I don’t normally post warnings on my posts. Especially not Alley Kid, but I think the contents of this I should. If you have read my books, you’ll know what to expect, except. this isn’t so graphic, but there are details of abuse.
I don’t know how much time has passed. It feels like hours. My head is heavy inside, and it’s still daylight. I’m laid on a makeshift bed on the floor with my mattress from my room. Maz is laid with me. She is asleep. I don’t know what woke me. I look around and try not to wake her too. The place seems quiet. It takes me a moment to realise he is still here.
I can see the door. He’s waiting. Hiding. I see shadows and darkness; it’s where he likes to hide. I see his eyes in my mind. The wide open discoloured whites of them. The way his skin wrinkles underneath. The dark spots on his cheeks. I can see them like he is right in front of me.
Something touches my foot. It’s soft, like a feather. I don’t know what it is, I have a cover on me. I lift it and look down, but there is nothing there. I put my foot back down, but it’s there again and I move my foot, reach down and brush off whatever invisible thing it is. I close my eyes and then open them again. I can’t keep them closed. He’s going to come at any moment. Maz is asleep, she won’t know and no one will hear me, no one will help, just like always.
Maybe it’s his hand on my foot. Maybe he’s about to grab me. I can feel it. Next will be his nails in my legs like when I was little and he would drag me down and claw at me. I try to move and get away. I can’t. Inside I feel dead and heavy. My mouth is dry and I can’t take in enough air. My throat feels constricted; my lungs won’t go deep enough. I start to gasp and Maz wakes and sits.
“What’s wrong?” she asks me.
I try to talk. I say the words. I hear them perfectly, but Maz doesn’t understand. She asks me to repeat them and I do, but still she doesn’t know what I am saying.
“You’re slurring,” she tells me.
I try to speak clear. I try and tell her that he’s there. I try and move back and get away. I’m shaking and crying because I can’t tell her, all I can do is make sounds that aren’t even words. I try and push myself back, but just hit the front of the sofa. I am trapped.
“There’s nothing there,” she says to me. “It’s just the phet, you took too much.”
Joanne comes into the room. She must have heard me. She has a bag and Froggy is with her.
“Is he okay?” She asks Maz.
Maz nods. “He needs to sleep it off, but he won’t.”
Joanne has cans in her bag. She pulls one out and passes it to Maz, Maz offers it to me, but I don’t want it. Maz tries to put it to my mouth and I try and push it away.
“You need to drink,” says Joanne. “It’s been days you haven’t eaten or drunk at all.”
“If you don’t drink something your body is going to shut down,” says Maz.
I take the can from Maz, but she holds it with me. My hands are unsteady. I put it to my mouth and as the drink hits my mouth I realise how thirsty I am. I don’t waste time. I don’t sip it. One gulp becomes another and another, each one is not enough. I can’t take enough to make the thirst go away and within seconds, the can is empty. I need more. I hold my hand out and try and say the words, but I can’t. Joanne knows what I want though and she reaches in her bag for another. She passes it to Maz and Maz opens it, but my stomach flips over. I feel the heat of it inside as it sloshes the juice I have just ingested. I retch but nothing comes out. Maz gets off the mattress fast and I try to move.
She tries to help me get up, but in her position she can’t. Joanne tries to help, but its Froggy that gets me to my feet and I know that any moment the drink is going to come right out. I can hardly move. I try and steady myself on all of them and in a rush, they manage to get me to the bathroom. I vomit in the sink and collapse on the floor. My body hasn’t finished though, but I don’t have the energy to get up and vomit in the sink or the toilet. It’s down my clothes. I can smell it.
Joanne runs out of the bathroom and comes back seconds later with a bowl. I ask her for a cigarette, only managing to get the word smoke out. She reaches in her pocket for her pack and gives me one, but I can’t even light it. Maybe this is death.
My mind wants to sleep. It wants to shut down. I feel it pressing on the inside making my skull ache. My eyes try to close but I fight them. I smoke my cigarette and sit forwards to wake myself up, but then he is there. I see his shadow out in the hallway. I lean back and he moves too. I lean forward and so does his shadow. I do it over and over.
“What are you doing?” asks Maz.
I try to talk but say nothing.
I still don’t say anything. I stop rocking, but I don’t take my eyes off the shadow. Maz has the shower running. For me I guess. I just keep my eyes focused on him, but they keep closing. They close for minutes at a time and I don’t realise. I don’t want to sleep. Maz and Joanne are there. They take my top off and I don’t stop them. Joanne tells me to stand and I have to lean on them and she tries to unfasten my jeans, but I don’t want her to, not with him out there.
Somehow I am in the shower and I don’t know how I got there. I’m leaning against the wall and sat in the base. Time slips in and out and I don’t see it. I try to ask, but they don’t understand and my words won’t come out. I keep still as they clean me up, get me out of the shower and put me back in bed.
I try to protest at being in just my underwear. I am cold. But Maz gets in with me again. They throw more covers over me and I can’t fight it. Sleep takes me away and I am gone.
I see flashes of moments. I open my eyes and people are in different places. Joanne on the chair watching the television. Maz on the chair. Froggy sat playing my games console. I don’t speak, just reach for a drink each time. The bowl is next to me just in case, but I don’t drink so much.
Someone is shaking me. I feel them and tell them to stop it.
“Wake up,” he says and I realise it’s my father. I didn’t know he is here, I didn’t remember. Did I let him in? I don’t know. No one else is there.
“Do you have the money you owe me?” he asks.
“In my wallet,” I try and say, but my words don’t come out.
“What?” he asks me to repeat and I try. “I can’t understand what you’re saying,” he tells me.
He kneels down to me and I try and tell him again. He grabs my hair in his fist, pulls my head up to him, I can’t move. I try and get out of his grip but I can’t.
“You’re such a waste of space,” he tells me. He clutches tighter, pulling my hair and I can’t fight him off. “You’re nothing to me.”
There isn’t anything I can do. It all goes dark and I fall asleep again. I forget my father is there and when I open my eyes he is gone. It is dark again and Joanne is watching the television with Angela and Colin.
I need the bathroom. Something feels wrong. It feels like I got turned off for a few hours as though I were a machine. I didn’t dream. Just darkness. I ask Joanne what time it is, she tells me. It’s been hours and I don’t remember them.
I try to stand, but my legs are shaky. They haven’t stood for I don’t know how long. My underwear feels wet. I look at Joanne and Angela and Colin, but they aren’t looking at me. They have a film on and I wonder if somehow I managed to wet myself. I don’t want them to know I slept so much I wet the bed.
I pick up a towel that’s laid on the arm of the sofa and wrap it around my waist so I can go to the bathroom.
In the bathroom I take the towel off and then my underwear. I just stare at it. My mind expected just to see wet clothes, but the red glares at me and I stare at it as though I have never seen blood before.
I feel nothing. No pain, no bruises. I don’t know why it’s there. I don’t feel ill. I feel panic inside. Fear. I don’t want Joanne to see. I don’t want to know where it came from. I get in the shower instead. I don’t care that it isn’t heated yet. I want to hide from my blood soaked shorts. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe they aren’t there. Maybe it’s from the phet. I shower, but I can see them through the door. I have to get rid of them.
They are still there when I finish showering. Part of me wonders why. Why didn’t they just vanish? I can’t sneak them out. I’m sure that Joanne will see them. She’ll come out of the lounge the moment I come out of the bathroom with them in my hand. I get the envelope that holds my needles instead. I tip those into Joanne’s makeup bag and then I put my shorts in the envelope.
The blood is wet, it marks my hands and I just stare at it. I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t understand why I am bleeding.