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Worried About My Rights as a Woman: Why We Need Feminism

I’ve learned a few things recently that make me really concerned about the diminishing rights of women in the United States.

For instance, Mississippi might be prosecuting a woman for manslaughter…for giving birth to a stillborn child. The maximum sentence is life in prison. The argument is that she used cocaine while pregnant and caused the stillbirth, and since fetuses are people, she should be charged with manslaughter. However, original evidence shows that the baby died because the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck, and Mississippi has a history of not-quite-stable forensic evidence.

If this woman is convicted, it could lead to other convictions in a state that has some of the worst maternal and infant health in the US….

…as well as some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and among the most restrictive policies on abortion. Many of the factors that have been linked to prenatal and infant mortality — poverty, poor nutrition, lack of access to healthcare, pollution, smoking, stress — are rampant there.

The worst part is that this isn’t confined to one place. There are hundreds of similar cases across the country where women were arrested, and sometimes convicted, for things they did while pregnant.

This is ridiculous to me. The rights of the women are being ignored in favor of the rights of these unborn and stillborn babies. Since when do we ignore the fact that the mothers lost a child, and immediately claim they deserve to be punished more for their baby’s death…when the baby was never out of her womb? Will this lead to mothers being prosecuted when their babies die within the first few years of their life, even if they took care of their baby and it just happened?

And yet, this is when birth control isn’t available to so many women, despite the fact that medicare covers penis pumps. But it won’t cover birth control, which can help prevent pregnancy better than condoms and lower the chances that people who make and effort to not get pregnant won’t.

How can people say feminism isn’t needed when men get help for erectile dysfunction and women are prosecuted for stillborn babies (even when it’s obvious the umbilical cord was wrapped around the babies neck)?
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in Life, Opinion

 

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Tell No Lies: Chapter Twelve

The Beginning

I unlock Ricky’s exercise shed, replace the key, and step inside. We aren’t leaving for the meet until 8, another 2 hours, but I’m wide awake after a full night’s sleep for the first time since Coryn’s death.

My bag hits the mats with a dim thud. There’s really only one thing I can do while I wait.

Saturday, June 29, 2013,

If this was a movie and there was the last shot after all the so-called excitement died down, I think this would be it: me after finally getting a full night’s sleep, writing the final entry in my journal. There’s still room…a lot of room. But you’re my protector. If anything happens that I need support…I’ll write.

But this is the last one to help me get over Brady…the very last.

Light would be dim in the shed, or I’d be using a flashlight, instead of the room being fully lit. There’d be a voiceover of something empowering, something that proves I’ll move on, I’ll survive, I’ll handle the world and nothing will ever bring me down again. I will be invincible, and Brady sure as hell isn’t causing anymore breakdowns.

But that’s not true.

I wish it was, but it’s not.

The memories aren’t gone. And I’ll be attending his funeral. His brother won’t be. He killed himself after learning of Brady’s death. Barkley told me that the note he left was disturbing; Hunter has always been in love with Brady romantically. He just kept it a secret and took out his anger on the girls…and on me, since he knew Brady loved me.

I say good riddance.

But Brady…he wasn’t all bad. He was very misguided, but he cared. He killed himself because I wouldn’t love him.

Damnit, Jezebel, he killed himself because I wouldn’t love him. That’s…this is some medieval courtly love bullshit in the flesh, only instead of just saying he would and not actually doing it because he got the girl, he didn’t say he would, didn’t get the girl, and did it. So…it’s not medieval courtly love bullshit. It’s just bullshit.

But I knew, didn’t I? I knew that’s what he wanted and I turned around anyway because I couldn’t stop him. One way or another, he would have done it. And he did it by acting as if he’d stab me, by taking the knife and aiming at my neck, so he’d be shot. And if it wasn’t going to be fatal, I’m sure he would have finished it off…slit his wrists or his neck.

He’s an ass, after all. They’re extremely stubborn.

Right up his forearm along the vein.

If this was a movie, what would be my final words before it cuts to the credits?

It’s over. It’ll still haunt me, but I can move on. I’ll go to college and learn to love and trust again. I’ll be successful. This can’t stop me. It won’t. I’m free.

No.

Is there a quote? I feel like quotes are appropriate. A quote about freedom, about death, about life. A quote about learning to live with the skeletons in our closets, with the things that go bump in the night.

There’s no way to sum up the last year or so. There’s no words that can capture the emotions running through me, all the fear and excitement and grief and anger and love and….

There’s not and there never will be.

The only thing I know is that I’m a warrior. I’m a warrior and I survived.

Or at least…I survived.

I’m not a warrior. Warriors are soldiers, are people who protect their countries and towns and families, people that die or will die in defense of others. They’re brave and strong and face down hundreds of enemies because it’s what they need to do.

I’m just…me.

But I guess that’s enough.

I guess if this was a movie, it would pan from me to the window as the voiceover played and outside the sun would be coming up and I would say something like, “Finally, there’s hope.” Roll credits.

But this is life.

It’s not that simple.

This story, the one of my life and even the one of Brady’s effect on me, isn’t over.

It will always be in the back of my mind.

Anything I read and write and watch will somehow connect me to it, to him or Hunter or Coryn or the last year of my life.

