Borne of Pain
"Phillip,come down NOW!"
Uh oh, what did I do now, thought Phillip Rauther. He approached his father cautiously as he saw his angered red face staring at the kitchen floor. The crushed cheerio was alone on the smooth polished kitchen floor, awaiting recognition.
"Yours?" his father asked.
"I'm sure it is",replied his unprotective mother, pointing her spindly finger at him. Phillip removed his shirt in the customary fashion, revealing multiple purple raised linear scars along his entire back. He bent over, knowing what was to come next. His fathers leather belt didn't sting anymore, the scars too thick to allow his nerve endings to feel the whipping. Only when the brass buckle bit into the deeper skin or hit the bone of his spine did he feel pain. His mothers wooden spoon made even a lesser impact.
He ran upstairs after the beating,showered away the peeling scar tissue and blood and wrapped his back in a towel. Sleep was his only solitude. On the way to school the next day, the two mile walk, though tiring,allowed Phillip to think. For the thousandth time, as he passed the community fountain with the statue of Michael the Archangel, he flipped in a shiny penny and wished for a brother. He needed SOMEONE.
The bright flash of lightning startled Phillip as the penny entered the water. Odd, thought Phillip, lightning with blue skies. He made a mental note to google that when he got home and continue on to school.
Math class was boring...he hated fractions and decimals. The burning pain near his shirt collar startled him from his daydream. A small lump was forming on the back of his neck just below the hairline. Must be a bite, thought Phillip.
By the time Phillip got home from school. the lump had grown bigger and more tender. "Not telling mom about this", he swore! He stayed in his room for the rest of the day; Tuesday was an "off day" for dinner. They couldn't afford nightly meals. Before bed, Phillip placed a hot hand cloth on the lump, hoping that it would drain. The throbbing was getting worse but he managed to fall asleep, praying that the pain would fade. In the early morning hours, Phillip felt a pop; the pain in his neck had gone. He fell asleep knowing that he would be better in the morning. He didn't see the small round sphere drop from the bed and roll near the bedroom door.
Phillip woke and thought he was looking in the mirror! No, it was an image of himself sitting on the bedroom floor. "Hello Phillip, how do you feel?" "Whoooo aaarrreee yyoooouu?" stuttered Phillip in fear.
"I'm Stephen, your new brother. You don't have to worry about your folks anymore" the new addition said with a wry smile.
Phillip followed his new (newly created) brother down the hall, his parents door slightly ajar. Steven nodded his head, urging Phillip to enter. The room was bright red (wasn't their room painted yellow? thought Phillip), splattered walls revealing the slaughter. His father, shirtless, hung from the ceiling fixture by his leather belt. The bright shiny brass buckle positioned perfectly under
his chin. Deep red whip lines all along his back dripped clotted blood on the parquet floor.
His mother appeared to be watching the swinging corpse as she sat in the corner of the room. The staring eyes though, did not blink. Her mouth was agape, the wooden spoon jutting from the back of her throat.
Phillip turned to Steven and smiled. "Let's go out and play," he said to his sibling.