I sat alone in the dark. The sound of my heavy breathing echoed back to me through the cabin walls, and my eyes enlarged into the darkness. Sweat matted my hair to my forehead, and with my hands stained with blood, the musty smell of the old cabin filled my nose. The tears streamed down my face, and my hands tightened into a fist as I felt my chest ache, which made my whole body bitter and quake with fear. I grasped my shirt with my hand, and balling it into a fist, I bowed my head until I was watching the droplets of tears drip on to my pants. My head and chest burned with a rage and ached as if I was being punched repeatedly, but all I could do was cry and cry. My anguish swelled up, through my chest, and exploding through my body, I smashed my knuckles into the cabin wall. It didn’t hurt. I was numb. I couldn’t respond to anything, and over and over, the crackling of my knuckles resonated as I hit the hard, wood wall. Droplets of blood dripped from my knuckles to the floor, but I felt so cold, so numb.
My head ached. My thinking was frayed, and my thoughts dissolved into nothingness. Meaningless words pounded back and through my head, and I fell into a deep asylum of pain, and nothing more. The dark made me feel panicked and suffocated, yet I still sat there, unable to move, unable to respond. I tried to gasp, struggling to get a breath of air, but I only managed to choke on my own scream. Sinking into the far corner of the room, I leaned my head back against the wall. I wanted to leave. I wanted to get away. But all I felt was my head burning, and my body still and cold as a dead person.
I tried to push myself up using my hands against the wall, but that was futile as my legs collapsed underneath me. I didn’t know what to do anymore. All I wanted to do was leave this place; leave it forever behind me. But the world outside was so far from my reach, and the light coming from the stars through window was unreachable, and out of my grasp forever. I hoisted myself up again. Leaning against the wall, my head was spinning, and my body was frigid and dysfunctional. I heaved and breathed heavily, and I struggled for a wisp of fresh air, but the memorable musty smell of the cabin made me shake and chill to the bone.
All my life I’ve wanted to get out of here and never come back again, so why, why can’t I reach the other side of the door? I see it. I can see it. But the distance between me and the door makes me feel trapped, helpless, and unable to escape. My legs move shakily as my cold, cold body moves toward the door. It’s in my view. I will reach it, and never come back. I want to squeeze open the smooth doorknob, and take a step outside. I want to see the outside world again, in its bright, colorful state. I want the sunlight to beam upon my face, and lie in the open field with the soft breeze blowing through my hair. I want to take it all in, and never return.
I grinned. I started walking faster, and the pain started ebbing away. The aching in my chest disappeared. The tears dried on my face. And I will reach that freedom once and for all. But all too soon, in a moment’s notice, everything drifted away, because out of corner of my eye I saw it.
The face of my mother. The face of my dead mother. And then, I collapsed.
I couldn’t do anything except stare at her lifeless body lying on the ground, and her pale face. I kneeled down before her, and all I could see was the blood, the dark, dark blood. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But I was struck with disbelief when I saw my lifeless mother. And all I could do for hours on end until my body could no longer move and was completely numb, was to stare at her, and think of nothing but the two words; she’s dead. My hands cautiously reached toward her, and pulled her into an upright sitting position. She was in front of me again. She was there… sitting in front of me again. I could feel those eyes of her making me tremble, and reinstall that deep fear inside of me. Those dark, glaring eyes made me feel trapped and suffocated, and unbearably helpless and pathetic. I felt like something was entrapping me into a dark bottomless pit, strangling me at the neck and leaving me dead, dead for good. My body froze, my head spun, and my eyes were wide, wide with fear. But all I could do when I saw those eyes, was sit there and stare, stare until time vanished and I could no longer do or sense anything, and all I could feel was so very, very broken. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, with my humanity on the verge of disappearing, I started to speak.
“Mother…It’s me. Remember, it’s your own son?” I couldn’t feel my mouth move as I spoke, and my voice was nearly inaudible.
