The stinging pain in Maria’s forehead woke her up. She tried to sit up, but the pain in her back was too much for her to bear. She lay back down carefully and stayed still unwilling to provoke anymore unnecessary pain. She was stripped down to her bra and shorts. She looked around, she was in her son’s room and it was dark outside. She tried to listen for her son’s or her mother’s voice, but there was nothing, the house felt empty. She panicked, realizing she had been out for so long. She sat up, biting her lips together to hold back a cry as her back and stomach screamed in pain. She felt between her legs. The last time she was out so long, Ricky had raped her. But he couldn’t have been so crude to have done so in her son’s bed?
“Mama.” The door flew open and Michael came running in. Maria teared up when she saw her son. She caught him when he jumped on her, holding him tight against her, completely ignoring the screaming pain in her body.
She hated being touched by anyone, but she always looked forward to her son’s embraces, which were like a cover of love that helped her get through the day.
She was glad to see her son, but she wished Edna hadn’t brought him back. Edna came behind him, a basin in her hand. She locked the door behind her and pulled the chair close to the bed and sat in it.
“Come Michael, I need to nurse your mama’s wounds.” Michael let go reluctantly, but sat under Maria’s arm and held her close, sniffing quietly. Maria felt like she was going to break down seeing her son cling to her, frightened and his eyes wet with tears. Edna was about to move him further away, but she shook her head, unable to speak.
Edna dabbed at her wounds and bruises quietly. She concentrated all her energy on that. She didn’t want to let her rage take her over. She was going to stay calm and wait. It would take close to a week before she could carry out her revenge and she was going to be patient as much as she wanted to carry it out immediately on her own. Ricky was going to get everything he deserved and more.
“Mama.” Maria whispered. Edna looked up to meet her daughter’s frightened eyes. She knew what she was asking, and for the first time she felt glad Maria had suffered a lesser evil. The last time she had to tell her it crumbled Edna’s heart.
“No, he didn’t…” she stopped. She took a deep breath and swallowed a sob. Maria closed her eyes and exhaled in relief. She couldn’t have stomached that degradation again, “He’s passed out in the living room.” Edna lowered her voice to a whisper, “Tom and Jane are coming to pick us up.”
Maria’s body tightened. They’d tried that already and it didn’t work. She was too scared to try it again. Edna put a reassuring hand on her, “I took the gun away from him, and Tom will handle him.”
The door crushed in and fell on the floor. Michael held Maria tighter and hid his face in her side. Maria stood up and placed him behind her. She too was scared, but not too scared to protect her son. Edna passed a shirt to her before she placed herself in between Ricky and Maria. She stared at him, full of rage. She might not wait a week she was ready to take him out right there and then.
Ricky staggered into the room, a bottle of vodka in his hand. He was still wearing the torn up bloody shirt, but it was also wet with liquor, “It’s good you are awake,” he stumbled forward, “Now go clean up your blood from my carpet!” he yelled, but no one moved which only pissed him off even more, “So, you haven’t learned your lesson yet?”
Maria and Edna just looked at him not saying a word. Maria put on the shirt, then held Michael against her, gently rubbing his back to sooth him.
“Michael, come here!” Ricky barked.
Michael stiffened behind Maria. He pressed himself hard against her as if he was trying to hide inside her back and clasped his hands around her chest. All Maria could hear was muffled moans and his hot breath on her back. Maria pressed him tightly against her, feeling her son’s fear.
“He’s not going anywhere!” Edna barked back.
Ricky pushed Edna aside. She fell against Michael’s desk, pushing all its contents on to the floor. He then slapped Maria and she fell on the bed. Michael looked at his mother and grandma before he looked up back at his father. His face stern, all the fear wiped away. He looked angry, with his little fists clenched at his side. Maria looked up at her son, fear crept into her when she saw the image of Ricky’s angry face on her son’s. She hated that look and she hated the fact that they resembled each other in that angry state more.
Michael yelled at Ricky angrily, “What do you want Ricky?”
“Don’t speak to your father that way!” Ricky slurred out his words, rocking unsteadily on his feet.
“You are not my father!”
The sound of Ricky’s hand against Michael’s head made Maria scream. She watched her son collapse on the bed unconscious after hitting his head on the frame. Edna picked up the chair and broke it over Ricky’s back. He fell on the floor and the bottle crushed under him. She then pulled Michael into her arms and jetted out of the room, Maria followed, her hand over her son’s bleeding head, sobbing hysterically, “Michael, baby please wake up!”
Ricky following them, “Come back here!”
Maria pushed her mother out the door, “Hide, I’ll hold him off,” she looked at her son’s limp body and the sobs and fear was replaced by an angry fire simmering inside her. She wiped the tears away with her fists then turned to face Ricky, a monstrous look on his face.
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