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Bath and Body Works

A trouble girl finds strength in an unlikely friend.

Bath and Body Works

As the evening sky turns into the moonless night sky, Bregan hides in the back of her closet, her only escape from her abusive father. She hears him open the refrigerator door, pulling out a can of beer. She knows what is coming next which only makes her hide deeper in her closet. Bregan presses herself as far back and close to the wall as humanly possible knowing that nothing can hide her from her fate. Her only salvation comes when she is allowed, regretfully, to attend school.

Bregan has never liked school. She never fit in. Other heartless creatures of high school taunted Bregan since she was a freshman.

“Hey, Bulimia, ever heard of a Big Mac?”

At these terrible remarks, Bregan walks on attempting not to let them phase her. But she can only try so hard. They truly did. One can only try so hard before one breaks.

Suddenly, she hears the hard, heavy footsteps of her father pounding down the hallway. As he enters her room, breathing beer tainted breath and slowly searching for her, she realizes that she cannot hide for very much longer. It’s only a matter of seconds until his drunken mind can put two and two together.

Bregan is ripped up by her arm and slung into her dresser knocking over pictures of her late mother. The pictures hurl to the ground. As each picture frame falls and hits the floor, Bregan flinches as the glass shatters. Hearing the glass crack as the frames slam to the floor sends the horrific images of the car wreck that took her mother’s life through Bregan’s head.

“It’s your fault your mother is dead!” hisses her father as he slams a hard fist into her jaw. Tears sting at Bregan’s eyes but she’s determined not to give him the satisfaction. He throws her to the floor and storms out of the room.

Crumpled in a pile of self pity, Bregan cries for what seems like days. She only regains awareness of her surroundings when she hears her alarm ringing at six a.m. She groans, rolls over and pulls herself up off the floor. As she stands she becomes aware of the excruciating pain in her side. She tenderly pulls her shirt up in front of the mirror to reveal a black and blue bruise the width of a basketball stretching across her ribs and onto her back. She has a matching swollen black and blue jaw, showing the imprints of her father's drunken stupor.

“No school today,” she mutters as she heads to the bathroom to clean herself up. Bregan could not believe that it had become this horrible. Her father had always had a mean streak but nothing like this.

Bregan was only six when her mother passed away. She is seventeen now. Just a few months after her mother’s death was when the beatings had begun. Bregan had endured eleven years of her father’s drunken beatings.

And in those eleven years Bregan has accepted what her father has literally drilled into her head with his fist. . . .

She was the reason for her mother’s death.

Bregan, being only six years old, was throwing a temper tantrum about a toy she had seen while shopping with her mother. Bregan was in the backseat of their four-door Chevy Cavalier. Her mother had glanced back just for a moment to tend to Bregan when a semi truck merged into her lane because his lane had construction. Her mother didn’t see the semi truck moving over and the back end of the semi’s trailer clipped the Chevy Cavalier. The little car flipped off the shoulder of the highway, leaving it a crumpled pile of metal after several flips off the shoulder of the highway. Bregan’s mother was ejected from the car because she hadn’t been wearing a seat belt. Bregan, however, was safely strapped into her booster seat.

Bregan’s injuries were minor; she had only a concussion. Bregan’s mother, on the other hand, had died due to the impact of the windsheild.

It had been six days since Bregan’s father had hit her last. The days had dragged on for what seemed like forever and never once had Bregan’s dad ever said he was sorry for his actions. Bregan couldn’t think of the last time he truly had said something sincere to her beside the fact that she was a child murderer.

Never before had there been this much time in between his drunken throwdowns. She was expecting the blows to come anytime now. And that night they finally did.

At first it was normal. Bregan came home from school and hid in her room. Her father paid no mind to her because the beer he had to drink was way more important. Bregan heard his steps coming down the hallway before she saw him. She could tell there was something different about him tonight. He wasn’t the same drunk he had been before. Something was even darker and more menacing about tonight.

Bregan’s father comes barging into her room and instead of screaming like he normally did, he just went to work.

