and also, sorry i haven't updated the rest of the chapter yet. college is devouring my life at the moment, but SPRING BREAK IS COMING UP NEXT WEEK. so yay!!! i'll be able to work on this and RELAX.
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Chapter II (continued)
Slam. The door shut loudly -- so loudly I could hear it with the windows rolled up -- and suddenly my mother was tearing her way across the yard to the car. Her brow was furrowed and her lips were pursed rigidly -- a look that always made me cringe. She opened the driver's seat door, got inside, and started the engine, obviously restraining herself from doing anything too violently.
"How long do I have to stay at Dad's?" I asked her.
She wouldn't even look at me. "We'll see, Butters," she murmured.
We'll see. I hated that answer, because it usually meant the unfavourable outcome. This time, it probably meant I'd be staying at my dad's for at least three or four days, possibly a week. I sat back in my seat and said no more -- it was best not to provoke her any further. The five-minute drive seemed like a half-hour as I stared out the window at the passing yards and streets, averting my line of vision from any possible evil-eye she might direct at me.
The intensity in the air was too much. As we turned on the street where my father lived, I already had my hand on the door-handle. Though the car was still moving a bit when we approached the house, I opened the door and jumped out anyway, and I stumbled and fell down onto my father's front lawn. My mother didn't seem to care -- she merely turned the car around in the driveway and proceeded back the way she came. The sound of the motor made a decrescendo back into the subtle stirrings of the night, and I knew that I was safe.
The scent of dead leaves and grass filled my nose and the slight chill of the breeze grazed my arms and cheeks. I lay there for a minute and let myself relax, absorbing the essence of the cool October night. The ground was still damp due to the earlier rainfall, but I didn't mind. I shifted my right arm a little and rested my head on it. I knew I couldn't stay out here forever. Anyone who passed by and saw a random kid sprawled out in somebody's front yard would undoubtedly do a double-take; I probably looked so awkward. Besides, my dad would eventually notice, and he'd find some reason to yell at me for it.
Hoisting myself up off the ground, I gazed across the street at Kyle's house. Nobody was watching me at the moment. Maybe I could make a run for it and somehow convince Kyle and his parents to let me stay the night. I was sure they wouldn't object. Kyle and I had started to become better friends recently, and I'd spent the night there a couple times before. Rubbing at a small patch of mud on my pant leg, I glanced at the street both ways and got into a running stance..
But before I could take a step, I heard the creak of the storm door behind me -- and a familiar voice that made my heart plunge. "Butters? What are you doing out there?" came the words in a slightly slurred voice.
CRAP, I thought furiously. It was just like me to have the absolute worst timing ever. I looked back over my shoulder, and there was my father, standing with his right arm up against the wall inside the house as if he was steadying himself. A glass bottle was in his left hand, half-filled with a clear liquid. Stupid booze, I scoffed inwardly. Dammit, Dad, why do you have to be such a drunk?
It appeared that I had no choice -- I had to go inside, or I'd get my ass kicked. I dragged my steps as I went, taking as much time as I could to get up to the house. The man waited in the doorway with a slight smile on his face, a smile in which I detected no sincerity. "Hi, Butters, how's it going? Coming over for the week early?" he asked me, extending his hand for me to shake.
Reluctantly, I returned the gesture. "I'm doing okay." I brushed past him and made my way to my bedroom. The best thing I could do when my dad was intoxicated, I reasoned, was to minimize all greetings and get away quickly. He didn't seem so bad now, but that would get worse very quickly. Usually, he wouldn't bother me as long as I stayed out of his sight.
This time, however, he didn't just ignore me. "Wait, where are you going?" he inquired from the end of the hallway.
"I'm going to my room. I don't feel good," I responded over my shoulder, still walking.
My father followed me across the hall. "Hmm, that's too bad," he said. "Why's that?"
"I just.. don't. I need to lie down."
He shrugged, took another sip of his drink, and went back to the den; I entered my room and immediately collapsed onto my bed. I hadn't realized how exhausted I was until now. The quilt I was lying on was warm and soft, and I pulled it around me and rested my head on my pillow. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if I closed my eyes for just a minute..
