Turn It Off: Based off of the character Peyton from A Tragic Heart (Short Story)
Enough was enough. This was the last time I was going to allow him to treat me this way. My mom is gone and there’s no reason for me to remain here any longer. He’s the reason why she’s no longer breathing and I refuse to go out that way. It was time for me to leave.
I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror. I was too young to go through this madness. I was only thirteen and I felt like I was living the life of a man. My face was sore and bruised. I guess since my mother was no longer here to be his punching bag, I had to suffice.
Karson was my stepdad since I was nine years old but I never respected him. Night after night I would lie in my bed listening to the horror going on in the room next to mine. My mother’s screams from his beatings would enrage me, but what was I to do? I was only a kid. Still, I continued to blame myself. I should have been stronger.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I started to fight back. Fighting back only made him start to hit me too and that’s when my mother decided it was time to go. She had the mother’s attitude of: you can do what you want to me but leave my son out of it. I begged her for years to leave but it wasn’t until he started to hurt me that she listened. I only wished she listened sooner.
I applied alcohol to my face to clean my cuts and placed a cold compress beneath my eye. It was swollen from the fight I just had to endure. His reason this time: my mother’s death is all my fault. It’s not even like he cared about her to begin with. The only thing he loved was the bottle that seemed to be glued to the palm of his hand.
There was never a real father figure in my life. My dad left when I was only seven and I haven’t seen or spoken to him since. My mom was the only person I had in my life. She was my best friend and I loved her to pieces. It kills me that my love for her wasn’t enough. If it was she wouldn’t have ended up the way she did. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman that only deserved the best, which is why I could never understand how she ended up with Karson. The guy was bad news from the start.
I knew if I didn’t make plans to leave soon that I would end up just like my mother. I don’t want to die running away. I made my way back to my bedroom and locked the door. I picked up the phone and dialed the only person I knew I could trust, my cousin Mason. It was time for me to go…
Chapter 1: Rebellion/Jessica
“Come on, Peyton! We can’t waste time! He’ll be home any moment now!” my mother said frantically as she threw a bunch of our belongings in a bag.
“Why are we running this way? Just tell him that you’re leaving him! That you had enough!” I replied helping her put a few things away.
“Because you know he’ll kill us both before he allows me to leave him!”
“Mom, you can’t be afraid of him forever. You can’t just run because you’ll spend your whole life running,” I said calmly as I placed my hand on her shoulder.
I pulled her into a hug and tried to console her. She started to cry and I hated Karson more than I ever thought I could at that moment. She was scared but I wasn’t. I had to be strong for her. I wasn’t going to allow him to touch her again. I’d rather die fighting for my mother’s life than have her be afraid any longer. She held onto me tighter and I knew that even though I was her son, I was also her protection. I might have only been thirteen but I been through enough to pass as much older.
“I’ll help you pack, mom, but you can’t be afraid. I’ll protect you,” I told her as I kissed her forehead.
“I love you,” she said as she wiped her tears.
“I love you too, mom”.
It didn’t take us long to get everything together and walk out of the door. I could feel her sense of relief from the moment we stepped out of the house. She rushed to start the car as I placed the bags in the trunk. This was it. We were really leaving him forever. My mother was finally going to get her freedom…the freedom she absolutely deserved.
I got in the passenger seat and she sped off as fast as she could. She was still nervous; her hands were shaking as she grasped the steering wheel. She stared straight ahead at the road but her eyes seemed dead and filled with worry.
“It’s going to be okay, mom,” I said trying to comfort her.
“It will. I know it will,” she responded as if she is still trying to convince herself.
She was in deep thought and never saw it coming. What should have been the happiest day of our lives turned sour in an instant. The sun was shining and the skies were clear which should have been a sign of happiness. Instead, it was just a sign that the calm comes before the storm.
The light was turning from yellow to red but her mind wasn’t on that. Her eyes saw what was ahead but her mind blinded her. She accidentally ran the red light and my life changed in a few seconds.
I remember hearing a bang. I felt the impact. I felt the pain of my head hitting the glass window beside me. Tires screeching. Screams. Chatter. Then darkness.
