A story about child abuse
|Her sharp cries seemed to surpass the blaring rock music from next door. Every time the cane hit, a fit of fresh sobs threw waves in the air. The music probably drowned the cry for the rest of the neighborhood. But each time the tortured child groaned, the girl by the window winced in pain. |
“What were you thinking?” yelled the scowling mother. “What did I tell you, you idiot?” she shrieked as another sharp lash reddened the child’s scraggy body.
Another fit of sobs escaped the child’s lips amid her childish babble, broken words that reflected the physical pain.
The girl by the window shivered. What is this about, again? she thought. Why does that woman have to hurt the child? How old is she? Four? What does she understand? A sharp pain twisted her pallid face. Since she had moved to this neighborhood two weeks back, she had witnessed this twice. She did not know who the mother was; neither did she know the kid. Their neatly painted white house faced hers. Only the black, serpentine road lay lazily in between.
The woman with the child did not seem the most friendly of people. Even though several of the neighbors had turned up to welcome the girl by the window, that woman never came.
“Why didn’t you show your homework to the teacher?” The woman was yelling now. “Get out of my house…” her voice was hoarse with seething anger.
The kid shivered, partly from her tears, partly from the sharp yell thrown at her direction. Scared, she ran out of the door. The rag doll in her hand fell down to the floor.
The door slammed shut behind her.
The child was still standing at the door…staring hard at it. The girl by the window watched her small face. She saw the terror in the big, bright eyes. She saw the tears staining her cheeks. They left her fair skin dark, probably mirroring the clouds in her mind.
Long after, the child moved. She crept to the stairs and sat there, her face looked torn and tired.
The October sun shone on her fair skin. The freckles on her face looked a shade deeper. The old oak in the yard rustled on. The tire that hung across its branch danced in the wind.
As the girl by the window sat stiff, leaning on the window, shiny cars wheezed past on the road, cutting off her view of the kid. Slowly, her mind flickered back into deep, dark alleys of memories. Memories that she had kept shut in the deep closet of her heart with utmost care and alertness threatened to come up now. She tried to force them down, closing her eyes, not wanting to look at the kid anymore. From across the road, on the old concrete stairs, she could hear the child crying again. The broken sobs sent chills through the body of the girl by the window. She thumped her hands over her ears. Just then her shield gave away. A run of memories flashed her long-submerged feelings, memories that spanned through years of bruised upbringing, memories that she forever wanted to flee from.
“What the hell were you thinking?” her father had growled as he kicked her in the stomach. The pain was so deep that she couldn’t utter a word. Keeping her hands on her stomach to ease the pain, she stared across the room for her mother to stop her dad.
She didn’t. Her mother didn’t say a word. And her dad didn’t stop. For an hour she was hit, bruised, and yelled at. No one rescued her. A lump of fire had burnt her throat, knocking her breathless. Her palm had itched, wanting to hit that monster that was her dad. But her hands stayed where they were. After all, she was just five. She could do nothing.
She had never again said a word. Not when her dad threw her out of his house years later. Not when her mom did not come to take her back. She had just burnt internally. For all she knew, that man and his wife had died for her the day she set her foot outside that house. The house that could not be her home. The house that can never, ever be anybody’s home. She had not cared to find out if her parents had another child.
The loud music from next door suddenly hit the girl by the window. When had the blaring stopped? She wondered how long she sat by the window, looking at the house across the street with its open windows that bared the hell enclosed by its walls. She watched its white door creak open. Her memories now muddled up like a polluted pond. The images that looked so real just moments ago started to blur. As the memories disappeared, her eyes focused on the child. She was sleeping on the stairs now. The even beating of her heart was halted intermittently by sobs -- not very clear sobs. One could pass them off as bad dreams. But the girl by the window knew.
A figure appeared beside the child, the mother. She looked calm, a different person now. She looked at the sleeping child for a few seconds. Then she scooped her up in her lap. Fast asleep, its body carved around her mother. The mother kissed her on her forehead, her tousled hair and the eyelids dirty with tears. The girl by the window watched her, her gaze piercing now. The child shivered in the mother’s lap. The mother didn’t seem to notice. Neither did the neighbors.
The mother was still kissing the child. A bitter lump of hatred choked the girl by the window; every kiss made her want to throw up.
“No matter how much you love her now, that kid will never forgive you!” she muttered as she slammed her window shut. Her fingers furiously typed at the digits on her cell phone.
"Hello, this is Amy Parker. I want to report a case of child abuse..."
Word count - 1016