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Melanie woke up in a cold sweat as her body trembled from the vividness of her dream. Or nightmare would be a more accurate way to describe it.
Though awake now, she couldn't shake off how real it'd felt. How scared she'd been when the man with no face, other than shiny white teeth, had her trapped. In her room. In her former place of sanctuary. When thunder had rumbled from outside and shook the house her very core trembled.
Worse still was when lightening struck. Splitting the very heavens in a flash of brilliant blue. Revealing more of the grinning monster. Its high cheekbones. Its chiselled chin. It was handsome, but resonated an evil aura.
Tears came to her eyes as she remembered how she'd begged for it to just leave her alone. But it advanced. Taking no notice of her pleas, that she was only 11, that she had nothing to give... Instead it grinned wider. Showing more of its teeth.
As it got closer all she could do was cower in a corner. Huddled next to her teddy bear with the white fur and red ribbon. She’d always imagined Teddy as her big furry bodyguard. Her personal protector.
How wrong she’d been.
The grinning demon simply dashed Teddy to one side. Stepping on it, towering over her. Its massive shoulders blocking out any light and casting a long shadow over her. Shaking she looked up, and this time its face was fully revealed. She saw the face of Jerry. The face of her son. Reaching for her, with massive hands. She let out a scream – it was the scream that had woken her from her nightmare in a cold sweat.
It was only a dream she tried to reassure herself, but she knew that was a lie. Although the events were warped by the dream, they
had happened. So long ago, when she was so, so young. Her life forever changed. Her innocence forever tainted.
She felt around, noticing the warm body laying next to her. A man's body. Naked. Right now though she couldn’t think who he was. Or how he got here. Her mind was a mess, cloudy from the dream. Cloudy from life. All days seemingly rolled into one long battle against depression. The only peace she found was in warm flesh and gift of cocaine highs. To ease the numbness and help the days roll by.
She reached for the bedside table, feeling for the little bottle of Hennessy that she knew would be there. She picked up the three sleeping pills left on the side, popped them into her mouth, washing them down with a massive gulp that warmed her chest.
Laying back she tried to close her eyes but all she saw were visions of darting shadows. Shadows that morphed into images of a shadowy man. With large shoulders. Always smiling. Smiling with the face of her son.
She rolled over into another dream. Back to being just a child. A child who was so skinny. Who had such slender arms. Slender legs. But such a pretty face. Comments about her natural beauty became normal for her, but one commenter remained consistent. Persistent even. Always telling her what a beautiful face she had. How long her legs were. How full her lips were. How she could/would make a man very happy. Her young brain just couldn’t workout how the man who openly praised her and showered her with gifts for just one affectionate kiss. Stood in front of her. Again. Going for that which was most precious.
She felt his large hands on her. She tried to cower away further, but still he touched. Placing his hands on her neck. Over her shoulders. Across the little lumps on her chest. Making her shudder. With disgust.
Outwardly crying. Crying for help. That she knew – that they both know - wouldn’t come. Why did mummy have to work so late? She sobbed, for the millionth time.
As if turned on from the whimpers, his hands reached further. Reaching across her slim stomach. Down below her waistline. Underneath her pyjama bottoms. Between the thin pieces of fabric that concealed her innocence.
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She woke up in another sweat. Everything felt hazy, surreal. Was this real? Was she real? Was her existence real? she felt drained and tired. She hadn’t slept properly for the last six months. Barely more than a few hours each day. Each time she managed to sleep, she’d be met with the same reoccurring nightmare. She hoped time would off eased the pain. But it only got worse. The men. The drugs. The drink. These only helped to temporarily ease the hurt. Ease the urges. Her old urges. Subconsciously she touched the cut on her wrist.
In a haze, she got up and made her way over to the source of her problem.
She entered her son's room, sitting on his bed she looked at him, watching as he slept so peacefully. Only seven years old but still so handsome. He had the same high cheekbones. Like him. The same chiselled chin. Like him.
Without warning tears streamed down her face. As she pondered the question she’d asked a million times before why God, why does he have to look like… him... Act like… him...She stroked his hair as her tears fell harder. Rolling over her cheeks, dropping from her chin, dampening his hair.
She looked over at the spare pillow next to him and suddenly it all became so clear. All so apparent. Why hadn’t she thought of this earlier. For the first time in such a long time she had a clear plan. A clear route.
To stop the feelings of emptiness, the feelings of loneliness. A plan to stop the self-hate. The self-harm. The feelings of resentment – no, hate - towards her son.
She grinned, just like how the monster – no, Jerry - had grinned in her dreams. She grinned even more as she placed the soft pillow over her son's – no, the monster's - face. She grinned even wider as she saw his body react. How his arms flailed about. She pushed down harder on the pillow as he struggled for oxygen, the oxygen that she, his mother, prevented him from breathing.
The muffled voice of her son calling for her, snapped her back to reason. Fuck! The reality of what she’d nearly done, hit her. Hard. She ran from his room. Her mascara ruined by tears. Her mind further damaged by the sobbing heap left behind. Her sobbing heap. Her Jerry.
She ran to the bathroom. Locking the door behind her. She turned on the light. Looking in the mirror. Seeing a reflection of a gaunt face. With mascara streaks. Puffy eyes. Smudged red lips. Full hips. Ample breasts. She was still beautiful. But so badly damaged. And hurt.
She raised her arm and looked at the lines. From where she'd cut herself. As a child to her late teens. Though her cuts were healed each one represented a memory. A point in time. When her uncle, the real monster, Jerry’s father, had molested her. Each cut representing each one of his touches.
Calmly she opened the cabinet door. Pulled out and opened the container with the sleeping tablets. She popped a tablet into her mouth. Then another. And another. And another. Consciousness slipping from her as her mind travelled... Travelled back to the sleeping angel that was her son. Her beautiful son, Jerry Fishton.
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