Broken Soul (Chapter 1)

by Ashley Peterson

The pungent stench of alcohol tainted the air around the small house. The furniture was moth-eaten and moldy, the curtains torn and the walls stained with blood. This was his home. Victor's eyes scanned the area, as if there were some unspeakable threat lurking around every corner. This was his life. Living in the cold shadows of fear and torment. He made his way across the living room, feeling the crunch of the rotten old carpet break and crush under his shoes. His eyes darted from one wall to the other, seeking. Searching. His thoughts came to him in the back of his mind. He realized he had nowhere to turn should more blood run from his arms. He was utterly alone to deal with the taunts, with the pain. That hurt the most, and the thought of it made his heart clench and twist around behind his ribs. Tears began to swell up in his eyes, but he fought them back. There was no room to show any kind of weakness around this horrid place. The sound of someone shuffling came from the kitchen, just behind the wall to his left. His gaze left the rotting brown paint on the walls and his muscles tensed, jumping backwards by an instinctive reaction. His eyes grew wide as he took a step backwards, preparing to run away. His mother, Clarice, looked around the corner of the wall at him, her eyes tired and weary. "Oh...Hello Victor. You're home early." Victor's muscles relaxed, but only by a slight bit. His mother was a brief source of comfort, but even that was not enough. Many of the times, she was part of the bigger problem. "Yes...I didn't want to stay outside. The weather is getting to me." This was a lie of course, he wasn't about to tell his mother about the other children at school, whispering horrible things into his ear, poking fun at his heart, ripping up his journal, his dreams and thoughts for as long as he could remember to pieces in front of his very eyes. They ripped at his sleeves to expose the scars on his arms, sketched with fresh cuts and horrible scars; his only other escape from this hell he believed was his home. With a slight nod of her head, Clarice turned and made her way back into the kitchen, preparing dinner with the rusty tools hanging from the walls, not aware of Victors deceit. "You'd best get yourself cleaned up. Your father will be home any minute now." Those words made his heart sink and tumble deep into the cold pits of oblivion. A lump grew in his gut, he knew this feeling well. Fear. His heartbeat quickened to an unhealthy pace, and he opened his mouth to speak, but something made him hold his tongue. He wanted nothing more than to confide in his mother, hoping for some sense of comfort and condolence, but then he realized how empty and careless her words really were. He sunk his head low, matching the feeling of his heart. He felt so alone. So helpless. With a quick shake of his head, he made his way down the small hallway and into his room. This small little space was a piece of heaven to him, the only place he could be alone, and in peace. He took a quick glance at the posters and drawings on the walls. They gave him a sense of comfort, of warmth. He found a small sense of condolence in the fact that his room was very dark, though the sun was high in the sky. With a hint of amusement, he noted that it would make sense as to why his skin was so pale, something he was teased about rather often as well. He carefully shut the door behind him; leaving him in the silence he was both comforted and unnerved by. He dropped his backpack onto the ground and propped it up against the wall before walking slowly over to his bed. He climbed up onto it and lay there on his belly, closing his eyes and taking in this moment of calm. Before he even knew it, he drifted off into a quiet sleep. Victor opened his eyes and glanced around this new world which he knew as a dream. He took a few steps closer to a river, which seemed to melt right out of the nothing he was standing in, but he was not afraid. To his surprise, his arms had no scars, no blood stains, no bruises or cuts. For the first time in many years, a smile touched his face. He saw his own hand reach down and rest on the surface of the water, but before he could feel the calm liquid, it turned deep red, gushing out a sour stench. Blood. His reflection seemed to shatter and sink. The scars and memories returned to his skin, bleeding freshly as if he'd just sliced deep into his flesh. Pain surged throughout his whole body, causing him to thrash and fall onto his side. He felt a great weight being forced on his frail body, feeling bones crack and his organs being crushed. With a loud gasp of agony, he threw his eyes open, aware of his trembling limbs and beating heart. He sat up and slowly held his head in his hands, trembling more violently, feeling more cold and alone. He had no one to share these dreams to but his own mind. He felt trapped in these nightmares. He heard his mother calling from the living room, so with that, he dropped his arms, forcing himself to calm down. He stood up and walked from the room, going down