A Story by Terry Collett



Ingrid hides beneath her bed; her father calling for her, bawling out along the passageway; her mother whimpering; she can hear her, hopes her father won't find her, wants him to go off to work, leave now while his mood is dark and violent. She crouches down, sees the floor of her bedroom, the wooden floorboards, the small carpet stained, a few clothes here and there. The door opens, she sees her big sister's high-heeled shoes walk in the room and turn around. She's gone out, probably knew you were in one of your moods, her sister says. Her father's gruff reply; banging of doors; raised voices; her sister goes out, closes the door. Ingrid spreads her hands flat on the floor. Pushes away dust, looks out for spiders, fears to see one and cry out, have her father running in with his slapping hand at the ready, his dark eyes blazing like fires. She flattens herself out, her eyes on the door, her head to one side, the bed springs against her shoulders, touching her hair. The door flies open, her father black shoes visible, his brown trousers, two legs. Well, she was here a while ago; if I catch her I’ll tan her hide, so I will. He moves stuff on the dressing table, moves about the room, goes to the window and looks out. Where'd she go? Her sobbing mother enters, her two feet showing. She's with that boy from the flats; that Benny. Her father curses, pushes the drab curtains aside. I see him about; his quiff of hair, that fecking smile, the hazel eyes peering; she's not to see him; I don't like him, her father says. Her mother sobs, sits on the bed, pushes the springs down further into Ingrid's shoulders and hair. He's no harm, her mother says; his mother's a decent sort. Her father sighs. Why go with him? What she see in him? Her father bends down and picks up a cardigan from the floor, but doesn't look sideways at Ingrid there; he holds it up to her mother. She’s a lazy cow; look, leaves clothes everywhere.  She's just a nine year old girl, her mother says; she's much to learn. She'll learn it, he says, by my hand, she'll learn. Ingrid stiffens; fears he'll sense her under the bed. She knows he'll have her eventually. The last time he beat her, her had to sit sideways for days, even at school. Benny knew something was up; he always seemed to know. He peered at her; his eyes searching her. Where this time? He asked. She told him. Once he said he'd fire his catapult at her father's backside from the balcony, but she said not too.  He'll blame me, she said, he'll think I set you up. She aches. Her body is aching with staying still. She also wants to go to the toilet; wants to have breakfast. Her father walks around the bed, his black shoes walking slow. Her mother moves on the bed, pushing the springs again. You're too soft on her. I'm not. You are; she gets away with too much.  I do my best. The bed springs push down on Ingrid's head. Well, if you see her when she gets back, tell her I’m onto her; to expect a good hiding. Ingrid cringes. The black shoes walk away out of the room. Her mother sobs, moves back and forth on the bed. Ingrid senses the springs pushing down on her shoulders and head. Her mother rises from the bed, walks to the door, then out of the room, shuts the door. All is silent now as it was before.

© 2014 Terry Collett

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Added on December 16, 2014
Last Updated on December 16, 2014


Terry Collett
Terry Collett

United Kingdom

Terry Collett has been writing since 1971 and published on and off since 1972. He has written poems, plays, and short stories. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. on January 27t.. more..