the master and his pet

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

this is a short story based on true events that have occurred to children with abusive parents.

Submitted: May 23, 2018

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Submitted: May 23, 2018



The Master and his Pet

Brendon Steenburg


It was the most important day of the year. The day that Carla’s dad would be put on trial for “rape of a child with serious bodily injuries”. Carla arrived at the courthouse almost two hours ago and she knew that she would probably be questioned in front of the jury. When they arrived Carla was told that she was to sit in a room in the back so she would be safe. The room’s walls looked like they were marble and there was one window that looked to the outside. Along the wall, there were four chairs all of which were the exact same. She sat down on the chair farthest to the right. The chair was uncomfortable and Carla’s feet could barely touch the ground.

She sat on the chair waiting patiently. She hoped that the trial would be quick and she wouldn’t have to be questioned, but she knew that was highly unlikely. The thought of seeing her dad again made her nervous because she knew that he would try to get in her head and manipulate her again. He always found a way to make her listen to him whether with words or weapons.

She looked down at her arms and stared at the scars that wrapped her arms the way a snake would around its prey. Her dad would cut her if she threatened to tell someone about what he did to her. She was only nine years old but she understood that what was happening to her was wrong. Nobody else believed her though until she showed them her arms. Most people couldn’t believe that Edward, Carla’s father, would ever do such a thing to her. He was nice to people in public even though he didn’t talk to people often. He was shy and cautious in public. Sometimes if he thought someone was about to try to say something to him he would hide his face and walk away. He always took every precaution possible to make sure that his secret wouldn’t get out. He didn’t hate Carla though. On the contrary, he loved her more than anything. He would take her out to the movies or he would bring her to get ice cream hoping that Carla would love him back but what he did to her when they got home forced her to fear him more than anything. Carla’s mom, Martha, worked on the weekends and was never around whenever the rapes occurred. She worked all day on Friday and Saturday and Carla’s dad made sure that he was home whenever Martha was gone. He would pick Carla up from school at the end of the day and bring her home as fast as he could to make sure she had the least amount of time possible to talk to anyone about what he did. When they were in the car he would say the same thing every day. “You are nothing more than my pet. You will obey every command I give you or you will be beaten.” 

When they pulled into the driveway of their house Carla would always be told to stay in the car until her dad had made sure that nobody was home. He would then come back to the car and tell her to get out and get inside as fast as she could. There were times that Carla refused and, like her dad had said, she would get beaten for being disobedient. These “incidents”, as her father called them, were the reasons that Carla had her scars. Her father would turn on the stove and rest a knife on it for a certain amount of time. He would leave it on the stove for longer depending on how bad he thought that the disobedience was. He would then put the knife into her arm and very slowly drag it down. He made sure not to go past the elbow though so it would be harder for people to see the scars.

After he thought he inflicted enough pain he would take the knife out of her arm and put it into the sink. Blood always poured down Carla’s arms after this like a faucet that couldn’t be shut off, but she knew that if she screamed it would only make him angrier. Her father would clean up the blood to the point that there was no trace of the punishment ever occurring. “If somebody at school were to see it and ask you about it, you will say that you crashed your bicycle and that you hit a tree which scratched up your arm the way it did. If your mother ever sees the cuts and asks you about them, you are to say they are self-inflicted. You will tell her that your school work is overwhelming and that you think the pain is the only way for you to cope with it.”

Carla looked up from her arms. Her eyes started to water and she stood up to look out the window. She could see a school bus out on the road. It was Saturday, so she knew that it wasn’t picking up students and that it was probably being used for a trip. Carla had never been on a school bus before since she lived in town so one of her parents would drive her to school every day.

Carla struggled at school and found it very difficult to focus in class. She could never stop thinking her father and was always scared of what would happen if someone saw the marks on her arm. Somebody asked her about them once and rather than telling them what her father told her to say, Carla started crying and she couldn’t make herself stop no matter how hard she tried. She had to run into the bathroom and didn’t run out until school was out for the day.

On a different day, Carla spilled her milk down the front of her shirt during her lunch and refused to change her shirt until she got home from school. Throughout the day she was picked on and made fun of relentlessly by the other kids at school and one kid even grabbed the front of her shirt and put the stain in her face. Again, Carla cried in the bathroom and when she got home from school that day she hid in her room. She was so embarrassed that she didn’t even want to tell her parents about it. One reason is that she thought her mom would ask questions about what happened and she would have to relive the incident.

There were multiple times that days like this happened and nine-year-old Carla thought about killing herself on multiple occasions. She believed that if she killed herself she would be able to escape all of her problems and would never have to be hurt again. She didn’t even care if there was no heaven or hell after death she just wanted to make sure that she would never be abused or embarrassed again.