I guess I lied to Brady. It’s not over.

We’re over.

So ending on a sunset, on that uplifting image, is pointless.

This isn’t an uplifting moment. People are dead. I’m still on the edge of falling back into the pit of despair I just climbed out of, and this time I won’t be able to stab Brady to feel powerful again.

Plus, the voiceover would be a lie.

There’s always been hope.

I’m just finally ready to take advantage of it.

Until next time I need you, Jezebel. Until next time.

Shadow

PS- Here’s some advice for future me if I ever need you again. It’s a quote by Nora Ephrom. I don’t know who that is or what she’s done, but she seems to be a good woman.

“Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Or at least be the quirky friend or the evil one or even an alternate you that watches what’s happening and waits for it to be over. Just don’t be the victim.

Never again be the victim.
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Tell No Lies, Writing

 

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Tell No Lies: Chapter Eleven

The Beginning

“Lower your elbow.”

I do.

“Eyes on the target. Do you feel lined up?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, good. Control your breathing, don’t shake, and release.”

Breathe in, and out, and in, and out, and in, and….

I open my right hand, but otherwise stay perfectly still. The arrow shoots through the air, and I mentally urge it towards the target. It doesn’t have to be a bulls-eye, but I’ve missed dozens of time, and hitting it just once would be….

Brady whoops when the arrow hits the outside circle, picking me up and spinning me around. “You did it!”

I yell out my victory, break out of his grip, and do a one-hand cartwheel, still holding onto the bow. Then I turn to Brady and pull the string back, narrowing my eyes dangerously despite a distinct lack of an arrow to threaten with. “You dare challenge me?”

Brady laughs, grabs his own bow, and almost easily lands an arrow in the bulls-eye. I lower my weapon with a sigh and shove it in his hands. “Showoff.”

“That usually doesn’t happen.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You’re my good luck charm.”

I turn to him. “Or you just have skill.”

“Or it was the wind.”

“Or you’ve gotten better.”

“Or….”

A man walks out of the house, smiling at our arguing. “We’re done. Do you want to see?” He goes back inside without waiting for a reply, but we hurry to follow him.

I step into the living room first and freeze, eyes wide at the difference the new colors make. It’s no longer all natural colors. The walls still look like wood, but the couches are a relatively bright blue with a floral pattern in dark purple. The armchairs by the fire place are the purple of the pattern. The coffee tables are a darker blue. Those two colors, blue and purple, appear in different shades throughout the room, in the curtains, a throw-rug, picture frames, the fireplace, and lamps. Even the TV is dark purple.

And on the ceiling, matching the ones in our bedroom, are glow in the dark stars.

“Do you like it?” Brady asks.

I turn and kiss him. “It’s beautiful.”

I stop at the walled-in entrance to the cemetery. Jason is with me, his hand in mine, despite having to work the next morning. It’s not dark yet, but I’m sure we’ll be here a while.

I don’t want to risk Brady arriving again. The next time he does will be the last, one way or another, but I want to finish my memories first.

“Are you okay?” Jason asks.

“Yeah, I just think I’m going to stay here.” I sit down and lean against the wall, pulling my brother down with me. “I don’t want to go to her grave yet.”

“Okay.” Silence. “Thanks for bringing me with you this time.”

I squeeze his hand. “Thanks for forgiving me for not paying attention to your engagement much. I want to help with the engagement party and the stuff for the wedding…really. Don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I won’t. Chica wants to talk to you on Saturday. We’re going to drive down to the meet with Mom and Dad.”

“Okay.”

“They miss you, you know.”

“I don’t like to see the worry in their eyes.” My eyes close. I don’t even remember the last time I was in the same room with my parents for more than a minute or two. The carnival doesn’t really count.  “I’m not broken, but they act like I am.”

“That’ll change if you spend time with them again, if they can see that you’re still you inside.”

“Maybe.” I glance at him. “I’ll try to talk to them at the meet, okay?”

“Thank you. Uh…how does this work?”

“It’s easy.” I shift my position so I’m more comfortable but don’t let go of my brother’s hand. “I close my eyes, start talking, and then…space.”

“You’re talking about it?”

“In spurts.”

He laughs to himself and hugs me close. “You’ll be better soon, huh, Shadow?”

“Fingers crossed.”

“And toes twisted.” I grin at him before settling back in his arms, picturing the ridiculous way he can cross two of his toes. “Are you ready?”

“Are you?”

“As I’ll ever be.” He doesn’t reply, so I let my mind find the place I need to start, the important place…. “It was beautiful for almost two weeks. It really was. He was so…nice. He read Chaucerian poetry to me in Middle English, like the Romance of the Rose, and it was…strange, but lovely. He made me dinner every night and I found out he works from home, whenever he wants to, basically. His family has money. The cabin is paid off, and he has savings for the bills, and he does some sort of work for a publishing company…I don’t know what. Proofreading, maybe. He spent hours staring at his computer, typing once in a while. I’m not allowed to look. His family never visits because his father was abusive. Their mother divorced him, and she died in a car accident when he was twenty. He and Hunter split the inheritance. He let me buy clothes online and had them rush delivered to his P.O box. We’d watch movies at night and workout together and he taught me to shoot a bow and it was just…lovely.”

