We are proud to debut a haunting short story by Reem AlRedha, who showed talent in giving us as readers chills and goose bumps and left us with questions on the possibilities of what could happen next. Enjoy “The Escape” !
I isolate myself in a tight corner, struggling to avoid the unsightly visions of what seems to be a vivid delusion. I hear the cries and curses being echoed within the narrow hallways as an overwhelming presence of utter darkness surrounds me. It’s my alcoholic mother. Her monstrous ways of torture had me wishing I ceased to live every day of my fifteen years of existence. Upon my reminisce of past occurrences, I have my gaze floored whilst my face resonates both misery and despair.
She glanced at me, with such hatred and anger that built a sense of aching fright within me. She abruptly grabbed my hair as I screamed in severe terror. “YOU FILTHY PIECE OF SH*T.” she cried. “WHAT’D YOU TAKE?
I muttered “nothing.” in near silence. My mother’s hand violently came round my neck as she pressed harder and harder. My neck felt numb. My inability to breathe took control of me. My screaming attempts did me no good
I fearfully watched the gradual anger that seemed to build up within her by the second. My mother’s hands violently came round my neck . I felt her sharp nails scratching my bare neck, leaving red bruises and wounds to remind me of the misery I have lived through everyday of my existence.
After the hours of suffering, I was left to bleed in the dark basement. My breathing, like an asthmatic’s wheeze. My tears, forming like a stream rushing over boulders. My knees were pressed up against my chest, trembling. Was there no end to her brutality? As I slowly put my hands over my face, I felt a deep, rough wound at the very corner of my eye. I moaned in pain. It seemed like every inch of my body was in deep, excruciating agony.
I had had enough of her violence.
The very thought of escaping got me thinking back to my last attempt. I had been caught that day, and my mother’s ways of tormenting me had been so cruel and brutal, I couldn’t go through it all again. Her ruthless remarks and curses echoed repeatedly in my head. I remember smelling the horrible stench of alcohol on her breath. I remember the bruises, the screams, the curses, the kicks, the burns. No, I couldn’t go through it all again. The memories were too painful, and as I unwillingly recalled the events, my eyes started tearing whilst my heart started racing.
Another horrifying thought gradually formed in my head- It was another way to escape from it all. “Is this really worth it?” I thought to myself. I began nodding to myself in agreement. My shivering seemed to heighten by the second, but I knew at that instant that I had no other way. “It can’t be any worse than this.” I thought.
While headed to the door, I felt the constant throbbing in my head with every step I took, while trying to maintain a sense of silence. My breathing was heavy. I was surrounded by the lurking darkness of the basement. A sudden sense of hope was created within me as I noticed the feint hint of light creeping in from the bottom of the wooden door. I reached for the handle, observing my bony fingers shiver in utmost fear.
As I stood in shock, the abrupt, bright light almost blinded me. I was finally on the other side of the door. I had gotten out of the basement, knowing what my mother would do to me if I ever get caught. I hurriedly ran to the window, whilst attempting to ignore the sharp pains and anguish.
All I could hear were the feint sounds of my heart beating rapidly. At that very moment, I heard no screams, no whines, no curses, and no cries. The silence relieved me.
I looked out the window, and gave a sigh of relief after noticing my mother’s absence.
My face was a mask of sheer astonishment and shock as I observed my appearance through the window reflection. My black smooth hair fell upon my eyes, covering the fresh scars and wounds on my forehead. I slowly reached to feel my face, observing the gashes whilst the blood clotted under my skin. My dark, grey shirt was torn and ripped, revealing my bruised chest.
I cautiously headed to the kitchen, attempting to remain calm and composed. “What if my mother suddenly comes back?” I thought. “What if I get caught?” I continuously tried to shake away all my worries, despite my inner unease and fears. I rushed to the kitchen door as I came steps closer to my freedom, I pushed it open aggressively. I roamed around in circles. “No second thoughts.” I quietly murmured to myself.
I frantically opened all the drawers and cabinets, as I heard the screeching sounds of old surfaces colliding. My entire body was shaking in severe worry. I felt the slight prickles of sweat shivering down my spine.
Whilst looking around the kitchen, I observed a sharp knife by the edge of the table. Its divine arc of steel and carved black grip had caused me to shiver in anxiety. “I have to do this” I thought to myself. Feeling lightheaded, I walked to the table and grabbed the knife.
My heart rate increased. I started walking slower. My lips shivered. I heard the sounds of my teeth colliding repeatedly as I stood facing my reflection. My eyes, as red as the blood that would spatter over a vampire’s bare lips. Tears started forming within my bloodshot eyes.
“This is it” I think, as I hold the knife up against the side of my bare neck.
Author: Reem AlRedha