One day it got to be too much and Carla actually tried to kill herself. When her mom was sleeping and her dad was working she snuck down to the kitchen. She opened up the knife drawer and found the sharpest knife she could so that she knew it would cut all the way through her throat and she thought she’d be able to do it quickly enough that she wouldn’t feel any more pain.

The light from her kitchen stove reflected off the knife as though it were a mirror. Carla began to sweat as she rose the knife and put it against her throat. She could the sweat running down her forehead leaving a trail behind it. She could feel her face tingling as the sweat reached her nose and slowly edged its way towards the tip of her nose. It then stopped and hung there the way raindrops hang off of leaves and Carla hesitated to execute herself. She wasn’t sure that she could make sure that it wouldn’t hurt and she knew that if she failed she would have to go to therapy of some kind for years. She also thought about what her mom would do if she killed herself. She couldn’t stand the thought of making her mom cry as she had more respect for her mom than anyone, so Carla put the knife back into the drawer, walked back to her room, and went to sleep for the night.

That wasn’t the only time that Carla tried to kill herself. There was another time where she tried to overdose on medicine. She knew that if she swallowed pills she wouldn’t fail to die and she didn’t care if it hurt. She had been beaten by her father again that day but this time he was drunk and didn’t hold back. He stabbed Carla with the knife today and left it in her arm. It entered one end and came out the other with blood pouring down the side of her arm. She thought that her father no longer had any restraint and she was scared of what he might do to her next.

Carla opened the pill container and poured about ten pills into her hand. She then made the mistake of pouring herself a glass of water to swallow the pills because as soon as the sink turned on her father rushed down the stairs. He came into the kitchen and just stared at Carla for a moment. He breathed heavily and took in the scene. His eyes first looked at Carla and then found their way down to the pills.

At this moment he realized what was happening and ran forward and hit her hand down, causing the pills to spill onto the floor. He reached forward and grabbed Carla’s hair faster then she could respond and pulled her down the stairs and pulled her hair even harder if she resisted or slowed down. Carla cried and screamed as she was being brought down the stairs. The thought of what her father was going to do to her terrified her.

On one of the steps, there was a nail coming out of the top and Carla's nightgown got caught on it as she walked past it. Her dress got pulled out under her and she tripped. The fall caught her father off guard and his grip loosened on her hair. She felt his hand slide to the bottom of her hair and eventually, his hand came off of her hair and she fell down the staircase. She fell from one step to the next and she couldn’t find a way to catch herself and stop the descent.

Her head hit one of the stairs on her way down and she could feel blood coming from the top of her scalp. Her arm scraped against the edge of another and blood also spilled from her arm but there was more coming from her head than from her arm. When she finally hit the bottom of the staircase her whole body ached in pain and she couldn’t stand up on her own.

She struggled to get her arms underneath herself and as she finally started to stand up she felt a tug on her hair again and the pain from where she hit her head multiplied. “You know what happens if you’re disobedient to me.” He said as he pulled her closer and closer towards the room that Carla knew she would be punished. He opened the door to the room and threw Carla inside.

The room was set up to look like a tool shed but really Edward would use the tools to hit Carla, but only if it was something that he found to be extremely severe. Obviously, he thought that trying to commit suicide was extreme. There were all sorts of weapons hanging on one of the walls in the room. There were hammers, wrenches, and drills hanging on the wall and below it, there was a toolbox. Inside of it, there were nails, screws, drill bits, and other things that he could use to hurt Carla.

On that particular night, Edward felt like a drill was the proper tool to use for his punishment. He walked over and grabbed the smallest of the drills on the wall and then reached into the toolbox and pulled out the thinnest drill bit that he could find in it. He put the bit into the drill and tightened it to make sure that it wouldn’t fall out. He then started to walk towards Carla. She knew better than to try to fight back as she was very small in size compared to her father and if she ran away she would never be able to outrun him, so instead tried to make him feel remorse for her. “I’m so sorry daddy.” She started “I know that I shouldn’t have tried to take those pills but I wasn’t feeling good and I wanted to take some to make the pain go away. I didn’t try to wake you up or scare you I just felt sick.” At this point, she started to cry. “Please don’t hurt me. I wasn’t being bad I just didn’t feel good you know that I wouldn’t do anything to make you look bad. Please don’t hurt me! Please…”

Edward stopped walking towards her and thought about what she had said. He wasn’t sure whether to believe her or not because he thought that she should know better than to take so many pills but he also thought that she might’ve thought that she thought that taking more would make it work better and not make it dangerous. He didn’t want to have to hurt her if she really didn’t mean to cause harm to herself. However, he had to make sure that she realized that she wasn’t allowed to take so many pills at one time.

