One again, I was given the phrase "I have a secret"... this was my creation.
I have a secret..
I now face the Grim Reaper in my hour of darkness.
Though it may not seem important to others, to me it is the reason I am who I am. The reason for the screams shattering the silence in the early hours of the morning. The reason for the fear that shows in my eyes, and what puts the tremble in my hand.
I am twenty three years old. Born on the eve of the St Valentines Day in one of those towns you have never heard of, and can’t find on a map. Maybe it was an indicator of what my life was to become. Unimportant, relentless, and full of uneducated people. The kind of people with missing teeth, a slur in their voice, and an IQ of well less than normal.
When I was sixteen my mother, was killed by my father. I guess I should have seen it coming. When he was around, it was always the same. He’d walk in the door, a swagger in his step, and the smell of whiskey on his breath. He’d throw his keys, and kick off his boots in opposite directions, then bellow for my mother to have dinner on the table, pronto!
He’d sit, and expect his meal, his shot glass, and a beer to be in front of him. The whisky he preferred to keep in his flask, strapped to his leg, under the cuff of his pants. He’d eat. He’d cuss. He’d complain about anything his mind could grasp, then he’d get mean. Too many nights I’d seen my mother cower in the corner, trying to avoid his fists and his rage. Too many mornings I’d wake up to fresh bruises, dried blood on her face, and the look of terror in her eyes.
Her face, that was once beautiful, was distorted. She’d had her nose broken more times than I can recall, her cheek bones had sunk under the pressure of his fists. And in one fit of rage, I will never forget, the force of his punch literally exploded her left eye. It was then sewn shut, sunken, no longer forced to see the malice in his face. That was the night her life hung in the balance.
I’d learned early to make myself invisible when my father came home. I’d hide in trees, or under my bed, or even in the closet amongst the discarded coats, and old shoes. Anything to save myself. He never remembered I was meant to be there, and because I was too naïve to realize, my mother become his one and only target. Maybe.. Just maybe if I had’ve materialized, he may have let her be.. Maybe…
I’d heard his truck. I’d scrambled from my chair in front of the TV, and run towards my bedroom, but my eight year old legs weren’t fast enough. He slammed in the front door.
“Rosie! Where the hell is your mother?” he yelled at me.
I stopped in my tracks, facing away from him, too scared to turn around.
“She’s with Maria next door. Maria’s having her baby, Daddy.” I whispered.
“Rosie, honey, turn around and say that again.”
Maybe it was the “honey” he’d said, or something else, but I turned around.
I was literally blindsided by his fist. It slammed into the side of my face, my eyes losing their focus and exploding in a screen of crimson red. I fell to the floor, clutching at the side of my face, my eyes closed.
I heard him step towards me, then I felt another explosion of pain in my lower back. He’d kicked me. Hard enough to take the breath from my chest, and bring tears to my eyes.
“GET UP, YOU FILTHY LITTLE LIAR!!!” he bellowed.
I rocked on my side, willing the pain to ease. I rolled to my knees, my head hanging towards the floor, my tears dripping on the floorboards beneath me. With one hand on my back, I slowly brought myself to my feet.
“Where is your slut of a mother, Rosie? Who is she with? Where is she?” He punctuated each question with another blow to my head.
My mind was reeling, I couldn’t focus and the pain.. Oh my.. The PAIN! I couldn’t vocalize, though I tried. My brain wouldn’t cooperate.
He started again “Where is she? Who is she with? Why isn’t she here? WHAT MAN IS SHE WITH ROSIE? So help me child, if you don’t answer me, you will feel my rage!!”.
Both of his fists pummeled my head, my shoulders, my arms. Blows rained down on me with every word. My knees wouldn’t support me, and I stumbled to my knees. Yet he was relentless.
I could feel something dribbling down my cheek, could hear a keening voice begging for him to stop. I didn’t realize it was me. I dropped completely to the floor. Defeated. Hurting. I tried to curl into a ball, to shield myself from him. My legs wouldn’t obey me. I could drag my torso forward, that would have to do. I bit my bottom lip, trying not to show him my pain, but the tears still escaped from my eyes. The blows eased somewhat, but only so he could resume his kicking. After a kick to my neck, the room went black, and I sank into the darkness.
I could hear voices. I could smell rain. But I couldn’t see. And then there was nothing at all….
I could hear my mother whimpering somewhere near my feet. I could feel the hard floor beneath me, the cold air seeping between the boards, chilling my skin. I tried to open my eyes and found that one wouldn’t cooperate. Through the other I could see my hand in front of me. Twisted, broken, and bleeding. I willed it to move, and it twitched as I watched. I tried to focus on my other hand, to get it to move, and it obligingly inched forward to it’s mate. It looked OK, if a little swollen. So far, so good.
I attempted to lift my head, but it felt glued to the floor. There was the unpleasant feeling of it pulling at my skin, and tearing, until it was finally free. My eyes searched around wildly for my father, my mind begging to see he was gone. The furniture had been upset, the vase with the daisies I’d picked for my mother was shattered on the floor. The rug was twisted and curled on top of itself against the TV cupboard.
