Intro and Summary: Intro and Summary into ‘Face All the Pain’ | Face All the Pain
Chapter 2: ‘Fading in the distance’
“Mommy?” Benjamin hums in my ear.
“Sshh, Benji. You’re going to wake up Mister.”
I feel the bed move as he animatedly shakes his head. “No I won’t.” I open one eye and scan our surroundings. He doesn’t sound worried or scared, but I have to be sure.
The room is as it always is. The disgusting yellow wallpaper is, sadly, still in it’s place, the dirty orange rug is still nailed to the floor in the center of the room, the red curtains, put there to hide the fact that there is wood keeping us in, rest limply against the wall.
Nothing in here is mine except for the few pairs of clothes I have stashed away in the closet. Even those aren’t really mine. I wasn’t complaining, though. I like believing I don’t actually live here.
But evidence of a child living here is strewn across the room. Tons of broken crayons litter the floor as well as ripped up sheets of paper from a notebook. Fuzz from old stuffed animals lay like dusty clouds on the frayed carpet. Surprisingly, there isn’t much more than that.
Ben’s teddy bear is clutched tightly in his arms. Even if he isn’t afraid, he still looks like he’s choking the life out of his toy.
I sit up, resting my weight on my elbow. My heartbeat is going a thousand miles an hour, and I can hear it because the room is eerily quiet. I lower my voice so that it’s barely heard, “Benjamin, what are you talking about?” He flops on the bed beside me and giggles at something unspoken. His shaggy brown hair grazes his forehead and almost blends in with his chocolate brown eyes. My beautiful boy.
He takes a deep breath as if he’s about to sneeze, but says simply, “Mister isn’t awake.”
I relax a little. So, we weren’t in danger of being trouble just yet. “So he’s sleeping?” I ask and wipe the drool from his cheek.
“No,” he says, nonchalantly. Why do four years olds have to say everything in a riddle?
I sit up all the way and grab him in my arms, keeping him locked tightly in my grasp. My thin arms don’t do very much for protection, but I can’t help but try to keep him safe as much as I can.
I listen intently for a moment. Everything is absolutely quiet which scares me more than I care to admit. The hum of the television in the other room is gone, the thumping caused by a wireless air conditioner hitting the wall is now non-existent, the constant coughing from a smoker ceases to fill the air. even shushing Benjamin again when he tries to say something. We stay like that for at least five minutes when I relax my shoulders and he crawls out from under me.
I have never heard of this house being this silent since I was brought here. For some odd reason, I feel almost… relieved. But another larger part of my mind is telling me to stay in this locked room with my son.
I bring my mouth down to his ear and breath out the words, “Where is Mister?”
I hope he doesn’t know but I have to be sure. He told me before that Mister wasn’t sleeping or awake which only means that he knows something and it’s impossible for that to happen if he had stayed in this room.
“He’s in the chi-chen,” he twists his mouth up in order to form the word ‘kitchen’ but fails. His words are louder than I would have liked and cringe when he starts talking. “He’s looking at the dirt.”
My eyebrows draw together as I try to decipher his phrases. “The dirt?”
“Yeah,” he climbs off the bed, using the blanket as a rope to lower himself down and picks up a coloring book and pencil. I give up on trying to get a straight answer out of him, so I get out of bed myself.
My socked feet hit the ground with a soft thud and I shuffle to the door. There are four locks; two on the outside and two on the inside. I only have the keys for the inside locks, but the outside ones are almost never used. I think he mostly keeps them like that for control.
I fold my arms together and inspect the door. All of the locks are undone and I specifically remember double checking last night. My eyes move over to Benjamin where he still sits ont he floor coloring. “Did you leave this room?”
“Yes,” he says and looks up from coloring Batman’s face orange only for a second before losing interest in the conversation. At least he’s honest.
I pick him up from his armpit and bring him closer to my face. “You can’t do that anymore.” His face shows nothing, but I keep going. I want him to understand what I’m talking about. “I know you’re bored in here all morning, but you can’t bother Mister. Do you remember what happened when he found you in his bedroom?”
I hate talking about it, but I’m afraid it’s the only way to get through to him. His lip quivers as he thinks back on what happened.
I could see it too, as clearly as the day it happened.
I watched closely at the exchange between the two boys that day. Mister was bent over, his shoulder length dark brown hair concealed his face from my view, but Benjamin wasn’t scared so neither was I.gave him a lollipop the day before and Benjamin watched as he stashed the rest in his bedroom. The day in question, Ben wandered down the hallway from where I was washing Mister’s clothes in the kitchen, and Mister found him with his hand in a sock drawer.