the hall and downstairs. There he saw him, sitting on the couch with a beer in hand. His father, Rob, the very presence of the devil was sitting there, not 4 feet away from Victors trembling body. He turned his head around and looked at Victor with those cold, unfeeling pale blue eyes. He smiled when he saw his son's fear, showing his rotting teeth and bleeding gums, giving him a much more frightening appearance. Victor always thought the blood came from the children he brought home, who were never seen again. Rob smiled wider, loving the feeling of power he took from the obvious fear in Victor's eyes. "Hello, son." His voice droned with the beer he was already drunk with. Victor hated when he was drunk, because he did horrible things that he knew he would never remember. "Care to join me on the couch for dinner?" He cooed in a deceivingly soothing tone. Victor gave him a terrified look, feeling very uneasy at being in a room alone with him, knowing very well that this mild tone was nothing more than a shield against the retched things that man would do. He cautiously made his way forward, sitting down on the opposite end of the couch from Rob, clenching the sofa arm and keeping as much distance between him and the foul-smelling blob that watched him with such hunger. He felt like a small animal, trapped in a cage waiting to be killed as Rob leaned in closed, his breath reeking of rotten flesh, "You know I love you, Victor, right?" Victor shuddered; the cold taunting in his voice was almost heart-stopping. He closed his eyes and tried to escape into his own mind. He succeeded for a short time, until he felt a greasy, grimy hand slide over the back of his neck, making his spine tingle unpleasantly and his body freeze in complete terror. The hand slowly moved from his neck onto his shoulder, slowly sliding down his arm until it reached his belt, tugging at it in a torturous way. Victor whimpered, his fear making him tremble violently, but he didn't dare fight back, knowing the consequences. Rob's cold gaze watched Victor's face closely, drawing in every little detail of his terror that he could find, sucking it into the black holes that were his eyes. Victor's jaw clenched, and his legs were ready to run away, to hide in his room or leave the house where he knew he could find a spot to hide, but he could not risk another beating. His body was much too tired and abused to handle much more. "Dinner is ready boys!" Clarice carried in two plates of food, handing one to each of them. Rob looked at Clarice and withdrew his hand from Victor, taking the plate. "Thank you baby." He smiled, showing the blood on his gums dripping down his teeth, but he gave Clarice a swift slap on her rear, causing her to jump. Victor hated this about as much as he hated the uncomfortable touching. His mother always acted as if nothing was wrong, did nothing about it. Only once did she ever stop her husband, and it was enough for Victor to not hate her. He shrunk away from Rob, curling up more into the couch arm and took his plate. "Thanks, Mom." He muttered under his breath. It wasn't long before Rob took his plate, piling all of Victor's food onto his own plate. He handed the empty dish back to Victor and smiled a sickening smile that haunted Victor even in his nightmares. "Go wash this." He said with a hint of a tease in his voice. After a while, Victor made his way out of the kitchen after cleaning it up. His mother had gone to bed by now. He was alone with his father, again. His heart sunk so deep, it felt like it was in his belly as Rob turned around, giving him that disgusting smile. "So..." He spoke quietly. "Victor, my boy, you know I only want the best for you." Rob slowly took a drink of the beer in his hand, still smiling, not taking his eyes off Victor as he did so. Victor no longer believed a word he said about love. And what hurt the most was that he did believe him, many years ago. Rob used to be a much more fatherly figure, until Victor came to realize that he, himself, was hiding a secret that not many people know. Rob knew, and it had turned his heart cold as ice. Victor shook his head, starting to walk back down the hallway towards his room. Rob narrowed his eyes at this. "I'm talking to you, you little fucker!" He spoke with a rough growl now. Victor almost stopped, his eyes filling with terror, but deep in his heart, he was tired of this. He wanted desperately for it to stop. Maybe if he started to rebel, it would be easier. He told himself this as he shut the door to his room, walking over to his bed and sitting up on it. He stared at the window, his terror starting to surface. Then the door opened. Rob stalked into the room, clenching the neck of the beer bottle, an enraged look in his eyes. "You little son of a bitch," He growled roughly. Victor's eyes went wide, his heart clenched violently in fear and his muscles seemed to freeze in place. He closed his eyes, hoping this was just a nightmare, and that he would wake. But what would he wake to? Another nightmare? He shook his head, slowly opening his eyes again. He looked over his shoulder