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I was a quiet Sunday morning in July, the sky was reddening as the dawn t

was just seconds away. Suddenly Brendell awoke in a thunderous roar, screaming out echoes of fear while kicking and swinging wildly at his demons; he was possessed by another one of his horrific nightmares. He was drenched in a cold sweat and gasping for air while drowning on his warm, volcanic saliva. Kim awakened as usual in the mist of Brendell’s nightmare. “Brendell...Brendell!” she shouted while trying to get a hold of his frightened arms. After struggling, Kim finally got a hold of Brendell’s arms and held him tight. “It’s ok baby. It’s okay,” she whispered softly in his ear. Brendell quickly snapped out of his dream, but he was still feeling the effects of his nightmares. His body was cold as ice and shivering nonstop; his lips trembled with fear as he tried to talk and catch his breath at the same time. Kim grabbed a handful of sheets and wrapped them around Brendell, cocooning him with her own body heat. She cradled Brendell like a baby, holding his head tight to her chest and swaying back and forth, comforting him like a frightened child who had just woken from a bad dream. “Sshhhh, sshhhh, sshhhhh, shhhhh, ssshhhhh, its okay baby. It’s okay. It’s just another bad dream,” she said softly like a mother to her child while wiping away the cold sweat from his forehead. “It’s just another bad dream.” Kim looked up at the ceiling grief stricken, praying for the day that Brendell’s nightmares would come to an end. “Oh God, I wish you’d share your demons with me, Brendell. Just talk to me, please,” she pleaded, and then kissed him on the top of his head. Brendell suddenly pushed Kim away and hopped off the bed and dashed to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. He leaned over the sink and turned both the hot and cold water on full blast and held his mouth under the faucet, desperately trying to flush out the salty taste of semen that plagued his mouth every morning for the past twenty-five years. He franticly splashed water over his face trying to wash away the stench of his father’s sweat that seemed to saturate his skin every night during his nightmares. He then reached for his towel and wiped away the water mixed tears as if he were wiping away a thousand years of sin. Brendell looked up at the mirror and almost screamed when he saw an image of his father’s face staring back at

him. He shut his eyes as tight as he could while squeezing the edges of the bathroom sink. “Please God, when will it stop?” he muttered to the mirror. He took in a deep breath and held it…then exhaled. “It’s just my imagination; It’s just my imagination,” he chanted. “It’s all in my mind,” he uttered to the mirror while shaking his head. Brendell then slowly and cautiously opened his eyes and watched his father’s face dissipate like evaporating steam. Brendell’s jaws shut tight like a pitbull, and his lips quiver from holding back the pain of a loud cry. After all these years, Brendell still couldn’t get a peaceful night of sleep. He still woke up screaming and in a cold sweat, still feeling the penetration by his father and tasting the bitter taste of his father’s liquor filled semen in his mouth. He could still smell the stink of brandy and nicotine on his drunken father’s breath, still feeling the warm intoxicated sweat that dripped down from his father’s face onto the small of his back, and still envision the evil in his father’s eyes every time he looked in the mirror. Images of his father beating and raping his mother were still vivid, as were the bloody faces of all the other women his father had raped and beaten. Their cries for mercy echoed through his head like the screams of a ghost that had died in vain. Those same screams had haunted Brendell his entire life, chasing him down no matter how hard he tried to run. The screams were around every corner he turned, waiting to swallow his soul. It was routine for Brendell Knight to be awakened by the skeletons in his closet every morning. To be awakened by the same heart-pounding secrets that had kidnapped his ability to love. It had become Kim’s routine as well. Kim got out of bed frustrated as usual and stormed up to the bathroom door shouting, “I can’t keep doing this, Brendell. I can’t keep going through the same dead-end routine! I can’t go on being one of your many ‘sex toys’ n’ havin’ you kick me out in the morning or you leaving my bed at the crack of dawn! It’s me that holds you after one of your nightmares, but it’s me that’s always hurt the next morning. You don’t talk to me, and you refuse to make a commitment! It’s been more than ten years, Brendell, and I’m fed up with tha same ole shit! I’m tired! You need to make a decision! And you really do need to see somebody about your nightmares. Do you hear me talking to you?” But there was no response from the opposite side of the door. Brendell didn’t say a word. He remained silent staring in the mirror and didn’t even hear Kim’s voice at all; he could only hear the insane voice of his