We were all in the kitchen; I was washing clothes and Mister and Benjamin were looking at something in the taller man’s hand. “It’s a lollipop,” he says loudly. I always wondered if he knew he was speaking loudly or if he was just so used to it that he was unaware of the effect it had on people.gave him a lollipop the day before and Benjamin watched as he stashed the rest in his bedroom. The day in question, Ben wandered down the hallway from where I was washing Mister’s clothes in the kitchen, and Mister found him with his hand in a sock drawer.
He grabbed the three-year-old’s hand- rather rough if I must say- and flipped it over so that his palm was toward the sky. He pushed the candy into his hand and said, “You eat it. It’s sweet.” Years of smoking took a toll on his body. He was fast, muscly, and his abs were as hard as a rock. Now, his stomach is softer and fatter which slows him down a lot when walking or running. And his voice was like gravel, hoarse and cracked.
Benjamin stuck the sucker in his mouth and smiled up at the man for the first time ever. We both followed Mister with our eyes as he walked down the hallway to his bedroom and stashed the rest of the candy out of sight. Later on, Benjamin wandered down the forbidden hallway and into the even more forbidden master bedroom.
I didn’t realize he was gone until I heard his tiny screams. I immediately dropped everything I was doing and didn’t hesitate to run to where I heard him. When I rounded the corner to Mister’s bedroom, I found both boys in another exchange. This time, it wasn’t free candy.
Mister had Ben by his tiny hand and brought his palm down on his cheek over and over. My heart dropped and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to recover from what I was seeing, let alone assume Ben would.
Every time his large hand made contact with Benjamin’s tiny cheek, a loud sound of skin hitting skin echoed through the room followed by a blood curtling scream.
I remember pulling on Mister’s arm and telling him to beat me instead, not him, but he completely ignored me as if I had whispered. I cried as he took out each lash on Ben’s face, but I couldn’t do anything. I could only watch.
After twenty-one slaps and counting, Mister let go of his arm and Ben landed at a heap on the floor, curled up and crying.“It had to be done, sweetie,” he told me and then grabbed me by the shoulders in an aggressive way. He backed me up into the wall and shoved his groin into my stomach. “Don’t let it happen or you know what I’ll have to do.” I did and it terrified me. As much as seeing him hit Ben hurt me, I was twice as more scared when he came into my room late at night and locked Benjamin in the bathroom. I always knew what was coming and I hated every minute of it.
I ran to his rescue, but before I could even take two steps, a large hand sprung out and grabbed my shoulder, preventing me from going any further. “It had to be done, sweetie,” he told me. His strong grip pushed me towards the wall and my back made contact first. He shoved his groin out and it collided with my stomach and I wanted to throw up. “Don’t let it happen or you know what I’ll have to do.” I did and it terrified me. As much as seeing him hit Ben hurt me, I was twice as more scared when he came into my room late at night and locked Benjamin in the bathroom. I always knew what was coming and I hated every minute of it.
I can never forget those large black eyes and how they stared at me like I wasthere to be his toy. It sickened me.
Needless to say, Benjamin never walked into that room again and cries when he sees lollipops. I set him back down on the floor and tell him, “Stay here, Ben. Don’t leave this room.” And with that, I take slow, careful steps out the room and towards the kitchen.
Mister’s house is small and very old looking with multicolored wallpaper and dust aging back to the eighties. I guess you can’t get much if you’re a wanted criminal.
Before going into the kitchen, I have to walk down the hallway that our room is on. It makes me almost dizzy with the moldy walls and green shag carpet, but I keep going anyway.The kitchen and living room are in the very middle of the house with two short hallways on either side leading to two different bedrooms.
We don’t own any pictures, knick-knacks, or furniture except for the things that were here when I arrived.The kitchen and living room are in the very middle of the house with two short hallways on either side leading to two different bedrooms.
Silver picture frames with family photos line the walls and the mantle of the living room. I don’t know what happened to the family or even who they are, but I like to make things up. Like a fairytale to keep me sane. My favorite one is located above the wooden spoon. It shows an older woman with a bleeding hand, but she’s smiling, and next to her is a young boy. He looks almost too panicked to be related to the woman, but they look a lot alike. There’s a twinkle in the woman’s eye and the way she holds her head slightly to the right catches my attention every time.The kitchen and living room are in the very middle of the house with two short hallways on either side leading to two different bedrooms.
