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THE IMAGE of Cole's torn up back and the sound of his strangled groans continuously replayed in Bella's head as Mommy and Sir continued eating upstairs. Bella didn't know why they had forced her to go back upstairs with them, but she wished that she didn't have to leave Cole so she could truly apologize to him.

They were acting as if nothing happened as they ate. Bella just sat across from them, her arms straightened against her sides and her eyes glued to the wall as she trembled. She hurt him so terribly, and from that alone, she could not stop shaking.

"Listen, Sweetheart," Mommy started, and Bella's eyes snapped to the sickly woman who had just forced her to beat somebody.

"Why do you like me now?" Bella asked, her eyes filling with tears as she stared into the wicked, beady eyes. "Why do you hate my brothers so much?"

"Excuse me?" Mommy asked, tilting her head. "I thought that I told you not to question me," she said, her polite tone beginning to drip with thick, underlying anger.

Bella's eyes closed, and a tear slipped down her cheek. "You made me beat him," she whispered, her eyes widening as she then adverted her gaze to the dirty, wooden table in front of her. "He did nothing wrong - nothing to deserve that kind of punishment."

"I told you not to question me," Mommy repeated, her rotting teeth gritted together.

"You don't even care!" Bella cried out, her hair sticking to the tears coating her cheeks as she continued to snivel. "You're just eating as if you didn't watch a sixteen year old boy get whipped! As if you didn't... as if you didn't just make me do it!"

"What I do with my children is my business - you are my children, I will do with you what I please," Mommy growled, still clearly trying to keep her calm but she was about to burst. Bella could tell, and everything she had worked for to gain her trust was absolutely worthless to at that point.

"He was in so much pain already! You keep beating him and beating him!" she cried, her voice scratching against her throat. "Why are you doing this to us? Why?"

"He deserves it. He's my child, I'll decide what-" Mommy started, but Bella cut her off.

"We aren't your kids!" Bella screamed, her fingers threading through her hair as she heard Mommy stand up from her seat. "We aren't your kids, I will never be your daughter! You are such a cruel woman-"

Bella clenched her teeth as she was suddenly lifted from the chair by her hair, which was tangled in Mommy's tight fist. Bella's eyes locked on Sir who seemed too afraid to interfere, despite his large stature, he seemed very small in that moment. His hood was down and his eyes were fixed on his lap as Bella was then thrown into the wall.

The pain that radiated throughout her head was indescribable as it hit into the dirt-streaked wall. It wrapped around the base of her skull and throbbed beneath her forehead as Mommy then lifted her up by her hair again.

"I was just trying to bond with you. You ruined it!" Mommy cried out, her screech straining with anger.

Bella's nails clawed into Mommy's bare elbows, digging and penetrating her flesh as Mommy dragged Bella over to the basement door. Bella's fingers wrapped around Mommy's fist, where a handful of her hair was being squeezed above her, and she tried to pry Mommy's fingers apart.

Mommy swung the basement door open and Bella tried to latch onto the side of it, but Mommy kicked Bella's stomach to make her lose her grip, and before Bella knew it, she was tossed down the stairs.

Bella groaned on each step that she fell down, until she finally slid weakly down the last two, and Mommy's figure was only a silhouette at the top of the staircase, surrounded by the blaring light from inside her house. Bella sucked air through her teeth and brought her hand up to rub the top of her head, though her entire body ached.

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