“Draylen! Dray! Get your arse down here now!” A gruff voice belted up the stairs.
Draylen responded immediately and ran down the stairs, almost falling.
“What is this?” Draylen knew his father’s tone well as he pointed at the dirty dishes piled beside the sink.
“Sorry, Father. I was going to...” Draylen looked down, he knew what was coming.
“Oh, you were “going to” were you? You have chores, and you know what happens when you don’t do them within the first day. I’m a generous, merciful man and you do not respect that.” He spat at his son.
“Sorry, Father.” Draylen repeated and braced himself.
His fathers hand made a sharp noise against Draylen's cheek. He whimpered quietly as his father grabbed his arm none too gently and dragged him to the cellar.
“Get down.” Draylen’s father ordered as Draylen himself got down on his hands and knees on the rotting wood floor of the small cellar beneath their house.
Tears slowly rolled down Draylen's reddened cheeks as he heard his father walking over to the corner of the room where he kept it.
Draylen closed his eyes tight, preparing for the pain.
“Ah!” He breathed as the whip met his bare back.
“You know what? You are just a selfish little boy who knows nothing. You can’t even clean dishes properly. I feed you, give you a place to live and clothe you, and how do you repay me? You don’t do the simplest things I ask. Ok, maybe I don’t fully clothe you, but at least you’ve got something! Ungrateful little bastard.” He put emphasis on the words where he brought the whip down on Draylen's trembling body.
The fresh scars of the whip blended in well with the others on his back from previous times of torture.
Eventually, Draylen's father stopped and sighed.
“I’m getting tired.” He dropped the overused whip in the corner again and went back up the unsteady stairs to the ground floor. He slammed the door behind him and locked it.
Draylen curled up into a ball and wept. He leant his back against the cool, wet wall, it soothed the physical pain slightly but nothing could heal the mental pain his father caused him.
“No! Not that one.” Draylen says quickly.
They look at him oddly.
“Ok.” Rosa sighs. “Which memory?”
“Did you just see a memory of his?” Jasper interrupts.
“Yes. I can do that. Let’s have another look, shall we?” Rosa stays facing Draylen, who nods shyly.
“Draylen, what are you doing?” Her worried voice came from the doorway. Draylen looked over to his mother and quickly hid his arms.
“Nothing.” He said, a little too quickly.
“Show me.” She took his arms gently in hers and looked at them.
“Oh my.” She gasped at her sons arms.
“Mother, I’m sorry. You know why I do it.” Draylen had tears in his eyes.
“I know, honey. I’m so sorry. It’s all my fault.” His mother was now weeping quietly.
“Mother, don’t cry. It’s not your fault.” More hot tears streamed down his cheeks as they embraced each other.
Draylen's arms hurt as he squeezed his mother tightly, not about to let her go. The blood ran onto her shirt.
Her arms made his scars on his back tingle with warmth.
“I love you, never forget that.” She whispered into his short hair.
“I love you too.” He hugged her tighter.
“Yes. That one.” Draylen confirms.
“Are you sure? Once you choose, you can never change.” Rosa warns.
“Did you just look at another memory?” Jasper interrupts again.
“Yes. Fuck off. Are you sure, Draylen?” Rosa pushes Jasper away.
“Yes. Very sure. That was the first and last time my mother and I had been alone together since he came. He never let me see her. That was the best day in my life.” Draylen whispers to Rosa.
“Very well. Once the others have made their decision, you shall be free to live the memory.” She turns to the others. “Who next?”