Monday, March 12, 2012

Sarah By Christina Askin Richter

WARNING: The following short story was written around a poem I had written for a friend many years ago who shared some of the same skeletons in her closet as I did. Its nature is graphic and might be offensive to some readers. Sometimes, my writing is a way to release the skeletons...

“One than two than three then four, hear his steps stop at your door. Close your eyes and shut them tight, hold your screams with all your might. Rip and tear and burn your skin, fill you with his dirty sin. Dirty sin, dirty sin, dirty sin”... Sarah trailed off her infantile chant that she had made up all those years ago when her private hell first began. She sat in the darkest corner of her room, rocking gently with her arms wrapped tightly around her knees. She could no longer face herself, her reflection broken shards of a girl she’ll never be. Thunder rumbled deep in her soul and madness filled her mind. Her pale lips refused to speak words urging forgiveness. Memories of a girl she no longer knew taunted her and burned behind her swollen eyes, hot with tears.

She was so small then, with a smile that was plump with innocence and naivety. Her black curls fell loosely and cupped her smooth cherub cheeks. Her once bright eyes, so full of wonder looked out at the world with complete abandon. He had called her his little raven princess. The smile on his face masked the sinister look in his cold gray eyes. Momma had been gone a while now. Gone to heaven the doctors said. And as she spent her days trying to remember what her mother looked like, a malevolent fury was festering deep in the icy stone that had become his heart. He would sit at the table and watch her with a silent rage that was seething and waging war against her small form.

Sarah remembered the night her life ended, the night her future sank away from the light and rotted into nothing. She remembered the sound of his loud footsteps, one than two than three than four. Four steps from his room to her door. She saw the light from the hallway shoot up her wall in front of her and his hulking shadow filling most of the opening. She had rolled over to face him “daddy? What’s wrong? Is it time to get up now?” He wasn’t her real daddy, but he was the only father she had ever known. His name was Bobby but he had asked her to start calling him daddy after momma and him had been together a while. Little did she know how evil that name would become to her. His silence was unsettling and she felt the first tingles of fear creep up her spine. “Daddy?...” He moved towards her and the tingles raced through her like flames from a fire. She could feel her blood pound behind her ears and her heart started beating erratically. “What are you doing, daddy?” she heard herself whisper. Sarah gasped as his sweaty and calloused hand reached out of the darkness. Her scream was cut off as he clamped down on her mouth like a vice.

That was the night she died. He savagely raped away every single part of who she was and who she dreamed of being. Every smile, every song, all the wonder in the world had gone. All the birthdays and sunny days at the beach fell away. And what remained were only the corrupt fragments he had pitted deep within her. Each night was the same, the footsteps and then his shadow. If she shut her eyes tight enough she could almost pretend he wasn’t there. But he always found a way in. The weight of him crushing her, his guttural grunts stabbing at her ears, etching them into every corner of her young mind.

The days and months blurred together into years, leaving her lost in a permanent hell. There was once at time when she had almost escaped, she had almost freed herself of his evil. She had smiled then, thinking that it was over. The bright crimson mixing with the pooling water on the shower floor, but he had found her. He was yelling her name over and over, it almost sounded as if her were touched by grief. As if a tiny shred of guilt had found its way to him.

Sarah had spent a few days in the hospital, child services had chalked the incident up to suppressed grief over the loss of her mother. When they got home, they walked through the door quietly and as soon as the door clicked, the back of his hand connected with her jaw. She went flying backwards and hit the wall, crumpling into a heap on the floor. He charged at her in a rage and shook her violently, spitting in her face as he growled “you think you can escape from me you little bitch!” He slapped her again vowing to make her regret ever trying to leave him. He lived up to his words...

It was on the eve of her 15th birthday that she saw a glimmer of hope. A small shimmer of light, a way out. That night as he ravaged her and expelled his vile stench, she clamped her eyes shut, desperately trying to escape, if only in her mind. Then it happened. For a split second she was a little girl again, that small girl that had been lost to her for so long. She was standing under a willow tree, it was sunny and she was looking up at the long wispy limps dancing in the summer breeze. She felt the smile that was on her small face, and heard herself humming some happy nameless tune. “Sarah...” she heard a beautiful voice say. She turned her head and saw her mother standing by the water’s edge. Her mother smiled and motioned little Sarah to come to her. Then she turned away and vanished.

“Momma!” Sarah called out. “What? Momma? Your momma ain’t gonna save you. It’s your fault that she’s gone. You killed her! You made her sick! It’s because of you that she left us.” He shifted his weight on top of her and smiled with a sick satisfaction. “This is your fault. You made me do this, you little slut...”

Those words haunted her sleep that night. She thought about the dream of her mother and held on to the happiness and peace she had felt in it. Sarah now knew what she had to do. She knew how to escape.

“One than two than three then four, hear his steps stop at your door. Close your eyes and shut them tight, hold your screams with all your might. Rip and tear and burn your skin, fill you with his dirty sin.” She whispered her callous lullaby once more. This would be the last time.

Her hair like silken ebony, framed her gauntly face. It would be this night that she would grasp fate and bend it to her will.

She felt his looming figure as he neared, the blade held tightly in her hand, hidden beneath her pillow. He reached out his hand...and with a carnal scream she lashed out the blade wildly. He stumbled back, eyes wide and bewildered. Sarah watched as he reached up his hand and felt the gaping wound she had sliced into his jugular. She screamed again and felt the power of her rage fueling the blade in her hand as she hacked and slashed and stabbed with all her might. By the time she had finished, her voice hoarse from her screams, there was nothing left of his face. The beast was dead, cast back into the bowels of the pit that he had slithered from. The blade shimmered on the ground, his life still clinging to the cold steel. It was done.

The tears still fell from her gray green eyes, her pain pouring from every corner of her heart. The bloodstains on her hands tell a tale that will never be uttered beyond these walls. She thought of her mother once more, she was so close. She came out of the corner and slid her hands along her mattress until she found the key to her freedom.

She’ll never again hear those footsteps in the night. No vile desecration will stalk her weary skin. She was no longer his prisoner. There was just one more thing to do, one more task before she was finally free.  The blade she held, untouched by his decay, she clutched tightly to her breast. She lifted her head, closed her eyes and once again saw her mother beckoning her to come. The slice was clean and swift...her parting smile etched in deaths embrace.

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