“I can’t believe you know how to shoot a bow. That’s the most badass thing you’ve ever told me.”

A giggle erupts from my throat. “I have a black belt!”

“Yeah, but you’re out of practice. And a bow is a serious weapon. Can you shoot through the eye of a squirrel?”

“I can hit a big target in the third or fourth ring outside of bull’s-eye.”

Someone walks by, leaving the cemetery, without a glance at us. We stay silent until they pass, and then Jason nudges me. “What stopped the happy fun time?”

I rub my eyes. “He and Hunter had to leave. A cousin was getting married a few states away, so they had to fly there and wouldn’t be back for three days.”

“But they were there when….”

“I know. We didn’t try to escape while they were gone.”

“Why not?”

He’s staring at me as if I’m insane, as if I’m proving once again that I’m not the person I once was.

“Coryn was terrified. She refused, and I wasn’t leaving her. Plus, I…I liked it there. I didn’t have to think about the bad stuff or think seriously about all the sexual shit that Brady and I….”

“Nothing he forced you to do was your fault.”

“He didn’t force me to do anything after he nearly killed me. If I said no at any point, he’d back off.”

“But you didn’t say no.”

“Not always. Not mostly. It was…I liked it. With the reminders of why I did it, of how good it felt, it was easier to rationalize my earlier responses when I didn’t want it. And it was fun. I didn’t have to care what anyone thought because Brady…well, he’s seen more of me than anyone else, and I don’t just mean my body.”

I play with the bottom of my shirt, twisting it around my hands, hoping he’ll understand that I’m not a slut and I’m not a freak and I do love my family and wanted to come home but….

“I couldn’t face you, either, you or our parents or Tobi or Chica or the hundreds of faces that can identify me by name. I knew once I did I’d have to come to terms with everything, and I knew I’d be convinced everyone thought I was a freak for everything.”

“Nobody thinks you’re a freak.”

“Nobody knows what I did, and nobody but Brady and I ever will.” I force myself to meet his eyes and stop hiding. “You’d be surprised what can bring pleasure to someone.” My eyes drop to my fingers, which focus on the roughness of the concrete beneath me. “Very surprised.”

He takes my hand and shifts closer so we’re shoulder to shoulder. “What happened when they left?”

“Not much. It’s what happened before and after that’s important.”

“Okay, so what happened before?”

“Brady….” I close my eyes and lean against the wall at my back. “He chose his brother over me. I thought he cared and I trusted his promises and he…he chose his brother.”

“I need to do a couple things before they get here.”

I keep tracing the lines on his palm, trying not to notice how much I’ll miss him while he’s gone. “What?”

“Well, for one, I’d like one last tryst.” His free hand slides down my side and over my hips. “If you know what I mean.”

A bird sings just outside the window as I laugh and kiss his palm. “What’s the other thing?”

He shifts so we’re sitting up and facing each other. His hands hold mine lightly and he stares into my eyes, and it’s then I know I’m not going to like it. “I promised Hunter I’d give you a lesson before we go so you won’t run with Coryn.”

I jump to my feet and back away from him, eyes wide, heart pounding, fingers itching to tear his eyelids off. “You promised me you wouldn’t hit me.”

“I know, and I’m sorry, but Hunter and I set rules before I promised you and….”

“I fucking told you!” My muscles are working, moving me away from the bed, searching for a weapon. “I told you not to make promises you can’t keep, and I was right.”

“It’s not much!” He stands and holds his hand out to me. “Really, it’s just….”

“I don’t care what it is.” I grab a letter opener and grip it hard, wondering how I can get passed his defenses. “You aren’t touching me.”

“I don’t have a choice.” He stands just out of reach, eyes pleading. “Please, Sheik. Just take a few, and stand in the corner until we’re gone. I’ll make sure you have a key for the basement so you and Coryn can get out and spend time up here, and….”

“It doesn’t matter what allowances you give me.” I spin the letter opener in my hand, knowing it’s useless against him unless he lets me win. “You’re breaking a promise.”

“I know, I….”

“You can’t apologize for breaking a promise on purpose. It doesn’t work like that. You can barely apologize for breaking one accidentally.” I set the letter opener down. “Make your choice, Brady.”

He blinks. “What?”

“I can’t stop you; I can’t run; but if you hit me, I will never be myself with you again. It’s me or him.”

“Sheik, can’t we….”

“Make. Your. Choice.”

He closes his eyes and his muscles seem to sag under the weight of a heavy burden, as if it’s so fucking difficult for him to beat me. “Kneel on the bed.”

I don’t move. He seems to understand my inaction, moving me into position, lifting each leg and arm as he needs to. I stare at the sheets and he grabs one of his belts, standing in his usual spot for this. He stares at me for a while, arm and belt hanging limp, before he takes a deep breath and swings.

As soon as the pain blooms over my skin, our relationship—because it was that no matter how idiotic, traumatic, and disturbing it was—is over.

I hope Satan becomes his Dominant and tears his skin off for daring to breathe.

“How?”

“He promised he’d never hit me again, and then he did because his brother asked him to so I wouldn’t try to run with Coryn.” My hands clench into fists. “He only hit me once, but it was enough.”

