The Child's Hood

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about an abused girl and her only way out.

Submitted: April 03, 2011

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Submitted: April 03, 2011

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A Child’s HOOD Life is never simple no matter your race, religion, sex or socioeconomic standing. Horrors can go on inside the nicest of homes and in the dark corners of government housing. It’s easier to hide dysfunctional family issues if you have money and influence. Rex and Ann was such a couple, an upper middle class family with all the bells and whistles. From the outside looking in the nice home new vehicles unlike a poor family where abuse was expected and looked for, in the Freeman household it was all about the surface, how things appeared. Rex a deacon in the church and Ann running with the elite of their small town made it virtually impossible for their children to come out. First and fore most Ann and Rex would find out through the grapevine you had been talking and that would yield the fly swatter and a rage from Ann that was similar to a nuclear explosion. The fall out could last for days. It’s important I explain the significance of the fly swatter that quite simply was Ann’s first choice to enforce with. The damn thing hung in the kitchen on the key holder by the front door so you saw it every day and was reminded how the steel felt being wrapped around your butt, back or back of the legs. When Ann hit with the fly swatter she was usually blind with anger. One thing you never wanted to see getting home from school is the missing fly swatter that meant Ann was laying in wait, for some transgression you had committed in her eyes, even if none had been committed. I always hated the bus ride home as I got closer to my drop the ball in my stomach grew and grew. In fact at the tender age of nine I had an ulcer and required a special diet and medication, which of course Ann blamed on me. The questions from the family and how such a young person could get an ulcer, being the consummate actor Ann portrayed herself as a caring and loving mother. And the discerning part is people actually believed her act but in their defense Ann could play a role to the hilt. My brother who was much older than myself would protect me as much as possible until at sixteen Ann kicked him out of the house (after she attempted to push him from a second story window), that day was the beginning of the end for me. My brother always fought Ann sometimes even physically I never had the courage to face her head on quite frankly the woman terrified me. Immediately Ann started in on me and one of the worst beatings I ever had. My protector was gone and I had no one to turn to. I must have been in the sixth grade when my brother left the same year Ann had to have a hysterectomy I secretly dreamed she had cancer and would die. Ann’s luck it was just a tumor and nothing else. I remember crying when the doctor said she was cancer free, most people stranding around I would imagine that it was due to the good news I just knew Ann would be coming home and things would go right back the way they always have. And home she did come one day Grandma was there to help out and I was in Ann’s bedroom and she was screaming at me it was all my fault, “if I hadn’t had kids I wouldn’t be in this mess. I wish I would have lost you . . . . You’re worthless and waste of my time. GET OUT!!!” She finally screamed. As I turned the corner there stood Grandma and tears stained my young face. Grandma didn’t utter a word only came to me and embraced me, “That wicked tongue comes from her Daddy. You’re coming home with me.” I remember feeling safe in Grandma’s arms and her ample body. Grandma went right into Ann bedroom and I never knew what Grandma had said to her I just know from that point on every weekend, holiday and summer break I spent with my Grandma. At Grandma’s house I was free for the first time. With her I could heal and so I did somewhat. But inevitable school would start and I would have to go back. And Ann didn’t like the arrangement and she would show me so any time she had control of me. One time before school she stomped into the bathroom and punched me in the side of the head so far I actually saw stars. The assault knocked me off kilter for the rest of the day. So bad in fact my teacher sent to the nurse to be looked at. Of course they called Ann and as soon as that call went through I knew the fly swatter would be off the wall and across my ass at the end of the day. Wrong sooner, the nurse said I should go home and Ann came in to pick me up. She smiled politely at the school officials and explained convincingly of how I might have acquired a concussion just being an active kid in the country. I no more that cleared the door and Ann reached and touched me with the fly swatter; I stopped counting after twenty lashes. I remember it feeling like the flesh was being removed and blood oozing from the wounds. This time when she was done she reared back her foot and plunged it into my stomach. I lay on the cold floor for several minutes before I moved and as I tried to stand Ann barreled back into the room and said, “who said you could move?” I said nothing only laid back down on the ground and I staid there so lone I peed in my pants, terrified to move. When Ann came in the second time she just looked at me and began shouting. “You pissed your pants . . .” Ann went to the closet and retrieved a mop and bucket. Ann with bucket and mop in hand through them at me and said coldly. “Clean this up . . . now!” As soon as she said now I got up from the floor and immediately began doing as commanded. I scrubbed on that floor until Patsy came in to discharge me and instructed me to clean myself up. By them the wound from the fly swatter my clothes had begun to stick and the urine stung. It took me a few minutes to sit in the tub. After enduring sixteen years of abuse at the hands of Ann I decided to see if I could live with Grandma full time. I made my mind up one day before a visit with Grandma I provoked Ann by mumbling as I walked away from her. She was in the basement family room and I intentionally mumbled after she had instructed me dismantle the chandelier in the dining room. I just cleared to top of the stairs and Ann ran up behind me and grabbed me by the nap