Darkness drapes heavy across the shoulders, comforting, calming. Listen, quiet boy. Father’s love clinks, pours wetly, gulps, and sighs rancid. Listen fast, poor boy.
Boy creeps down the stairs, avoiding the creaks and groans he knows so well. He takes cover in the dark corner between the stairs and the kitchen door. At first all he hears is the tick of the clock that guards the hours of father’s rigid schedule.
“You’re wrong,” confesses father. “Your mother is a saint.”
“Why then?” asks brother.
Boy hears liquid sloshing into one glass, then another. The shadows on the floor shift and the tumblers collude sickeningly.
“Because,” answers father. “She is better than me. And that good-for-nothing little dick you call a brother is better than you.”
Boy hears a chair propelled back across the linoleum and a monstrous shadow stands, larger than life.
“Don’t you ever tell her I said that!” father roars.
The meeker shadow crashes to the floor and boy cringes, afraid. Slowly it picks itself up, sits, and slurps from its glass.
Boy scrunches back further into the corner and closes his eyes when father’s shadow starts to the door. Boy hears father’s fly unzip as he steals up to the room he shares with mother.
After many breaths boy quietly returns in the dark to the asylum of his bed.
For part eight, click here.