father telling him “to shut up, and to hold still.” Kim started picking up her clothes that were scattered all over the bedroom floor and started getting dressed for her Saturday meeting. She stood in front of the full-length mirror buttoning up her black Dolce and Gabana silk blouse when she noticed fingerprints around her neck. Brendell loved rough sex with his women, but with Kim being so light his fingerprints were very noticeable. “Just look at this shit,” she mumbled turning her neck from side to side. “Now how in tha hell can I explain this shit if somebody at work notices this? Brendell’s never left marks this noticeable before, but he’s been getting much more aggressive lately. And now he’s asking for two fingers in his ass instead of just one.” Once fully dressed, Kim marched back up to the bathroom door. “Brendell I’m leaving,” she yelled. “Do you want to see me later?” But Brendell still remained silent. Kim angered and storms out of the house. And that was her usual Saturday morning, but there was no way that Brendell was going to tell her about his nightmares. As soon as he heard her car door open and close, he came out of the bathroom still wiping his tears away with a washcloth. He sat on the edge of the bed and cried as he had every morning for the past twenty-five years. After a few minutes, he got himself together and called his best friend, Scotty, aka Butchy. Scotty had just been released from prison after serving ten years and was now staying in a halfway house. “Who dis?” Scotty answered his cell phone, with rap music playing in the background. “Damn brah, you got that music up loud as shit early on a Saturday morning.” “Nigga I don’t give a fuck! I’m gettin my puff on right about now. And it ain’t nuttin wrong wit wakin up to some ‘weed’ and some lil Wayne to start my muthafuckin day,” Scotty said laughing and coughing. “But don’t they have people walking around monitoring ya’ll?” “Man, fuck dem niggas. I wish one of dem muthafuckas would say sumthin to me. They know how I go. One of dem niggas may not wake up in the morning fuckin around with me. Know what I’m sayin? Plus me and one of the counselors is cool.” Brendell shook his head and snickered, “Same ole Butchy. I see you ain’t change a bit.” “Hell naw,” Scotty said, laughing and coughing. But it’s been a long time since I’ve heard you call me, Butchy, since we were kids. “I know, man,” Brendell said smiling. “It’s been a long time, but I

ain’t forget. But save your lungs for this afternoon brah cause I don’t want you passin out after I run your ass up and down the basketball court.” Brendell laughs. “Nigga I’m ma be at the court early practicing my J,” Scotty said, taking another puff. “But I can’t wait to see my niggas again. Damn I missed ya’ll—you, Keith, Randle, even Oreo ass Tyrone.” “Yeah we missed you too man, but especially me Butchy. It’ll be good to have all of us together again after all these years. Plus we’ll get a chance to see what doing ten years in the fed’s taught you about playing ball. “Humf, nigga, ten years in da pen with two in the hole ain’t teach me shit about no fuckin basketball, believe dat shit. But I’ll see you fools later on the court.” “Hold up, Butchy. Why don’t I just pick you up?” “Aiight bet,” Scotty said. “Call me when you on your way.” Now Scotty Butch was a very different type of brotha all together. He was truly America’s worst nightmare—a straight up gangster, a thug, a drug dealer, and a cold-hearted killer. He just didn’t give a fuck. He had no remorse, no conscience, and no regrets; he was damn near like a terminator. Scotty was a tall, dark-skinned dude who stood about six-foot-two, weighed two hundred solid pounds, and had a very intimidating demeanor. He had a face of stone—a face that would make you cross the street if you saw him coming your way, and a swagger that said- I wish you would. Scotty sported braids that went straight back in a twist, and had a scraggily beard and mustache. His eyebrows were thick like a werewolf, and he had a pair of dead eyes. His eyes were black as coal and lifeless, like a dolls eyes. And Scotty never smiled except for when he was around Keith, Tyrone, Brendell, or Randle; he never had a reason to. And the scar on his left cheek was from a knife fight when he was sixteen, a knife fight he didn’t lose despite the scar. Scotty also had several tattoos. He had a tatt of an AK-47 across his chest, Only the Strong Survive written down his left arm, a tattoo of 2Pac on his back, a picture of the Grim Reaper on his right shoulder, a tattoo on his left forearm that said Never Forget with his prison numbers written underneath, and seventeen shots written in cursive on the side of his neck. Scotty had a lot of animosity and hatred in his heart; he had a lifeless soul, but there were reasons for that, reasons others never knew about, not even his childhood friends, and reasons society never bothered to find out.