“You hated him.”

“No, but I didn’t trust him. And I wanted to take a whip to his back like Hunter did before.”

“But he left.”

“He did. They did. They stuck us in the basement with some food, Brady slipped a key in my pocket, and they left. I waited ten minutes, opened the door, and invited Coryn to join me in the main house. She wouldn’t talk to me. She didn’t come up.”

“Why not?”

“She hated me.”

It’s dark now, too dark to really see my brother’s face, but I know he’s surprised. “You tried to save her. Why would she hate you?”

“It’s my fault she was with Hunter and not Brady. Why wouldn’t she hate me?”

“It’s not….”

“It is, though. If I would’ve given in to Hunter, I would’ve stayed with him. She could’ve stayed with Brady and been treated nicely, in comparison. She would’ve listened to him better than I did, and he would’ve been super sweet to her. I know he would have. She would’ve been a little happy, at least. And she’d be alive.”

“It’s not your fault that she’s dead.”

“Hunter wouldn’t have cared about her if she wasn’t his. He wouldn’t have chased her.”

“It’s….”

“Brady would have let her go. Being with Hunter guaranteed her death. If he didn’t do it, she would have killed herself. All of his girls do.”

“But if you were his, you’d be dead.”

“I don’t think so.” I smile, imagining a knife in my hands, plunging it through dark blue eyes…. “I think he’d be.”

“Shadow, you aren’t a murderer.”

I hold up my wrist. It’s too dark to see the scars, and they aren’t raised, but he runs his thumb over them anyway. “You don’t know what I’ll do when I’m desperate. I would have killed Hunter if Brady didn’t ask me not to.”

“I can’t believe that.”

“You should. It happened.”

He sighs and puts a hand on my knee. “Was it in self-defense?”

“It would have been in self-defense if I did it in cold blood.”

“You know what I mean.”

“It….” I rub my eyes, trying to get the image of the stripes across Brady’s back out of my head. “I wasn’t defending myself. I was defending Brady.”

There’s a long silence. “When Hunter took a whip to his back.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Brady lied to me, which apparently called for severe punishment. I disagreed, and Hunter wouldn’t listen.” I shrug and stand up, brushing my clothes down. It’s cooler outside than I expected, and I shiver. “So I stopped him and got angry and almost strangled him to death.”

Jason stands and puts his arm around my shoulders. “You sound calm.”

We start walking. There’s no reason to stay. “I am.”

“What’s changed?”

“I don’t want him to control me anymore.” I lay my head on his chest and close my eyes, trusting him to lead me home.
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Tell No Lies, Writing

 

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Last Night, I Learned to Juggle

I helped my track coach (who’s a professor on campus) with the book he’s finishing up (that will be out sometime this year) and therefore, he owes me home-cooked meals since his money belongs to his kids, not me. Last night was one of the nights I went over to his house for dinner (this time another track girl came) and it was wonderful. So, in light of that, I decided to make a list of all the reason I enjoy dinner with his family.

  1. I’m always learning something new. Whether it’s a new game or some random fact, I always learn something when I’m there. Since I love learning, I love that that’s possible at his house, since at my house, that doesn’t necessarily happen outside my own searching. Plus, I can now juggle three things at once, and I’ve never been able to do that before (although apparently I learned to in about ten minutes). I also learned a card trick, since those are always popular in that house, despite not wanting to know how it’s done, because I like to just pretend magic exists for a minute or two.
  2. The children are awesome. He has two kids and a niece visiting right now. His daughter was gone, but his son and niece were there, and those are two children I really enjoy (although his niece is 15). They’re amusing and smart and pretty calm, which are all things I enjoy in children since I don’t really like children at all. Plus, I’m kinda jealous of his kid’s childhood; the brain games and such as a family would have been fun in my house when I was younger.
  3. The food is delicious. Dining hall food is only good up to a point. Then it just gets old and I start to crave real food that smells yummy and looks tasty and makes my mouth water. Good thing my coach loves to cook, because the food at his house makes me suddenly a lot hungrier than I’ve been in my dining hall.
  4. Chocolate lava cake. This was the dessert for the night, and it was probably the greatest thing I’ve tasted since the shrimp scampi I had at home in January.
  5. Board games. That house is stocked with board games and card games and little fun things to do. It’s probably good I don’t have much of that in my dorm room, though, because I’d just want to play that stuff all the time and not do homework.
  6. German. His wife is German, and his niece is visiting from Germany, so they all speak German and will do it randomly for little things or to explain something to his niece. It’s really cool. I took German for four years in high school and don’t remember much of it, so I’m always amazed when I can catch what they’re saying, and I’ve only been there twice and am pretty sure I can at least understand it a little better, just not actually speak it.
  7. Guitar. I don’t play the guitar…in front of other people, anyway. Sometimes my roommate comes in when I’m practicing, but in general, I don’t play guitar. My coach wants me to prove to him I can, in fact, play something on the guitar. I refuse. So usually there’s at least some arguing about it, and he (or his niece, or this time my track friend on the ukulele) usually plays something, and that’s cool. Before we left last night he said next time I was either playing guitar or reading from my story (meaning Tell No Lies) and neither of those things are happening (especially Tell No Lies), but it’s still really fun to just be around people that like playing music again, since most of my friends in high school were like that. Maybe I’ll play guitar in front of people when I get my own little acoustic, who will be named Dimitri. But probably not.
  8. No homework. There’s no reason for me to be doing homework at his house on a Friday night, and that’s an absolutely fantastic feeling (especially since I have to write a paper in two days and start a major project and read a lot…).

