Seeing Red

Paul is angrier than he's ever been: angry at his surroundings for having changed; angry at his family for being uncaring and abusive and angry at himself for deeper reasons. He is trapped, his life spiraling out of his own control and into the hands of others.

Then he finds the knife. The knife that allows you to kill once, twice, three times and more. Suddenly, he's got the power to change everything in his life, to unleash his anger on those deserving of it in a safe way that hurts no-one. After all, can something be said to have happened if no-one remembers it?

Paul's about to find out that every action has consequences. But before then, blood will flow...

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3. Chapter Three

AN: This chapter leads right on from Chapter Two, so if you haven't already, view that. If you've already seen it, maybe refresh your memory if you can't place exactly what happened last chapter.

   So, the madness continues, this depressing story (yeah, I'm aware of what it is, I'm the author) progressing only as fast as I can slow it down. (If you understood that, comment. I did. Trust me, I'm an author.)

*

I stumble into the room next door – a small dining room complete with a table and chairs, all of which seem to be of antiquity. Someone’s got the lights around the edges of the room working, bathing the space in a warm, homely glow. But this isn’t my home. I left my home behind many long hours ago. And now I’m here, in a dining room, a hand to my aching stomach.

                I pull out a seat and collapse into it, my breathing still slightly laboured. Every breath I take induces a shot of pain. My face contorts, I know it. I struggle to contain the pain within me, but it’s a pointless exercise.

                “Hello, dear,” I hear. I look to my left to see a woman in her late forties sitting at the opposite end of the table. Her face is that of a kind woman, creased by time. Brown hair streaked with silver is tucked behind her ears. Small red lips smile encouragingly at me, and sad brown eyes gaze back at me from beneath thin eyebrows.

                “Hey, mum,” I answer. My stomach still aches, but I feel that I must make small-talk. “You enjoy the trip?”

                “I did as much as is possible under the circumstances.” She smiles again, a sad smile that betrays deep thoughts. “Your bags are over there if you want them. There’s bread and spreads on the table. Help yourself. I’m afraid that we won’t have cooking facilities for another day or so, and even then, I need to go out and buy something to cook. I was thinking that sausages would be a good idea for tomorrow, don’t you?”

                I reach for a plate and make myself a sandwich. The blow has driven the appetite from me, but I have to eat. Does it make sense to have no appetite and yet be hungry? Actually, screw that thought. I don’t care. I’m hungry.

                I know that there’s no point in trying to talk to her about what my father does to me. She knows what goes on, and she chooses to ignore it. If I mention it, she’ll pretend that she misheard. If I rub the bruised area where his latest kick landed, she’ll smile benignly and ask what’s wrong. Part of me thinks that she’s just scared of him; the other half tells me that she can’t handle the idea of her children being beaten by the savage who is her husband. But it all amounts to one thing, one inevitable conclusion.

                She’s weak.

                “You should pick out a room,” she tells me and gestures towards the small bundle of luggage that I’ve brought inside. “Take your bags and grab one; then you should go to bed. We’ve all had a long day and a good night’s rest would do us a world of good.” I nod. What else can I do?

                I hurry the sandwich down my gullet with a lukewarm can of coke before exiting the room, bags in tow. Unbeknownst to her, I’ve already got my eyes on a room. I head in its general direction, forgetting my hurt in the process.

                Cromwell Hall appears to have an entire residential wing, though half of it is composed of various other rooms: sitting rooms, drawing rooms, a dressing room, and the facilities. Grand bedrooms with unnecessarily high ceilings – in most cases, higher than that of other rooms; a thing to investigated, I believe – litter the wing and range from definitively feminine all the way through to the most barren simplicity. The one that I am after is relatively far from the others – in fact, an entire library, walls lined with books, stands between it and the next room. That should block any kind of noise that could possibly escape my room. It’s good for when I want to turn my music up high. I relish the thought of blaring out my favourite heavy metal anthems at full blast with no-one nearby to complain.

                I turn the corner, finally thinking that I’ve a stroke of luck to hand. And then I hear it. Katy Perry. I know for a fact that only one person listens to Katy Perry in our household, if you could call it that, just as I know for a fact that this corridor only leads to one bedroom.

                I pick up the pace, starting to hurry down the hall, hoping that what I am hearing is a fallacy; a lie; a mad hallucination brought on by stress and tiredness. Please, if there is a higher power, let him grant me a boon now…

                It turns out that there is no God. This is proven by the fact that what was to be my room is now occupied by the singular most irritating person in the universe.

                My sister.

                The room is reasonably large with a high ceiling and much floor space. A queen-sized four poster bed dominates the room, its headboard flat against the back wall. A tall wardrobe stands against the opposite wall. The décor is suitably masculine – several maritime fixtures and a deep blue colour scheme give it a sailor-like feel. But now, the effect’s spoiled by splashes of pink and purple – flashes of feminism that contrast deeply with deep cerulean. And there, at the centre of it all, sits the minx herself.

                “What do you want?” she spits in my direction. Christina sits in the centre of what would have been my bed. She has changed the bedclothes out for some more typical of teenage girls: a pink bedspread covers the mattress, hidden beneath multiple layers of mauve and purple. The original sheets have been dropped in the corner in a messy heap, the once proud azure duvet faded with time.

                “I said, what do you want, Paul?” she hisses. I clock the bleached blond hair, the loose-fitting T-shirt that declares her to be a ‘princess’ in silver sequins, the denim jeans that cling tightly to her long legs and show off her bum. She’s wearing too much makeup – the mascara can be seen almost dripping from her unnaturally long eyelashes. Her lips are smeared with what looks to be red crayon wax. She looks plastic; fake; superficial. I’ve never seen a person look quite so much like a grumpy Barbie doll.

                Yup, it’s definitely my sister.

                “I want my room back,” I say pointedly, glaring at her. “I found this room first; by rights it’s mine.”

                “Aw,” she taunts. Her face is a picture of mock concern. “Sorry, I got here first. I didn’t see your name anywhere. Even if I did, I’d probably have just covered it with my favourite poster. You know how much I love my music.”

                I’m getting quite riled now. “Look, Chris, this was my room. If you don’t clear out on your own then I’ll give you a helping kick or two.”

                “Nope,” she says. “Why do you care so much? It doesn’t really matter.”

                “If it matters so little, get the hell out.”

                “What are you going to do? Tell dad?” I stiffen. She’s struck a raw nerve, and she knows it. “I think we both know whose side he would take. And,” she smirks, “he might even have a… conversation with you. We all know who has the last word there, now don’t we?”

                Our eyes lock. She knows that she has this one in the bag – you can see it in her pupils. There, right at the centre, is a spark of excitement; of triumph. I can’t win an argument against Chris. She knows how Dad favours her, and so do I. She is also aware of exactly what happens between him and me during our few encounters with one another.

                I back out the room with my luggage. She has the sense not to say any more. She has said enough – saying too much could push me over the edge. I’m fuming as I leave. I hate how she has a hold over me; how she knows exactly how to blackmail me.

                I’m back to being angry as I stalk off in search of a room. Over the last month, it’s become my default setting, and every time something happens that adversely affects me, I switch to it quick as a flash. I growl. The realisation just increases the feelings of self-loathing that I harbour. However much I hate my family, I’m certain that I hate myself more.

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