Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

The Knife


by Farrell Winter

Morning.
A dull pain in my stomach.
Not digestive juice churning
This time.
A spot of blood
The knife clutched in my hand
Taken from the silverware drawer
Last night
After everyone had gone to bed
The yelling stopped
The heavy air beginning to settle
A little.
"I'll hold this knife all night"
I said
Silently of course
So he wouldn't hear.
"To protect myself
In case he comes in
To hit me.
"I'll cut his arms off
If he raises his fist at me."
Cut cut cut.
"I'll stab him in the chest
But it won't hurt him
Because he has no heart."
Stab stab stab.
How could he have a heart
And beat his own son
Daily?
Every day
These past 10 years
From the day he returned from the war
Against America's enemies.
Now I'm America's enemy
And he's still at war.
That evil smile on his face
As he took off his belt
Doubled it up
And pulled me across his lap
His words
Repeated incessantly
Like a madman.
"I told you not to do that.
I told you. I told you. I told you."
I never knew what.
"This hurts me more than it hurts you."
Then why do it, I thought
Finally deciding
He liked being hurt.
"I'll hit you so hard
You'll feel it next week."
Why are you hitting that little boy,
I thought
Watching from over my shoulder.
My mother intervened
On occasion.
"You hit him enough today," she'd say
"Hit him again tomorrow."
Or simply, "Stop hitting him."
"I'm not hitting him.
You don't see any blood, do you?"
My pain and fear
Eclipsed by terror.
But he never made me bleed.
Now I make myself bleed
With this knife.

* * * *
Two years later
When my mother said
"Stop hitting him."
And he responded
"I'm not hitting him."
She said
"You hit him before he was born."
I had this vision:
A young couple
Newly married.
He comes home
From a day of looking for work.
"Oh, Phil"
She gurgles happily
"I'm pregnant."
He looks at her
Begins punching her stomach
Screaming
"You love the baby more than me."
Over and over
Like a madman.

* * * *
Now
This morning
He throws open my door
And looks at me
With the evil smile
Searching for an excuse.
I hold up the knife
And shout, "Keep away"
In my mind.
In reality
I keep the knife hidden
Lest he see it
And give me the beating of my life
Again.

Farrell Winter says, "I live with my family in Northern California. I am currently writing a sci-fi novel and researching my autobiography. Other efforts: The Political Lowe-Down With Derek Lowe and Yodi-Catís Lost Film Review. I have also written cable-TV scripts and storyboards, and written and edited magazine articles and film reviews."


Eighth Flash


Dead End by Jo Lauer
Beans by G. David Schwartz
Alone In The Dark by Margot Miller
I Thought I Was Asleep by Catherine Montague
Puppy Love by Jack Swenson
We Never Talk About It by Laurel Ollstein
Tech Support by David Macpherson
My Anthem by Bryon D. Howell
Frantic by Suzanne Aubin
Screwed Again by Lauran G. Strait
It's Hard In Here For A Wimp by Arlene L. Mandell


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