“NO!” Everything all of a sudden become strangely quiet. Sophie’s eyes flew open. Her heart pounded and her head hurt. She looked up, and gasped.
Logan. He’d grasped, holding it strong, her step-father’s wrist. The wrist that would have brought down the belt. The belt that would have come down on Sophie’s tender shoulders.
Everything stopped. Sophie’s step-father jerked himself out of Logan’s grasp. He stopped. Sophie could see his mouth set in a strait line. He pressed his lips together, hard! Sophie saw them turn white. She shuddered.
He slowly, his fist clenched, he turned and faced Logan. Hate written all over his face. “You,” his voice was frighteningly low and quiet again, “how DARE you interfere with YOUR FATHER’S discipline. She’s a bad girl, and deserves to be punished.”
“Sophie’s done nothing,” Logan answered back quietly, with the calmness that mom had possessed only a few minutes before, “You are the one treating mom with injustice.”
“Oh, am I now?”
“Yes sir,” Logan replied, quietly, “Mom doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. Neither does Sophie. No one does.”
“Well then,” their step-father replied, “I suppose you- his voice rose suddenly- WILL TAKE THEIR PLACE!”
In the blink of an eye, he slammed Logan against the wall. Sophie screamed. Mom gasped.
Their step-father stepped up to Logan, his face inches away from Logan’s. Logan closed his eyes, his step-father’s breath reeked of alcohol. “Look at me, boy.” Logan opened his eyes.
“You gonna be a man? You gotta fight like one!”
“Hunter, no!” Mom gasped.
“WHO’S BOSS AROUND HERE, JOY?” Their step-father yelled at her, “BEST YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! AND I’LL DEAL WITH THESE BRATS!”
He turned back to Logan. “You gonna be a man. You gotta fight,” he repeated. Logan’s fists clenched. He could feel his step-father’s grip tighten on his arm. The few minutes seemed like hours.
“No,” he said quietly.
“What? I can’t hear ya boy.”
Logan raised his voice and looked his step father strait in the eye, “NO!” he said firmly.
Their step-father’s face turned red with rage. He lips grew white, and he clenched his fists so hard, his knuckles turned white.
“If that’s the way you want to be…” he said frighteningly quietly again.
He stalked down the hall, grabbing his coat of it’s hook. They could hear him open the front door.
“BE THAT WAY!” He shouted and slammed the door.
Sophie shuddered remembering. It had been so frightening. Her mother had a few bruises and cuts, and a couple black eyes maybe, but overall, she was fine. Yet from that time, they all hated their step-father. They feared their step-father. And he always, even sometimes when he wasn’t drunk, beat up on them.
Sophie closed her eyes, hoping the horrible memory would go away but it didn’t. Suddenly her step-father’s voice abruptly brought her back to the present.
“SOPHIE! I SAID, ‘NOW’!!!!!!” Sophie jumped. Closing her eyes, she secretly wished he’d just leave them alone. Reluctantly peeled Mason off her hip, she sent him down to her room, telling him to go find Logan or Ken until she was done with this. Taking a deep breath, she faced her step-father.
“Yes?” she answered as sweetly as she could, coming around the corner, “What do you need?” She found it hard to keep the ice out of her voice.
“Go down to the store and get me a six-pack, AND MAKE IT SNAPPY!” He threw a five and a ten dollar bills at her, and turned back to the TV. Sophie shuddered picking up the bills. She slipped on her coat and hurried to Leo’s Liquor Lounge five blocks away.
I wish I didn’t have to keep going to this cursed place to get his stupid beer bottles. Why? Why me? Sophie slipped into the store. At least it was warmer inside.
“Hey, Sophie,” Leo greeted her. Sophie smiled at the middle aged guy behind the counter. Even though Leo ran an alcohol store, you had to admire him for not touching the stuff. Well, I guess I can’t exactly blame him for not wanting to, either, Sophie thought, It’s just really ironic.
Leo had sandy brown hair, and a tan complexion. His eyes were a soft brown, and his cheeks rosy. Even though he was nearly 33, he still lived on his own. He’d dated a girl for awhile, but they were never serious. He seemed to lose a lot of girls for some reason. Sophie had always wondered if it had something to do with his job.
“Your dad want his usual six-pack?” Leo asked, fumbling through a cardboard box. He pulled out the usual six-pack that Sophie’s step-father usually got when he came in.
“Yeah. How much?”
Sophie handed him the money, and he handed her the change back.
“Be careful out there Sophie. There’s a lot of drunks just outside my shop. I just wish that was one thing they wouldn’t do, hang around.” Leo smiled at her.
Sophie nodded and smiled, turning to go, she almost ran into a man coming into the store.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she quickly apologized.
He gave her this look when he saw the six-pack in her arms. She blushed and realized he was thinking it was for her. She shuddered hurried out the door. Why, oh why, did HE have to send her? Couldn’t he have gotten his own beer?
Hurrying the five blocks back home, she hoped she hadn’t taken to long. After all, his patience seemed to run out a lot faster then it used to. Sophie neared the house. Hopefully she-
“NO! NO! HUNTER STOP! YOU’LL KILL HIM!” Sophie’s heart stopped. What was he doing? Was mom okay? Why was she screaming? Who, what, how?
For a minute Sophie debated whether or not to go inside. Should she? Well, where else was she supposed to go?
She flung the door open. “SOPHE! GET IN HERE! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN! WHERE’S MY BEER?” Her step-father’s form stood over her.
Sophie quickly took in the scene. Her eyes wandered to her mother, obviously alright, except that she looked like she’d been crying her eyes out. Sadie and Mason huddled in the hallway, but they looked alright too. Sophie didn’t know where Logan was.
Then, her eyes rested on Ken. She gasped. He was a bloody mess. He lay, face down, on the floor. Blood was on his face and in his hair, on his hands and all over.
“Ken!” Sophie instinctively dropped the beer bottles and tried to make it to her brother. Her step-father stepped in her way.
“Leave him alone. Hopefully he learned his lesson. But YOU! You’re late! You know I needed my beer! I told you to make it snappy!” He grabbed Sophie’s arm and dragged her into the living room. “YOU GOOD FOR NOTHING-“
Sophie watched his fist raised into the air above her. She heard mom scream. Then all went black.