The Attic VigilA Story by Sam Gem
A snapshot of an abused child.
One day, like many days after school, I spyed our driveway from a solitary attic window, and wished my father would die in an accident before returning home from work. I knew the Commandment and that it was wrong for a child to think this way. I asked myself how I would truly feel if my father died. Would I regret my wish? Would I miss my dad? I let myself imagine his funeral. I discerned solemn figures, heard my mother weeping, or maybe not, but I could only feel relief. I wouldn't be afraid anymore. I was startled out of my reverie by the distant slam of a car door. Despite my wish, my father had returned home. I watched him march down the stone path until hidden by the overhang. I heard him enter the house. Heavy footfalls moved straight to the stairs to the second floor. My small heart thumped on the third. I heard him bound up the stairs and I moved as silently as I could, minding every footfall, deeper into the shadows of the attic. I could feel his anger through vibrations of the old wood of the house. I heard him yell my name. He yelled it in an uncontrolled and very loud voice that made me cringe. In frustration he screamed it, over and over, as he stalked through the upstairs bedrooms beneath me. I didn’t breathe and I didn’t move, and prayed that he did not think to look in the attic. It had been a refuge so far. Finally, he gave up and moved back down the stairs, and I heard the front door slam. After staying very still and listening to be sure he was gone, I moved back to the window, but I couldn't see him. I sat on an old box of forgotten things, peering through the cobwebbed panes. I listened for his return until my mother called for dinner - a time from which there was no escape.
© 2012 Sam Gem
AboutHi. I'm Sam and reside in upstate NY. I am a writer of flash fiction, short stories, and maybe a novel someday. Be warned that some of my work has adult themes like sex and drug use. My flash f.. more..