* * * * *
(EDIT: fixed an eeny-teeny little continuity error.)
Chapter III coming soon. Like.. really soon. I'm going to try to get it up here tonight.. it's all written, but I just need to type it. Hope you like.
I sat up violently and looked at the clock on my nightstand. 10:42 PM, the blue numbers blazed. Good -- I'd only been asleep for forty-five minutes, tops. I'd be able to sleep for a reasonable amount of time tonight. Stretching, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood up. I needed a drink of something; I wasn't sure that I'd had much to drink all day. Hopefully, there would be something non-alcoholic in the refrigerator.
I went to the kitchen and opened the fridge door. It didn't have much in the way of liquid refreshments -- mostly beer, as I'd figured, but there were a couple cans of Pibb on the middle shelf. I took one and leaned against the counter, gulping it down thirstily. Meanwhile, the television in the den was blasting, and I shot an annoyed look in the direction of it. What the hell was he watching, and why did it have to be at full volume?
In the den, my father was slumped on the couch, looking a good deal more zoned-out than the last time I'd seen him. He had his arm slung over the back of the couch, holding the remote control, and the bottle he'd been carrying earlier was sitting on the coffee table, noticeably less full than before. When he saw me, he started talking, but I couldn't understand what he was saying over the blaring car commercial that was on. Rolling my eyes, I turned and hit the MUTE button. His face took on a scowl at this reaction, but I brushed it off.
"What'd you say?" I asked.
"I was telling you to take out the trash. Now, you either do it now, or you face your punishment later." He spoke with much more of a drawling tone now, and I realized that he was truly drunk. Now was the time when I had to be extra-careful around him -- either do what he told me to do or just lie and say that I would, and I'd be okay.
Taking the garbage out wasn't such a bad chore, though. "All right," I replied, and started back to the kitchen to grab a trash bag. Once I'd collected the garbage from every room in the house, I went to put the bag in the trash can outside.
As I was dragging the can up to the edge of the street, I peered over at Kyle's house again thoughtfully. It was pretty dark right now, so maybe my father wouldn't be able to see me from the window if I ran across the street. But could I risk it? Would I be disturbing Kyle's family? Would Kyle even be awake?
Yes, I decided. I would take the chance. The street was empty, and no cars seemed to be anywhere close, so I broke into a sprint, being careful to minimize the noise as my feet rapped against the concrete. In less than ten seconds, I was standing on the lawn of the Broflovski home. None of their lights were on, I observed. I knocked softly at Kyle's window three times; nobody answered. I waited fifteen seconds, and then I tried again, slightly louder this time. As I waited for a response from him, I felt a little stirring of guilt. I probably shouldn't be doing this -- he needed to go to school tomorrow, and so did I.
But the window creaked slightly and then cracked open, and a pair of jade-green eyes stared out at me, puzzled. "Butters? Is that you?" said the half-whispered voice of Kyle.
"Yeah," I told him, keeping my voice at the same level of volume that his was. "Hey, uh.. I know this is weird, but can I ask you a favour?"
"What?" The eyes continued to peer at me through longish ringlets of auburn hair.
I took a glance back toward my father's house, then turned back to him. "I hate to ask, but.. could I stay over here tonight? My dad's really drunk again, and I'm afraid he's gonna kick my ass again if I don't get away somehow."
A hand reached up and smoothed the ringlets to one side, and the eyes blinked. "Dude, how come you've never asked about this before?"
"I dunno, it's just a feeling I have," I replied. "Maybe I've been thinking about it more because my mom's been so tense the past few days, but I've.. I've decided I wanna step up and show them that I can do something for myself. W-would it be okay?"
Kyle looked to one side. "Actually, I don't know if you should. It might just make things worse. I mean, it's not like your dad's not going to notice that you're gone."
"Well, I was thinking you could get your mom to call him or something and tell him I'm over here and I'm safe and whatever. He'll probably be so out of it that he'll just say it's fine."
