„So, any new romance going on, Dean? “ John asked while he took a sip from his beer. Dean gulped, his tongue darting out to wet his lips. The moment he breathed in, his mouth felt like a desert again.
“No. No, no girl.” He managed to keep his voice even.
“Hmm. A boy then?” John’s mouth opened in a caricature of a smile, his teeth flashing. Dean choked on his water. As he hit his chest, tears springing to his eyes he looked up at John. John wasn’t moving. His beer halfway to his face, the fake grin slowly dripping off his face.
“What?” it felt like a hot welt had been engraved into his skin, Dean was surprised he didn’t reel back.
“You wanna tell me something, son?” Dean tried to gauge his father’s mood searching for the right answer, but he couldn’t tell, John’s face a stone cold mask.
“I…I” God, why couldn’t he get the lie past his lips. His heart was hammering so loud his eardrums might burst.
“Hmm.” John was nodding slowly. He looked at Dean, head slightly coked to the side.
Dean’s head whipped to the side, as he heard glass shatter at the wall, missing his right ear just by a few inches. The smell of spilled beer almost made him gag. John was massaging his temple. He dropped his hand and stood up very quietly. His hand sliding along on the table he came over to stand in front of Dean.
Dean braced himself, his shoulders hunched. Then John’s hand shot out and dug into Dean’s throat catching him in surprise. John dragged Dean by the throat and slammed him against the wall. Dean could hear books falling down form the shelf as John slammed him against the brick over and over again. He could feel warm dampness on the back of his head, slicking up the wall. A loud buzzing started to ring in his ear, slowly increasing in volume. Then John stopped slamming him. And instead started squeezing the air out of Dean’s lungs. The pressure was sudden. Dark specks flickered in Dean’s vision. His body flushed and his head grew hotter. Finally he regained control of himself and started prying of John’s hands. But John did not budge.
Suddenly sweet cold air finally rushed through him again, he gasped like a he’d been drowning, hands clawing at his neck. Without John holding him up, his knees finally gave in and Dean slid to the floor, the dark spots disappearing with each new breath. After what felt like an eternity the buzzing noise had decreased to a very slight ringing in his ears. Dean looked up, his vision blurry from unshed tears. He couldn’t see John anymore.
He should be panicking. Screaming. Crying. Anything, but Dean was completely numb. He got up, not noticing the glass shards he stepped on with bare feet. Slowly he climbed up the stairs to his room. He couldn’t feel his feet actually touching the stairs but when he looked down he saw himself going up. Hysteria bubbled up his throat along with bile. He turned to the side and gagged, but he was empty. Finally he reached his room, his fingers slipping on the metal handle. He wiped the sweat off his jeans and managed to open the door. Once inside, he leaned against door and slid down in defeat.
He should make dinner. Maybe it would placate John? He should really make dinner. Like…right now. He found he couldn’t get himself to stand up.
‘Abuse victims are 10 times more likely to be killed if their abusers choked them in the past’. The line from an article he’d read ages ago suddenly hit him like a brick. He pressed his hand against the sides of his head to block the words out, but his brain wouldn’t give up. The line swelled up louder and louder the more he shut it out. He stood up, stumbling looking around the room for something, anything he didn’t know what. He slapped himself. Hard. But it didn’t stop
‘HE’LL KILL YOU’
The thought hit him. Screaming at him. Not letting him pretend he couldn’t listen, and he knew then, it was the truth. And he knew what he had to do, He could hear his heartbeat, but it was slow, calm.
He felt his hand closing around the door handle, startled by its coldness. Slowly Dean pushed down and opened the door. He breathed through his mouth, long and slow, as quiet as possible. His father’s study was just to his right. Not a single floorboard creaked as Dean made his way to the door. He managed to get into the study without an interruption. He knew what folder to look for. Black, in the bottom left drawer. It took him ages to open he drawer, constantly looking over his shoulder. Finally he got the folder. There it was. His birth certificate. Would he regret his? Maybe he should have bolted immediately. But no, he needed this. He closed the drawer praying it wouldn’t make a noise. He closed his eyes as if that could cancel out any sound, but he managed not to alert John.
Once he was back in his room, Dean only had to heck his wallet. His hands shook as he opened it, seeing a couple of bills and most importantly his ID. He grabbed his backpack, threw in the wallet and any clothes he could get his hands on in.
He looked out the window. It was too dark to see anything, but he knew it had been snowing before. God, why didn’t he keep any jackets in his room? Whatever, better to die of the cold than meet his dad when he went downstairs.
His head shot up and Dean went completely still. He was sure he’d just heard the tiniest creak on the stairs. He stashed his backpack in his wardrobe.
He turned around just as John opened the door. They just stood there. Sizing each other up.
“Look, Dean.” John glanced to the side, unable to make eye contact. Dean could barely hear John over the sound of his heartbeat. It was completely steady, slow.
“Its fine, dad.” His voice didn’t tremble. “I’m sorry, for…everything. I swear I’ll do better.”
At that John finally made eye contact. His lip tugged up at the corner. “You’re a good kid, Dean.” He was nodding. “I just, well…it’ll never happen again.” Yes it will, Dean thought. He could see himself, the life choked out of him, because John couldn’t quite control himself. A knife stabbed through his heart because he’d hosen the wrong words.
A genuine smile brightened Dean’s face. He was going to stop this from happening. He was going to be safe. He’d never felt so razor sharp calm before.
“I know, dad.”
“Good, I…I can trust you won’t tell anyone?”
“Of course, dad. You can trust me.”
John nodded, threw him another glance. The he walked out, pointedly leaving the door open.
Dean didn’t move. He counted down from 100 in his head listening for something, anything. He could hear the creaking of his father’s office door. Footsteps. Then the faint noises of the TV. Okay, this was his chance. He only had his sneakers in the room, but they’d have to do. He tied the laces as quickly as possible, threw on his leather jacket and then his backpack over his shoulders
He slid open the window, as quietly as possible. A waft of ice cold air hit him, making his eyes water. He looked down. Suddenly the distance seemed unbearably high. He turned around, warmth warming his face. Then Dean heard the TV. Pictured his dad, probably drinking beer and watching the game.
He didn’t look back when he jumped. It was freezing, but the snow cushioned his landing. He looked down at himself, no damage. Good. His shoes were immediately soaked. Maybe he should have gotten boots. No.
He started wading through the snow, away from the house. Finally he reached the street. At least there was no snow lying here. He stopped. Contemplating. Slowly Dean started to turn his head, then he shook it and started walking in long strides. He didn’t know where he’d go, but anywhere was better than there.
He won’t kill you.