Hidden Truths - L G Campbell
“This way. Now stay in there. Pa won’t come looking for you as long as you stay quiet now, okay?” My brother Blake warns.
I nod and tuck my knees into my chest so that Blake can close the cupboard door. Blake holds his finger up to his lips to warn me to be quiet. He’s always looking out for me.
“No…please. Jed, baby, it’s nothing. He was just helping me with the groceries.” We hear Mamma beg. Her trailing voice is followed by the loud sound of Pa slapping her and the thud as she collapses to the floor.
I ball my hands into fists, so tightly that my nails cut into my hands. I watch Blake’s face turn to anger. He stands up, pushing the door so it’s almost shut but not fully so I’m not covered by the dark.
I’m scared of the dark. The monsters come out when the darkness descends. I’ve seen them. I’ve seen exactly what those monsters do under the cover of darkness.
I crawl out of the cupboard to follow Blake. He gets mad at me when I try and help him, but he’s my brother and we fight the monsters together.
I hide behind the doorway. Mamma is on the floor with blood coming from her mouth. Pa stands above her and lights his bad cigarettes. Aunt Trudy says they are what turns people into monsters. They smell funny too. I ain’t never smoking those.
I spot Blake holding the baseball bat Uncle Max gave us. He said if we ever need to fight monsters that this’ll help. Since Blake is my older brother he’s is in charge of it for now, but Max said that when I turn eight I can use it.
Pa hasn’t noticed Blake yet; his eyes have gone funny from his bad cigarettes. Mamma spots Blake and she shakes her head in warning at him. She always does that. Our Uncle Max taught us that you should never hurt a woman. Hitting women is wrong and if we ever see someone doing it, we kill them. Well he said a different word, but I’m not allowed to say it and Aunt Trudy told him off for telling us. As soon as Aunt Trudy’s back was turned Uncle Max leaned in.
“Boys, you look after your mamma. She needs you to have her back. Family always have each others’ back. We have yours and I promise you’ll be free of your shithead father soon.”
He said that two months ago and now every knock at the door, every time the phone rings, there’s a little bit of excitement in me. I keep thinking it’s Uncle Max coming to save us. I know he will. He’s never let us down.
Blake runs at Pa and swings the bat hard across his knees. Pa roars in pain.
“Mother fucker!” He grabs Blake by the throat and squeezes.
“Stop! Let him go!” Mamma screams. She tries to stop Pa but he just shoves her back to the ground.
Blake is fighting to breathe. He drops the bat.
I move as quickly as my legs will take me and grab the bat. I swing with all that I have, aiming for Pa’s nuts. Uncle Max taught us that we may be small, but we can take down any man by hitting them in the nuts.
It works. Pa drops Blake to the floor and falls to his knees, holding his crotch. Blake coughs and gasps for air. I go to him and wrap his arm over my shoulder, helping him up. He takes the bat and we turn to help our mamma and make a run for it.
She shakes her head.
“Go babies. Go get your uncle Max.” She whispers.
We are both torn. We don’t want to leave her but we decide to run and get Uncle Max, at least he can help her. As we run out the door we hear Pa yelling.
“Get back here you little shits. I’m the fuckin’ president of the Satan’s Outlaws and your father! I demand respect! I will make you fuckin’ pay for this!”
We don’t stop running until we get to our Uncle and Aunt’s place where we’re safe for now at least.
We went through another four years of living through that hell after that night. During those four years our mamma had our baby sister Maggie May. Mamma had a plan: we were going to leave and stay with Max and Trudy. Mamma said Pa’s time was up now, too many members were fed up of his ways. It was our