He sighed. "I'd do it, Butters, but I don't think it's going to do you any good. You're just going to get your ass kicked even harder when you go back. He might even come over here and demand that you get back to the house right away, and there won't have been any point."
I was getting desperate. "Listen, Kyle, I know it sounds like a stupid idea, but I just need to get away for one night. I'm tired of my parents. And if I can just not have to be around either of them for this one night, that'd be fine with me. They'll probably end up kicking me out of both their houses eventually anyway -- neither of them ever wants me around. Please, Kyle, could ya just help me out?"
Kyle was clearly reluctant, but he slid the window all the way up and offered his hand to help me through. "Go ahead and get in here. Don't say I didn't warn you, though."
Balancing myself on the windowsill with my right hand, I placed my left in Kyle's hand and began to lift myself through and into his room. I was halfway into the house when Kyle lost his grip on my hand, and I nearly lost my balance. "Kyle, what's going on?" I wanted to know.
Kyle stared straight past me, and his eyes were wide. "Ohh.. sh*t," he whispered in a dead monotone. "I knew this was gonna happen."
"What?" I asked. Before Kyle could open his mouth to reply, I felt two rough hands on my ankles, yanking me through the window so hard that my chin caught on the sill and sent a pounding pain into my jaw.
"There you are, you little son of a bitch," growled a horribly familiar voice behind me as the hands dragged me across the yard by my feet. I tried grabbing onto clumps of grass to stall myself, but to no avail. Looking above me, I saw a light click on in the upstairs level of Kyle's home, and the shadow of Mrs. Broflovski stood there, facing out from behind the glass. Kyle was still at his own window, gaping at me as my father continued to pull me over the lawn and across the rough surface of the pavement. This was the last thing I saw before I was literally flung across the floor of my father's house, and I landed up against the wall as my father slammed and locked the front door behind me.
As soon as we were out of hearing distance, he exploded. "What the hell do you think you're doing, trying to run away?" he bellowed. The walls shook, and my bones shook too; I pulled myself up into a sitting position and gazed at his face.. that distorted face, so full of rage. Never in my life had I been in so much trouble. I'd seen him angry before, but I had no idea what to expect now.
"Dad, I'm.. I'm sorry, I really am!" I shouted. There was no verbal response from him. He simply turned his back and moved away from me, toward the stairs, into the closet by the front door, and.. what? What was he doing? Taking a belt from the -- no. No, he couldn't actually be planning to use that thing on me. My father played mostly off threats, and I was sure this was just another way to intimidate me. Yes, that was exactly what it was.. nothing to worry about..
But as he turned back to face me, something from the look in his eyes told me it wasn't just a threat. A well of panic started in my stomach and spread throughout my torso. He couldn't do this to me. I knew deep in my heart that no matter what I had done wrong, I didn't deserve this. Nobody did.
"Dad, what are you doing!?" I cried. "Put the belt down! This isn't you!"
Through narrowed eyes, I studied the man; he stood before me with a glazed look and an unsteady posture, the awful strip of metal and leather in his right hand. This was not my father; it was a time-bomb, a land mine comprised of flesh, blood, and alcohol, and it was ready to go off again at the slightest wrong step I took.
I stood up and glared into my father's eyes. No way was I going to let him get away with that sh*t. "Put.. the belt.. down."
"Who's gonna make me?" he shot back, almost childishly. With a large, swinging motion of his arm, he brought the belt up in front of my face. "This is mine, and I can do whatever I want with it. And you can't stop me." He sang the words like a six-year-old with a man's voice, swaying the belt back and forth in rhythm.
"Put the belt DOWN, you DRUNK BASTARD!" I shouted, and was instantly horrified at the words that left my lips. I had just unlocked the door to a punishment even worse than I would have received otherwise.
Suddenly, he lunged at me, gripped my shoulders with inhuman strength, and jerked me close to his face. "You little smartass. You think you can just say anything you want, don't ya? Well, Butters, you have NO idea what kind of trouble you're in right now," he snarled. I could almost feel the heat radiating from his stare as he shoved me backward.
