Behind Closed Doors

Emily is 13 years old but she can't live her life like the other joyful teens in her class. While the other girls laugh about boys and music, her life revolves around dodging her mum, she may wear makeup like the others, but only to cover the bruises...


1. Chapter 1

Sometimes I wish I could just have a normal life, that’s not that much to ask is it? My life is so complicated when it doesn’t need to be, people just panic over the smallest things. Everyone’s always asking questions and I have to go to all these meetings where everyone wears suits and looks depressed. My mum only gets angry sometimes. No need for a fuss, sometimes I ask for it, that’s what mum says, I get in the way. I hold her back.


Mum hates these meetings too, they always get her angry and that means she’ll drink when she gets home. I don’t mind. She deserves a drink and she doesn’t always get mad, she just falls asleep and I put her to bed. Then I clean up and get the sofa cushions on the floor. I haven’t got a bed because mum says she can’t afford it and she needs her double bed if Shane, Rick or James come over. I don’t complain because it might make mum angry. I just stay quiet, it makes everything easier.


   “Emily!” mum screams into the living room, “Emily! Get me a coffee, and hurry up so you can do your chores before school!”

“Yes mum.” I reply automatically. I make her coffee, strong and black, the way she likes it. Then I do the hoovering and the washing. Then I get changed for school, I hate my school uniform, it’s so big on me, though it’s the smallest size that could probably fit a hamster. Usually I don’t get chance to eat lunch and I never eat breakfast but I don’t mind. If I don’t eat as much mum saves money and she’s more tolerant with me. I suppose I can be a handful sometimes.


       I go into the kitchen to do the last of the washing up and grab the last glass. Then the glass slips. It smashes into pieces on the floor. I hope for a minute that mum hasn’t heard it but then her heels come clacking down the wooden hallway. Suddenly she comes bursting in, makeup half done, one eye boldly outlined with black kohl the other bare and exhausted. “What on EARTH have you done Emily, for Christ’s sake what’s the matter with you!”  Mum yells, grabbing at my arm.

“I’m sorry mum. It was an accident I swear, I’ll clean it up, I promise! Please don’t be angry” I plead, trying to suppress the waterfall of tears because that will just frustrate mum more.

“Too right you’ll clean it up! Do you seriously think we’ve got enough money for you to go round breaking glasses and think it’s alright because you’re bloody sorry! Well?” Mum bellows, getting right in my face. I can’t help it, my eyes begin to brim over and tears cascade down my flushed cheeks. Mum’s hand rises as if she was in slow motion, I attempt to get out of her path but suddenly she’s too fast, she strikes my face with full force knocking me sideways so I fall onto the kitchen table. Pain explodes over my face and I feel blood stream down my forehead, sudden warmth against my icy face. I try to escape but mum just shoves me back again and I feel blows against my face. Again and again until all I can do is block out the pain till she is drained of all her energy.


       Finally she retreats, but I stay cowering in the corner, my face numb. She orders me to stay off school today, I’m confused but I don’t argue. It all becomes clear when she leaves me alone and I gain the courage to go to a mirror, I have a blood covered nose, a black eye and bruises all over my arms. A deep gash remains gushing blood on my forehead, shockingly red against my pale, pasty skin. I try to suppress the blood, forcing myself to stop the tears. Social Services just make it worse; she gets so angry when anyone criticizes her. Then the drinking starts.


       Lunchtime. The phone starts to ring deafeningly in the empty flat and I race to answer it in case it’s mum. She goes mental if she gets the answerphone, but it’s only Shane. I feel safer around Shane, he knows how to calm mum down and he always comes into the bathroom when I’m hiding to give me a hug. But the other two are useless. James knows full well what goes on behind the closed door of the kitchen but he does nothing. He’s too petrified. I can’t blame him for that and I could forgive him but he doesn’t even try to comfort me, he just sits on the bed. Waiting. As if he’s oblivious to what’s going on.


Rick’s much worse though. He joins in. It’s so much crueller when Rick’s involved because he has no emotional ties to me at all. Mum stops before her stamina’s fully empty because I know deep down she feels guilty every time. Rick carries on way past the usual stamina showing off the full potential of his muscles. The first time I thought that he was going to help me; he reached his arm out, smiling. By the time I realised that it wasn’t a good smile at all it was too late. He yanked me up, and then slammed me back down, bashing my head on the floor. He spat on me, like I was nothing, barely a human. I got yanked up and held against the wall by my throat, laughter echoed in my face. My eyes darted round desperately for mum but when I found her standing in the corner I discovered she was grinning too. She wouldn’t even look at me; she just stared at the scratched tile floor.


       When I escaped from Rick’s grasp I sprinted to the bathroom and bolted the door. I hid there for hours and hours until he left. Mum looked guilty for once but she said nothing. No apology, no hug. She just looked at me. I didn’t know saying nothing could hurt so much. It hurt me more than the blows and the laughter.


       I have a good chat with Shane and I feel better but deep down I know I’ll only be fine if Shane moves in but mum will never pick him, she’ll probably pick Rick. She says she has more ‘fun’ with him. By fun she means staying out all night and getting drunk. The first time I thought I would like it. I didn’t have to worry because mum wasn’t there to get angry but when she got back she was drunker than I’d ever seen her before and angrier too. She saw that I was still up; waiting for her so I could make sure she got to bed alright. She took no notice of the fact that I was up for her sake.

“Emily! Why the hell are you up, you’ve got school in the morning! What do you think them goddamn teachers are going to say if you walk in with big bags under your eyes?” Mum asks, chucking the sofa cushions as she speaks.

“I was waiting up for you mum, in case you…” I started to explain, but mum cut across,

“I don’t give a damn. Lie down! Now!”

I ran over, almost tripping over on the way and practically leaped onto the cushions. It wasn’t enough for mum though, she threw my blankets at me and threw insults at me that I can’t bear to write, she told me that she never wanted me and she doesn’t want me now so the least I could do is follow her simple rules. She should have got rid of me when she had the chance. I stay silent as she screams obscenities at me but inside my heart is breaking. I let the tears fall once she has left the room. She's killed the last part of me that was left with words. I know this isn’t right but what can I do?





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