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Families Come With Consequences
Author's note: I originally produced this piece for a creative writing competition for school and I won a prize. I am really proud of this.
I was trembling with fear. I had been for the past twenty minutes. You would have thought that I would be used to getting involved in my father’s dodgy dealings by now. It was becoming a regular event in my life.
My father would ask another man to do a job for him and would tell the man that he would pay him. He never does though.
I receive £400 a month – not as pocket money but as a form of bribery to keep quiet about anything that I saw or heard. The man would then come after me and demand I give him the money.
At the moment, there was a tall, dark-haired man stood before me, threatening me with a kitchen knife.
Blood oozed out of my left arm, from where the man had already swiped at me, and on to the marble floor. My stomach knotted as the smell of dried blood filled the air.
“I know you have the money, so quit fooling around and hand it over,” he demanded.
“I know that my father has treated you badly, but I haven`t. Is there any need to punish me?” I calmly said, hoping to talk him out of the situation.
“You don`t understand! Your father isn`t as perfect as you think he is. He has done things,” he croaked.
“What things? What are you talking about?” I demanded.
“You`re daddy`s little princess. You think the world of him even after something like this. Don’t you see, Courtney, your dad just uses you to pay off people. He doesn’t care whether you are hurt or not, meaning that I can do as much damage as I want because, really, daddy doesn’t care,” he teased.
“Y-y-you wouldn’t hurt me!” then I looked at my arm and added, “any more than you already have done.”
“We`ll see about that,” he mused.
“What did you mean when you said my father has done things?” I queried hoping to change the conversation.
“How old are you, Courtney? Sixteen?” he asked me.
“Well, when you were ten, your dad was just as bad a criminal as he is now. He would ask different men in his gang to do different jobs for him. Not good things. No, things like growing marijuana and selling it as well as using it – he still does, as a matter of fact. Another thing, and I hate to tell you this, I am not joking, but as you have asked I feel like I have to answer you, do you remember when you were five years old and your father told you that your mother had gone to live with her relatives in New Zealand?” he asked. He hated himself for telling her this as she really had never done anything to deserve this and she was a lovely young girl considering who her father is.
I nodded, not knowing whether I wanted him to continue or not. I couldn’t stand any longer. My legs felt weak like I was about to fall over so I sat down on the arm of the sofa and waited for what he was about to tell me.
“Where do you think your mother really went? Do you want me to tell you where she really went? I will tell you where anyway.” Ignoring the shake of the head that she just gave. “At the bottom of the nearest lake, that’s where! Your father killed her, then tied her up, strapping bricks to her back to weigh her down and then dumped her there. To this very day, she is still down there, as far as I know,” he revealed.
I swallowed hard, wishing I had misheard him, but I hadn’t. The look on his face told me he was being serious.
He dropped the knife and walked into the kitchen to place it back in the drawer. He came back through with a first aid kit. He motioned with his hand to ask if he could sit down.
“Can you tell me anymore? Not just about my mother`s murder?” I asked, heartbroken.
“I`m not sure I should tell you anymore,” he looked away.
“Please?” I begged, realising at this point that there was something even bigger that he wasn’t telling me.
I squirmed in my seat and gritted my teeth as he started cleaning up my arm. “When you were ten, your father needed to pay off a lot of debt to people he had conned. You were his only option. He gave you Rohypnol. It is a drug that makes you unaware of what is happening. He used your body to pay off his debts. That has only stopped in the last three years as you started asking questions,” he said. He finished cleaning my arm and bandaged it neatly.
I stood up to leave. Tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t seem to stop shaking. I wasn’t upset. Okay. I was a bit but I was mostly angry. Angry that my father had never had the courage to tell me what really happened. Angry with this man on the sofa who had told me and had obviously known about it but also never told me. I know that I shouldn’t be angry with him but I couldn’t help it. I tried my best to overcome this. “I will get you your money,” I told him.
He looked up at me, startled, “It doesn’t matter. Just forget about it. Just promise me one thing Courtney?”
