“James, please don’t-” Alexander quietly pressed his ear up against his bedroom door, listening to the shouts that echoed from the kitchen down the hall.
“One more word Rachel, and I swear-” The sound of something breaking made Alexander flinch harshly, tears burning in his eyes as he shuddered away from the door slightly. He guessed that his father had hit half of a beer bottle against the counter, as per usual – this wasn’t the first time his mother had been threatened by the jagged shards of a brownish-orange bottle, and she had a scar on her chin to prove it.
“Alright, alright, just… Please. Don’t hurt Alex. Please, we’ll go, I promise.” His mother’s voice begged, and the loud bang of his father’s hand slamming on the counter sounded through the house.
Alexander whimpered and backed away from the door quickly, memories of what had happened to his mother last time they’d fought like this filling his mind.
He had been so scared; all those bruises, all those cuts, all the screaming and yelling from behind closed doors. His mother had practically dragged him away from the house – away from his father – and they had stayed with a friend for almost a month after that. When they got back from what his mother called their ‘Vacation’, the yelling and the bruises and the cuts didn’t stop.
He jumped at the sound of a door slamming and quickly scrambled back into bed to hide under the blankets. He wasn’t sure who had left or who had come in; maybe a neighbor heard the yelling. Maybe it was the police coming to arrest his abusive father. Maybe – hopefully – his father had left.
Or maybe his mother had left him behind and gone off by herself.
She wouldn’t do that though, would she? She wouldn’t just leave him alone with his father? Oh God, what if she had just gone and left?! What if he never saw her again, or-
He whimpered at the sound of the doorknob turning slowly and screwed his eyes shut as a ray of light poured across the bed. The sound of soft footsteps filled the room and a sweet smell engulfed him.
His mother. He breathed a sigh of relief.
She walked over to his closet and began softly rifling through it, not noticing when he sat up hesitantly.
“Mom?” She jumped at the sound of his voice and turned to look at him with scared eyes.