floor along with glass scattered everywhere. The cupboard next to where I had cowered was opened, but the glass that must of came from there was on the other side of the kitchen.

A few minutes later I heard the distinct roaring sound of a bus engine and the creaky brakes as the school bus came to a halt. I felt panic growing inside me as I looked at the clock on the oven which read 3:45. The twins couldn't see this, they were only seven. Nobody should have to see this. I raced around the house toward the broom closet and grabbed a broom. I hurried back to the kitchen, but when I got there I realized I didn't have a dustpan. It didn't matter though I wouldn't have enough time to actually sweep it up anyways, so I used the broom to sweep the glass shards under the nearest end table. I did this so it wasn't noticeable and there was no risk that anyone would accidentally step on them.

I heard the front door creak open and the voice of the twins yelling at each other followed by the door slamming shut.I remembered the blood and started rushing towards the bathroom. I guess the panic of the kids coming in had blocked out the pain completely for a few seconds at least. I opened the bathroom door and shut it behind me. I could already hear the twins ransacking the kitchen as I grabbed a washcloth out from under the sink and held it under the faucet. As I wet the rag I stared at my wound. It was definitely perceptible and needed stitches, but for now a simple cleaning would have to suffice. Luckily there was no glass in it as I carefully wash the blood out of clumps of my hair. Even though I was pressing gently I was still forced to wince in pain.

I had finally gotten the wound to be unnoticeable when the twins started calling my name.

"One second," I had responded to the continuous call of mom, but I had also sounded a little more irritated then I had meant. This still didn't stop them from calling out the word mom every passing second.

Once I got out of the bathroom and walked to the source of the sound I realized that only one of the twins was calling out my name every couple of seconds. It was Natalie.

"What do you want Natalie," I asked hoping that she didn't notice that my face was flushed.

"Nathan is being mean to me," She said with tear filled eyes.

"What di...." Is all I could manage before she started crying out what he had apparently done to her.

"Mom he pulled my pigtails on the bus and everybody started to laugh at me because he kept saying mean things about me and..." Her talking was now 90% sobbing so I couldn't understand a word of what she was saying, so I stopped her.

"Natalie just calm down," I said trying to soothe her," It's Okay."

I called Nathan's name and waited a few minutes, but he didn't show, so I told Natalie to stay right there while I talked to her brother.  I walked up to Nathan's room. I knocked on the door before opening it slowly and saw him sitting on his bed watching me and waiting because he apparently knew that he had done something wrong.

"Hey Nathan," I said in the most calming voice I could muster," Can i come in?" He nodded at this and then turned his gaze to the floor. I opened the door a little farther then stepped in. After I stepped in I made sure to close the door behind me because knowing Natalie she would be eavesdropping.

"Nathan, why did you pull your sister's hair?"

Still looking at the floor he responded with I don't know. Which I knew was not true, but I continued to speak in a sympathetic voice.

"Was it to impress your friends, was it just in the heat of the moment, or was it just to irritate her," I questioned him, but he still responded back with the same thing. I don't Know. I was about to reply to this when I heard the garage door open. I told Nathan to stay in his room and then I stepped out into the hall closing his door behind me.

I heard a door slam as I was walking down the hall and this lead me to quicken my pace. I quickly and quietly stepped down the stairs. I heard a low whimper and this made me bolt down the stairs. When I found Natalie she was lying on the floor looking up at me. I could already see a bruise forming on her cheek. Natalie started to cry louder and I saw Steven hovering in the doorway. There was not a doubt in my mind about what I saw. He was drunk. His eyes were glossy and he was slightly swaying back in forth.

I pulled Natalie to her feet and guided her to the stairs telling her that it was going to be alright and then telling her to go up to her room. Steven had never once laid a hand on either of our children. He stepped forward so suddenly I jumped a little, but he didn't see it. I could feel tears prickling the corners of my eyes, but not from sadness or fear. From anger. I knew I wasn't going to hurt him, but the thought was coming closer to the surface than it had ever been before. Instead though I stayed back away as far as I could get without leaving the room and told him that he needed to calm down. He kept saying that he was calm. At least that's what I thought he said because his words were slurred and it sounded like he was saying two or three word smushed into one.