So, those are some reasons I like to go to my coach’s house for dinner once in a while.

Where do you like to go to get away?

DK

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in College, Life

 

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Tell No Lies: Chapter Ten

The Beginning

images2

Original photo from http://svasti.wordpress.com/

“I want you to do something for me today.”

I stare at my hands. “What?”

He pulls me to my feet. “I want you to pleasure me.”

My hands obediently move to his fly, even as my mind protests. I can’t do this. Being forced or directly threatened is one thing, but he asked for it like a favor, and I need to do this, if I don’t he’ll hurt me, the threat is there, the threat is….

“That’s it, be a good girl.”

I’m not a dog.

My hands hesitate, refusing to undo his button.

I won’t be trained like a dog, and he doesn’t deserve pleasure.

My mind flashes to his hand in my hair, forcing me to my knees, forcing my mouth open and….

I should have died.

I tried to kill myself.

He deserves to die.

Anger flashes in my blood, sparking, gaining fuel as images and feelings move through my mind and skin and I can’t believe after the things he did he wants me to….

I shove him away. “After all that shit, you want me to pleasure you?”

“Yes, Sheik, and you are healthy enough obey. If you don’t, I’ll give you more of the same.”

“Go ahead!” I throw my hands up, laughing. “What do I care? Force me to do whatever you’d like. Beat me, rape me, tie me to a tree and let birds peck out my eyes.” I drop my arms and narrow my eyes. “But I will never obey you.”

He sighs and sits down in a chair, patting his lap. “Come here, then.”

“Didn’t you hear a fucking word I said?” I shake my head and look to the ceiling. “I won’t obey you.” I laugh again. “And do you really think that would make me listen? How is that even pain anymore?”

He stands. “It would be the warm-up.”

“Oh, is that it? And then what? I’m already familiar with your old bag of tricks. Honestly, the Trifecta was quite a challenge, and on top of the Devil’s Delights! You’ll have to think of something new, won’t you? Will you hang me from a tree and whip me like a slave? That’s what I am, isn’t it? A measly little sex slave, all ready for the taking, supposed to drop to my knees, yank down your drawers, and open my mouth like a good little girl.” My words are furious, my gestures angry, but now, inside, I feel nothing.

“You almost killed me. What’s going to stop you from doing it again, whether or not I obey you? You’re nothing more than a bloody lying bastard on level with Satan himself.”

“You called me a liar.” He steps towards me, eyes narrowed. “That hurt.”

“Oh and nothing has hurt me since I’m with you?” I hold up my hand, the one with the X on the palm and the scabs on my wrist. “This didn’t hurt? All of these bruises and cuts didn’t fucking hurt?”

“Those were supposed to hurt.”

“Yeah, well, so was that.” I step back when he approaches again but hold my ground a few feet from the wall. “What are you going to do, run me through the paces again? I don’t even remember everything you did. Are you going to remind me? Do you want me to remember the entire time you were a murderous asshole?”

“Drop the attitude, Shadow.” He grabs my wrist, but I break his hold.

“Oh, it’s Shadow again? And I thought you liked your girls with some personality. Is this enough for you?” I hold up both my middle fingers. “Go fuck yourself, because I’m not doing it for you.”

He lunges for me. I step out of the way, giggling. “Keep trying, keep trying! We both know you’ll win and beat me to death, so why don’t we skip the small talk?” I hold out my wrists. “I didn’t want to finish the job because I thought there was some convoluted chance I’d be able to save Coryn, but I won’t even be able to save myself. Just end it, Brady. Two slits from wrist to elbow….” I trace the lines on both my forearms following a vein I know is just under the surface, going right over the scabs I gave myself. “That’s all it would take. I’d rather die anyway.”

He doesn’t move, doesn’t say a thing, so I keep talking, trying to hurt him as much as he hurt me.

“Coryn got the better brother. At least he’s honest.”

He grabs my upper arms and throws me into the wall. His nostrils flare, eyes flashing brighter and more dangerous than lightning, but he stays a good distance away. “Honesty is the only thing I care about.”

“Then why did you lie to me?” I brace one hand on the wall, glaring. “I can live with you wanting revenge and wanting to punish me. That’s fucking idiotic, but I could. But you lied to me. You lied to me and broke a promise and I fucking begged you to stop and told you I loved you and you fucking ignored me.” I move towards him, fingers twitching. “You said you care about me. You said you want me to trust you. How am I supposed to believe that if you betray me? Do you even know how it feels to lose all freedom and choices and willingly do anything or say anything just to make the pain end, when words and actions mean nothing and the universe revolves around dark without the hope for light? Huh? Do you?”

I’m mere feet from him now. He stares down at me, eyes unreadable, fists clenched. “Yes, I do.”

