August

August is a troubled adolescent. At home, his drunken stepfather makes his life hell, and at college he suffers at the hands of bullies. But August has never been one to break the law...until now. With a new taste for violence and a desire for vengeance, he begins to stalk 3 young women in a complicated and twisted search for power. [Rated 'Y' due to potentially disturbing/graphic content and frequent swearing]

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2. Chapter 2: Bruised Pride

​Cole slams the door behind him, the pane of mottled glass rattling in protest. I remain on the floorboards, pleading that he would leave the light off and stumble to the living room. He pauses - sniffs - then spits a lungful of phlegm onto the hallway floor. It lands with a dull thud and the house falls silent again. For a moment, nothing happens, but then the lightbulb above my head buzzes into life. I assume briefly that Cole has flicked the switch, but we both turn to see my mother standing at the bottom of the stairs. She looks tired. Not the "I only slept 3 hours" kind, but the "I've lost all hope" kind. Her greying hair hangs in knotted clumps at her shoulders, and the bruised lip and blackened eyes are stark against her pale complexion.

"Au-August?" she stutters when she sees me curled up on the floor. Confused, Cole follows her gaze and starts when he sees me.

"What the fuck? Get off the floor you little shit."

I remain seated, gagging as another wave of sickness washes over me. Nothing comes up. Cole steps towards me, his jaw line prominent as he clenches his teeth.

"I said get off the floor, are you deaf or something?"

"Give me a chance." I snap, and before I can make an attempt to get to my feet, Cole's sweaty hands grasp the collar of my shirt and haul me upright. He pulls me towards his face, and my toes only just cling onto the floor.

"How dare you answer back to me? Who the fuck do you think you are?" Flecks of spit hit my face as he shouts, and I instinctively bring a hand to my face to wipe it away, but he snatches my hand mid-movement, twisting my wrist. I whimper and suddenly I feel small. Smaller than I've ever been.

"I'm sorry," I whisper, "I didn't mean it."

There's a moment of silence as he examines my face for sincerity. For a moment, I think he's going to release me, but then his eyes narrow and his lips thin. His eyes bore into mine.

"Have you been drinking?" His voice is quiet. I dare not answer.

"Have you been drinking?" He repeats, harsher. My heart thuds rhythmically in its bony cage, and my breath comes in shallow gulps. Enraged, Cole drops me to the floor and storms towards to alcohol cupboard. Flinging open the doors, he snatches every bottle to check how much remains. He reaches the Vodka and a sound not dissimilar to that of a charging bull explodes from his mouth. I hear my mum cry out as he hurls the bottle at me without warning.

I raise my hands, but not in time.

The bottle thuds against my skull and knocks me backwards as the broken glass lacerates my face. I slip briefly into an unconscious state, and no more than thirty seconds later I open my eyes to see a red sheen covering my sight. I blink furiously in an effort to rid the congealing blood from my tear ducts. Sitting up, I feel my head for injuries and find three small but deep cuts on my forehead and a large swelling on my hairline where the bottle made contact. ​I groan deeply.

"August? August are you ok?" My mother's voice is fearful as she stands over me.

"I'm fine..." I mutter, spitting out a mouthful of blood. I get to my feet and realise that something's wrong.

"Where's Cole?" I say shortly.

"He's...well, he w-went out into the garden." She stutters. I regard her face and notice a fresh cut on her eyebrow. I gently cup her face.

"He did this to you just now?"

"While you were unconscious."

My heart aches as I see the sadness and worry in her eyes. Something clicks inside of me, and, like a million times before, the thirst for vengeance takes over my body.

"He's in the garden then?"

"Don't go out there, please don't go -"

I sprint out of the house before she can finish, and feel the cool night breeze lick my wounds. Our garden is small, no more than eight meters long and six meters wide, so I quickly locate Cole. He's standing near the tool shed, smoking two cigarettes one from each hand. My eyes fill with red, and this time it isn't blood. I stride up behind him and wrap my arms around his neck, taking him in a headlock.

He's stronger than you. Do you really expect to do any damage? ​I push away the voice.

We fall in a jumbled heap on the damp, dewy grass, and I feel the rage crawling under my skin like a million spiders possessing my flesh. ​Make the bastard pay for what he's done to you, ​the voice screams at me. I don't hesitate to obey. I pummel my fists into his face, my strength fuelled by rage. His hands come up in self-defence and he tries to throw me off him, but to no avail.

"I hate you! I hate you!" I roar over and over again as my fists repeatedly strike Cole's head, face and neck. His nose exploded in a rush of blood, and I don't notice that he's stopped defending himself and is lying motionless underneath me. I continue to strike him until my breath, ragged and harsh, begins to slow. I manage to stand despite my shaking legs, and stare down at his disfigured face.

Needless to say, I've bruised more than just his pride.

Cole's nose is no longer central on his face. Jagged bone protrudes from his left eyebrow, and his two front teeth are missing. His entire face is streaked with thick red blood, and swollen almost beyond recognition. I glance down at my hands and wince. My knuckles are slick with blood - mine and Cole's - and already they are swollen and blue. I look back at Cole. Still not moving. I'm surprised to find that I'm not scared of the consequences that will follow. There's not a single scrap of guilt, concern or horror over what I just did. In fact, I'm excited. I've finally stood up for myself and, in the process, discovered something dark inside of me - joy at the sight of pain.

Maybe this is why Cole hurts me and my mother.

Maybe he too finds pleasure in seeing blood and bruises and broken bones.

Maybe...maybe I'm more like him than I thought.

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