For years, I would look back to that picture and take advice from the lady. Even in the roughest of times, you have to keep smiling because that’s te only way you’ll survive.
The kitchen is connected to the living room and the only thing that separates to two is a short wall, barely half of my body, made of blue glass. It’s barely a kitchen at all, actually. What I think happened is they forget to put in a kitchen when they designed the house, but the living room was big anyway so they just split it down the middle and shoved a refrigerator in it.
There’s a small island in the center of the kitchen area and I would usually ignore the fact that there was a shoe partially hidden behind a corner of it, but this time it throws me off.
Because the shoe is still attached to a body.
My breath quickens and goosebumps pop up across my skin when I see him on the floor with a knife lodged in the side of his neck. Even worse, there’s a cigarette in his mouth and it’s still giving off smoke.
I crouch down behind the island and look around, hoping whoever was in the house didn’t see me. My hand is touching the pool of blood that’s now covering most the floor around us, but I can’t be bothered with it.
The only thing that runs through my mind is the realization that I stayed alive all these years and took beatings and abuse from my parent’s murderer just to die in the hands of someone else. And Benjamin, my own flesh and blood, would never live ’til his next birthday.
Remembering that I have a whole person to take care of other than myself, I get up halfway and run down that hallway at half-height. A long breath escapes me when I find that Benji is still in the room, oblivious to what’s going around.
“Listen, Benji, we need to…” But before I can finish, Benjamin cuts my words off in a hurry.
“Was I a good boy, Mommy?” His pale skin streches out into a broad grin and I can’t help but smile back at him. It would be refreshing to have the innocence of a four-year-old.
While he was also terrified of getting in the middle of Mister’s wrath, he also has no idea. I protect him from so much but that’s the way it should be. He shouldn’t have to see his mother beaten for his mistakes.
“You were wonderful,” I said and kissed the top of his head. “But listen,” I say quieter. “We need to leave. Get your favorite things and put them in this bag.”
I spend a second digging through the closet to find an old yellow shopping bag with a missing strap and hold it out to him. He takes it without question and immediately pours crayons straight into it.
I turn my back on him to pack the clothes we have, but keep my ears on the sounds of the house and on Benjamin behind me. I grab a sweatshirt with blood stains on it and tighten the strings on the hood to hold the rest of our items. The clothes barely fill up half the sweatshirt so I start looking for things around us that we should take.Meanwhile, I start packing clothes. The only clothes Benji and I own are from thrift stores or dumpsters or anywhere Mister could find extremely cheap clothes. Therefore, we don’t have much. It was a good thing one of the few objects in the house Mister allowed me to use was the washing machine.
I’m moving frantically around the room, picking up everything that I find necessary and soon, our bags are full. My mind is thinking of so many things at one time that they become a jumbled up mess and it’s as if I’m not thinking anything at all.
I scoop up Benjamin, shove the bags on my other arm, and slip out of the room, careful to not make any alarming sounds.
There aren’t any signs of anyone else being in here other than the dead body, but I know as soon as I let my guard down, they can attack and I don’t even know who I’m dealing with. I will my breath to slow down because it’s hard to hear for murderers when there’s nothing but the sound of your own breath around you.
I stop for a short moment in front of the forbidden hallway that leads out of the living room, but take long quick strides when I tell myself I’m being ridiculous. He can’t beat you if he’s dead, I think. Besides, even if he wasn’t dead, you would be the least of his worries. That reassurance was enough to keep me going.
The master bedroom, which Mister had taken up as his own, is like a mirror image of mine and Benjamin’s shared bedroom except his is much bigger. And messier. If I hadn’t been in there one time before, I would think he had put up a fight. But I knew the furniture that’s in there and these scratches in the armoire and holes in the wall are nothing new.
“Look for money,” I say to Benjamin. “It’s rectangle and green.” And we both begin our search through the room. I take the whole area from the broken bathroom door to the bed and Ben looks through the dresser. “Nothing?” I ask once I don’t find anything.
He shakes his head and flops onto the ground right outside the door. I completely forgot that he was afraid to even think about this room, but it was a life or death situation and I’d rather him be scared than dead.
I go out to the hallway, look around for a few seconds, and then pick Benjamin up, bringing him back into the room. “Here, sit on this bed while I think of where it could be.” I don’t know for certain if he even has any money stashed away in here, but it’s no secret that he’s a thief. If he stole anything from the ‘business trips’ that he went on, I’m positive he would keep them in his room.
I’m tired of thinking after a few minutes of going back and forth between ideas and finally sit beside Benjamin to assess our situation.
