Powerless

“You dumb b***h! Can’t you do anything right?” A hard slap echoed through the kitchen. Josh’s mother was on the ground, holding her red cheek, looking up from the ground with panic in her eyes. Was this beating going to be heavy or light? Josh looked at the kitchen, observing the mistakes his mother had done.

The tuna casserole was burnt again, the kitchen was a mess, and his mother had tripped, spilling beer all over his father’s business suit. A black eye and a bruised shoulder, those were a given, but which bone would he break this time. A leg, a rib, or maybe he would finally go too far and break her neck. Josh hoped not, she already suffered too much by that demon of a man. He couldn’t bear to see such malice and violence again.

Josh’s father was the commanding type. He didn’t take no for an answer. He was as cunning and as sly as a fox. That was probably why he made a killing in the stock market. His father smirked as he watched his mother back away. She was yelling at him about how she would do better next time. She begged not be hurt again. Josh clenched his fists. He wanted to stop his father’s terror that had plagued their home for years. He had watched his mother continually suffer blow after blow from his father’s rough hands for a long time.

He hated everything about him, but continued to only watch as his mother was beaten over and over. She was being stomped, kicked, and spat on. His father was really letting loose this time.  His father grabbed his mother by the neck, the choking  and gasps relflected the fear and panic she felt. She clawed at his hairy hands as she was dragged to the  bedroom.  Slamming the door shut, Josh could only hear the screams of a terrified woman, grunts of a sadistic man, and the rhythmic squeaks of the old queen sized bed. Josh wanted to throw up but even if he wanted to, he couldn’t. He couldn’t even remember the last time he ate.

All that went through Josh’s mind was why? Why couldn’t his mother marry a kinder man? Why couldn’t she stand up for herself and just escape in the middle of the night? What was it that made her stay and endure this torture? These were  questions Josh will never get answered. His father walked out of the bedroom zipping up his pants.

“Next time, cook better.” His father simply muttered to the battered woman. She sobbed and simply nodded. Her torn sundress was spattered with speckles of blood. Her eye was beginning to bruise and Josh just sat there watching the broken woman attempt to put herself back together again.

Josh wanted to help her. He wanted to dry her tears and say everything will be alright. The simple act of a son helping his mother, but ever since his father threw him down the stairs and broke his neck in a violent fit of rage.  Only then did he realize, there wasn’t a thing a ghost can do.