“ I believe you, but you still broke the rules about the medicine cabinet and you know what happens to you if you're disobedient. You are NOT allowed to do whatever you want. You must listen to me I am in charge of you and what I say goes. If I want you to jump in front of a car, you will do as I command. If I order you to walk off of the side of a building, you will do as I command. If I tell you to not eat for a week, you will do as I command. You disobeyed me and for that, you must be punished.”

He started his approach again and spun the drill menacingly in his hand as he got closer. He grabbed her arm and pulled it towards him and slammed it onto the table in the room. He started the drill and slowly moved it towards her arm and it seemed like he was aiming for a certain spot on her arm to hurt. Carla started crying uncontrollably and begged her father to not hurt her. She screamed “I’m sorry!” over and over again and eventually said, “If you loved me, then you wouldn’t do this to me.” The drill stopped. Her father stared into her eyes and he looked like he was on the verge of crying. “I have to do this to you.” He said. “If you don’t learn to obey your superiors you will never survive out in the real world.”

There was a pause where neither of them said a word to each other. Carla was breathing heavily and still crying. Her father was looking at her and then moved his eyes towards her arm and started the drill again.

The bit pierced Carla's skin and caused a pain so severe that Carla felt like she couldn’t control her body anymore. She fell onto the floor screaming but her body was next to motionless. The only parts of her moving were her arm and her face which was scrunched up in pain. Her father had placed the drill bit far enough that it was tearing some of the muscle in her arm. She could feel the bit twisting her muscle the way a blend twists and cuts a smoothie. Blood sprayed out of her arm like a shaken up soda bottle that had just been open. The pain escalated to a point that Carla felt her face getting warm and eventually everything went dark. She had passed out

She woke up laying in her bed tucked in like nothing had happened. She looked at the spot that the drill had destroyed and there was a band-aid on top. She took it off to see that the wound had been stitched shut and that the blood had been cleaned from it. Yet again, her father had taken measures to prevent people from knowing what happened.

She got out of bed and made her way towards the staircase that led to the room the punishment had taken place. The stairs had been cleaned and the spare nails sticking out that Carla could've tripped on had been removed, probably to make it easier the next time he brought her down there. She made her way towards the room and it seemed like nothing had ever happened the night before. The blood had all been cleaned up and the drill and bit had been placed back to exactly where they had been before.

It was Saturday and Carla’s mom was working and she was home alone with her father. Her dad was sleeping and Carla took it as an opportunity to feed herself. She avoided coming downstairs whenever she could when her parents were home and she would even go an entire day without eating if they had been down there all day. She was scared that her father might be angry or drunk and abuse her again and if her mom saw the marks on her arms, she wouldn’t be able to emotionally handle talking to her about what happened.

Carla looked around the room. There was nobody with her and she couldn’t hear anybody outside of the room. In a way, she liked the sense of being along and only having her thoughts to herself. On the other hand, she felt nervous being alone. If there were no people around that normally meant that her father could walk in at any moment and do something to her.

There had been days that Carla would be home alone and get to have some peace and quiet. However, there were also days that her mom would be working and her father would leave the house to go get drunk at a bar. It was nice while he was gone but whenever he would get back from the bar and depending on how drunk he was he might treat Carla in a way that she thought was worse than torture.

The first sign that he was drunk would be if he would knock on the door instead of opening it himself. He wouldn’t be able to remember which key was the one to the house and rather than try all of them he would constantly pound on the door until Carla came to open.

When Carla would open the door her father would say something along the lines of  “Carla, my precious daughter, how are you?” Whenever he was drunk seemed to be the only times that Carla truly felt like he cared about her. However, some nights he loved her too much and those were the nights that Carla found to be the worst of all.

Her father would ask her to come to his room and whenever she entered he would have her shut the door behind her and lock it. However, he would struggle to speak and if she couldn’t understand what he was asking her to do, he would stumble over to the door himself, push him out of the way, and shut the door himself. He would reek of alcohol and Carla found the smell repulsive.

The curtains to the room would be shut and tied shut to make sure that there was no way to see into the room from outside and with the door locked nobody would be able to tell whats going on even though nobody was home to see what was happening. Carla wondered what would happen if her mom got home early one night and would walk in to see what was happening to her.