Scotty was abandoned by his mother at the hospital soon after he was born. She already had six children she could barely afford and didn’t want to raise another bastard child. Scotty was brought up through the foster care system and tossed around many foster homes. As a little boy, Scotty was a frail and skinny kid who was very quiet and timid, and kept to himself mostly. Scotty had a deep-rooted fear that came from a long list of mental and physical abuse that he endured from his many foster parents, and the neighborhoods he lived in. He was always getting beat up by the neighborhood bullies and gang members and even by other foster-care children that he lived with. He was a prime target because he never fought back. At the age of ten, Scotty ended up at Ms. Greene’s foster home. Ms. Greene was a middle-aged black woman in her mid to late fifties who had turned her home into a foster home. She was a dark-skinned gray-haired woman, who stood a towering five-ten and weighed a hefty two hundred and fifty pounds. She had enormous breasts and wore a size forty-four double D bra, and her stomach stuck out like a tire. Her size alone was very intimidating, but it was her petrifying voice and her facial expressions that sent fear into the hearts of children, and adults. Her voice was deep and raspy, and her face read hate. Her eyes were fiery red like the Devil’s, and her thick mustache and a stubbly bearded face gave her a rough and rugged look, a look that terrorized the kids in her foster home and in the neighborhood. Despite being such a large woman, Ms. Greene had a pair of skinny legs. Her legs were skinny and stamped with numerous scrapes and cuts and burns that came from her own abuse as a child. She was also a chronic smoker and an alcoholic; she kept a cigarette dangling between her lips along with a glass filled with Johnny Walker Red. Ms. Greene would turn out to be Scotty’s hell on earth, and the making of Scotty Butch Ms. Greene lived on the same block as Brendell and that’s how Brendell and Scotty first met, and then Brendell later introduced Scotty to Randle and Keith, but Tyrone didn’t meet Scotty until two years later. Scotty’s first night at Ms. Greene’s was the introduction of his demons… Ms. Greene, who’d been sitting around drinking all day as usual, sat the young Scotty Butch down next to her and seductively crossed her legs, advertising her scars and sub-holes while unfastening her old raggedy bathrobe, exposing her large deflated breasts all the way down to the nipples; she was visually molesting the innocent Scotty.

Ms. Greene had the predatory look of a hunter that made Scotty nervous and uneasy because he knew from past experiences what came along with that look. Ms. Greene lit her cigarette and took a sip of Johnny Walker Red. Her face tightened while the whiskey burned its way down her throat, racing through her veins, and going directly into her bloodstream. The brown venom instantly rushed her head. She slammed the glass down on the table, took a puff of her Newport, and then looked Scotty dead in his eyes with an evil grimace. Her eyes were bloodshot and had a yellow tint; they seemed blistering with hate coming through her soulless pupils. While holding her cigarette in between her index and middle finger, she said to Scotty in a drunken slur while pointing the cigarette at Scotty, “Looka here you lil bastard, I’m ma say this one time and one time only. If you give me any lip, I’ll take yo black ass back to that agency. If you disobey me, I’ll send yo black ass back to that agency, and if you steal or disrespect me in any kinda way, I’ll beat all the black off you and make you wish you were dead, or I’ll kill you. You got that, you lil fucka?” Scotty froze with fear. “Well do you?” she yelled. But Scotty still remained frozen, not saying a word. “Are you a retard or somethin?” Scotty still remained silent, and his eyes swelled and glossed. “Jesus Christ, they sent me a fuckin retard,” she yelled throwing her hands up in frustration. “Well nod if you can fuckin understand me.” Scotty hesitated and slowly nodded yes. Ms. Greene then seductively looked Scotty up and down with the taste of sex on her tongue. “Lighten up cutie,” she said gliding her hand gently down his cheeks. “I ain’t that bad.” Scotty flinched and jumped back from Ms. Greene’s touch. She angered instantly and reached out and grabbed Scotty’s cheeks and squeezed them together as tight as she could. “Let me tell you something, you lil bastard,” she grunted shaking Scotty’s face. “What I want—I gets! You understand?” She freed Scotty’s cheeks and took another sip from her glass and another puff from her Newport. She leaned back on the couch with a nonchalant air, casually blowing smoke to the ceiling. Then she said, “Nobody wanted yo ugly black ass except me, so you owe me. So whatever I say goes. This here, around here, is a dictatorship not a