I tumbled to the ground, reeling from the shock, a cold feeling of weakness creeping throughout my head, neck, and limbs. Frantically, I tried pushing myself off the floor, but my arms were useless. Any second now, he was going to ram that belt buckle into my side, and there was nothing I could do about it. If I hit him or ran away, he'd find me, and I'd get it even worse. The only thing I could think of to do was to lie there and bear the pain. I could do it; I just had to remember to be strong. Clenching my hands into fists, I concentrated all my tension into them and waited for the first stroke..
* * * * *
Oh my gosh. *cries* How did that come out of my brain? >< I'm horrible.
Anyway, review and such, please.
I stared at my reflection, unblinking, unmoving. How could that face — the face I’d had all my life — have changed so quickly into something I could barely recognize? Bright blue eyes, now turned dull, greyish, and hollow. Golden-blond hair, now stringy and uneven, two straggly locks hanging lifelessly over my right cheek. Fair complexion, now turned blotchy and ashen; lips set in a listless line; clothes dishevelled, with a small thread hanging off the left sleeve of my shirt. And yet, I thought — all signs of this abuse, every trace of tears will have disappeared perfectly by the next morning. And the next morning would open a new day, a new opportunity to get beaten down again in some way or another. And I’d let it happen, because that’s what I always did, and I’d live life this way forever, without a single battle scar to show for it all. Consciousness had become my enemy.
Above all, I felt the continual burning shame of having made such a ridiculous decision in the first place. Kyle was right -- there was no way I could have pulled that off, and I was an idiot to have even suggested it. How could I have thrown my sense of logic completely out the window like that? All I had done was caused a disturbance to him and his family, and, like Kyle had said, gotten my ass kicked even harder than I would have otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if he was angry with me, too -- I deserved it. In fact, if it hadn't been for my unfailing stupidity, I probably wouldn't even have been beaten. Maybe -- maybe it was all my fault that I had been punished this way.
That stabbing pain in my left side slashed into my thoughts. Dad sure knew where to place the bruises so they wouldn’t be seen. Cautiously, I lifted my shirt up to see the wounds, and I watched as the figure in the mirror revealed his own. Deep red-and-purple welts, each one of them an emblem of my own idiocy. Automatically, my mind began to trace lines between them like a sick and twisted version of connect-the-dots. I could see the outline of the belt stretching across the front of my stomach and the trail of swollen marks left by each hit from the buckle. The giant one on my left side had actually started bleeding a little, and I saw the small, crooked line of scarlet as it started to extend itself downward. I started to shake; partially from the pain, partially from the sheer horror of the experience.
“Butters!” The voice stung me, sent a searing knife down through my stomach. “What are you doing in there?”
“I — I was just about to take a shower, Dad. Er.. S-Sir,” I called back through the closed bathroom door.
“Okay,” the voice replied. “Hurry up. Other people need to use the shower too.” The footsteps moved away.
Turning around, I took an old washcloth out of the linen closet. I went back to the sink, ran some warm water over the cloth, and carefully wiped the blood from my side. After drying it off, I found a large bandage in the medicine cabinet and placed it firmly over the small tear in the bruise so it wouldn’t come off in the shower. I then removed my clothing, stepped behind the shower curtain, and turned the water on hot.
As soon as I was sure no one could hear me over the running water, I let everything go. I cried and cried until my body couldn’t cry anymore, my burning tears mixing with the shower water as they flooded down my face. Thank God for the shower; it and sleep were often my only place to hide. I took as long as I could, much longer than normal, just to make sure every tear was out of me by the time I got out. When I was finished, I dried myself off, threw on a T-shirt and boxers, and brushed my teeth so I could go to bed.
I stopped and stared at myself in the mirror again, bewildered this time by a sudden thought. There it was, my stupid face, all swollen from sobbing; it stared back at me with wide grey eyes. Was I really prepared to do the deed my mind was telling me to do?
“Butters!” my father’s voice rang out again. “You’ve been in the bathroom long enough. Get out and go to bed, now!”
“Y-yes, Sir,” I responded quietly as I rinsed the toothbrush and put it away. As I opened the bathroom door to leave, I saw my father standing right in front of me in the dim hallway, and it nearly made me choke. For a heart-stopping second, I thought I’d receive another lashing just for having stayed in the shower too long.