He would force her to lay on his bed and take off her clothes. The first time he did this she thought that he was going to check her for ticks or some kind of disease but she knew better now. There were times that she tried to fight back, but her father would hit her and she would submit to listening. She would prolong taking them off in hopes that her mom would come home. She would act like she couldn’t get a button out and move her arms slowly. Her father would be too drunk to notice that she's moving slower than she usually does and even though he would occasionally tell her to hurry up, he never actually did anything to her just for moving slowly.

Her dad would then try to tie her down so that she couldn’t escape but usually, he would be too drunk to do it effectively and she could escape just be pulling her arm out of the knot. Once he was certain that she was tied down he would rape her. Carla always faced multiple emotions when this happened, none of them good. It started with her being scared. She wondered what would happen to her if someone figured out what was happening to her. What would kids at school think about her and she knew that people would make her life hell over it all the way until she graduated and maybe even pass that.

Then she would deal with the pain. It hurt her almost as much as the drill did whenever her father did this to her and she would be sore all night and for the majority of the next day. She screamed in pain everytime it happened and she felt like she would get torn in half eventually if it continued. She would scream “I’m your daughter! Why are you doing this to me?” but it didn’t even seem to faze him and he would continue until he was finished.

Once he was done he would leave the room and just leave Carla there laying on the bed. She would sit there crying for almost an hour before she would be able to summon the strength the getup and go to her own room. Once she got to her own room she would lay on her bed and cry even longer. She felt dirty and wondered what she had done to make this happen to her. She didn’t believe in any gods or higher diety but she would close her eyes and beg for something to stop what was happening to her.

Once she stopped crying, Carla would get a shower and clean herself as best she could. She worked especially hard on making sure that her groin area was clean because she felt like she had a disease or some sort of infection that was there because of her father. Typically whenever she got a shower, Carla would be as quick as she could because the water made the marks on her arms burn. The only time she actually made sure that she was clean would be after her father would rape her. Those were the days that she regretted most.

Carla sat back down on the chair. It squeaked and she felt the seat sink in lightly. She could hear voices outside of the room now. One belonged to a man and the other a woman. She couldn’t make out any of the words they were saying but at one point she heard the woman laugh. The laugh reminded Carla of her mother. She loved her mother more than anything and she always thought that if she was home more often that Carla wouldn’t have been forced to deal with the things that her father did to her.

There was one time when Carla’s mom actually did get home when they were in the bedroom. When she first got home she wondered where Carla and Edward were at. Edward’s car was parked outside so she knew that they were home. The only question was where?

 Eventually, she made her way upstairs and walked turned the doorknob. Carla’s father heard it turn and instantly stopped what he was doing and put his finger to his mouth to signal Carla to be quiet. He slowly got off the bed and told Carla to get dressed as he did the same. “Honey, how did you manage to get home so early?” he asked. “We finished all of our work early and my boss told us we could go home. Why is the bedroom door locked?” and at that moment the door swung open and Carla and her dad still weren't completely dressed.

Martha’s dropped the papers that were in her hands and screamed. She then ran over and tackled Edward onto the floor and like a mama bear, she protected her child. “Carla, call the police!” she screamed as she and Edward fought on the ground. Carla ran downstairs and into the kitchen to grab the house phone. She dialed “911” and put the phone to her ear as she listened to it ring.

Finally, an operator picked up and said: “911, please state your emergency.” Carla wasn’t quite sure what to say. She never actually thought she'd have to call 911 but now that she had been forced to call them, she was nervous that she’d say the wrong thing. She didn’t know whether to talk about what her dad did to her or that her mother and father were fighting upstairs. She figured that what was actually happening at that moment would be more important.

She screamed into the phone “My parents are fighting upstairs and I'm scared that my dad will beat mommy up!” “Ok darling, whats your address? I need to be able to tell the police where you are so they can come save you and your mommy.” Carla froze. She didn’t know what her address was by memory. Her father had never told her and her mom mentioned it a few times but she never actually made sure that she had it memorized. “Ummm I don’t know.” is what she told the operator and she thought that they would never find her but instead the operator said, “that’s ok darling. Just don’t hang up and the police can figure out what your address is. They’ll be there as fast as they can so that you're safe.”

At that point, Carla heard her mom scream again and she thought that their father had beaten her and that he would come after her next. “Please hurry!” she yelled, “I think mommy is hurt and I don’t want him to hurt me too!” Carla heard her dad coming down the stairs and she put the phone down and ran to the kitchen.

“Carla, where are you? Come to daddy I won't hurt you I promise.” Carla knew better than to listen to her father though, so she his under the sink behind the cleaning supplies. She was quite small so it made it easy for her to get there without much of a hassle. She held her breath and stayed as quiet as possible as she heard him walk right past where she was. He must have thought that she went outside because he opened the door leading to the outside and walked out.

