The below story does contain strong profanity and violence. This is not typical Dew fare, but we also feel that domestic abuse is a subject that should not be hidden or ignored. If a story such as the one below helps even one person to be more aware, it's worth it.
The Times They Took Him
They took him in handcuffs at about ten in the morning. She took some muscle relaxers soon after, giving in to the overwhelming exhaustion. Sobs jerked Kelly’s small body. Katrina stood by stoically. Louise knew this daughter was not heartless, but she hated Damion. She was older, more outspoken, and when he was not around, made it clear she could do without her mother’s latest boyfriend.
They took him at eleven at night. The neighbors, hearing his pounding and threats, called 911. He had come home after the game, drunk. Damion was not a happy drunk. Her father had been one of those. He got sweet and silly, and peed on the floor, but he wasn’t mean. Damion was of the other bent. He yelled that time, waving the brochure from Piedmont adult school, “Bitch, I am going to ram you through the walls. How could you do this to me?” Louise motioned for the girls to go to the back of the house, and choked out. “Please, Damian, you’ll scare the girls. I just wanted to take a computer class. I won’t do it, I promise. Just please calm down.” When the police came, he swung his arm at the officers. Two of them turned him over, handcuffed him, and lay him on the ground. Drunk and unsteady on his feet, he was easy to take down. “I love you, Louise,” he called as they led him away. “I love you, honey.”
There were the pamphlets; a shelter - a place they could go where even the police wouldn’t know where to find them. Someone from the shelter would come and get them, keep them safe, and help them start a new life. Each time they talked to her earnestly about the shelter, but each time she said no. It was not something she could do. She would be there when he came home. She was able to forgive, and if she hadn’t asked about that course, things would have been alright. Besides he was a little drunk. He was reasonable when not drunk. He would do better.
They took him Tuesday at five, when he came home after being fired from work. Louise worried about money, but Damian busted down the door yelling what he would do to his boss. She stood by nervously, scared she would irritate him. “What are you looking at, Bitch?” He lunged forward and smashed her cheek. Louise screamed at the impact. Blood and broken teeth filled her mouth.
They took him on the weekend after he had held the gun to her head. The girls disobeyed her rules and called from the other phone in the house. “Please, Damion,” they heard, I’ll do anything you say. Just please put down the gun.” He clicked the trigger and laughed at her terror. It was not loaded.
Ben got mad at her after that. “Leave him. Leave him now. He is going to kill you.”
“No, he knows where Mom and Dad live. He will hurt them. I can’t do that to them. Besides, he’ll find us. He is very smart. You never believe that about him.”
“Then, don’t talk to me, again, about this.” Ben was short. “I don’t want to hear this anymore.”
In the public bathroom at church, there was a sign in the woman’s room. “Love shouldn’t hurt. Is someone you love hurting you? Call 1-800-576-2429.” Louise looked at it, but did not jot the number down. Her situation was different. She could make it better.
They took him on a Monday afternoon. He was angry because he had lost big at poker down at the Goldmine. “Damion”, she had said softly, seeing it in his posture as he entered the house, “Can I get you something to eat?” “NO FUCKER, QUIT THE MOTHER ACT. I AIN’T ONE OF YOUR GODDAMN KIDS.” “Damion, honey, please be quiet. The neighbors will hear. The kids will come out. I know you want your peace and quiet.” Damion pushed her aside roughly, and went into their bedroom. Louise hovered nervously by. What could she do to calm him? What could she offer besides her pleas, and maybe, some coffee. Something to drink. The blood drained from her face as she saw Damion come out. “Damion,” she said softly, “Put down the gun.” He aimed it at her. “Bitch. Messing up my life. Giving me rotten luck. Bitch.” “Damion,” She pleaded, “Put down the gun. You don’t mean it. Put down the gun.” He laughed. “But, I do, Motherfucker. I do.” He laughed harder as the fear she tried to hide surfaced and filled her face. She heard sirens. The girls had called again. “Damion,” she took a step forward. “Sweetheart.” The gun went off.
That was the last time they took him. They took her lifeless body, too.
Written by: Nomi Liron
Nomi writes Flash Fiction and is currently working on her first novel.