The curved lines are the hardest but I persevere, focussing hard on forming the letter beautifully. I watch with delight as the red line fills in, following the angle I’ve scribed so carefully.
“Well done my little Blade” he pats my head and admires my work, “Your letters are coming along so nicely. See what happens when you practice hard?”
“Yes Daddy.” I beam back at him. I have been working hard, and it’s not easy when your writing book won’t stay still. I found a way to secure it so it wriggles less. Ropes hold it firm and are far more quiet than chains. The big stick we secured in the middle gives a handy tool to reprimand any fidgeting. I give a firm tap on it now to call it back in line.
The book stands still again, feet firmly planted, wedged apart by the bar. It rests its head on the rope that secures its hands to the beam above. The brightly coloured boy parts are hidden inside, keeping it compliant.
It’s better when it’s still. Wobbly canvasses make for wobbly letters and I want them to be perfect for Daddy. All the letters that run up the legs were practice ones with far too much moving around. The edges are sloppy and the lines blurred, some of them went too deep.
Deep letters bleed more.
He makes me wait to finish all my letters before I’m allowed to lap up the blood that runs down. The sloppier my letters are the more they bleed and the quicker I work through my books: then Daddy has to get me new ones. So I make sure I do my letters perfectly so the books last for a long time and are properly used up before we throw them away.
One of my books tasted so good I couldn’t help but let the darkness take me. Clamping my teeth down helped to open up the letters, the ruby rewards flowing thickly over my tongue. Vicious jaws clamped on flesh and pulled, head shaking from side to side to feed my thirst.
I broke the book whilst it still had some blank pages left.
Daddy was angry.
His fist beat down like thunder, rolling from one strike to another in an unrelenting storm. A storm I weathered, fully deserving of his delivered discipline.
The bruises are fading now but the lesson remains. My blood lust is Daddy’s to unleash. My desire belongs to him, the control is his, my satisfaction only comes at his say. I will be his good girl and practice my writing without drinking my book dry.
I look to him, checking that my restraint is evident and noted. This is the third of our lessons that I have kept the beast caged and my hungry mouth to myself. There’s a peculiar smile tugging at his mouth; it’s something beyond pride.
“I’m really pleased Blade.” he says with unexpected depth of feeling. “Really pleased.” His reaction should be satisfying, but it feels so disproportionate to my achievement that it stirs something in me. I should be pleased that Daddy’s pleased. Happy that Daddy is happy. I should feel reassured but instead I feel the creeping nausea of anxiety.
I know better than to question him. I simply smile and continue with my letters. perfecting my grip on the shining scalpel “Thank you Daddy.”
“I’m really pleased that you’ve learnt.” he continues, pacing in a circle around me and my book. “You’ve demonstrated how Daddy’s lessons do work, don’t they?” I nod in response. I nod and meet his eye and show my gratitude “Thank you Daddy.”
I nod with enthusiasm and keep smiling and suppress the fear that’s making my heart pound. I keep nodding and agreeing and trying not to show how his line of questioning is making me nervous. I keep focussed on my book, on the fresh red letters, on making them perfect.
“And you appreciate the lessons, don’t you, little one?” He says from behind me, still circling, still pacing the floor. Nod, smile. “Yes, thank you Daddy.”
“And you understand why Daddy knows best? Why I have to teach you?” Nod, smile. “Yes Daddy, I do.”
“Why?” he stops and turns my face to his, suddenly hard in expression he demands an answer. He holds my jaw firm and waits for my response.
I take a second to breathe, to control myself before I answer, to steady the voice that replies “Because you are my Daddy, it’s your job to know what’s good for me and for us. So we can be the best we can be.”
“Good girl,” Daddy confirms that I answered correctly with a smile and kiss, a deep passionate embrace that makes me breathless and quells the rising nerves.
“Do you trust me?” he asks. Redundant words because he already knows the answer is always the same “Yes Daddy…” implicitly, with my everything. Even when my own instincts scream otherwise.
Instincts that object to the hand he clamps over my eyes. Instincts that I have to fight to get my legs to move where he wants to take me. Instincts that claw at my gut and respond to the overwhelming smell coming from the doorway opened in front of me, a smell that sparks a resurgence of the previous nausea. Instincts that urge me to get away, not to enter the room.
But he is Daddy and I am his good girl. I will do as he wishes.
I step through the doorway and Daddy uncovers my eyes.
The room is lined with naked bodies, decorated in fading bruises of brown, green and yellow. They’ve been here for some time, judging from the waste piled around their feet.
I recognise them.
I recognise them in dizzying flashbacks.
I recognise them as memories of pain and distress.
I recognise them as taunts, their vulgar words echoing in my mind.
I recognise them as the bad boys that took me as I walked home.
“These are for you Blade. For you to write out all your anger and hurt. You will not drink of them, they do not deserve that. I had to be sure that you could restrain yourself for this lesson to work. You will write out all your pain on them, they will feel your retribution.”
I stand shaking, reeling as the memories of the attack wash over me. Even in their incapacitated state, chained to the wall, still their faces strike a fear in me. One that even Daddy cannot comfort. Though he tried, night after night of comforting my crying until finally it stopped. I boxed it all up inside my mind. I shut the lid so closed tight that it didn’t exist in my waking world.
“Blade,” Daddy gently coaxes, “Use them, write it all out, everything, until the pages are spent. Until you are spent.” He places a fresh scalpel into my hand “Write until you cannot write anymore, until you’ve got all the badness out. Watch them bleed it away. Then you will be free.”