There’s a stinging sensation in my hand. Brady cringes away, holding his face. I stare at him, confused. Then I see my hand in the air, notice my hips are turned.

I slapped him.

I should have punched him.

He stares at me.

My emotions catch up. My thoughts form themselves into something coherent. “Don’t lie to me, not again.”

He grabs my throat, hard enough to hurt but not hard enough to completely cut off my air. I don’t gasp. I don’t grab his hand to pull it away. Let him kill me. I want to die.

His voice is barely audible. “I’ve begged for mercy same as you did under me, and I didn’t get mercy for days.”

His hand tightens on my throat, and I smile. It’ll be over soon. The pain is worth it. Any pain is worth it.

But he let’s go and waits for an answer, hand still lightly on my throat, eyes probing.

And I blink slowly and say what I’m truly thinking. This man won’t get any mercy from me. “Good. I hope he enjoyed it as much as you did.”

I take a deep breath and look up at my house from the street. There are no lights on. My family is sleeping. I should be, too, this late, and with practice in the morning…real practice this time, if Brady doesn’t show up again.

Tobi’s house is dark, as well, but his window is open, and I can see the light from his phone. He’s probably talking to his girlfriend. He should be talking to her. He deserves her.

And I don’t. I don’t deserve anyone untainted by the things I’ve been through. Nobody else needs that pain in their lives.

I deserve Brady. He knows it all. There’s no explanations needed if I wake up screaming or cringe from him.

It would be a twist, wouldn’t it? Girl’s former captor is arrested; she waits patiently for his release to marry him. Better yet, she refuses to press charges.

I drop a selection of knives on the desk in front of him. “Take your pick.”

He doesn’t look up from the paper on the desk before him, doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t even twitch.

I grab his car keys.

He grabs my wrist. “I will do whatever is necessary to keep you here.”

“Even kill me? You can prop my corpse at the dining room table.”

He still doesn’t look up. “I would never do such a thing.”

“What a bloody fucking gentlemen.” The keys hit the table with a bang and clink, and he lets go. “Your mother would be so proud.”

“My mother is dead.”

“I have no sympathy for you.”

“Good. That’ll make this easier.” He stands, pushes the paper towards me, and starts to pull his clothes off. “Hunter is coming for number one.”

I blink, confused, and look at the paper. My lips move, forming the words over and over, until I say them aloud. “Any lie to the girls will be punished with a severe beating.”

A car door slams outside. Brady kneels on the floor. “I want you to watch.”

But I want to kill him, too. Maybe I’d kill him on our honeymoon.

But why would he marry me?

I should kill him next time he comes around. I can start carrying a knife and do some research on where to strike to make it the most painful.

I look around, noticing implements on the bed. Hunter sweeps into the room, picks up a bullwhip, and tests it with his hands. “Let’s get this over with.” Brady braces himself with shoulders hunched and receives a hard lash that cuts into his skin.

He doesn’t make a sound. He doesn’t even flinch. He doesn’t seem to care about the blood trickling down his back, heading for the pristine blue carpet.

My mind connects the dots, but I’m frozen. Anger builds in me, but I can’t move.

 Two strikes later, when his back has three crisscrossing stripes on it, each one bleeding in at least one spot, he grunts. It’s that cry that breaks the hold on my muscles and makes me say. “Stop.”

Hunter doesn’t listen, bringing the whip down again.

I walk up to my porch. I know the door is unlocked. But standing on that porch, something isn’t right. It’s in the air, in my pores. What day is it?

“Hey!” I stride towards him, ready to castrate the man. “Step away from the asshole! And asshole, get up.”

Brady doesn’t move. Hunter turns to me, exasperated. “While he’s under me, I’m in charge of you, so I’d suggest you sit down and shut up before….”

“Zip it and step away.”

Brady says, “Sheik, please just….”

“Asshole, stay out of this.”

Wednesday…that’s it, it’s late Wednesday night…or very, very early Thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 26, still. There’s nothing important about this day. I have practice in the morning and an appointment with Rose after that and pre-meet Friday and the meet on Saturday. The date means nothing.

So what feels weird?

“He broke a rule, Shadow.” Hunter smiles wickedly, calling on a reminder of the punishment still fresh in my head. “And that means he needs to be punished. You know all about that, don’t you?”

I ignore him and smile back, just as wicked. “How’s this for a rule? If you hit him again, I’m going to strangle you with that.”

“You have no power here.”

“I have whatever power I want.”

He turns immediately, slicing the whip across my dominant’s skin so hard he screams and curls in on himself.

Hunter fights as hard as he can. Really, he does. But I get the whip from his grasp, get behind him, and wrap it around his throat, holding tight, my weakness be damned. He falls to his knees, hands pulling at the whip. Brady stares from across the room, blood on his back finally making the journey all the way to the carpet.

The thought of killing Hunter is sweet.

I lean forward, my lips against his ear. “I don’t fucking bluff.”

“Sheik.”

I look up, eyes on Brady. He looks like he’s pleading with me, but for some reason, he’s not forcing me off his brother.

But then I think of the situation, of the relationship dynamics.

Brady’s a submissive.

I pull the whip tighter.

