If I push hard enough against this door, I can keep him out.
They say mums can lift cars off babies with adrenaline.
My muscles are burning and I’m groaning deep within my stomach from the force. But I can hear him roaring in the hall. He’s not even near the door yet. Mum’s crying again. Why don’t the neighbours ever help? I bet they can hear him.
I lessen the weight of my body against the door. Might as well conserve my energy. But I shouldn’t have dropped my guard. Here he comes...
It’s too late. I slammed my body against the door, but my scrawny frame is no match for his.
I’m thrown back hard and land on the wooden floor. Pain shoots through my left shoulder and my mind flickers from the situation, wishing for a split second that I had carpet in my room.
I scramble to my feet and leap onto my bed, thinking I must ask mum for a rug for my room later on tonight. So it won’t hurt so bad next time Mark does this to me.
“You little prick, stop runnin!” he grunts as he lunges. I roll away from him and dart back towards the door. We’ve done this dance so many times before. He’s stronger than me, but he’s slow.
I’ve run away before. Out of the house and away from him. But it just makes him madder. And I have to come home eventually. Where else can I go? It’s my home, not his. And mum’s too scared to kick him out.
With my back against the door, I try pleading with him. It might work this time. “Mark, I’m sorry. I didn’t know they were yours, I swear!”
He’s clenching and un-clenching his right fist. It’s weird, but I’m not as afraid of him as I used to be. Somewhere along the way I replaced fear with acceptance that this is just the way it is. But I still don’t like the pain. I’m running from the pain.