But my father merely sighed in exasperation. “Finally,” he muttered to himself. I could still smell the alcohol on his breath, and it sent a pang of nausea into my throat.
“G’night, Dad,” I told him without meeting his eyes.
“Goodnight, Butters,” he intoned. Without another word, he and I moved to our respective destinations, shutting the doors at the exact same time.
In the privacy of my room, I opened the middle drawer of my dresser, felt underneath the stacks of neatly folded shirts, and withdrew a small blue cardboard box with the word “Nytol” printed across it in bold white letters. I would definitely need something to help me fall asleep tonight; I still had too much anxiety in my system from the events of earlier. If only I could sleep forever — then I wouldn't have to worry about getting myself into this kind of trouble again. I knew that by taking this pill, I was still running away, but at least it was an acceptable way to escape. At least, it wouldn't bother anyone else, and it wouldn't get me hit with a belt.
Consciousness. Consciousness was the enemy; sleep was a blessing. I took a half-empty bottle of water from the top of my dresser and unscrewed the cap. After swallowing the Nytol, I gulped down all the water — I’d nearly forgotten how thirsty I still was. And as I lay my sore body down onto the mattress, I thought about how nice it would be not to see, hear, feel, or think for a long while. I’d taken a few extra sleep-aids this time.
* * * * *
..aaaaand here's the next one.
* * * * *
Interlude -- 11:36 PM.
All was silent as Kyle Broflovski stood on his front lawn and carefully closed his bedroom window behind him. He'd executed the escape perfectly; not even his mother, who was a light sleeper, had stirred. That was a relief. If she had heard him, he would have had to tell her the whole story, and common sense told him that he had to keep this incident between as few people as possible. He'd already had to play dumb when she'd asked him who was outside earlier. Fortunately, she trusted him, so she hadn't pressed the issue.
Above all, he had to make sure Butters was okay. After he had witnessed what had happened to the kid an hour ago or so, he could very well figure what had taken place afterwards. As a true friend and possibly the only outsider who had any knowledge of what was going on, he felt that it was up to him to check on Butters. Mr. Stotch was probably unconscious by now, and there was no one else in the house to ensure Butters' safety.
The Stotch residence, like most other houses on this block by now, was almost deathly still. Yes, he was afraid of the alcoholic asswipe who owned the place, but now wasn't the time to puss out. Looking back one last time to make sure nobody in his own house was awake, Kyle drew in his breath and dashed across the street.
Butters' bedroom was on the side facing away from Kyle's house, first window on the right. Leaning against the outside of the house, Kyle inched his way along as quietly as he could, just in case Mr. Stotch hadn't yet passed out for the night. Soon he reached Butters' window, and he pulled it open a crack. It creaked a bit, and Kyle jumped at the sudden noise. "Butters?" he whispered through the shade.
No answer. Kyle felt a slight discomfort in his chest, but assured himself that Butters had probably gone to bed already. Slowly, tentatively, he cracked the window open a little wider, then a little wider still, praying that it wouldn't make any loud noises. Finally, the window had been lifted up high enough for Kyle to slip through, and he did, planting his feet on the floor as silently as a cat.
The room was barely lit by a nearby streetlight, but it was enough for Kyle to discern basic objects. Butters' dresser, his closet door, his nightstand, his bed -- and Butters himself, lying very still under the covers. Kyle found the lamp on the nightstand and fumbled about for the switch until he grasped it, and he flicked the lamp on.
The blond boy's face was partially hidden under his blanket, but Kyle could see that his skin looked awfully pale, even for him. Moving over to the bed, Kyle placed his hands on his friend's shoulders and shook them slightly. "Butters!" he whispered sharply. "Get up! It's Kyle. You okay?"
No response. Kyle decided to take a risk, and he raised his voice. "Butters, dude, wake up!" he demanded in a normal tone. He shook the boy's shoulders harder; still no response. Kyle began to grow uneasy; he'd have thought Butters would have awakened by now. And his skin was such an odd array of colours; pinkish in some places, nearly pure white in others. On a snap decision, Kyle pulled back the covers a bit and took Butters' wrist to feel for a pulse.
