My Very First Memory by Kyle Halverson

Hoarse as the furnace when it breathes, his little voice retreated into his throat. The spaghetti dinner sworn about the dinner table was to be carried into the wall with its plates. Shrunken beneath the stool he caged himself in, he ebbed the noise from his ears. A blade fell from the ceiling fan and shrieked to the tiles.

When he heard his mother scream for the first time, he could not connect her sweet, soft voice to the sound he thought he heard. He found this almost as hard to accept as he did when he first heard the TV break. It was so bewildering. That metallic groan had no place inside such a thing. Neither did the pain inside that scream.

Such a malicious sound, he thought, that bare skin. It was not soft. It subsided for only seconds at a time, before hauling itself out through the gravel for more. Incarcerated the boy inside the bars of the goaded stool, it brought comfort around him. He ebbed away. To think, that all trees were cursed and buried alive from the start – that their only salvation existed in decapitation and destruction. As it was, to his boyish self, these trees were forever frustrated by their fate. Always brooding in anticipation of being free. This is how he pictured trees, and wood, as he grasped the bars and felt protected from his father’s malice. Such temporary angst was no match for the spite the trees harbored, he thought to himself.

The floor shook with a familiar rumble. More silverware accompanied the china as it divided across the kitchen. His father’s voice frightened him – although already deep and scratchy, it sounded just slightly worse now. The back door swung open with fury boiling behind it. The ragdoll that was his mother was pushed through forcefully and onto the ground. Her pale arms melded with the excess glass as she slid. The dough of her body ingested the shrapnel from earlier. Then, a kick. His large black boot struck her dainty figure with a boisterous clap. The second, third, and fourth time he heard his mother scream he barely held himself together – helpless. Bitch, he heard, whore. The monster that was his father lifted her back up. He did not hesitate as he slapped her callous red face as hard as he could. She shook violently. The blood seeping from her brow transferred to her tears. There was no crying out, just sodden eyes in the face of an obvious terror. The man the boy no longer considered dad wrapped his fist in her brown curly hair and yanked her towards the disheveled fan. Her neck arched back and her eyes sunk into her skull trying desperately to escape the moment. The fist tightened and her scalp condensed as it held on. The father’s beady black eyes stored deep within penetrated the insecurity of the groveling woman before him. He shouted and spit in her face before accusing her of sleeping with another man. To think, all of this because she fell asleep somewhere else. A sad fact that overcame the boy was that his neighbors, neither from the left or right and not even right across the street, came to aid in spite of the screams. No one dared cross a boundary or call an authority in spite of the complete destruction of his family life. Neither the brutal attack of his mother nor the self-destruction of his father went noticed, except by him, so small inside the jail where he watched. The fifth time his mother gathered the power to scream, so did the boy.

Scurrying from beneath the table he stood defenselessly with his chest high and his tiny fists squandered. Those beady black eyes pierced him with the same tenacity of a sword, sending him to a slouch. His chin quivered up to his bottom lip. He fought the urge to run in defense of the sweet, soft voice he desperately sought to hear again. The delicate face and smile, he imagined as he looked at the tousled woman in front of him. He reversed and took forth to the stool.

He’s lunging to grab a hold of the leg as he hovers into the air by his own. The man clamps his claw around his boney ankle. The boy is pulled back and with him the stool, as light as air. The mother screams in defiance. Something breaks. The boy squeezes his eyes shut and twists the stool opposite his shoulder. The whirl sends him into cabinet door below the sink. The boy’s father collapses to one knee and one beady eye shrivels into a pale whirlpool of skin. The boy lies targeted and cries the remnants of his innocence out from his bruised eyes, lost among the wreckage of a fresh violence of apprentice scars.

The cops came later that night to the boy and his mother outside on the curb holding each other inside a blanket. The father had regained composure after his collision with the chair and found his way into the bathroom where he began smashing the mirrors. A shard of glass seared his abdomen deeply and sunk him right there and then to the floor, a bloody mess praying, groveling, without one cent of redemption given in exchange for his dismay. His jejunum ruptured from the gravy gloss around his cut and within minutes of crawling down the hallway, his breath was on its way and gone. The boy was to remain on that curb when his mother was told what went on. Her curiosity overran her and she was finally allowed back inside the house, where her husband of six years lay battered and beaten by his struggle, his dark stick-man eyes staring into oblivion. She vomited on the scene. She was trampled by the image before her. She took this out on herself.

Aspiring writer of some-kind, immersed in artistic ways and sauteed until perfection. Very hands-on and sometimes dirty.