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Authors: Deryck Jason

Tags: #horror, #children, #dolls, #king, #clown, #dummy, #china doll, #ventroloquist

Inanimate (5 page)

BOOK: Inanimate
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medical insurance plan from work was
generous so he wouldn’t be out of pocket from the incident and more
importantly, Beth wasn’t badly hurt, so he was pretty optimistic
overall. However no-one could have foreseen the events that would
unfold after this.

It all started two days after Beth arrived
home. Andy took a little time off work and brought everything to
her in bed. After a week her leg healed up and she regained
mobility. She couldn’t wait to get up and about again. The first
two weeks were mind numbing for her, nothing to do but lay in bed
watching daytime drivel on television, being waited on like the
temporary invalid she was. For a woman so proud and strong, this
was hell. Because her arm was far from healing Beth was unable to
return to work. When she informed Sally, her boss, she would not be
available for another couple of months she had no choice but to
replace her.

A busy salon could not afford to
be understaffed” she said.

Beth was hurt, she felt let
down, yea
of loyal service unrewarded; she was not even able to give services
from home due to her arm being sore all the time. As the days
turned to weeks she sat at home self-medicating. Alone most of the
time while Andy had to work and Connor had school; she began to
convince herself she wasn’t worth anything. Being cut from her job
she was so good at for so long brought up feelings she had
suppressed from years ago. Issues of abandonment stemming from her
own father leaving her as a child started to creep out from her
subconscious. With Andy out working, earning money to pay the
bills, she started to feel like she was being abandoned again. Left
alone in the house all day with nothing but movies and the internet
to keep her company she became disillusioned with the outside
world. Initially she took meds to stop the pain in her arm, but
after a while she simply enjoyed the feeling the pain killers gave
her and took them more often. Alone all day she would snack,
gaining weight as she sat doing nothing all day long. Andy noticed
the weight gain but it didn’t bother him. What did bother him was
the arguing. Andy was not a confrontational man, generally mild
mannered and soft spoken even while drunk. As Beth sat alone all
day long, dwelling on her past she would start looking for
arguments instead of dealing with her resentment. This manifested
itself in constant nit-picking and one-way squabbling which Andy
did not know how to deal with. Things were never ok for her. She
started finding things wrong even when no-one else did. Since he
was never one for confrontation Andy would convince himself this
constant negative attitude was simply a side effect of her being
temporarily house bound. He would never understand why she
degenerated so quickly because she never told him of her past. Deep
secrets about her family history that she would never bring to
light haunted her, but instead of dealing with it she took out her
pain on those closest to her. Andy had never pried too deeply into
her past after she politely asked him not to once before, and now
he would have no reason to associate her behavior with her past. He
simply believed all of it would go away once she got a new

Six weeks came and went but Beth
still hadn’t found work
. She sent out a few resumes to high end salons,
refusing to reapply at her old job and refusing to apply to be
anything else except an aesthetician. For the few weeks she was
looking for work she was still medicating herself. Whenever Andy
was brave enough to voice concern she told him she was “in pain”
and if he dared question her further he was in for a long night of
bitching. Andy gave up hassling up after a few months, he couldn’t
handle arguing every single night so he starting accepting her
behavior in any way he could; justifying it so he would feel more
of a man. Since her accident she had gained thirty two pounds and
practically stopped her job hunt altogether. The issues in her
head, coupled with the fact Andy made a comfortable living for her
meant she was content to do nothing but sit at home, high on pain
killers. “Inventing” phantom ailments, she would be in and out of
the hospital. Each time she would have new medication to enjoy at
her leisure. It was when she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder
that Connor really started to notice her behavior. He heard the
constant arguing, watched his father get verbally abused time and
time again but for the most part he would stay in his room, playing
with his dolls and ignoring the situation as much as possible. Beth
was unpredictable, sometimes she would spend a few days extremely
happy, and the simple gestures she made would fill Andy with hope.
Gestures like making dinner, or buying him something nice from the
store on the rare occasions she left the house. These were Connor’s
favorite days. Then other days she would stay in bed all afternoon
and then stay awake all night watching television. Connor didn’t
mind those days. What he did mind were the days where nothing made
her happy. Constantly angry on those days, she would find the
slightest thing wrong with anything and jump on it, deliberately
starting arguments with Andy. She knew she would always win these
arguments thanks largely to Andy’s passive nature. Most times she
would simply berate him for no other reason than she was bored.
Like the one day he bought a washing powder she wasn’t used to and
she screamed at him for (what seemed to Connor) half an hour,
eventually making him go back to the supermarket and change it. She
tried justified this by saying she was allergic to certain types of
washing powder and if Andy loved her he would have known that.
Although there was absolutely no truth to this claim it didn’t
matter, Andy didn’t argue with her and Beth felt an element of
control she desperately wanted. Sitting in his room Connor listened
to the constant yelling, all one-way. He tried to drown it out by
playing with his toys but it was impossible. He heard every word
and even at a young age he could see right through her. He would
sit in his room stewing; he wanted to intervene but didn’t think it
would do much good. On the days he did try he would ask.

Why does she yell at you

he response was always the

is sick son, she can’t help

Connor was never satisfied with
this answer. S
he didn’t look very sick to him. She looked like she
enjoyed yelling at his father, taking lots of medication, sleeping
all day and watching rubbish on television. He always admired how
strong his father was; able to take all this after working hard all
day even if he couldn’t understand why he did. Even though he
thought it would be in vain, on one occasion he had tried to talk
to her, his childlike simplicity trying to highlight the situation
they were in. However, just like his father, she had given him what
seemed like a pre-rehearsed response.

