Ellie lay still on her bed, eyes closed. There was nothing but the scratch of her sheets against her skin and the tears on her cheeks. She curled onto her side in the silence, waiting for the echo of her parent’s snores. They’d crept into their beds before her, sighing. It wasn’t the first night they’d forgotten to say goodnight. The week before they’d even forgotten her dessert
Ellie gave a whimper as she pulled her blanket tighter around herself. No goodnight, no dessert and her parents were already asleep. The next day would be another day of classes and they had to know what happened at home. With a squirm, she was underneath the overly warm blanket. They had to believe how bad her parents were, had to see the bruises. But she stared at her arms, pale and smooth.
She could feel the blows falling as they screamed, denying her. Yet before her lay the pale forearms, unbruised and unscarred. The blanket fell away as she sat bolt upright, wondering.
The bruises needed to be there, She needed to see what her parents had done to her. With gentle hands she folded the blankets on the end of her bed. The steps creaked beneath her feet as she tiptoed down to the kitchen, barely padding on the cold ground. No rays of the evening sun remained, only darkness she didn’t have a candle to break.
The door to the kitchen opened silently. She slid for a moment on the stone tiles, shivering at the icy touch to her bare feet. One hand wrapped around the cool wooden handle of the uppermost cabinet. A squeak accompanied the opening door, echoing in the room. Ellie didn’t even wince, focused only on the rolling pin. The wood was heavy in her hands, the end just fitting into her fist.
With her pajama arm rolled up and skin pressed to the counter, she brought the roller down on her arm. The sound of the crack and the pain drew a whimpering dry from her. She saw her father striking her, driving her across the room. Her mother watched and smiled.
Another smash on her hand, the fingers curling around the resting wood. There was a hint of a smile on her face as she let the rolling pin fall to the ground. It all made sense again. Her father had hit her, beat her into the ground. There were bruises to prove it covering her arm.