My eyes searched further and found my mother. She was sprawled across the floor, with her right leg on an unnatural angle against the door frame. There was a pool of blood under her head, and she was still whimpering.
I gasped, which triggered a wave of pain through my chest, tears stinging my eyes. I cast my eyes over my mother, broken on the floor. Struggling to breath, I dragged myself to the table with the phone, and with one last burst of energy I dragged the phone down beside me. I knocked the receiver off the cradle, half clawing, half dragging it close to my mouth, before I struggled to find the keys to call the ambulance.
“Emergency. How may I assist you?”
I tried to talk, but all that emerged was a strangled squeak.
“Hello? Emergency. We have you listed at …” her voice died out, as I struggled to remain conscious.
The darkness was closing in on me again, the voice becoming more distant. And then I was gone again.
When I regained consciousness, I was in a hospital bed. Being monitored by machines, needles stuck in my hands, and a tube in my nose. I struggled against the bonds that tied me to my bed, pulling the drip from my hand, and unclipping the wires from the pads on my chest. The tube in my nose was taped to my cheeks, and with one hand out of action, I struggled to free myself.
The machines didn’t much like my actions, and beeped in protest, which invariably brought nurses running to my side. One older nurse, with the look of a kindly grandmother, grey hair, rosy cheeks and a glint in her eyes, looked at me kindly and leaned in to whisper something in my ear. For a moment I stopped struggling, curiosity getting the better of me.
“Shhhh, Rosie. It’s OK now. We’re here to make you feel better. Please, for your mom, try and remain calm. You were hurt pretty bad. You need to lie back and let us look after you, OK?” she murmured in my ear.
As she leaned back, she smiled at me. My eyes darted left and right, she’d mentioned Mom, where was she? Was she OK?
I tried to talk, but my throat was dry, no sound came out. I swallowed against what felt like sandpaper and tried again, with little more success than before.
I dropped my head back against my pillow and sighed. I closed my eyes against the tears that threatened to overflow.
I could feel the nurses reattaching the monitors. I felt one hold my arms, then the prick as a new canula was put into place for the drip. I laid motionless, and willed the darkness to take me again. At least in the darkness, I felt no pain.
For three long months I was held captive against my will in that small hospital room. Unable to free myself because of my legs. You see, one of the blows that he had landed on my back, had splintered my spine, and pinched my spinal cord. It wasn’t severed, but I had to have several operations to set the bones correctly, and free my spinal cord once again.
One and a half months of torture as every day I willed my lower half to react and move when I willed it. And then a further 6 weeks to regain enough coordination to be able to walk again.
On my third day in hospital, the lovely grandma nurse came and sat by my side, as I sat staring at the ceiling.
She gently held my hand, and began to speak..
“Rosie, sweety. We thought it was time that you knew about your Mom. She’s not doing so well right now, but we are trying our very, very best to make her better again.”
I remember tears flooding my eyes, as she continued,
“Maybe in a week or so, we could take you down to see her in the ICU, would you like that Rosie?”
I nodded in silence, not trusting my voice to answer. I could feel my heart breaking. My mom was in ICU. Broken, hurting, suffering, all alone.
I wanted so badly to be able to take her pain away. I wanted to pick her up and run away with her, so she would never hurt again. Even at the tender age of 8, I wanted my father to suffer for this. Here, both my mother and I lay, incapacitated by him. I imagined him dying by my hand. I wanted so badly to strike out at him, and make him feel the pain I was feeling.
A week later, Marie (as I’d later found out), the kind grandmother nurse, came to me again. She had a smile on her face, and was pushing a wheelchair in front of her.
I looked up in anticipation. Could she really be here to take me to see Mom? Would I really be able to see for myself that she was OK?
“Hi Rosie, feel like taking a little ride with me? We can’t be too long, you shouldn’t be up yet, but a short visit to your mother shouldn’t be too bad.”
My eyes lit up, as I struggled to sit up. Stupid legs wouldn’t cooperate with me, and swing off the bed. Marie chuckled, and helped me into the wheelchair. She strapped my chest to the back, and my arms to the armrests, adjusted my feet pedals, and we were on our way.
I was anxious to see Mom, but also reluctant to see her injuries. Marie hadn’t been able to tell me if Mom was getting any better. She wouldn’t tell me how badly hurt she was. All I knew is that my beautiful, kind-hearted mother was still in Intensive Care.
We rode the elevator down a level, and into a deathly quiet corridor. A blue line run the length of the floor, around a foot from the wall, almost as a guide. A light blinked on the ceiling, intermittently, and there was a moth beating it’s wings furiously against the frosted glass, that separated it from the bulb.
I could hear a faint beeping from a machine nearby, and a whispered conversation about a dinner date held the night previously.
I was scared.
