Brand new. Excerpt. “Echoes of Mercy”

The key rattled in the hole once and I knew Dad was home. Mama and Jose ran to their positions at once. Watching Mama I knew she should look scared of what this may uncover, but as usual my Mama was a rock. Unflinching and resolved. They began and I just sat quietly at the dining table, spooning my rice slowly. I listened to the banter without as much as a blink.
“Jose, tell me the truth now! Answer my question!”
Mama said waving the bible wildly in her hand. Reddy looked confused and scared. The poor girl. She had been left out of the game. Mama’s key finally gave way and fell out and Dad’s prevailed. Jose really looked trapped, and downright afraid. Good actress she was. Or was she?
Dad opened the door.
“What is happening here?!”
He exclaimed. Momma plumb ignored him.
“Tell me! Has my husband been touching you or not!”
Jose’s eyes darted to Father’s, as did mine. She froze for an instant till Mama’s voice shook her.
“He’s been pressing your breasts. Has he not?!”
Jose lowered her head and I expected her to give out. Instead she said,
“Yes.”
Never in my eleven years had I heard such gravity in one word.
Mama looked upon Pa for the first time then.
“Shame on you Christopher!”
She yelled at him. I swallowed rice hard. He got all red in the face. He banged the door shut.
“And what can you do about it? Yes, I have and I will marry her! What can you do you peasant? I will throw you out of my house!”
Momma got that look in her eyes and I fought the feeling that I should cover my ears and duck under the table. I wasna a child no more.She faced him squarely.
“Try it.”
This time I felt like moaning, my spoonful of rice midair. I was frozen, but Reddy wasn’t as Pa grabbed Mama by the neck and opened the door again, trying to push her out. Mama put both hands against the frame and refused to be thrown. I watched, my eyes once went to Jose. I had no words for her look and still don’t. Reddy was screaming and crying profusely. It was suposa be a ruse. It shouldna have been this way. He shoulda been mortified and ashamed. It shoulda made him stop! As I watched Pa, all 6’1 foot of him trying to push my struggling Ma, 5’5 out our door in just her bra and her blue wrap skirt for chores my memories came. A younger me, flinging myself on my green bed, Pa and Ma’s voices raising goosebumps on my pale flesh, praying for all I was worth that they would stop and be happy. Convenanting my life. It hadn’t worked. Another scene, blurry, me younger still, maybe five, walking around the house proudly in Mom’s black and white gown that pooled at my feet. People everywhere. Mom was packing I knew, but not why. Priscillia, a woman in our church grabbed me.
“Tell your mother to stay for you girl. Or you as good as dead.”
She frightened me and I ran to Mommy remembering how she said I could take anything of hers I wanted. I had always loved the dress. I looked at her now and saw she was sad.
“Where are you going Mommy?”
I asked. She didn’t answer right. She stayed after they sat her down to talk. As I remembered I felt something break inside me. That was one of the first of his affairs. I was bleeding from inside. Something else was filling up though. Cold, hard, and angry, killing me as it came. I changed right there on the dining table, Reddy screaming, Mom fighting, Dad pulling, Jose begging him as he hurled treacherous words at the mother of his children, words I will not say now. I put the hanging spoon in my mouth careless of the chaotic melee around me. Esme was filled. Oh yes I was! With hate. Hate for the man who’s sperm created me. And worse, hate for myself. I canna tell ye all right now. Trust I will though, all in due time. This is only the beginning. The prolouge if it be a book. Everything will come. Every blasted, dirty bit of it, for this story….Canna help but be told.

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