It was definitely there -- but there was something very wrong. Kyle didn't know a pulse could go that incredibly fast. Something had happened to Butters -- maybe he had fainted or was in shock or something. If this is something that no-good, abusive bastard did, he thought in a flurry of concern and anger, I'll kill him. I swear to God, I'll F%CKING KILL THAT BITCH!!
Kyle felt a real well of fear rising up inside him as he tried to come up with solutions. What would he do, pour cold water on the kid's face and hope he'd wake up? Stuck for ideas, he began to look around the room frantically, hoping something would come to him soon.
His eyes stopped on a little blue box sitting on Butters' dresser. It was clearly some kind of medication. Kyle dropped Butters' wrist and went over to pick it up, and sure enough, a little pack of twelve sleeping-pills slipped out. At least, it used to be twelve. Six of the tablets had been torn out.
A shudder shot through Kyle's body as he realized the significance of the missing pills. He hadn't seen anything happen, so he couldn't say for sure, but he was pretty sure Butters had overdosed on these things. It was crazy — he didn’t think Butters had it in him to do such a thing, even if he was so depressed. Good thing Butters had a phone in his room. Kyle removed the receiver from its cradle on the dresser and started dialling.
A deep, groggy voice answered him. “Butters? What the hell do you want? I have to be at school early tomorrow,” it mumbled.
“Stan, it’s me,” Kyle whispered. “I’m at Butters’ dad’s house. There’s something I need to tell you. I need your help as quickly as possible.”
“Huh? What’s going on?”
Kyle dropped the volume of his voice even lower. “A little while ago, Butters came over here from his house, trying to get me to let him spend the night because he was scared of his dad. And I would've let him, except that his dad came out and actually dragged him back to the house by his feet."
A shocked gasp came from the other end of the line. "No f%cking way."
"I know. It scared the sh*t out of me. I figured I ought to go check on him to see if he was okay. I’m in his room right now — I broke in through the window. Dude.. I think he OD’d on sleeping pills or something. He’s passed out, and he doesn’t look too good. We need to get him to the emergency room.”
“..Oh my G%d,” Stan replied, his voice now tinged with urgency. “But why are you calling me about this, dude? Shouldn’t you be calling 911? Poison Control? Something?”
“No, dumbass,” Kyle told him irritably. “We can’t cause a scene. Just drive over here and we’ll take Butters to the emergency room. You can drive, right?”
“Yeah, but not legally,” Stan informed him. “I’ve got a learner’s permit, not a license.”
“I know, I know. Who cares? This is an emergency situation.”
Stan sighed. “All right, but how the hell am I gonna get the car out of the garage? There’s no way my parents aren’t going to hear that.”
Kyle was beginning to get frustrated. “I dunno, take Shelley’s car or something. Just get your ass over here, NOW!”
Kyle suddenly realized he had been speaking quite loudly. He jumped as he heard a door open across the hall. DAMMIT, he thought, realizing he’d probably been responsible for waking up Mr. Stotch. Fortunately, Kyle was a quick thinker. Turning to the television sitting on Butters’ dresser, he pushed the POWER button and dashed behind the bed, lying on the floor so he wouldn’t be seen just in case Butters’ dad entered the room.
He ducked his head just as the door opened. “Butters?” came the slurred voice. “Are you on the ph— oh.” Footsteps moved toward the dresser; a click of a button, and then silence. “Wish he wouldn’t fall asleep with his TV on,” the voice muttered as the door shut and the footsteps moved back to wherever they’d come from.
Phew, Kyle thought. Thank God that worked. All he had to do now was wait for Stan to arrive. Wringing his hands in anticipation, he looked out the open window and prayed that he would show up soon.
and that's all i've really got finished for now. working on the next chapter.. stay tuned for more!
Pretty potent stuff you're writing there, Hammer! And if I can get chills like that, you know you're doing great.
EDITED!!! I have good stuff now. At least.. semi-good stuff. See next page.
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