Unheard by Rilys Adams

[2006 – Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize First Runner Up]

The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. You desperately want to cower into a corner, and raise your arms to block the blows. But by now you know, you are no match for him, resistance causes more pain. So you stand erect, wincing ever slightly when he hits a part of your body already bruised. You want to cry, to scream, to run and to beg for mercy but you refuse to. He can break your body but not your soul.

He hurls angry words at you, calling you depraved names. Telling you that he could do much better. But couldn’t you? Who is he to talk in this manner? Does he have a job? He is a sperm donor, not a father. Never! What of the money for which you toil so hard, day in…day out? Alcohol; all of it, save the little you manage to hide away for necessities. Food. So really, who is the worthless one? He can break your body but not your self-worth.

He cares for none but himself. Your negative attributes, which he has taken care to point out, disappear suddenly when he is ready to claim his marital rights. To resist would be more blows, more pain. So you lie passively, as he takes what is his. He can break your body but not you.

But still you can’t find the motivation to leave him. Bound by the band of gold, the band he refuses to wear. You think of the excuses almost as soon as the blows stop. The children. You cannot suffer them to grow up in a broken home. It is so easy to forget, that when his reign of terror begins…your daughters cower together, crying. Wondering why it won’t stop. Night after night the shouting, the tears, the fearful look in your eyes as you tell them to stay away. You argue with yourself, who will protect you from his rage if you decide to leave. The laws? What laws? You’d be better off calling Barnes to arrange a pick up time for your battered body. He has broken your body and caused you to fear.

The turning point came as quickly as lightning could ever strike. As bright and clear as any vision Daniel had ever seen. He towers over you, attempting to strike when your oldest child runs towards him. “Daddy,” she yells, “stop it. She’s sorry…”

At six, she cannot fully understand that her father is no less monstrous than a beast. You try to call out to her, but his anger has already turned from you … to your child. Your precious child. He hits her once, and by then you are on your feet. Moving towards him, feeling a new emotion. Not like the disgust you’ve had for him before. Rage. Pure rage. A woman’s life is her child. You shock him with your anger, as you scream at him, hurling blows that he barely feels. He looks at you for one moment. His unadulterated rage is now focussed on you, as he backs you into a corner. Your daughter runs out of the house screaming, crying, “Daddy killing Mommy.”

He hits you, kicks you but you refuse to scream, your courage cannot be broken. Your daughter still screams as he slams you against the wall…the world slowly goes black.

You awaken shivering. It was only a dream, a nightmare. You move closer to your husband, a nightmare that will never be reality.

Meanwhile…

The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. She desperately wants to cower into a corner…

THE END

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