This is between me and your
father; it has nothing to do with you. Now go to your room and
leave me alone!”

had covered all her bases, closing
down any avenue of discussion in one sentence. Connor was not
impressed, he would go to his room but his mind could not leave it
alone. She was all he could think about. He would wonder why this
woman thought she was his mother. She was not. After months of
systematic mental abuse on Andy and Connor, Beth was still not
satisfied with her work so she decided to up the ante. She started
drinking. Although not heavily, she always mixed it with taking
pills which created a much more terrible monster in her. Not
content anymore with simply yelling at Andy when she was displeased
with him. She evolved to throwing things like the candy bars she
perpetually had in her hand or knocking glasses off counters in the
kitchen. Also, not content with just Andy she would start making
comments to Connor.

Where’s your friends?” she would
ask him

Going to g
o play all by yourself

She would laugh and mock him until he left
for his bedroom. He could still hear her laughing from the couch as
he trudged upstairs. That laugh was extremely irritating to him,
like a grain of sand in his brain, giving him no rest. Andy had
become a subservient being, controlled at his every turn, and any
attempt to step out of line met with an evening of yelling. All he
wanted was calm. Andy still loved Beth and made every excuse for
her behavior, he stuck by her regardless of how awful she was to
him. When Connor came home from school he would move upstairs as
quietly as possible to avoid her. She was always sprawled across
the couch watching television. More often than not he would make it
upstairs out of her way, however sometimes he would hear her
dolloping up the stairs to come into his room just so she could be
mean to him. Abusing Connor was something else that made her feel
in control of her life. This almost ten year old boy would do his
best to ignore her but she pushed and prodded at him with jibes and
insults until he finally had to physically close the door on her.
Taking this as a sign of victory she would waddle back downstairs
to sit on the couch and wait for her next target to get home from
work. Connor listened to the fat thighs causing creaks on the
staircase and he knew his father was never aware of the mental
abuse he endured at Beth’s hands because Connor never told him.
Connor didn’t want to add to his dad’s burdens but mainly he wasn’t
sure if his father was strong enough to do anything about it. This
was something Connor did not want to test; the boy would have been
crushed if his dad didn’t protect him and so, instead of trying, he
just kept quiet. Laundry, cooking and cleaning was Andy’s reward at
the end of the work day. Beth kept claiming she was too ill to do
any housework and Connor was usually up in his room playing. If
truth be told Connor deliberately didn’t help out with the chores,
passively protesting against Beth’s sham excuse, hoping Andy would
tell her off but he never did.

Connor loathed that woman. Every day his
hatred continued to grow. At school, Connor’s lack of interest
stopped bothering anyone. His teachers had already given up hope on
him, choosing to offer help to pupils who actually wanted it. Andy
was never bothered by teachers and that was the way he liked it. He
knew Connor was bright and that was all that mattered to him. At
work, Andy was very good at his job, it was the only place he felt
in charge of his own life and it showed. He made good money and was
widely respected by his peers. The sad fact was that the one person
he actually wanted respect from was Beth but she would never give
him that. Instead she would make up wild unfounded accusations that
Andy was having an affair. All he had to do was mention a female
colleague in passing or be seen chatting to one and that was it,
immediately there would be yelling and accusations.

It was a Thursday when she hit him. Connor
was unsure of the details. He remembered the usual one-way yelling
but then that ominous slap stopped everything. Running to the
stairs he peered into the kitchen through the gaps in the bannister
and, watching the events unfold he pieced together what had just
happened. Andy’s face was that of a beaten dog. Just like his
mother’s death, he would never forget that moment. Standing beside
him, arms folded was Beth. She had just landed a powerful slap to
his face because he made chicken for dinner when she claimed she
told him that morning she wanted beef. This time, instead of
yelling, Beth casually poured herself a half vodka half Coke and
walked past Connor into the living room, smirking as she did as if
she knew he was watching all along. Andy stood in the kitchen
staring at the floor while a tear of frustration slipped out. With
a deep breath he lifted his head. His thoughts weighed heavy on his
mind. He spotted Connor staring back at him and wondered how long
he had been there. The boy’s eyes gazed into his and he wondered
how he let it get to this.

What kind of father am I?
What kind of man am I?”

felt he had betrayed the memory of his
wife and so, was an embarrassment to his son. The kitchen grew
silent around him as his thoughts closed in. Everything disappeared
and all that was left was Connor’s stare, the stare that spurned a
thousand more thoughts, fighting to be contained. Unable to face
his son Andy strolled past him, lifted the car keys off the hook by
the door and left. Getting into his car he pulled out the driveway,
heading off for a long drive. He knew Beth’s wrath would be waiting
for him when he got back but he had to leave. He did not want his
son to see him breaking down.


Where’s your friends

Beth stood in the doorway of Connor’s
bedroom, high on a combination of Gin and Valium.

Did you hear me you little
faggot? I asked you where all your shitty little friends

Connor sat with his back to her,
playing with Basket. The house seemed darker now, dirtier, with
less color.

You just going to ignore me
like you do every girl you little homo?”

Pointing a bottle of “London Dry” at
the boy she continued her abuse.

You’re going to end up a
loser, just like your father!”

A single angry tear
streamed down the
child’s cheek. It reached his mouth and he tasted the salty
bitterness. Connor had put up with this abuse for some time now but
this time it was different. Connor heard her slap his father the
night before and the atmosphere had been tense ever since. After
returning from his drive Andy was spared a night of screaming, but
they all knew the game had changed. Even Connor always thought his
father would stand up for himself if he was being physically
assaulted, but since he never did Beth now felt powerful, she
again. Connor’s emotions inside him were bubbling up like a
volcano, only the sense of right and wrong his mother instilled in
him kept him from lashing out but even that value was wavering

BOOK: Inanimate
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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