Twisted Love

By: R. Linda


I didn’t want to be like him. I hated him and what he did to us. All of us. There was nothing I could do about it, though, other than suffer silently and pray for it all to end. I brought my knees up to my chest, hugging them tightly and waiting for the dull thud of his boots across the floorboards above my head to stop.

“Hendrix! Get up here, you little shit.” He stomped his foot, releasing some of the dust between the planks of wood onto my hair.

I shook my hair clean and trudged up the stairs, not wanting to face him. His shadow loomed in the open doorframe. I gulped.

“Well, boy, how did it go?” He towered over me as I looked up into his dark blue eyes before squaring my shoulders and showing no fear.

I had to show him respect, and staring at my feet was not the way to do it, so I forced myself to keep eye contact with him. “Fine, just like I expected,” I said, my voice flat.

I had learned early on not to show him any emotion. Emotions were a weakness that he liked to exploit as often as possible, and I was not weak. Not anymore. I couldn’t be weak. I had to protect Lucy. She’d just become the most important person in my life. And I’d become her lifeline. She just didn’t know it yet.

“Well, what are you doing out here? Get down there, boy,” he spat, flicking the ash from his cigarette on me.

“She’s asleep. I knocked her out. She’ll be out all night,” I lied. She was asleep, but I didn’t knock her out. I couldn't harm her that way. I would never take away her control like that. The irony. She was locked in my basement after all. But I wanted to protect her for as long as I could. If he thought she was knocked out, he’d back off, at least for the night.

“Fucking useless little prick.” It happened so fast I didn’t even realise until my cheek began to sting from where the back of his hand hit. I reached up and rubbed it, trying to sooth the burning sensation, but it didn’t help. It was wet and sticky with my blood.

“The first girl you bring home to meet your family and she’s knocked out. Not an excellent first impression, is it? This one gonna be trouble, boy?”

“No, sir, she won’t be a problem.” I wouldn’t let her be a problem. I would make her understand. She couldn’t end up like the others. It wasn’t an option. There was only one way out of here, and I was not going to let her leave that way.

“She better not be,” he grunted before he choked on the smoke he’d just inhaled. For a brief moment, I prayed he’d choke and die, but the cough passed as quickly as it came.

“Kat!” he yelled down the hall, stubbing his cigarette out on the floor at my feet.

“Coming, dear,” Kat called out softly, and I cringed. I hated hearing the way he spoke to her and how she spoke almost lovingly back to him.

“Come and clean this little bastard’s face up. Can’t have him looking like shit when his girlfriend wakes up in the morning.” He pulled another cigarette out of his pocket and placed it in his mouth as he walked away.

“Go with your mother, boy,” he called over his shoulder as he walked into the living room. A moment passed before the sounds of the game on television echoed through the house and his shouts at the screen started.

“Come on, sweetie,” she whispered, grabbing my hand and leading me down the musty hall to the bathroom. “Let’s fix you up.”

I sat on the edge of the pink tub as Kat rubbed alcohol on my cheek, causing it to sting. Tears welled in my eyes but I wouldn’t let them fall.

No.

That was another sign of weakness.

“He got you good this time. You need to be more careful,” she said softly, gently dabbing a little cream on my cheek before putting a small plaster over it.

“Let’s wash the blood off your hands,” she said, pulling me over to the basin. I hadn’t even realised there was blood on my hands. His ring must have torn up my face pretty good. I watched as she packed away the first aid kit before turning to look at me.

She looked scared, her teeth were digging into her bottom lip, and her blue eyes were dull and broad. I had seen that look too many times in my life. I glanced back in the mirror and noticed she had done a pretty good job of patching me up—like always.

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