at Rob, hoping the terror didn't show, feeling Rob would smell his fear. His heart still pounded in complete terror, but he narrowed his eyes in an almost annoyed way. "What do you want...? He asked, hoping he gave off an irritated look. Rob growled in horrible anger at this. Fighting back was not something he was used to, and anger boiled up inside of his chest, rising higher and higher, making him clench the bottle until his skin turned a pale white. Victor's heart clenched in horror, he knew what was coming, but still something in his mind caused him to glare at Rob. He meant this. He hated this man. This monster who had taken everything away from him. He glared for a few moments before turning his head around, exposing his back in a gesture of carelessness. Now he wanted Rob to be pissed. He wanted a fight. Rob suddenly advanced towards Victor, grabbing ahold of his hair and ripping his head backwards, glaring at him in pure rage and hatred. "YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!" He clenched his jaw in burning anger, suddenly slamming Victor's head into the wall. Victor gasped and let out a screech of agony, feeling his skull burn and throb in pain. The will to fight left him, sinking back into the back of his brain where it would hide for many years, leaving his fear and horror to take over. He stared up at Rob with deeply mortified eyes, pressing himself backwards into his wall. He cowered in horror, his body racked with violent shaking as he threw himself towards the door, but he was not quick enough. Rob's hand came down on him like an angry storm, slapping his back into the ground. Victor yelled out loudly as his skin stung like a thousand needles piercing his skin. HIs back was always a sensitive part of his body, and Rob knew this. His enormous hands grabbed Victor's scrawny arms, pulling him up and pinning him against the wall. A fire in Victor's chest seemed to grow, and before he knew it, he was thrashing his body violently, twitching and squirming until he got ahold of Rob's arm. He threw his body weight into Rob, jumping until his feet left the ground, sending Rob crashing into the wall across from them. Victor slipped on the carpet before he could catch himself and tumbled to the floor, clenching the ground as his arms burned from the fall, but he stood up and looked at Rob. Rob yelled out in a horrible rage, kicking out at Victor, landing the sole of his foot right into the center of Victor's back. Victor screamed at the top of his lungs, falling forward and catching himself on the wall, panting and trembling from exhaustion and terror. His body was weakening already, and he could feel the energy leaving, being very limited due to previous beatings. He whined in pain, flinching in agony every time his back made a single move. Rob smiled at this, knowing he had him now. He walked closer to Victor, grabbing on to his hair again. He whispered hungrily into his ear, "Are you ready for the finale, my son?" He chuckled into his ear, his hot breath making Victor's eyes water, though he wasn't sure if it was from the putrid stench or of the knowing of what was coming. Shock seized his mind, and everything seemed to go black. The blackness faded only a few times. The first time, he remembered a breeze touching his skin; his pants were around his ankles, and then the blackness took him again. The second time his mind took over, he remembered a burning pain. Cutting and stretching his skin like a hot iron, his jaw was clenched tight, his nails digging into the wall as he screeched in horrible agony, though in his ear he could hear Rob's sighs and exhales of ecstasy, a horrible filthy feeling took over his whole body before it all went black again. The last time his mind came to, he was lying on the floor, opening his eyes just as the door shut, and the lock clicked. Trapped again. He hurt all over, mostly a sharp burning in his lower regions, as well as his back, which felt as if his spine had been snapped into two pieces. The burning spread to his legs, but the worst pain he felt was in his heart. It beat quickly, but he willed it to stop beating, hoping it would take away this horrible feeling he had. He felt tainted, betrayed, until his heartbeat slowed, going cold as it clenched, breaking, and cracking like whatever love he had for his father. Memories flashed before his eyes, Rob playing with him as a young boy, helping him cook, curling up and falling asleep on his lap. Tears came to his eyes, but his expression was blank. Those meant nothing anymore. All that was left was this empty shell of a man, causing other people pain for his own pleasure. He felt the hot tears stinging his cheeks as they fell to the floor, but his heart was numb, the pain passed, yet stayed. He lie on the floor, bleeding and broken, both in body, and in soul. Things had changed, but he still remembered the young boy he once was. Happy, bliss, lacking the cuts and scars he now had on his arms, and on his heart. This was what life had come to be now. This was the truth.

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