We moved further along the hall, past a small desk, where a large black man sat, in a uniform. I recognized the badge of the state Police, and my heart started beating faster. Why was a policeman here? What was going on? I could see the gun hanging from his belt, and the frown on his face as we passed him by.
He sat next to a doorway, where the door was closed, and the curtains cracked open only slightly. It wasn’t marked. A person could have confused it for a broom cupboard.
Marie rolled me around, and backed through the doorway, before straightening up and pushing me towards the end bed, surrounded by curtains. She paused briefly, to peek through the curtains, before pushing one back, and then pushing me forward into the gap.
I gasped in shock. My mother had her leg suspended by a harness above the bed. Both her arms were in plaster casts, her neck was in a brace, and most of her head was swathed in bandages.
The only part visible to me was her right eye. It was closed, as if in pain, and it was a ghastly shade of yellow. Her bruises were fading.
She was wearing a hospital gown to cover herself, though I could see the raised edges of the bandages underneath.
Only one leg remained untouched. Her right leg curled under her left, as if supporting it’s weight. Tangled around her legs, under her backside, and under her plastered arms, was her blanket.
I looked to her face again to see her watching me. There was no denying the look of torture in her eyes. She was suffering in silence, something she had had to learn with him around.
Marie wheeled me forward then released my arm, so I could reach out. I rested my hand on my mother’s hip and I released my tears. They ran down my cheeks, before dripping onto my lap. I looked at her face, and into her eyes and at that moment, I promised myself that that bastard was going to pay.
Marie touched my shoulder briefly, allowing me a moment to talk to my mom. “I love you Mom. Please get better. Please?” I begged of her. Her eye closed again, then reopened. Slower than a blink. I took this as a yes.
Eight long years later, I came home from school to find my mother collapsed on the floor. She’d taken another vicious beating, but this time, she would never wake up.
I curled into a ball next to her, with my head on her shoulder. I let the tears roll down my cheeks. I laid her hands gently on her stomach, I closed her eyelids, kissing each, before reaching for the phone.
The week following her death was a haze. The day of the funeral dawned grey and raining. A miserable day. As I sat next to her coffin, I felt renewed hatred for the man who had done this to her. I promised myself that before long he would meet the same sticky end.
He sat next to me. Staring forward. His eyes were expressionless, and there was a tick in his jaw, as he clenched his teeth. His hands were clasped in his lap, and his feet were crossed at the ankles. A few steps from him 2 state troopers stood in respectful silence, watching his movements. Their hands clasped behind their backs, their hats resting on the floor by their feet. There was no reaction from my father throughout the service. His face seemed to stay the same.
The service was short and sad. My mother had few friends, and her family had long ago cut contact because of my father. As the priest bowed his head, and wished her a safe journey into heaven, my thoughts wandered back to better times.
Back to the times when my father was away for work, and it would just be me and Mom, roasting marshmallows around a small fire lit in the grate. Laughing when they caught fire, before blowing them out and devouring them. Sitting afterwards with sticky fingers, pretending we would tickle each other. Brushing our teeth together, and then curling up in Mom’s big bed together to listen to the wind rattling the windows.
Waking up, to find Mom had made me a cup of tea, and was curled up next to me waiting for me to wake up. She made life special on those particular days.
She tried to shield me from him so much, and in the end sacrificed herself to save me. I would never forget her selflessness.
My father’s attorney managed to get a reduced sentence. A mere 8 years with the possibility of parole after 5. Given that I was 16, I was left to fend for myself. Something that I had no issue with, as I’d been looking after both myself and Mom when she was hurt for longer than I could remember.
For 5 long years I plotted his demise. For 5 long years my hatred for the man that had helped to create me, grew to astronomical proportions. I enrolled in the Police Academy as soon as I was able. I’d learnt to handle a firearm, finding solace in the eerie silence following the firing of a weapon. I spent hours shooting at targets, until I had a strike rate of 9.5/10.
I went on a safari of sorts, and practiced my new skills on live game. They never stood a chance.
I was ready.
And then the day arrived. I’d been notified that his release would be today. I sat on my front porch, a kitten curled up, purring in my lap. As I stroked his head, I grinned. I scratched behind his ears, and chuckled to myself.
It was too easy. Almost no challenge. But it felt oh, so good when I cocked the hammer, aimed it at his head and pulled that trigger. Watching his eyes widen in shock, before one eye exploded and the other rolled back in his head.
I spat in his direction then walked away. Mission accomplished.
I was arrested little more than a week later. Charged and convicted of first degree murder. A crime punishable by death in my home state.
So here I sit. I’m staring down the barrel of my own death. I have come to accept that it must be done. I have no remorse. I feel no emotion. An eye for an eye they say.. Quite ironic isn’t it?
I avenged the death of my mother.
I now face the Grim Reaper in my hour of darkness.
I don’t bow down before him, begging for mercy.
I stare in his face, with a “fuck you” attitude, and a smile on my face.
My name is Rosie. I’m 23 years old, and a convicted killer. I regret nothing.