Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
Lucy was 14 years old when her mother was on her second divorce. Her mother married her father when she was 15, had her at 16 and her two sisters by the time she was 21. Her mother had a hysterectomy after the last daughter was born. Lucy’s father enlisted in the Vietnam War to get away from her mother and divorced her from there, or so the story was told to her.

Then, with three children in tow, Lucy’s mother jumped into another marriage. He wasn’t a nice man to Lucy, but treated the middle sister like the son he always wanted. They worked on cars rebuilding engines. He worked for the Crime Lab in the town they lived in. He would come home from work and if Lucy were lying in the floor watching television he would step on her forehead with his shoes and drag his foot off hard. Lucy had a scab on her forehead for a long time from this. Her mother never said a word when she would cry, so Lucy stopped crying about it.

So here Lucy is in a subsidized housing project with her mother on divorce number two and she has been drinking a lot. It’s scary here at night, there are three separate housing projects here, set up like dominoes, Lucy lives in the middle one. There are drugs and gangs that live in all three. If you are out after dark they try to “get” you. Lucy was the oldest at 14, so she had to look out for her sisters, ages 11 and 12. Lucy was also responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, making sure they all did their school work, etc. Lucy also had to clean up after her mother when she came home drunk and make sure she got to bed.

About this time Lucy sprained her ankle and was on crutches for a bit. As she lived on the second floor apartment this was not an easy task on crutches. Lucy had avoided joining the gangs but she did not go unnoticed by them. She was constantly harassed by the ones who “owned” the projects. Lucy did have one friend she could count on and his name was Rusty. They looked out for each other when they could.

Before Lucy sprained her ankle, she was at the laundry room doing laundry one night and a bunch of guys from the gang came in trying to scare her with talk of grabbing her and holding her down and ..well you get the idea. Lucy was terrified but she knew if she showed it they would pounce. She had to show NO fear. So she picked up her laundry and calmly walked out. They followed her every step. Lucy made it up the stairs and into her apartment, locked the door and chained it. Then she let out her breath. Lucy was so scared. She tried to tell her mother what had happened, her mother just told her to be quiet she was watching television. Lucy cried herself to sleep.

After Lucy sprained her ankle and was laid up for a while. One night she was in her room with her window open (there was no screens in the windows being on the second floor the landlord saw no need), she heard glass break in the kitchen. Lucy was the only one home, her sisters were spending the night with friends and her mother was out with her boyfriend. Lucy got up on her crutches and hobbled to kitchen to see what had broken. When Lucy got to the kitchen she saw the window over the sink was broken and a hand reaching through to remove the chain and unlock the back door. The door opens and it’s one of the gang boys from that night in the laundry room and he is just smiling an evil smile. Lucy can taste bile filling her mouth. She drags her crutches and runs for her room. She slams her door and locks it, knowing it won’t stop him. He tries the knob, laughs and kicks it hard. Opens with one kick. Stupid cheap door! She thinks. He stampedes towards her as she stands in front of her open window. Everything slows down into slow motion, it’s like a cartoon, and Lucy bends under him and comes up under him essentially tossing him out the window. One down, cool. Lucy hears more coming. She fought them all, there were three more, any way she could. They were not getting her. Lucy hit them with her crutches, her lamp, anything she had in her room, she even started hitting them with her fists, biting, kicking, and blood was flying. She didn’t know whose blood it was, hers or theirs. Lucy just knew not to stop or she wouldn’t survive. That was her only goal. She can’t remember how long she fought but it seemed like a long time and then to her utter shock it was over and she had survived and they had not “gotten her”. She was battered, bloodied, bruised but they had not gang raped her. She was alive!

Lucy crawled to the door and tried to shut it but it was off the hinges and she was so weak. There was a knock and immediately she went into attack mode, swinging her crutch thinking they had come back. It was Rusty! He overheard “them” laughing in the laundry room about what they had done, of course their version was slightly different to make themselves look good to the others. Rusty was scared Lucy was dead. He helped her to bed, cleaned her up, put a board over the kitchen window and fixed the back door. He fixed Lucy’s bedroom door where it would shut and lock again. Cleaned up the mess from the struggle. And stayed with Lucy the rest of the night (sleeping on the couch ‘standing guard’) to protect her so she could sleep. When he heard Lucy’s mother coming home he slipped out. Lucy’s mother never noticed anything and Lucy never told her. Lucy’s mother never asked about her bruised, battered face and body and Lucy never volunteered the story.

This was the beginning of Lucy’s path to destruction. She thought she deserved to be treated badly. If her own mother couldn’t tell something bad had happened to her then bad things must be her lot in life. So, Lucy married a man who beat on her, cheated on her and got her hooked on the drug “black beauty”, speed. He blamed her for the abuse and cheating. They eventually divorced which again was her fault.

Lucy was in and out of abusive relationships looking for love that did not exist. Lucy let her aunt fix her up and she met a very nice man seven years older. Lucy dated him a couple of years and they finally married. He lived with his mother, she did not approve of Lucy, and seven days after the marriage he went home to his mother and she forced him to divorce Lucy.

Lucy married again, to someone she met in a bar. Lucy did not drink and other than the speed incident which she beat herself, she did not do drugs. They had a son. The light of her life and at times the bane of her existence. Lucy’s husband also cheated and was an alcoholic and loved being so. His numerous DUI’s proved it. They divorced. Lucy’s fault again. A rebound marriage which was a HUGE mistake followed and Lucy decided to get off the crazy roller coaster her life had become and get another divorce. Lucy took time to reevaluate her life’s choices and raise her son. Lucy wanted more from life than abuse and misery.

Lucy talked with a counselor and talked about her first marriage, where he got her into some crazy head games. She remembered being in Louisiana sitting under a bridge after a really bad night of beatings watching the canal thinking how easy it would be to just slip off into the water and let the barges drag her under and end the pain. The barges would float her down the canal and no one would find her and no one would care. Years later Lucy looked back on that night, that very low point in her life, and she used to think how weak she was because she couldn’t do it. But, she realized she wasn’t weak she was strong. It took courage she didn’t know she had to look at her fear and say NO I want to live. She realized if she had not lived through all the hell she went through she never would have found her peace. She found peace within herself. That peace lead to her wonderful loving husband, who has shown her unconditional love, her son who has grown up to be a good and loving son and a life she only ever dreamed of having.