“You took care of me right, Mother? The times we spent together when I was a little boy were my favorite memories. Don’t you remember, Mother? I could still hear your loving and warm voice telling me all those fantastic stories, and how could I forget when you made us cookies and those delicious cakes.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten that chocolate cake with chocolate chips and whip cream was my favorite, right Mother? I always loved to help you in the kitchen, and make lots and lots of sweets for me and sister. Sister was always there besides us, too. And Father. Father always used to give me and Sister piggyback rides around our little cabin.”
The tears spilled as I spoke, and the warm memories came back, but all I could see was the liveliness and happiness being sucked out of the house when my father shut the front door behind him…for the last time. I started to shake my mother’s dead body furiously, and anger started filled me when I started to speak again.
“Remember when I went home that day Mother? Oh, I was finally started to feel fine again but every single day after school ended, and especially that day, the dreadful feeling came back to me, and all I could see were your angry eyes, and the small cabin of ours being filled with bottles and bottles of alcohol. All I could think about was how long you were going to beat me again, and how many bruises I would have to cover up again the next day at school. I could have ran away if I wanted to, I’ve always wanted to in fact, but you know Mother, I only had one reason to stay for at that time. Do you know what that was Mother?”I started laughing uncontrollably and I continued, “It was for Sister’s sake. Sister and I have always dreamed of running away and leaving that horrible place called “home” behind us, but with her frail, fragile body and her sickened condition, she would have collapsed on the streets. She was the only bit of life still left in the house, and it was that smiling and innocent face that I would never let you scar. After Father had left the house and we never saw him again, I vowed to myself that I would protect sister. I would protect her from your forceful shouts and angry outbursts that left the many scars and bruises on my body. And I took the responsibility of raising her into my hands. At 12, I became the head of the family, and I did everything in my power to keep whatever family we had left from walking out the door like Father did, from helping Sister with her homework when you were guzzling down bottles of beer, to begging people for work to buy food and Sister’s medicine. Does it really not disgrace you when I have to say that whenever I did earn the little money I got paid, you always searched everywhere to find that hard-earned money. And when you did? You wasted it on alcohol and buried your miserable self in it.”
The tears started running down my face faster, and my hands shook and trembled. I didn’t know anymore. I was destroying myself; losing myself in the midst of my sad, sad laughter and tears.
At this point, I had completely lost my sanity and I screamed, “Look at my body now, Mother!” , I said as I dropped her down hard on the ground and pulled up my shirt sleeves and rolled up my pants.
“Do you see me now, Mother?! Look at my scarred body and never forget. Do you hear me? This…is what you have done to me.” I screamed, when I exposed all my dark purple-blue bruises, and the bright red scars.
The many bruises left by her on my body painted most of my legs, arms, and back an unnatural shade of blue and purple, with scars of pink and red illuminating the dark background. The places on my body left untouched by her fury was an immense, pale white.
The frustration and the pain swelled inside of me, and between my dark laughs, I started to speak again.
“Of course you don’t care. You never did, did you? Days you spent drowning yourself in bottles of beer, and taking your anger out at your own children. But do you know how I felt when I entered the front door of our house and all I could see was blood and blood, and my sister’s mangled body? Do you?! Do you know what it’s like to find your own sibling’s dead body in the corner of the cabin with your own mother holding a bloody knife in your hand?!”I screamed, as my whole body burned with a furious rage.
“She had a high a fever and could barely walk, but leaving her alone with a monster like you just so I could go buy some more medicine…ended up resulting in her death?! What did she ever do you? Is her life just worth so little that she died by the hands of her mother? Are you just going to forget that you killed your own child? Forget how you just tossed us aside like pieces of unworthy trash when Father left?” I yelled.
“I couldn’t feel anything when I had to drag her body into the woods behind our cabin, and started to bury her in the dirt. There were no tears, and all I could do was stare at her pale, pale face for hours on end. I hadn’t known that she was already covered fully in dirt when I had come to my senses. The most precious thing left in my life…gone forever without a word while I didn’t even shed a single tear! When I went back and approached you with that knife in my hand, you scared weren’t you? Scared that I would be doing the same thing to you as you had done to Sister. ”
My whole body shook, and all I could feel was my body full of anger, hatred, and the pain as I let it eat me up. I hadn’t been aware that in the midst of my fistfuls of rage that I had stood, and thrown things across the room. Most empty beer bottles were already smashed to pieces against the wall, and whatever furniture and things that hadn’t been sold for money were toppled, and made the cabin look disgraceful and a mess.