of the neck and pulled me down the stairs. I tumbled to the bottom disorientated and seeing tunnel vision but I could see Ann clearing the stair on her way to me at the bottom. She kept saying over and over to me as she kicked and punched me, “You ain’t mumbling now are you. You got something to say you little bitch. You’re nothing but a slut. Get up” I rolled myself in a ball and I took the beating in hopes I could use it to convince Grandma I shouldn’t go back. Ann left for a few moments only to return with one of Rex’s belts each swing I went somewhere else. The beating culminated with Ann grabbing me by my hair pulling outside on the patio of the basement. I remember in and out of consciences until it was dark. I was woke up with a water hose and instructions to get cleaned up. Rex, Ann and I sat through dinner without a word being uttered. Every once in a while Rex would look long and hard at me. But did nothing nor did he say anything; you see Ann’s rage was not contained to her children Rex had been beat down before. Rex dealt with Ann’s insanity the way he always did . . . drinking. My stomach being upset from the beating I couldn’t eat everything Ann put on my plate. With every bite I could feel the food coming right back up. It was nearly nine and Ann was being distracted by the T.V. Rex walked through and quickly ate the rest of the food on the plate. “There’s no need of you cutting yourself again. Wait a little while and let her know you’re done.” Rex was referring to another plate clearing instance when it involved a burned steak instead of dealing with the bullshit I ran the steak knife into my hand so I could leave the table. I got off the bus and Grandma’s car was in the circle drive way. I was so happy. The knot in my stomach was immediately undone. I ran up to the house busted into the door and there she was. Grandma smiled real big and said, “are you ready to go?” I grinned and said. “yes. I’ll be right down.” As the words leaped from my mouth I bounded up the stairs to my bedroom and grabbed the packed suitcase I had ready. Bounded down the steps and exclaimed my need for freedom and Grandma as she always did stood up and we left the house not to be returned until bedtime on Sunday. I had a plan to make sure Grandma seen my injuries and I did. I got into the bathtub and Grandma came in to use the restroom. I never minded Grandma just couldn’t hold she took a water pill which made her go all the time. In fact this worked in my favor. When Grandma came in I jumped which was unusual. “Oh my . . .” Grandma could get no other words out. As soon as I got out of the tub and was ready for Friday night game of hand and foot with my cousin and Great aunt Edna. Grandma stood up from her seated position and came to me and I broke like a dam that had been withstanding too much pressure for too long. Grandma said nothing only held me tight and I felt things might turn out. When I settled Grandma whispered in my ear, “I’ll get some sav for those.” Soon Edna and Donna were at the door and the card game would commence. Edna watched us both close that night and after nearly an hour Edna slammed down her hand of cards and said, “It’s my turn and I’m not play until you two tell me what’s going on.” Grandma gently folded her hand pursed her thin lips and looked straight at her neatly dress sister. “Sis if havin some trouble at home. Her and Ann aren’t getting along.” Not buying the simplistic story Edna studied her sister and asked, “What kind of trouble?” Grandma sipped her tea and looked at me thoughtfully and I nodded, I was closer to the women sitting in this room than with anyone so far in my life accept my brother when he was around. Grandma started slowly, “Well there have been some physical problems . . . this time it’s pretty bad.” I lowered my head in shame and Edna left her seat and came to me and held my head in her hand and said. “Let me see.” I turned my body in the chair and lifted my loosely fitting slowly. Grandma pointed out by saying, “There is more.” Edna put down my shirt and kissed my head and gently set in her chair. I turned to her and embraced Edna and didn’t want to let go. Both Edna and Donna where speechless, finally Donna broke the silence, “That’s why you’re here every weekend, break why don’t you move in here?” I glanced at Grandma and she spoke slowly, “I’ve already talked to my attorney, nothing can be done. Ann won’t let it go and she knows I won’t win in court.” Only trying to help the situation Donna spoke, “what if we take you to the hospital and get this documented?” Grandma thought for a moment, “you know I put sav on them but maybe she should see a doctor.” With that being said the four women lit the fuse and took me to the emergency room. No one knew what this simple trip to get medical care would eventually lead to. I had fun that weekend grandma and I were very proud of ourselves. So when it came time to go home on Sunday I really felt relaxed and ready. I walked in the door Ann seemed really calm, which made me happy. Grandma left and as soon as her car pulled out onto highway 40 Ann came into the bathroom and said, “I know about you fuckin trip to the Emergency room. I got a call from social services they came and interviewed me. I’ll be waiting.” Those words turned the blood in my veins cold, I couldn’t bare the thought. I fell back onto the edge of the tub. Ann paced the living room waiting for me to come out of bathroom. When thirty minutes passed Ann swung open the door and there I laid fully clothed and laying in the tub covered in blood. My face was white, my skin cold I was dead. Ann began shaking my corpse as if she could threaten life back into my body. The truth never surfaced and only a hand full of people knew really what happened that Sunday night. My brother came home for my funeral when everything was said and done he kneeled at my grave and softly spoke. “I should have never left you alone. I should have taken you with me. This will not go unanswered.” So you see a child can grow up in the country and live seemingly ideal life but they are living in their own hood. A hood with its own deadly dangers and pit falls, some kids survive move on and live good lives some die in the streets. I became a casualty. THE END BY N Daugherty


© Copyright 2020 N Daugherty. All rights reserved.

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