“Hey, does this bed feel a little off to you?” I observe, turning to Benjamin. He shrugs and goes back to making a shadow puppet dog without the shadow part. “Help me lift this up.”
I don’t feel like it’s weird because it’s an old bed and the springs are popping out. No, this particular bed is taller in the middle and lumpy in a pattern. Old beds aren’t this uniform.
Benjamin gets up and with both of our strengths combined- mostly mine, though, because Ben is only four- we finally push it over and it hits the wall opposite it with a loud crash. I would have been a little nervous and cautious when I heard the loud sound the mattress made, but it’s hard to care so much when tons of money is looking right at you.
Literally, stacks and stacks of cash are piled up under the mattress and I feel my eyes water up at the sight of it. After living off of cheese sandwiches, cold soup, dumpster clothes, and recycled toothbrushes, seeing all this money here is like a gift from Heaven.
“Wow,” Benjamin says aloud.
“Wow is right, kid,” I say back. “Fit as much of this stuff as you can into the bags and your pockets. Take as much as we can carry.” So we stuff our things with so much money that we’re weighted down and can hardly run out of that hallway.
I go straight for the door, not even thinking about it. I pull the keys off of Mister’s belt-loop and make a run for the outside world, hoping to leave this life behind me.
The sunlight is so much brighter than I remember it and I have to squint in order to even see where I’m going. And it’s much worse for Ben because he’s never been out of that house before. He’s never looked out of a window. He’s never played in the grass until he got all dirty. Benjamin is living the life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and his gasps as he sees everything for the first time prove my point.
The air is… fresh outside of that smoke-filled house. It’s hard not to take a few deep breaths just to feel it in your lungs. The birds chirping around us remind me that the world didn’t stop while we were locked up in there. It changed drastically, but the Earth didn’t stop turning.
The same truck that I was kidnapped in is parked on the side of the house, out of view of most of the street. I only go back to that night for half a second before pushing it far away from my mind and getting in the truck.I’m at the familiar white truck in record time, buckling Benjamin in the back seat with the two bags and getting in the driver’s seat.
I sit Ben in the back and tighten the seatbelts as much as I can, but each bag on either side of him so he’s mostly secure. No one can blame me for not having him in the proper seating. He’s never even been in a car before.
It’s been years since I’ve driven a car, but I find that turning the key and pressing the gas is simple. It’s like when you make the same cookies over and over, you’re bound to remember it. And then when you stop and start again, it’s like no time had gone by.
I have no destination at this point- I don’t even know where we are, but I just drive. It’s easy to do since there’s really nothing but fields and a long road in front of us.
After a while, Benjamin finally figures out how to speak again and he says, “What is this?” I look at him in the rearview mirror and find him staring out the window in awe, his tiny hands pressed up against the glass as if he’s trying to grab a piece of it for himself. I find it especially funny when he sees a cow in a pasture and his eyes go wide with excitement.
“This is outside,” I tell him, smiling at his tiny form, bouncing up and down behind me. This is the first time I’ve seen him this happy and it makes me sad. He never deserved to be brought into the world like that. But from here on out, I’m giving him the best life possible.
“What is outside?”
“Outside is where the sun shines every day and the moon comes out at night. There’s plants and animals and people all around you. It’s really a wonder.”
“I like it,” Benji says. “Why are we here?”
“Because we’ve escaped. We’re finally free to explore the world.” Finally, free.
*(A/N)* And if you liked that, please hit the star/like button so I know to post more chapters for you!
So… how was it? Five years after the previous chapter and a lot happens. That means tons of information bombs coming your way!
Just as last week, I used a song line as the chapter title and chapter 2 is from ‘You Picked Me‘ by A Fine Frenzy! 🙂
Also, sorry this was quite a bit later than it’s supposed to be. If you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m not prepared for anything so it’s 2:30am on Saturday and I’m editing this. And I would have spent all day fixing it up, but it was my birthday today so I went out to lunch with my parents and then spent half of my day taking driving tests. I promise next weeks will be mostly on time. xD (And it’s also why this might not make since or it’s badly edited. Sorry!)
I post a new chapter every Friday so make sure to stay tuned for the next one! Thanks for reading!
I post reviews on Mondays, tags on Tuesdays, my favorite #1lineWed tweets on Wednesdays, chapters of Face All the Pain on Thursdays, Friday Prompts on Fridays, and Random Ramblings on Sundays. I’ll see you all later but until then, keep writing, loves.
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