“Promise me that no matter what happens from now on, you will take care of yourself and stay away from your Dad?”
I heard the front door slam signalling that my nutcase of a father was home from work. I always thought that he was a computer technician but now? I haven’t got a clue what his job is.
I had already decided that I was going to confront him. I raced down the stairs, two at a time. I threw open the lounge door and stormed inside and stood in front of him.
“What do you want, Courtney? I really don’t have time for one of your attention seeking moments,” he said, without lifting his gaze from the television.
I stormed over to the television and turned it off. “Was that what mother was doing the day you killed her? Attention seeking?” I asked, feeling confident but not sure whether my voice sounded it or not.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he shouted, “Your mother was having an affair. I had no choice. She was acting irrationally. It was in self-defence!”
“How was it in self defence? Was she coming at you with a knife? Was she beating you with a rolling pin?” I asked.
“She wasn’t doing either, you stupid child. She was ruining my pride and dignity. If any of my men knew that she had had an affair they would have mocked me and quit. They would have thought that if a women could lie to me for so many months and I didn’t know about it, then they could have gone behind my back and lied to me.”
“That isn’t self defence!”
“Whatever. Call it whatever you like. I know what it was deep down.”
“And what about all of those times when you gave me Rohypnol? Was that in self-defence?” I shouted.
I watched as he tensed his shoulders and back. He slowly stood. I had a tight sensation in my chest. He smashed his glass of wine on to the table and it shattered into hundreds of pieces.
“That was different! You were my only option,” he exclaimed.
“There were plenty of options. You could have just not gotten into money trouble in the first place. Did you never think ‘Wait, this is all my fault and yet I’m making my only daughter pay. Maybe I should stop?’?
I went to storm out of the room, but he grabbed my bad arm. “Let go of me!” I squealed.
“Not until you promise me that you won`t tell anybody about what you found out,” he said, tightening the grip on my arm.
I winced. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t go straight to the police and tell them what you did to mother and to me,” I shouted.
“Because,” he mumbled, “I will go to prison.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had heard enough. I twisted out of his grasp, despite the pain, and stormed out of the room and back up the stairs. I knew that he would come up and try to talk me round, so I shoved my dressing table in the way of the door. I found the CD that riled my father the most, and turned it up to the highest volume. I flopped on to my bed, satisfied that I had blocked out my father. This gave me time to think about how he could treat me so badly. How could he even look me in the eye? I wanted to go to the police with the information. I knew the consequences of what would then happen. My father would be locked up in prison and he would want revenge. He would send his gang after me.
I knew that I was going to die one way or another. That`s how I made my decision.
I picked up my phone and called the police. I told them everything that I knew. When I had finished the call, I packed my things and crept down the stairs. I peered through the lounge door. I had nothing to worry about. My father was lying on the sofa surrounded by wine bottles.
I left through the front door and walked away from my old life, determined to start a new one somewhere far away.
I stood in the kitchen, pouring two glasses of ice cold water. I glanced out of the window to see Trevor whistling to himself as he built the new conservatory of the house.
I walked up to him and handed him the glass. As I handed his over, he kissed me on the cheek and gave me a hug.
“I love you,” he said.
Every part of me tingled. It wasn’t the first time we had said it to each other but I couldn’t help feeling cared and loved for at last.
I had the perfect life now. I was living in a villa in Spain.
After I had left the house and left the police to deal with my father, I walked all the way to the dark-haired male’s house, the one who had told me what had happened, and told him what I had done. I asked him if I could stay with him for a couple of days.
I guess the only way to explain what happened next is by saying that things kind of developed from there and now here we were, six months later, standing with me with his arms around my waist. Neither of us say anything about the past as we have both changed.
He kissed the bump on my stomach. I was four and a half months pregnant and couldn’t have been happier. “Are you and the baby okay?”
I nodded, not being able to control a tear that ran down my face. He brushed it away.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Absolutely nothing. I am so happy I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am. I don’t think that words would even cover it.”
We beamed at each other as he pulled me in for a hug.