My shoulders were rising up and down as my anger boiled inside of me, and my dark eyes glared upon my mother’s cold body residing on the floorboards.
When I spoke again, I had completely given in…to the darkness.
“Hey, Mother. Get up. I want you to get up.” I said with a cruel, raspy tone, and I grinned a dark grin.
“Let’s go bake some more cookies, shall we? I really want to make them into all different shapes; like dinosaurs and stars and hearts. You also promised us that you were going to makes us cake pops, too. We better make sure that we have all the ingredients too, so we need to go shopping. So, hey, Mother…why are you still lying on the floor?”
“Hurry up, Mother. It’s almost time for bed, and you still haven’t gotten out the books for my bed time story. I really want you to read the one with brave knights fighting dragons. Oh and by the way, Father is waiting for you in the living room to tell you about the promotion he got at work today. Isn’t that great, Mother? We can buy the medicine that Sister needs, and have lots of money left over so we can bake more sweets.”
The cackling of my dark laugh echoed throughout the cabin walls, and my hair covered my eyes.
“Oh wait, that’s right, Mother, you can’t get up. You can’t go bake more cookies for Sister and I. You can’t go enjoy a nice conversation over a cup of tea with father. You can’t go read me a story about princesses and knights. Because you know why, do really want to know?”I giggled horribly between my words.
“Because you’re dead!” I said, laughing and clapping in joy. My head spun and my eyes bulged. The darkness swallowed me whole, and I was blinded by it. I was trapped, and I didn’t know anymore…didn’t know at all.
“I killed you, Mother! I loved the way you screamed when I stuck the knife in your body. It was music to my ears when you screamed out in help. I could still see the blood spilling from your body onto the floor, and your struggle for gasps of air as I repeatedly stabbed you. I had a blasted time, Mother! It was one of my favorite memories when I saw your body going limp, and your eyes wide and lifeless. I wonder why I was sitting in the dark corner of the cabin a while ago crying and wanting to leave when it was such a happy occasion that I had sunk the same knife you used to kill Sister into your own body just yesterday.”
Through my horrible laughing, tears started running down my face again, and I covered my face with my bloody hands. I felt sadness, yet I was laughing. I felt scared, yet I was enjoying it. I felt fine, yet I knew, the darkness was tearing me apart, and my humanity was at a loss.
I crawled over to the window while bowing my head in shame and frustration, and leaving a trail of tears as I slowly moved. I put my forehead on the cool surface of the window, and looked down at my hands stained with my Mother’s blood. I closed my eyes in pain, and started punching the floorboards. Even though the skin on my knuckles were already torn and blood was still flowing out of the bruises, I pretended it didn’t hurt.
I chuckled in the midst of my tears when I thought “I pretended it didn’t hurt.” I’ve just been lying to myself my whole life. Everything hurt. It hurt when I couldn’t stop my mother from screaming nonsense at Sister and I. It hurt I saw her chug down another bottle of beer. It hurt when I saw those eyes, those dark, pained, eyes, and I knew that she wasn’t my mother anymore.
Why couldn’t I have stopped her sooner? Why was I so naïve to think that everything would be alright when the one person she could lean on, rely on, left this house forever? Questions flooded into my head, making my head burn, as I yelled and screamed in frustration, but my pathetic self just stared down at my blood-covered hands and cried, and cried.
Hours passed and I slowly lifted my head from the cool surface, only to see someone else’s reflection in the window. A monster’s reflection. But it wasn’t my Mother, not at all, but me; tortured, broken, me.
I didn’t have a reaction as the knife entered my body, nor do anything when the world churned and disappeared into darkness, or when blood spluttered out of my mouth as I lay there on the cold, cold floor, except having the words, “Sorry, sorry…sorry”, barely escaping my mouth, before I saw the smiling faces of my Mother and Sister peering down on me once more.