The Dream

How many times had Sam lain awake in her bed in her 12 precious years waiting for the door to slam just that way? He was home and he was drunk again. She knew her mother lay awake just as she did, waiting. Would he pass out on the couch or would he be itching for a fight? The fights were horrible; there was always yelling, screaming, and the dull thud of landed blows. The blows never sounded like they did in the movies. They sounded sickening. Her mother was always making excuses for him. “He didn’t really mean it.”, “Your father just had a bad day at work.”, and the ever charming “Your father apologized and said it would never happen again.” Sam never really understood why her mother never left him.

Sam heard her father mumbling to himself and rummaging around in the refrigerator. He was probably looking for another beer. Hearing the slam of the refrigerator door she curled up into a ball and pulled the cover up over her head. “Where is my beer? I thought I told you to go get some!” her father screamed as he stumbled past her door on his way down the hall. The door to her mother’s room slammed open and she heard her mother’s gasp. “Teddy calm down, I put your beer in the garage so it would be cold.” her mother, timidly. “I don’t want to go to the garage for my beer, I want it in the fridge!” he raged. “Now get up and get me one!”

The bed springs squeaked as her mother got up. Then she heard it, that sickening sound again and again. Sam started to cry as she heard her mother fall hard to the floor. She wanted to get up, she wanted to get out, and she wanted to help her mother! But that would only make him angrier and he might start on her.

Her mother was whimpering and begging him to stop, but he wouldn’t. She knew he wouldn’t. Then the noise changed and he was kicking her down the hall towards the garage. Past her room they went, him kicking her all the way. The garage door creaked open. “Here, here it is. See, I got it just like you told me to.” her mother cried. “Put it in the fridge, you worthless cow!” he yelled.

The sound of bottles being put into the refrigerator and her mother’s scream, “No, Teddy, No!” were the last sounds Sam heard then the silence. That awful silence! She didn’t dare move, she didn’t dare breath. When the front door slammed again, Sam bolted out of her bed and into the kitchen. The last thing she saw before the blackness took her was her mother lying on the kitchen floor in an ever expanding pool of blood.

Sam woke up drenched in sweat and crying. She reassured herself by looking around that she was, indeed, in her apartment in Chicago. She was not back in that kitchen in Ohio 15 years ago. She was now an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office she reminded herself. She had survived foster care and had worked hard, gotten a scholarship to Harvard Law and taken the position with the Domestic Violence Division so that no other 12 year old would have to see what she had. Every case she took reminded her of her own and this one was no different. Would she ever be able to sleep without seeing what her father did to her mother?

The Dream

Cynthia Teskey

Indianapolis, United States

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short story

Artwork Comments

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  • Michelle Boyer
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