I slowly opened my eyes and blinked a few times. I must have passed out for a little while…but it wasn’t long enough. I quickly gained consciousness and realized I was still in the passenger seat of my mom’s car. I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see next. My mom. Her head leaned lifelessly on the driver’s side window. Her arms dangled at her side…her eyes wide open. A truck slammed into her side causing just enough damage to knock me out and end my mother’s life.
I snatched off my seatbelt and did what any other son would have done. I tried to save my mom. I leaned over to her side and attempted CPR the best way I could. The damage done to the car prevented me from being able to lay her seat flat.
“Come on, mom! Mom, please don’t do this to me!” I yelled while trying to pump her chest. “Mom!”
I pushed the passenger door open and unbuckled my mother’s seatbelt. I pulled her out of the car to lay her flat on the concrete. The sound of police cars and the ambulance filled the atmosphere. I attempted CPR again but I wasn’t having any luck. I knew I was doing it right, my mother taught me a billion times.
She was a doctor; a surgeon to be exact. She taught me a lot about saving lives, I just never thought I would have to use her lessons to save her own life.
“Hey, hey! You need to get checked out! Move away from her! Let the paramedics handle this kid!” A police officer yelled at me.
I ignored his orders and continued to try and save my mother’s life. I knew it was over but something in me wouldn’t allow me to give up.
“Come on kid!” he yelled again, this time pulling me away. “What’s your name?”
I look back at my mother who was now being handled by the paramedics. They were repeating my failed attempt. I couldn’t pay attention to anything else but my mom. We all knew it was too late but I wasn’t trying to admit it.
“Hey, kid! What’s your name? I need to know that you’re okay!” the officer said once more.
I look away from my mother for a few to answer him.
“Uh-um, Peyton…my name is Peyton Giordano. That’s my mom. Her name is Cathleen Taylor-Davis. I need her to be okay! Please, tell me that she’s going to be okay!”
“They’re going to do everything that they can for your mother. You need to stay calm and go with a paramedic so I can take your statement,” he told me.
“No, no, I need to be with my mom. She needs me, I can’t-“
“Kid, you gotta calm down, you need to get checked out, you may be in shock,” the officer said, leading me to the ambulance.
A paramedic came over and began attending to me. They all were asking so many questions I couldn’t comprehend it all. My mind was focused on my mother. I was so far away I couldn’t see past all of the men that surrounded her.
“Will she be okay? That’s my mom. She’s all I have,” I said to the paramedic who was flashing a light in my eyes.
“They’re doing the best they could,” was all she said to me. “You don’t seem to have a concussion so that’s good. But, you will need stitches for that gash in your forehead.”
I lightly touched the right side of my head and saw a bit of blood come off on my finger tips. I didn’t even realize that I was hurt. I guess I went numb to pain when I saw my mother.
“We’re going to take you in for some observations and tests. Stay here,” she said before hopping in the ambulance and picking out a few packaged bandages and other supplies.
The crowd of people started to slowly move away from my mother. My heart sank when I saw it. They were preparing to zip her up in a black body bag like she was packaged meat. I immediately ran over to her, pushing everyone out of my way.
“No, this can’t be happening! Mom! No, no, no, no, no! This isn’t real!” I said out loud without realizing.
The same officer from before pulled me away from the scene.
“Let me go! That’s my mom!” I shouted while trying to get away.
He grabbed me by both of my shoulders forcing me to face him.
“I’m sorry, I really am but they did everything. You can’t go over there right now. Do you have any other family to call?”
That question lingered in my mind before I made the call to Mason to let him know that I was leaving. He was my only family. I told him not to tell his mom and dad my real reason for wanting to leave Karson; he promised me he wouldn’t. We planned to give my face some time to heal so there wouldn’t be any questions asked. During that time I stayed far away from Karson, making sure I wouldn’t give him any reason at all to go off.
About two weeks later I was living a new life in a new home with the only family I had left. My aunt and uncle welcomed me with open arms. I was always like a second son to them. Mason and I grew up together and were more like brothers than cousins. That’s how I knew that I could trust him. We knew all of each others' secrets and never judged. In reality, Mason saved my life a number of times and no one ever found out about it. He kept every moment to himself. I owed him more than I could ever repay.
To find out more about Peyton pick up your copy of A Tragic Heart now!