“Sheik, he’s my brother.”

“He deserves to die.”

“So do I.”

I let go of the whip and step back, glaring at the bloody sadistic bastard as he coughs and gasps for air. “Leave.”

He’s out the door in seconds, apparently over caring about his dignity.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Sheik.”

I spin on Brady, glaring. “What the fuck are you going to do about it?”

“I deserve….”

“Oh, shut up and follow me.”

“But….”

“Now, Brady.”

I march into the bathroom, close the tub’s drain, and turn the water on. “You’re a moron. Get in.”

He stands in the doorway, staring at me. “You can’t….”

“Don’t start with me or I’ll fill the tub with alcohol…or maybe salt. You aren’t the only one that knows how to make someone scream.”

His eyes drop to the ground and he puts his foot in, pulls it out again. He mutters. “It’s hot.”

“What?”

He swallows and raises his voice. “It’s too hot.”

I turn the water temperature down. “Stop with the submissive shit.”

“What?”

“You’re being all meek like a porn-star schoolgirl.” I cross my arms and lean on the vanity. “You don’t deserve to be whipped like a slave, same as I don’t, especially since you were going for a real whipping.” He opens his mouth to speak, but I hold up a hand. “Even if you did deserve it, Hunter is not the one that’s going to administer it.”

His eyes narrow at me, challenging. “Why not?”

“He’s the one that had you begging and wouldn’t let up, isn’t he?”

Brady says nothing. He tests the water, which is satisfactory enough that he gets in slowly, wincing as he goes, until he’s under water except for his head and the water is almost overflowing. I turn it off and sit on the edge of the tub, holding his hand.

There’s someone here. I can’t see who it is, but it’s a him, and I know he’s here, and it’s probably my psychotic ex-captor.

“Hunter isn’t your dom.”

“We are each other’s punishers. That’s all.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.”

He stares at me.

I shrug. “Downstairs, you said Hunter didn’t relent for days. That rule list specified severe, but not bat-shit crazy. There’re lines drawn now, aren’t there? Between you? But there weren’t before, were there? He used you as his sub, and he lost control.”

“We were not lovers.”

“Of course not, you’re straight as fuck and wouldn’t do it.” I trace circles on his palm, watching the tip of my fingers. “But he’s definitely a sadist, and I bet he started with you.”

Brady settles back, gritting his teeth, eyes closed. “We started with each other, but….”

He says nothing for a few minutes.

I sigh. “Talk before I take you over my knee, big boy.”

He laughs, which wasn’t quite what I was going for. “And you don’t bluff, do you?”

“You’d let me do it.”

“I would.” He sits up and pulls me into the water with him, soaking my clothes and splashing water on to the floor, ignoring my protests. “You were glorious in there.” He holds me against him. “Murderous but glorious.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“Hunter enjoyed it more than I did, and after he lost it…we needed others to do it on, others so that he could have his fantasies and I could have mine.” He kisses my forehead. “I can’t believe you did that. I should be punishing you. I should get my belt and….”

“If you even try to hit me again I’ll castrate you in your sleep. Why did you kidnap?”

“I wanted to find a BDSM group, but he didn’t want the rules, and…well, the fear in their eyes was thrilling. It was…intoxicating. There’s something special about holding a girl in the palm of your hand, her willing to do anything to make you happy, even degrade herself and put herself in position for extreme pain….”

“Power junky.”

“Guilty.”

“Of every sin possible.”

“I’ve never attempted murder.”

“No, but you’ve murdered by proxy.”

“And I may as well have murdered you.”

He holds me tight against him, face buried in my hair, probably drowning himself. “Sheik, I….” His voice cracks and he shudders. “I’m so sorry.”

I don’t know what to do with my hands, so I put them on his chest while he cries, heart breaking for the man that almost killed me, the man that broke his word.

The man that would let himself be whipped to atone for the mistake.

The man that had dozens of reasons to hurt me again…and hasn’t.

And the man that’s been obeying me….

To make me happy? To apologize?

I rest my head against his and close my eyes.

Why can’t I hate him?

When he’s calm, I say, “Brady, spank me.”

He sits back, staring at me. His face is strange with puffy eyes and a red nose, lips still pulled down at the corners. “What?”

“Spank me.”

“You said….”

“I changed my mind.”

“Why?”

I sigh and climb out of the tub. “Since when do you need a reason to spank me?”

“I always had a reason to spank you.”

“And many times that reason was just ‘for the hell of it.’” I pull off my clothes, wrestling with the fabric that clings to my skin. “Well, here’s another opportunity.”

“Those were to teach you….”

“My place so that I behave before they get too severe, yes.” I put my hands on my hips, watching him climb out of the tub. “Well, this will be to teach you your place. If I’m going to stay here, and you aren’t going to let me leave, you aren’t going to act like a submissive. At least act like an equal.”

He traces my lips with his thumb. “I’d rather be your dom.”

“I know.” I kiss his hand and walk into the bedroom. “But if you try to have sex with me, the castration threat still holds.”

“I could just tie you down every night.”

“But you wouldn’t.” I stand at the end of the bed, put my hands behind my back, and drop my eyes. “Sir.”

“I don’t understand you.”

