Tuesday, 28 June 2016
“What?” He opened his eyes, or his left at least. His right didn't open. Right. Yeah. He remembered now. He'd been too slow to avoid Jimmy's fist. Too stupid, more like. He rolled over, groaning at the jolt of pain from his ribs where he hit the table going down. There was broken glass next to his head. Shards of pottery. Spots of blood. His? Maybe. Stevie's round face close to tears.
“Jesus, John. I thought you were dead.”
“It'll take more than that.” He drew his knees up, preparing to stand. “Is he still here?”
“No. He's gone out. Mam, too.”
John focused on his brother's face. “He didn't hit you, did he?”
“Nah. I hid. He doesn't know where I hide.”
“Good.” John knew. Stevie had a shelf at the top of the airing cupboard, above the towels and sheets where their mam couldn't reach to drag him down. At least Stevie wasn't hurt. That made the beatings he got worth it, somehow. Someone would phone the council if a four-year old was bruised. Fifteen year olds, no so much. He rose to his feet to survey the damage. “Help me clean up, Stevie. Jimmie will go spare if he comes home to this.”