Twisted Love

By: R. Linda

For Dad,

Because you’ve been waiting for this one and won’t read my other books,

just in case they’re based on real-life events—they’re not, by the way.

I love you xo


EVERYTHING HAD TO be perfect. He would be home with her soon, and I needed to make sure everything was ready. If it wasn't, I would pay for it later. I always did.

I had just finished smoothing out the decorative covers on the cast-iron bed and tucking in the sheets when I heard the garage door open.

Rushing up the stairs and into the hall to the only mirror in the house, I checked my reflection in the dirty glass to make sure I looked presentable. The bags under my eyes were unavoidable. Nightmares did that to a person. The bruise on my cheek had started to fade; yet another imperfection that was inevitable. I was used to them by now. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t have a bruise and or more on my body.

No matter what I did, it never seemed to be enough. I always seemed to disappoint him and make him angry, and when he was angry, he would hit me. I tried to be a good boy, the perfect son, but I wasn't.

I was never enough for him.

Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not fast enough. Not strong enough.

I was pathetic, slow, weak. A waste of space. Nothing more than a prisoner in my own home. It wasn’t even a home. Not really.

It was a house. But it had never been a home. Not since she died.

When the car door slammed closed, a cold rush of dread settled over me at the same time as a jolt of excitement surged through my veins. It was a strange feeling. Fear for her, fear for me, the thrill of her coming home, and anticipation for what was to come. Maybe, just maybe, he would be so taken by her he would forget about me, give me a break and leave me alone, just once. Maybe she would be the one. The one to make him happy and the one to save me from him.

“Get out here and help me, boy.” His voice boomed down the hallway through the open door that led to the garage.

Straightening my collar, I made my way to where he was struggling to pull a large bag out of the backseat.

“I've got a good feeling this time, boy. She’s perfect.” He clapped me on the shoulder, and I tried not to buckle from the pain it caused.

I was pretty sure that my collarbone was broken, but there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t go to the hospital to get it checked out, and if I complained, he would make it worse. I didn't want to hurt anymore.

Together, we pulled the long black bag out of the car and dragged it over the musty brown carpet in the dark hall to the stairs. I flicked the switch and turned on the light. Electricity buzzed through, and it flickered on and off a few times before casting a dull orange glow over the stairs. Lifting my end of the bag, I bit my lip until I tasted blood, to stop myself from crying out in pain. My collarbone was definitely broken.

“Get a move on,” he growled and pushed the bag at me until I stumbled down the first step. We carried her down the stairs, to the room I had been preparing and lifted the sack and placed it zipper side up on the bed with a thud. He straightened up and ran a hand through his wavy blond hair before straightening his beige cardigan and fixing his collar. I stepped back and made my way toward the door. He always wanted to be alone when he brought her home.

He wanted his time to bond with her while she was unconscious.

“Where you goin’? Come see ya mother.” He rounded on me, and I stopped moving. My stomach rolled. He was not a patient man and not one to disobey.

“Sorry, sir,” I apologised, staring him straight in the eyes, like he taught me to growing up, and tried not to drag my feet as I walked back over to him. I avoided looking anywhere but at the bed, wanting to get out of there. I couldn’t watch; I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see her, the terror in her eyes, or the pain that would come. The thought alone was enough to make me sick.

“Watch and learn.” He curled his lip and winked at me before reaching over to unzip the bag.

“It’s your turn next.” My stomach lurched as he chuckled at his words. I was nothing like him. I would never be like him.


I COULD RUN all day, every day if I had the time. But I never seemed to have the time, which was why I was running today. How’s that for irony?

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