It starts with just him smacking her. He hits her repeatedly. Eventually, Bregan assumes, his arm must have grown tired with the strikes. He stomps her in the face with all his force using his work boot. This is when she realizes things are really serious. Usually with her nose bloody, he would stop. It was always just enough to know she was hurting even if she wasn’t showing it. But he didn’t. The blows keep coming.

Two hard hands starts to encircle her throat. She can’t breath.

“Dad, stop! You're really---,” Bregan croaks as the hands become tighter and tighter. Bregan begins to have blackness swim in her eyes. She is almost gone when it happen. But before Bregan can comprehend her own actions, Amber has already taken control. Amber has thrown Bregan’s father across the room with a hard push.

Gasping for air, Bregan slowly comes back to her own body, realizing what she, Amber, has done. Bregan stares at her father trying to hold back the tears of confusion. Though she can’t anymore, and the tears come flowing down her cheeks.

“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep fighting. I’m done,” she admitted to herself as her father stares bewildered at what is happening before his eyes. But before he is able to sober up, Bregan is gone. Amber is back, taking care of what Bregan could no longer handle.

That night Bregan’s father dies.

“Bregan, can you tell us what happened that night?” asks the tall, skinny and pale doctor.

“Bregan is not here anymore. Stop asking. She couldn’t handle this anymore. I helped her. Everything is alright now.” Amber calmly whispers to the doctor as she stares blankly at the white ceiling and walls. She sits on the white cot, with crisp white sheets, and a white pillow in her white room that will be hers from now on. “Bregan doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

“Now Bregan--”

“THAT IS NOT MY NAME!” shouts Amber.

It is only then that the doctor really looks into Amber’s eyes and sees the pure hatred. “Well, then, I’ll just come back later,” replies the doctor with a hint of fear trickling in his voice.

Amber smirks at this. He would come back but she was done talking. Bregan, still on the inside of Amber, doesn’t want to talk to anyone. So Amber sits, rocking silently back and forth on her crisp white bed. Amber doesn’t talk and neither does Bregan.

A few days later, a doctor lightly raps on her door, coming in anyway when there is no response.

“Amber,” she begins as she assesses Amber’s state. Amber’s hair is in greasy tangles because she won’t allow anyone to wash it. She is sitting next to the cold metal headboard, rocking and staring at the wall. When there was no response, she begins again, “Amber, I’d like to talk to you about that night. Do you know what night I’m referring too?”

Amber’s head slowly cocks to the side a slight smile sliding across her face. Her eyes lock on the female doctor as Amber informs her, “I’m tired of people asking me about that night.” Just at the moment Amber lurches across the bed and jumps onto the doctor hitting her repeatedly.

The guard arrived into the room too late. By the time he pulled Amber off, the damage was done and the doctor lay bloody and beaten on the cold tile floor.

“It’s your fault she’s dead. It’s your fault. Your fault,” Amber says repeatedly until other doctors come with the restraints. She slowly nodds off after the medication slipps into her veins.

“It’s your fault. All yoourrs,” she slurs as she stares at the white ceiling before the meds come again.

Days had gone by. Glimpses of Bregan were slipping out one by one.

Amber is sitting in the corner of her room rocking. She doesn’t notice her newest doctor quietly slipping into the room. This new doctor has learned quickly that it was best to listen to Amber and not to ask too many questions. Today Bregan is more active.

“We shouldn’t have done it,” Bregan whispers as Amber takes control again to answer her.

“It’s fine. You’re free now. You can come back.” Amber coaxes.

“I can’t; it’s too hard. He will get me,” Bregan desperately whispers, while convulsing violently back and forth, not pausing to breathe or to realize the damage she is inflicting upon herself. “You can’t make me do anything! I like it here. No one hits me here. I’m staying.” Bregan shrieks with a loud roar depleting into low growl.

“Fine, I’ve got this,” Amber grudgingly spits out as she finally notices the silent doctor watching her. Amber slowly approaches the doctor. With a smirk Amber politely announces “I’m ready to talk.” as her hand slowly curls around a pen she’s been hoarding.

“So, Amber, how are you feeling today?” inquires the doctor.

“I feel like taking a bath,” Amber replies with a sick grin, “In your blood.”

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