I stay silent. I don’t understand myself, so there’s no way I can help him.

I examine my surroundings, from the door to the street and every corner of the porch, but there’s nothing. There’s no sounds, no movement. It’s too quiet, too still.

He comes over and sits down. I know he’s staring at me, but I’m being a good little submissive, so I don’t meet his eyes. I easily fall over his lap when he tugs me forward, bracing one hand on the floor and the other around his calf. His hand rests on my butt, kneading it a little, rubbing affectionately.

It pulls away. There’s a loud crack that makes me jump, but no pain.

Brady laughs. He pushes me to my feet and claps his hands together, creating the same sound. I stare at him, confused, as he rolls onto the floor, basically giggling. It ruins the dominant effect.

“That’s not attractive.”

He stops and smiles at me. “What do you care if I’m attractive?”

I shrug. “It’s nice to have something pretty to look at.”

“Does that mean you forgive me?”

“I’m still contemplating cutting your balls off, so no.”

He grabs my hand and pulls me onto the floor next to him so we’re gazing at the ceiling. “Do you want to know why I didn’t do it?”

“I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

“What sort of dominant would I be if I let my sub tell me when to hit her?”

I laugh. “So if I actually let you sleep with me again, and I ask you to spank me as part of the foreplay, you’ll say no off principle?”

He squeezes my hand. “Okay, so sex is the exception.” There’s a pause. “So there’s a possibility….”

“Don’t push it.”

“Well, I wasn’t planning to, but I thought I could….”

“Brady.”

“…bite, and there’s a few places I haven’t licked in a while that….”

“Shut up.”

“…I’d like to….”

I roll onto my side and clamp my hand over his mouth. “You should change your carpet.”

He pulls my hand from his mouth. “Why?”

“I don’t like to see your blood. Doesn’t your back hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you lying on it?”

“I like the pain.”

“Don’t pull some self-penance bullshit on me. If you start whipping yourself like Silas I’ll….”

He covers my mouth, smiling. “You can stop threatening me now. Who’s Silas?”

“Creepy albino killer in The DaVinci Code.

Brady sits up, eyes on the ceiling. “I think we need those glow in the dark stars.” He stands and pulls me to my feet. “Let’s go get something to eat and start shopping online. I’ll dig up a throw rug from the attic later to cover the bloodstains.”

I dig around his dressers, searching for clothes I can possibly wear. “Can we have hot dogs and eggs?”

“Together?”

“Yeah, brown the hot dog slices, then add eggs and scramble. It’s yummy.”

He pulls on some gym shorts and hands me a pair with draw strings. I tie them up and accept a t-shirt, as well. Once I’m dressed, he hugs me close. I’m not sure why, but he’s warm and smells nice, so I relax into him and put my arms loosely around his waist.

He inhales deeply and kisses the top of my head. “Sheik, I’m glad we’re okay. I thought you’d hate me forever.”

“I have other things to worry about…like leaving without you flipping shit.”

I turn around again, and there is he. We’re separated by a railing, but I still step back.

Brady takes my head in his hands, staring into my eyes. His are serious, glistening with possible tears and heartbreaking, like a crying angel carved in ice. “I will never hurt you like that again. I never, ever want to see you cry again, or beg again, or….” His eyes close and he rests his forehead on mine. “I’m so sorry. I can’t make it up to you, and there’s no way I can apologize enough. You won’t do the same to me, so I can’t give you that….”

“I don’t want that.” He opens his eyes and looks at me again. I put my hands on his chest. “I’m not Hunter, and I’m not you.”

He winces. “Never again, Sheik, to you or anyone else, I promise. I’m done with this.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

“I’m not. I know I’m not.”

He throws something to me. I catch it automatically, and then he’s gone.

“What are you going to do? I’m not staying with you forever.” I examine his eyes, searching for a sign of my freedom. “You are going to let me go, right?”

“I…yes, I will.” He bites his lip. “I just don’t know when.”

“What? You can’t just….” I hum in protest when he kisses me, but give in after a few seconds. He stops when I relax.

“Sheik.” He puts his hands on my shoulders. “We are not equals, but I’m not using my authority over you unless you try to escape. You have choices, now. You have freedom.”

“You can’t mention freedom and escape together. They don’t coexist. There’s one or the other. No matter what you let me do, I don’t have freedom until you give me the choice to stay or go. And we are equals, Brady.”

He stares at me. His head shakes. “No, we’re not, but know that I will punish you for nothing less than escape, darling.” He smiles. “You can be as bitchy as you want.”

I sigh and step out of his grasp. “I won’t cooperate with you.”

“Well, you might want to cooperate for meals, because I’m not force-feeding you.” He offers his hand, his smile fading to one of hope.

I bite my lip before slipping my hand in his. “Fine, but only for meals.”

He threw me a flash-drive. I look at it, at the tape on the side.

Playlist for Sheik.

I drop it in a plant on the porch, take one last look around, and go inside.

 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am such a mess. That’s all I really have to say. After the last 24 hours, though, that’s not surprising.

Brady gave me a flashdrive. It’s apparently a playlist. I’m not listening to it.

I still don’t know who won the sex bet.

Shadow

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Tell No Lies, Writing

 

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