Sister would slam her head against the refrigerator door. Pepper jars, condiments and other glass items clanked with each blow. Magnets slid empathetically, scattering on the beige linoleum. She would yank her chestnut blonde curls from her monkey-sized skull and drop to her knees, gasping for another breath, choking in hysteria. During her convulsive blows of self-abuse, the expression on her face were a suspended jittering frown of terror. A sheen of saliva shined her bottom lip, dripping to the floor with each hit to the head. She didn’t know any better. Sister was special. She was deficient.
Most of the time mother would spring sister up from her merciful stance, occasionally ripping sister’s blouse from her skeletal frame and yell, “Stop! You’re too old for this.”
Other times sister would continue the self-affliction by clawing her child flesh from her undeveloped breasts down to her stomach in a maniacal frenzy. Fresh bleeding scratches adorned her tiny body, breathing so heavily, sleep would attain her tortured spirit, lying peacefully on the linoleum under the kitchen table like a dog.
The front door opened. The keys jangled in the lock. All hairs on our bodies stood up. Father was home. His charcoaled boots clunked against the wooden foyer floor.
If he sees his daughter lying underneath the table, mother would be chastised for neglect and bad mothering; punished under his law of unforgiving cruelty.
“Why is she on the floor again?” Father sternly inquired.
“I sorry. I cook you dinner, I have no time help her.” Mother replied in a broken dialect.
His silence would signify an ominous episode to sprawl from this mired chain of occurrences. Dishes crashed against the aluminum sink basin. The augmenting dispute between mother and father allowed the water in the stove pot to boil over and onto the flame. The loud hissing of burning water brought the domestic violence to a climax. Smacks of skin from his calloused hands slowly reddened and swelled her face. Her tears washed away the dirt on his toiling hands. The same chestnut colored blond curls as my sister’s wrapped in between father’s fingers, dragging mother across the linoleum, near the boiling pot.
In a surly guttural tone, father says, “If you can’t do job in house, then you will learn better.”
The boiling pot of water would be spilled on her pasty, white skin, covered in layered burns of violet and orange, abscessing and purging syrupy puss. Burning mother is a usual thing for father on misbehaved days. Sometimes her hands would be held over the stove flame. Other days, blistering tub water running out the faucet, holding her head against the downfall. Old garage rags were taped to her limbs, healing the burns, while she gazed murderous thoughts about father into the tiny television.
Sister awakened from her maddened slumber and ran into the corner. I followed her to protect her, to cover her ears, her eyes, to shun the trauma. She still cried, but with eyes as black as the great void, staring at ultra-violence, incapable to understand the abysmal acts portrayed in front of us. Her mind was not fully developed. In fact, her mind could not fully develop. She will always experience this terror in a suspended primal state.
Father continued his punishment dragging mother to basement. We cried, “No!” so many times over we began to squeal in our oppressed stances.
In his eyes, he was managing a household. He was taking care of a family through necessary lessons of tough-love — of maintaining balance and pursuing the cycle of customs and traditions. A provider, providing his type of care that mirrors the same type of care society provides to him: cruel and unjust blows are acts of atonement in order to live, to eat, and to have a good life. A working man in a foreign country, destitute temporarily, awaits prosperity through the slog. There is no limit of suffering for the good life. Toil for paper, paper for quality of lifestyle.
For father, he was the Man, the Ruler, the King, the Law Maker, the Punisher and the Executioner. His home was his country, his family was his people, and his vision, influenced by an unforgiving society, was his government; his system in which we oppressively lived by, and at the same time, in which we prayed by – praying for deliverance.
In the basement, father was in rage, possessed by a spirit of true anger, one like I’ve never witnessed even to this day. He tied mother to a chair with stained ropes and duct tape. His hands groped her wilted breasts, ripping her blouse to only bra. His kisses were animal lust licks, tasting iron blood and salty tears from her face. Through the creak of the door, what my eyes saw through a limited panorama made my adolescent blood rush through my body, shifting chemicals until full arousal.
