Sophie’s hands were searing, gripping white against the cold of the rail, a silhouette against the blue cold of the sky, with grey forces--the clouds connecting the golden lining of the last of the sun’s breath. Her arms were red--bleeding--not by right of her own commandment over her hurting body and self, but from hands of her drunken stepfather. She somehow found her tears to be red; she could not see through them and they blotted out the dreary sky in crimson. But perhaps it was her imagination. Whatever did happen to the sunny days in this suburban place?
She imagined spitting blood into the shower where senile lay the last living remains of her grandfather, fully clothed, laying there cold, smiling and blinking back tears, bleeding in the back of the head, the shower pipe spewing after being undone from its clogged-ness by the doing of his wizened hands and capable mind. Surely her stepfather would cry--at least once in his life. He would cry just as much as she did. Maybe it would cure him from whatever plague caused him to be so purblind.
“Did grandfather have to die?” she seethed. “Did he have to? Damn, at least he was sensible enough not to get so drunk as this father--this stranger in my house, cutting my skin, making me look as if I were doing the harm to myself, causing all of these other strangers to coo at me. ‘Aw, poor little Sophie. She needs a therapist!’ and says my stepfather, ‘She certainly does. She is always so depressed!’ Hah, depressed indeed. At least I still have wonder and hope in me.”
She looked with intense blue-grey eyes down at her arm. She wanted to speak to the cold railing more, but she was afraid someone might hear her. On the other hand, who would care? Carefully, she stepped out of the balcony and back into her room, taking a clean rag and some antibiotics. She slowly applied it to her arm. The cut was not too deep this time. She had been able to defend herself from her stepfather considerably more effectively. She attempted to quell the cold memory of the attack, and at the same time wished desperately she had a phone to call the police, but her stepfather never let her use the phone. He did not even let her use a computer.
“Control,” she mumbled. “All he wants is control. Is that all people want? What force keeps troubled people like him surviving?” She spoke to herself between shattered, sobbing breaths. “Under all of these circumstances, even being more experienced in his depression than I, what makes him keep on going, while I somehow keep my thoughts consoled and full of this deep wonder I have regarding other dimensions of reality, which others call fantasy? I don’t even know why I talk like this, as if I am in some Shakespearian play during a monologue.” She clutched her head in her hands, confused. “I wish I could write it all down, but my voice and lips seem to be moving only. My wrist hurts.”
Looking out her window, she remembered the times she had with her grandfather, and all the stories he told her about dragons and faeries and night sprites. She closed her eyes and imagined she was flying with untainted wings, over mountains and forests, her stepfather left behind. The world in her head, which all of the jaded, wonder-ridden strangers called childish unrealism, would be reality, and her stepfather would be the unreal one. He would be the other world Sophie could not reach, since she would never want to reach it.
From another room came a loud crash of silverware and a scream from the drunk man. “Sophie!” was the word exploding from the cracked hearth of his lungs. Sophie’s eyes widened, but only for a few seconds, before she picked up her bravery and walked slowly towards her closet. Opening the door to her closet, she breathed and picked up her journal of writings and thoughts, her pen, a little pewter dragon, her stash of money, and her long dagger. Would anyone believe her if she said her stepfather was drunk so she ran away? Who knows. Nonetheless she whispered, “I need to get the hell out of here.”
The crash of feet edged frighteningly closer to Sophie’s closed and locked room. She listened as the man boomed, “Sophie, unlock your fucking door!” He slammed on it with his hands and feet, and she could tell how clumsy he was, but she knew he was strong enough to break through. So she turned towards her window without hesitation. She exhaled. “I will be off now. Perhaps I’ll go to my friend’s place miles away in the forest.”
Quickly, she changed her clothes as the banging on the door continued. She changed into clothes her stepfather had never seen, which were her baggy jeans and a plain red tee-shirt. Over that, she put on a dark hoodie and a dark green, almost black army coat. She grabbed scissors and quickly, without another thought, took up her long light brown hair and cut it off until it was only to the length of the top of her neck. She did not look in the mirror once, and instead wrapped a scarf around the bottom half of her face. The banging got louder, and her entire room shook violently.“Open the fucking door you little moron! I’m gonna beat your ass hard if you don’t,” yelled the man again. The banging on the door turned into cracking, and Sophie could see it splinter. Quickly, she ran to the balcony under her window. She jumped through the window and onto the stable metal. She then shut the curtains and closed the window as much as she could. With relief, she jumped all the way to the ground from there, not caring that it hurt her feet, and she ran like wind.