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Short Story 3.

Grant Me Death.

 By Jamilla.

It was a dreary Saturday night. I was sitting home, alone, flipping through the television channels trying to find something, anything that would catch my fancy, giving refuge from my horrendous reality if only for a second.

 A car swerved to a park in the short dilapidated driveway, its light hitting the thin worn curtains and illuminating the living room for a bit. In a rush of motion, due to the adrenalin and fear coursing through my veins, I turned off the television, sprinted up the stairs to the bedroom, into the bed and under the covers. Thoughts all in an indiscernible muddle, I curled up into a ball, trying to make myself as small as possible, hoping against all odds that for once, he would come upstairs and hug me, like he used to, before he lost his job, before he started drinking. As I laid there on the lumpy old mattress, I remembered what he was like when I met him.

I was barely sixteen, and at eighteen he was older, more mature than any of the boys I knew. I had gone to the market and saw him glancing at me. I was delighted when he came over to say hello because I was shy and could have never gotten the nerve to speak to him first. He was so charming that I agreed to go out with him on the following Saturday night. I thought I would burst with anticipation. When he came to my house, in a shirt and bow tie, he looked so silly that I giggled, he fixed me with a stern look that sucked all the laughter out of me, but then, in the next second was gushing about how beautiful I looked, and how he felt so lucky to be taking the prettiest girl in Tennessee out for a drive. He even opened the car door for me and held my hand as he drove to the fanciest restaurant in town – The Caruaru. I was so ecstatic, looking around wide eyed, gasping and pointing at everything, when he sent me that scalding look of his, and pulled me aside.

“Would you stop that?” he whispered fiercely, holding my arm so tightly I was sure that there would be scars in the morning.

“Ouch!” I replied, trying to wiggle out of his firm grip.

“Try not to look so daft” he sneered.

I felt a sting of tears, at his words but he quickly tugged me to the table, pulling out the chair and gruffly forcing me down, to sit.

I stayed silent.

He leaned over the table and caressed my hand.

“I am so sorry, I am just so nervous, I feel as if I have treated you badly, I am just so unaccustomed to being out with such a pretty girl” he whispered tenderly, raising my hand to his soft lips.

I smiled, all transgressions forgotten. 

Stupid me.

I snapped out of my reverie, when I heard him slam the front door shut. I cocked my head to the side, listening keenly. I could hear him fumbling around, bumping into chairs and cursing as he did so, his words all slurred. After a sickening eternity of silence, I heard him stomping up the stairs, the sound echoing and warping, becoming a menacing laugh to my ears. Thirty more steps. I gave a humourless titter as I realised that I knew the number of steps between us. Fifteen more steps. I closed my eyes tightly and held the crucifix on my chain; its sharp edges piercing into the tender flesh of my palm. No more steps. He had reached the door. It creaked open, slowly, almost reluctantly, and suddenly the room was engulfed in a white blinding light that filtered around him like a halo. My eyes crinkled as I strained to see in the brightness.

There, in the door way, he paused, like a caring angel, but this here was no angel. His body reeked of vodka, the smell of it steaming up through his pores. He stumbled closer, calling my name, “Kyla, Kyla”. I pretended to be asleep; my body was taut, like a pulled bow, waiting anxiously for that first strike to come, I lapsed into my dark memories once more.

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