bit harder. Then again, slightly harder, making my cheeks sting.
Each hit gets more intense. He does it brilliantly, upping the sensation slowly, so I never feel anything that really, really hurts. He’s good at this.
He’s spanking me and my eyes are shut, my body braced against his strokes. Taking it. Over and over. My breathing is ragged. My heart is pounding.
Then everything shifts. Everything changes.
Inside, something hot and vile is taking root in my heart. I can feel it growing. It’s sharp and its burning and—I don’t know why—it suddenly explodes.
I’m back in my bedroom in our four bedroom house in suburbia, before my parents split up. My mother is making breakfast. My door opens and my stepfather—my dad—comes into my room...
I remember lying there, sometimes with my eyes shut, because I couldn’t open them and face him and say no. I was too much of a coward. I thought he would throw me out if I said no. Maybe throw both my mother and I out and we’d starve, because what could mom do to support us? She married young—to my birth father—and didn’t even go to college. She thought my real dad would end up wealthy with a good job—his father had a successful business. But my grandfather-by-birth shot himself and it turned out he’d been draining money off the business for years. There was nothing left but debt. My birth dad was stunned, devastated, and he did the same thing as his father—he took his own life. Leaving my mom widowed, with me. Then my mom met my stepfather, and to have her, he had to take me. I always felt my stepfather did things to me because he had to put a roof over my head and feed me, so he should get something out of it, shouldn’t he?
In the mornings he would come to me. And I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening.
Stupid little coward.
My breathing is ragged. My heartbeat feels like an alarm clock’s ring, strident, with no rhythm, too loud, too fast.
What am I doing? Letting some guy beat my butt, that’s what, because he wants to. Because I’m being coward again.
It all slams into me. Sickening memories, sickening anger, sickening self-loathing. I do deserve this. I was a stupid whore with no brains, who didn’t stick up for herself. Any other girl would have said no or said stop. Not me. Not stupid, cowardly me.
I get off the bed, my legs shaking. My throat is so tight, it feels my head’s been twisted on my neck seven hundred and twenty degrees.
“What’s wrong?” Jonathon drops the paddle to his side, holds out his hand and comes toward me.
But that’s just shit. He doesn’t care about me. He’s just getting what he wants. Just like how I let other people take what they wanted.
Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic.
The words gouge into me. The anger is incredible. I feel like I’m going to explode with it. I have to move. Do something. I grip my hair and pull it so hard it makes me scream.
My hair doesn’t come out, damn it. So I run.
Run. Run. Run. Can’t outrun memories. Can’t outrun everything you did wrong.
I can try.
But the damn sand doesn’t help an escape. My legs are like rubber. And while my heart is beating so fast it should be able to blast into orbit, I discover that doesn’t help me move.
I collapse on the beach.
What have I done?
Torn at my hair like a crazy person. Run out on Jonathon. Acted like I need to be committed.
Maybe he’ll lock the doors and you’ll be stuck out here all night. How are you going to get home? Charge a flight on your credit card? There’s no way you could afford it.
I know what I should have done. Know it now that I’m on my hands and knees on wet sand in the dark. I should have played along. Drawn the line in the sand in the fucking morning, when I had time to get a flight and get out.
I want to be sick. I can’t do what Jonathon wants. I can’t do it and not remember who I was in the past.
Tears well up suddenly. I give in to them because I’m sitting on a beach in paradise,
John Lloyd, John Mitchinson