He stripped her naked, bosom shining from her tears and spit. His denim pants slid down to his work boots, belt buckle clanking against the basement cement. Her pants were off, ripped onto the floor. Mother still tied to the chair with her legs spread so wide it looked unnatural. His penis smacked her skin, against her tummy, against her crotch, struggling to penetrate. He pulled her by her thighs downward toward his erection. Her neck slid against the back of the chair, tape ripping, ropes loosening. There was a crack when she hit. I’ll never know if it was the chair or her neck. Mother’s struggle was exasperated. She laid sloped and limp, chin rested on her burnt chest. Outside it began to storm. Thunder rumbled our slim belongings. I ran to the window to witness the rainfall. The atmosphere was green. Sister sat trembling. I wanted to take her and run. I was afraid of the storm. Moments later in the basement, father was pumping his white cock into my lifeless mother, half moaning, half in a guttural shriek he says, “you cunt, you juicy slave cunt, i’ll fuck you till you die.”
I saw evil in human form that day. It wasn’t him, it was what made him; that’s the evil.
His thrusts were rapid with behemoth power. As he persisted in his slave sex, his final, climactic moans where obvious cries of relief from a trudging, dismal and hopeless world in which he was conceived with no choice. A life of fueling an engine to only drive us into the great extinction. Born into a circumstance with an elastic human mind capable of adapting to any environment, capable of creating any inconceivable evil.
His orgasm into mother was his coping mechanism to arise the next morning to do it all over again, to strive for prosperity. She was his sacrificial lamb to help maintain the family’s perseverance for money, for quality, for the betterment; which translates into meaningless convenient objects, creating illusions, images of status and lifestyles of true dysfunction, capable of creating a thousand abominations, of behaviors so wretched, God does not exist anymore.
He zipped up. His grimy fingers ran through his untrimmed mustache. He carried mother into the bathtub looking concerned about her slip of consciousness. He must have thought cold water would help.
Every day he shovels coals in fire pits so bright, tinted shields dim his vision into a dark and cloudy abyss of filth. This is what father see’s for sixteen hours of everyday of every week. Dingy industrial pits of hell’s heat, choking chemicals of black dust. Ripping muscles and bleeding hands, charred lungs and dried tongue to where taste is irrelevant anymore, all to escape and even worse misery: the idea of a failed man unable to provide — no shelter, no food — killing the family tree.
I ran upstairs to the kitchen and grabbed sister away from father. We hid in our bedroom. He broke through the door. “Stop crying!” He yelled.
“Go in bathroom and wash mother.”
I ran to the bathroom.
Ice cold water ran from the faucet splashing off her hardened feet sprinkling onto me. Her left hand dangled off the edge of the tub, still lifeless. Her eyes shut like an angel. The filling water slowly turned pink from a gash on her side, probably from a struggled attempt to escape. Her burns illuminated under the water, pulsating, peeling pink to orange to red to violet.
“Moma? Please wake up.”
I cried again, but different tears. I pressed my thumbs on her eyelids and kept them there. My other eight fingers clutched her scalp. I closed my eyes with her. I remained in that state for as long as I could. I tried to speak with her telepathically, trying to absorb every last wave of energy flashing through her brain. I wanted her voice in my head one more time. To let me know if she was in a world full of unbound love. I wanted a confirmation. I needed it.
Across the hall in the bedroom the door slammed. Muffled cries of terror came from beyond. Sister’s monkey-like shrieks translated to me in a language only translatable to me. There was no resistance. Not for any of us, we knew fighting back would imprison us more than already. What happened in the bedroom is only in my nightmares. And that’s where it remains to this day. He is the regime. Unstoppable unless you kill what he is working for.
I pushed my mother’s skull down into the pink waters. Submersed her fully and held with as much power as I had at that age. There was no struggle anyway. My falling tears merged with her pink waters, telling myself, that’s what she would have wanted. I always told myself. I still do.
Brian Kutanovski plays drums in heavy metal band Hunters and currently resides in Chicago.