O W A R D U N
I V E R S I T Y|
& Voices IV
AN ANTHOLOGY OF VERSE AND
Suzie woke up screaming and clutching her small teddy bear, her nylon pajamas clinging to her cold, clammy skin. Her heart heaved and pounded in her chest as her mind slowly came out of the nightmare and back into reality. Her mother, Anna, burst into the moonlit bedroom and switched the lights on.
“Honey! Honey! What’s the matter? Are you okay,” she asked, her voice thick with panic. Suzie did not answer, but just stared blankly at her mother silently praying for the horror of the nightmare to pass. Anna gathered the child in her arms, squeezing her to quell the uncontrollable shivers that had taken over the little body.
“It was the monster Mommy! The monster came to get me! Don’t let him get me Mommy! Please! Don’t let him get me,” Suzie wailed. Her mother kissed her on the forehead and tried to comfort her. She glanced up and saw her husband standing in the doorway taking in the scene before him as if it were unreal.
“Go back to bed Jim. She’s okay now. It was just a nightmare.”
Suzie’s tiny body involuntarily stiffened at the sound of her stepfather’s name. The hairs on the back of her neck began to bristle and her skin began to crawl as she thought of the man standing behind her. Without turning, she could see the hairy chest, the strong muscular arms, the chiseled features of his face, the…the other things.
She grabbed at her mother's nightgown and pressed herself into the security of her bosom. The tears would not stop. In fact, Suzie was afraid to stop crying for fear that her mother would leave her alone with him. She heard as he turned on his heel and padded down the carpeted hallway towards the master bedroom without a single word. Her mother broke the uncomfortable silence that had fallen over the room.
“Honey, do you want to tell me about the bad dream,” Anna asked, concerned.
“No,” the child screamed, cutting her mother off.
Anna looked down at her child shocked by the outburst, but she brushed it off thinking that the trauma from the dream was still fresh.
“Well, the monster is gone now. He won’t hurt you. I’ll see to it,” she said.
“No you won’t,” Suzie thought. “You haven’t stopped him yet Mommy. He always hurts me.”
Anna sat there with her daughter for a few more minutes completely oblivious to the thoughts going through the child’s head. Soon she moved to go. She kissed her daughter’s head again and got up from the canopied, pink and white, ruffled bed.
“Please don’t go, Mommy! Stay here with me tonight. I’m scared Mommy! He’ll get me! I know he will,” the little voice pleaded.
“That’s silly sweetheart. It was just a bad dream. Go back to sleep. You’ll be just fine. It’ll be morning soon.”
Suzie watched as her mother turned out the lights and stepped out into the darkened hallway, leaving the door open a few inches. The tears continued to stream down her already wet face as she clutched her pillow and pushed her back up against the wall for some semblance of protection. She gathered the blankets around her neck and shoulders and vowed that she wouldn’t go back to sleep. And she didn’t.
She was still awake when he came, but she tried to pretend that she was asleep. As soon as she saw his shadow darken the doorway, she closed her eyes and tried to be as still as possible. Still, he shut the door and came over to the bed, his footsteps as silent as they always were. He sat on the far side of the bed and pulled the covers from around his victim.
“She’s so beautiful and innocent,” he thought as the moonlight haloed her delicate face. Her eyelids trembled as she fought to keep them closed. Her body became rigid as he touched her and swung his feet up onto the bed. She felt it as he eased himself closer to her, his weight making the bed squeak. He climbed under the covers with her and said, “Sweetie, I know that you’re awake. It’s time.”
She tried to pull farther away from him, but he grabbed her roughly and dragged her back over to him.
“Don’t fight me Suzie. I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if you make me. Just do as I say.” He grabbed her face and kissed her roughly, almost breaking the tender skin inside her mouth.
“And don’t you ever, ever mention the ‘monster’ to your mother again. Do you hear me? I’ll kill you if you ever tell.”
Suzie stared at him with wide frightened eyes. She told herself that she was still asleep and that it was all just a horrible dream, but deep inside she knew that it was real. He reached down and removed Suzie’s cotton underwear. The girl stifled a scream as the flood of tears came once again. She squeezed her eyes shut as he moved on top of her, trying to think of being somewhere else…anywhere else.
The pain came as he moved inside her and Suzie clutched her pillow trying not to cry. Trying to be a big girl. She didn’t move and tried not to wretch as she heard the monster grunt and groan in his sick pleasure.
In the master bedroom, Anna woke up when she rolled over and felt that the space beside her was empty. A glance at the clock told her that it was 4:03 a.m. and she wondered where her husband could’ve gone. She lay there in the dark until 4:15 and then got up to go find out where he went. She gathered a shawl around her shoulders and stepped out into the hallway. On her right, the door to the bathroom was wide open and it was dark inside.
“He’s probably in the kitchen,” she thought. She walked past Suzie’s closed bedroom door while walking towards the stairs. As she stepped down the first step, it hit her. The door was closed. She’d left it open after Suzie's nightmare. Anna turned and went back to her daughter’s door, stopping to listen before she turned the doorknob. She heard muted grunts coming from the other side and grabbed her chest as she realized what was probably going on inside the room. She didn’t want to open it…didn’t want to see, but she knew that she had to. She could never live with herself if she didn’t. She turned the knob and flung the door open, flipping on the lights in the same movement.
“What the hell is going on here,” she screamed as she saw her husband’s hips stop moving as the brightness of the lights hit his face.
“Mommy,” Suzie screamed. She kicked the monster off with a burst of energy and jumped off the bed screaming, “Mommy! Mommy!”
The shock registered on his face and he fell off the bed trying to cover himself. Anna ran over to him and kicked him in the ribs. An animal-like shriek came from deep down in her throat and she kicked him over and over again.
“You bastard! How could you do this? How could you do this? You’re a sick, twisted pervert! You son of a bitch!” She kept kicking him and kicking him and he tried to roll away from her.
“Call 911 Suzie. Tell the police to get here now!”
Suzie ran down the hallway to her mother’s room and called the police. She screamed at them what had happened and babbled the address. Then she quickly hung up the phone and ran back to her own room. Her mother had picked up a chair and was about to hit the monster with it, but stopped short and dropped it on him instead.
“I’ll kill you,” she screamed. “I swear I’ll kill you!” She sat on his back and held him by the hair. She slammed his head into the carpeted floor over and over, wishing for once that they had bare, hardwood or tiled floors. Suddenly she felt someone grab her from behind.
“It’s okay miss,” a voice said. “The police are here now. We’ll handle this.”
She let go and let herself be pulled off of him…that sick bastard! And to think that she’d loved him and trusted him! She put her own feelings aside and walked over to where her daughter was huddled in a corner. She took hold of Suzie and hugged her tighter than she ever had before. The little angel cried and cried and cried, trying to wash away the memory of her nightmare come true. There was nothing that Anna could do to make the pain go away. She wished that she'd killed him. But all she could do was move on and do her best to make her little angel feel loved.
They watched together as the police dragged the beast out of the room and down the stairs. Anna held her daughter's little face and gently said, “I love you sweetie. I’m sorry that I didn’t believe you. I’m so, so sorry. Believe me, Suzie, the monster will never, ever hurt you again.”