As he started to calm down I started to approach him. My plan was to wait most of it out and then when he was kind of out of it I would lead him to the bedroom and lock him in until I knew the alcohol had worn off. I must've timed it wrong though because as I started to get closer to him he raised his hand, so fast I hadn't had time to react. His hand struck me hard against the cheek and I fell to my knees. I was now facing the staircase and I saw Natalie and Nathan staring at me from the shadows. I silently mouthed words for them to get upstairs and they obeyed and quietly tiptoed their way up so they wouldn't have to witness anymore.

I woke up on the floor. Their was a pool of drool on the floor where my mouth had been when I sat up. I looked around to gather my surroundings and found that I was still in the kitchen. There was no light coming through the window above the sink, so I figured that not much time had passed. When I stood up though I saw the green letters on the stove read 2:26. I had forgotten what had happened last night for those few brief moments, but then it all came flooding back and I knew what I had to do.

I climbed the stairs and silently went into both of the kids rooms waking them up. I didn't explain much to them only telling them that we needed to go now and to bring what they wanted and also to be as quiet as possible. I didn't even know if Steven was still here, but when I went into our bedroom he was laying skewed on the bed. I went over to the nightstand and grabbed my cellphone and then unplugged the alarm clock. I exited the room and saw Natalie and Nathan standing in the livingroom. They were both holding small tablets which was obviously the only item they were going to bring. They exited the house and entered the car on my command, but before I left I lingered in the doorway for awhile. I was contemplating about what I was doing. I knew that Steven loved the twins with all his heart, but I wasn't going to risk it. Not again. Then I closed the door behind me.

I had figured on answering all their questions in the car, but when we started driving they both had fallen asleep in the matter of minutes, but instead I rode in silence

We arrived there not thirty minutes later to our destination and I woke up the kids and got them settled in. We were at a house that my closest friend said I could use if I ever needed and of course no one was ever home. The twins asked few questions and I answered them with short simple answers. They explored the house all day trying to find a secret room, without succeeding though. For me the day also passed by quickly. I didn't do a whole lot, but I did watch some netflix with the kids and patched up my wound with a first aid kit I had found under the bathroom sink.

Later that day I took Natalie outside. She wanted to take a walk through the woods and explore the outside. Nathan decided he didn't want to go though because he wasn't finished exploring the inside yet, so Natalie and I set off on our own little adventure.

We returned from the woods about an hour later only having found sticks and rocks, but when we got to the house a lump rose in the back of my throat. I saw flames and smoke high up in the sky. I fumbled in my pocket for my phone and quickly dialed 9-1-1 unaware of what Natalie was doing. I explained what was happening on the phone as I ran to the front of the house, trying to not sound as panicked as I was so that they could understand me. I hung up the phone and told Natalie not to move from that spot and I ran into the house not thinking.

I came out of the house holding my little boy as the firetrucks and ambulance just showed up. I was unaware that my right arm was partly scorched as I stared at Nathan who was unconscious. The medics took him from my arms and placed him on a stretcher and then ushered us all into the ambulance car. And as we left the house I saw Steven in handcuffs with tears spilling out of his eyes. All along the way to the hospital I debated what had happened, but he clearly didn't know that Nathan was in there, but I was still confused about how he had found us. I mostly just thought about Nathan though.

I can hardly remember what happened next, but I remember doctors trying to look at my arm as I pushed them away and screamed for my son. It had been a few hours at least and there had been no word about him, so once the doctors had left the room I had snuck out behind them.

I quickly found Nathan's room and saw him laying on the bed. His heart rate was stable from what I could see and my heart rose with high hopes, but as I watched his heart rate started to spike and the room was suddenly bombarded with doctors. After a few moments he became stable, but he was never not under surveillance.

Soon after he flatlined though and more doctors came in. I was pulled away before I could see anymore, but I could still hear the loud whining noise of the machine even though I couldn't see anymore due to the tears blurring my vision. I shook off the arm on my shoulder and wiped the tears from eyes. I ran back to the door, but this time when I looked inside I saw few doctors and Nathan had been unplugged from the machine. The lump in my throat started to rise as I saw Natalie push thru the crowd of people and climb onto the bed to lay next to her brother.

4000 words

 


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