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Another One

Family Curses

By Laura LannPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - December 2023
17
Another One
Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

"I'm really not sure there's much to comment on," she mutters, shoving her hands into her coat pockets. They press in close around her with their hungry words.

"Well do you believe him or her?" they bark, chitter.

With a sigh that could extinguish the galaxy, she shakes her head.

"You don't want my answer so why are you asking?" She's frigid, indifferent to their prodding.

Three pairs of eyes blink questionably at her. And two mouths open to speak while one grimaces.

"So you think he did it?" "Does that sound like him?" They screech at the same time. She knew this would happen, that they would argue. Rather than place him to their fire of questions, they solicit opinions of the family to argue with instead. Her aunts are like that.

The other nieces and nephews were smart enough to clear the room once the topic changed. They are outside, huddled on the back porch near the heater to ward off the winter's bite as they sip beer. She was unwilling to retreat to the cold though. It seemed that they were always retreating as children, and she would be damned if she did not hold her ground as an adult. The rules no longer required her to hold her tongue or even get along for that matter. What will they do? Spank her? Not now. That power is long gone.

"I will believe the victim every time," she answers. One of her aunts gasps, as if she's confessed to drowning kittens.

"Rachel! You know Clark was always the sweetest young man. He's always been good to you. Why, he's the victim, the victim of her lies," she hurtles.

"I bet she's trying to get more money out of him in the divorce," Aunt Hollith adds in her dry and flat tone.

"How would that get her more money? Plus she makes far more than him. You think she needs his?" Rachel contests with a snort. To her other aunt she adds directly, "And yes Aunt Beatrice, he was indeed a sweet kid. That means nothing. Most abusers get away with it so well because they are charming."

"I think it's a lie," Aunt Beatrice repeats insistently.

"Why would she lie about that? You know the percentage of false accusations is around 1% right? The statics are not in his favor." She is angry now. Red washes her cheeks just as it does her Aunt Hollith who she looks so much like.

"Well, she hits him too! He said so. He said she's framing him and she's the real abuser."

Rachel openly rolls her eyes.

"Yeah, I would hit a man back too if he was beating the crap out of me. What's she supposed to do, just take it?"

The third aunt, Molly, finally breaks her pressed lips apart to speak.

"She managed to get assault charges pressed and filed a restraining order," she adds quietly. Rachel nods and tilts her head outside to the cousins.

"Blythe said as much. You know it's damn near impossible for victims to get law enforcement and agencies to take them seriously unless it's bad, right? He had to have really messed her up for those charges to go through."

Aunt Beatrice is clutching at the cross on her neck, as if Rachel has somehow transformed into the devil before her.

"Clark said he only defended himself," she chirps insistently.

"Clark's a piece of shit, and if he's smart he will stay away from me," Rachel cautions. Her eyes flash with her suppressed wrath. The men in the family have always been coddled and enabled. Even when their children come forth.

"Her arm's broke," Aunt Molly whispers. "She said he did it."

"Well, if it's true, then he will be the third one... The third one," Aunt Hollith bemoans, almost ready to wail. It's a disease that has plagued the family ever since her great grandfather struck his wife and his children.

"I just didn't think he ever would. His first wife always said he was the gentlest man," Aunt Molly adds, as if speaking of the dead.

"Yeah, well she didn't ever say why she left him, did she? Many victims keep hush and put on a happy public face. If he did hit her too, she was probably afraid the family wouldn't ever believe her anyway. You don't believe Kathy and he broke her damn arm." Rachel has crossed her arms now and clenched her jaw into a tight frown. She's right and they know she is. They must know.

"So what will you do?" Aunt Hollith asks, curious.

"His mother is going to be so heart broken," Aunt Beatrice adds.

"I'm going to support Kathy. Fuck Clark, as far as I'm concerned he's no longer my family."

She can see that her aunts are unsure. That they disagree. Hollith's brows raise and she lets out a bitter laugh.

"What will you just not speak to him when you see him at gatherings?"

Rachel settles her burning stare on the women once again and sears a curse into their souls.

"You're making a choice right now, and none of us are going to forget it." She waves to the cousins gathered outside. "Heaven forbid it's ever one of us being beat by a partner, but if it is, we know who not to go to."

Uncomfortable, the aunts fall silent and slowly find reason to retreat from the room till only she remains. The silence of the clock ticks from the wall and she lets out another heavy sigh. Then, despite the event, she finds herself smiling. It feels good to have held her ground. The child within her is soothed to have stood up to their pressure. As she moves to get herself a drink, she remembers when the sting of her fathers own belt bit into her and no one believed.

CONTENT WARNINGHolidayShort Storyfamily
17

About the Creator

Laura Lann

I am an author from deep East Texas with a passion for horror and fantasy, often heavily mixed together. In my spare time, when I am not writing, I draw and paint landscape and fantasy pieces. I now reside in Alaska where adventures await.

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Comments (5)

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  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!! Wonderfully written!!!❤️❤️💕

  • K. Kocheryan4 months ago

    Oh man. Heavy subject and the ending was a bittersweet touch. Nice job and Congrats.

  • Zara Blume4 months ago

    This is SO well done. Not being believed is the worst. And it’s always women coddling abusive men, every time. Even when they have evidence of the man’s foul behavior they’ll twist it around to make him the victim. It’s truly a sickness in our society, and it’s why things won’t ever get better. I love that Rachel stood her ground. 🤍

  • Ada Zuba4 months ago

    Wow!! I could picture the whole thing!

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