He remained outside for what seemed like an eternity until he finally came back inside. Carla wasn’t sure whether it was because he gave up on looking for her or because he knew the police were coming because less than a minute after he walked in, there were sirens outside and she heard a loud cracking noise that came from the living room. The police had arrived, kicked down the door, and were searching the house. Carla’s father must have tried to fight the police because as soon as the door opened she heard him yell in pain and an officer say “you’re under arrest.”

At this point, Carla felt safe enough to climb out of the cabinet and she ran to one of the police officers crying. “My mommy is upstairs! Please save her!”  The officer looked down at her and yelled to the other officers “Check upstairs! The girl says her mother is up there and in danger!” he then looked back down to Carla and said “everything will be ok. You’re safe now.” He then asked, “Is there anyone else here other than you three?” “No its only me, mommy, and father.” She said.

Carla’s father was drug outside by the officer and was put into the back of a cruiser. Carla ran upstairs to see her mom and was thankful to see that she wasn’t seriously injured. She had a cut on her head and the officer said she probably has a mile concussion but she would be fine in a small amount of time.

One of the policemen sat down next to Carla and started asking her questions. He asked her what her name was and then if her parents fought often and if her father had ever hurt her mother before. He then noticed the marks on her arm and asked her “Carla, does your daddy hurt you when mommy isn’t home?” At that point, Carla burst into tears and told the officer everything. She told him about how her father would beat her if she misbehaved and she told him that her dad would rape her. “You’ll be ok now. You’re not going to see you're daddy for a long time.” Is what the officer said after she was done talking.

The next day, a woman by the name of Laurel from Children in Youth came to Carla’s house to ask her about her dad. She then asked about every scar that was on Carla and asked her if her mother treated her the same way her father did. The interrogation went on for almost an hour before finally, Laurel said that she had no more questions and left the house.

A few days after that, Carla’s mom told her that she was going to have to talk about what her dad to her in front of a bunch of people at court. “I want you to be brave.” She said, “Daddy can’t hurt you anymore you just need to tell the people in there the truth about what happened to you and nothing bad will happen to you. You’ll never have to worry about daddy hurting you again.

Then finally the day arrived that Carla showed up to the courthouse and after waiting for what felt like an eternity,  Laurel came into the room and told Carla that it was her turn to talk. Carla walked out of the room nervously and didn’t know what to expect. She was scared that somehow her father would hurt her again and that if she talked badly about him he would hurt her even worse. Laurel reminded her that she was safe, but nothing could help Carla’s nerves.


Carla entered the room and Laurel showed her to a seat that was right beside the judge. She looked around the room and saw her father who was in handcuffs, so Carla felt a little bit more relaxed. “Carla,” Laurel started, “can you tell the people in the room what your daddy did to you?” Carla didn’t know what to say. She was scared of what would happen to her if she said the truth. She sat there staring at Laurel, then around the room, then to the judge and back to Laurel. She breathed heavily and didn’t say a word as she hoped to get out of the room. “You’ll be ok. You see your dad over there? He cant hurt you those handcuffs will make sure of that. You just need to tell everyone what happened.”

Something about what Laurel said made Carla feel a bit more relaxed. She was right, Carla was safe and she just needed to say the truth. Carla took a deep breath and started with showing everyone in the room her arms. She then went on to explain what her dad did to her whenever they were home alone, the rape, the torture, everything. After she was done she was brought back to the room and before she left, Laurel looked back, smiled, and said “Hey good job! You should be safe for the rest of your life now.”

Only a few minutes after she left the room, Laurel came back and told Carla that they won the case and that Carla would never have to see her father again. Overwhelmed by the news, Carla began to cry and her mother came into the room and cried with her. Carla knew that she was safe and that she would never be hurt again.

When they got home, Carla went back to her room and lay down on her bed. She stared up at the ceiling and let out a sigh of relief. She felt relaxed for the first time in a while and she knew that she was saved. She wouldn’t have to worry about being beaten or tortured by her father anymore. She wouldn’t have to worry about being raped or being threatened about what would happen to her if she told anybody what had happened to her.

It has been five years since Carla had last heard from her dad. She is now 14 years old and she and her mother haven't had any issues with Edward. Carla is starting to get comfortable with talking to people at school and her grades have been slowly getting better over time. Certain things will make Carla think her father such as seeing someone use a drill and it makes it hard for her to focus for a little bit afterward. Martha has started a small group at a local community center for people recovering from tragic events. She has Carla come every week and the group meets on Thursdays to discuss things that have happened to them. Carla hasn’t been in danger for years and she finally knows what it feels like to be happy.

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