A Pattern of Abuse
“Try again. Sound out the words,” his mother says holding back her frustration. “I know it can be difficult to read, but you have to learn.” She rubs the top of his head. The little boy looks over the page studying the images first and then the words. “The boy ex, escaped through the fa, fa,” he stops as a hand smacks him hard against his head. “Fire you dumb shit. It says fire,” his father barks. “Damn it James he was only trying to sound out the word,” his mother pleads. “Stupid doesn’t know how to read fire?” His father asks before taking another drink. “I ain’t raising no dumb illiterate asshole in this house. He ain’t going to add up to shit any way, but if he can’t read? Be even more worthless than he already is. Can’t be slow, fat, and stupid,” his father argues. “You are one to speak. You can barely,” his mother doesn’t finish the sentence as his father raises his hand. Tears begin to form in the boy’s eyes. “That’s right woman. Know your place,” his father says before finishing off his drink. The boy fights the urge to cry. He knows better than to show weakness. Fights even harder to not let his father see. “Are you crying?” His father asks. The boy tries even harder to make the emotions stop by looking down away from his father. His father grabs him by the back of the neck, “Those look like tears to me. I asked you a question. Are you crying?” Tears fall from the boy’s eyes. “No,” the boy yells. His father’s eyes light up. The spark that he needed. “James don’t. He didn’t mean it,” his mother pleads. “Bitch unless you want to be taught a lesson yourself I suggest you shut the fuck up and get me another drink.” His mother walks out of the room as the hand around his neck squeezes to the point he can barely breathe. “You don’t talk to me like that you little shit. Even got your mother acting stupid. Must be some kind of sickness going around here. Best to stomp this sickness right out before it spreads any further.”
James drags his son by the neck out of the room and down the basement stairs, “First you can’t even read. Now all of a sudden you the big man with the balls to talk to your father like that. You want to cry like a baby? We don’t cry in this family. You want to be a man? Act like one.” James throws his son against the cage across from the basement stairs. The boy’s body lands against the cage with a loud crash. Grabbing his side the boy cries harder as he lay against the dirt floor. “Get in the cage,” his father orders. Kicking the child in the back, “I said get in the cage. What are you deaf and dumb now? Don’t act like you don’t know what is happening.” The boy shakes in fear as he enters the cage. The cage door slams hard behind him as he falls to the dirty floor of the cage. Torn up bits of clothing and old rotten food surround him as he fights the pain in his side. Fights to breathe. Fight the urge to scream. He can no longer take it as he hears the familiar sound of his father picking up the old iron rod. He wails in pain and frustration as he knows what comes next.
“Strip,” his father orders. “I don’t want to,” the boy expels in broken words and snot. “Sorry what was that?” His father mocks. Striking the side of the cage with the iron rod, “Don’t you make me ask twice? No use in fucking up your clothes over your stupidity, but don’t think I won’t.” His father walks over to the furnace and opens the door. The boy does as he was told. The fire burning inside lights up the room. His father places the end of the rod in the fire before asking, “Are you sorry?” Too afraid to move, too afraid to see the boy lays there. “Are you or are you not sorry?” His father asks. “Yes,” the boy shouts. “I want to hear you say it,” his father demands. The iron rod heats up. The boy sits up and grabbing the side of the cage, “I’m sorry father.” His father stands there with his back facing him. Doesn’t even bother to look him. Only stares at the end of the iron bar in the fire,” I don’t believe you.”
“So this pattern of abuse went on for years?” The doctor asks. The young man nods to the question. “Why not report it to anyone?” The doctor asks. “To who?” He asks right back. Writing some notes down the doctor studies the young man’s body language. “Tell me Steven did it feel good doing what you did? Getting your revenge? Was it worth it?” The Doctor asks. “No, not really. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t enjoy it the way that he did,” Steven says. “Odd because I don’t believe you,” the doctor smiles. Steven smiles back. “It did feel good shoving that hot iron rod right up his ass. Should have heard the way he screamed. The way he cried like a little baby until his last breathe. I didn’t enjoy the beginning but the end? It was too bad that it couldn’t have happened sooner. But we all learn a lesson in the end I suppose,” Steven rubs the scars on his side over his hospital gown.