fuckin democracy. That means I’m the boss, that means I’m the chief, which means I’m the fuckin HNIC around here and don’t you ever forget it. And in case you don’t know what that means, that mean’s I’m the Head Nigga in Charge—your worst fuckin nightmare. Oh and one more thing,” she said blowing smoke in Scotty’s face. “In this neighborhood, only the strong survive, so toughen up. You look like a hard wind would blow yo ass right on over.” Scotty sat there not saying a word but bawling on the inside. “I’m right back where I came from,” he cried to himself. Ms. Greene then introduced Scotty to the four other children living there—Angela and Desiree, seven and nine; and the two brothers, Eljen and Benjamin, nine and ten. Scotty shared a room with Eljen and Benjamin. Ms. Greene treated those kids just like how she was treated as a child. If they were one minute late coming home from school, she’d lock them out of the house all night long, whether there was rain, sleet, or snow. They would have to sleep on the front porch or underneath the porch. But when Scotty got locked out, he went over to Brendell’s. Brendell’s parents, especially his father, never really liked Scotty. His father saw that Scotty was birthing the same evil in his eyes that he had. And his mother said that he didn’t seem like a normal child; she said he was too quiet and too jumpy, and that his eyes were “cold and dark.” But since Brendell was their only child, they felt guilty because he had no one else in the house to play with so they allowed Scotty to stay over. Brendell’s parents never knew Scotty was locked out, they just thought he was coming over for dinner and spending the night. Living with Ms. Greene was a living hell for Scotty and the rest of those children. She abused those kids like no other. She’d get drunk and beat them with belts or anything else she could find; mostly she used her fists. She molested their minds and bodies, and cursed them, tellin them that they wouldn’t ever amount to shit. Sometimes Scotty would come out to play with fresh bruises on his face, legs, and arms, or even on his back. And sometimes worse— fractured jaws to broken arms. Scotty never wanted to go in the house. All the other kids in the house got the same treatment, but for some reason Scotty became Ms. Greene’s favorite. But along with the physical and mental abuse came the sexual abuse. Ms. Green would sit up late at night drinking and horny as hell, while the kids lay in their beds pretending to be sleep. They all knew that if she didn’t have a man over while drinking then that meant

she’d be coming for someone to give her pleasure—one of the boys or either of the two little girls. It didn’t matter, but someone was going to make her cum that night, and that someone was now Scotty. It became like clockwork. The kids would hear Ms. Greene stagger upstairs in a drunken tirade, slurring loudly while climbing up the old wooden stairs. “Goddamn it!” She shouted. “You wake the hell up, Scotty! Momma in need tonight!” She’d stagger to Scotty’s bedroom door, swaying back and forth, barely able to keep her balance, and then knock softly. “You in der baby?” she’d seductively slur. “You know what Momma need. Come open this door for Momma.” But the door remained locked. All the other children were scared to death but at the same time relieved that it wasn’t them that she was coming for tonight. Eljen and Benjamin would pull the covers over their heads and lie still as an opossum, praying for tomorrow, but for Scotty, the tomorrows were always the same. “Open this fuckin door!” Ms. Greene yelled while violently tugging on the doorknob. “Nigga you better come open this fuckin door right now!” she roared while pounding her fist against the door. After a few minutes of being ignored, Ms.Greene’ll pull out her own set of keys, and hearing the sound of those keys rattling sent a tornado of fear and panic throughout those boys; the type of fear and panic that possessed their bodies and had them paralyzed from the neck down. The anticipation of knowing what lay ahead soaked in their hearts and souls, and pierced their memories for life. Ms. Greene slammed open the door so hard that she’d chip away paint from the back wall; she did it so often ‘til there was no more paint left behind the doorknob, just bare concrete. The loud boom from the door made the boys jump up from playing Opossum. “You heard me callin you. Now get the fuck up!” she slurred. But Scotty still pretended to be sleep. “I said get the fuck up!” And when he didn’t move from under the covers, she’d walk over to his bedside and start punching him all over his body that was wrapped in sheets and blankets. Then she’d yank the sheets off him and drag him out of his bed. Eljen and Benjamin lay still, not moving a muscle, both terrified as hell; so scared that Benjamin would sometimes wet himself. While dragging Scotty off, Ms. Greene would say to Eljen and Benjamin, “If I hear a peep outta either one of you lil bastards, I swear to sweet sunny Jesus you’ll be next, and then I’ll break yo necks. C’mon here lil nigga,” she slurred, dragging the half naked Scotty by his hands

or by his neck or foot. “C’mon here, you know what Momma need.” Scotty cried relentless and begged for mercy while tugging away for dear life. “Please Momma Greene don’t! I’m sorry. I’ll be a good boy, I swear!” Ms. Greene dragged Scotty like a dead animal down the carpeted hallway. Scotty would get rug burns on his legs and back. Ms. Greene would sometimes lose her grip, being as drunk as she was, and that’s when Scotty would try and make a break for it, but her drunken two hundred and fifty pounds would prove to be too much for little Scotty. She’d swing her fist down to his back like a sledgehammer, and then again, and again. She’d continuously swing until she got Scotty back under her control. Scotty’d be dazed and sometimes bleeding. “Get in this goddamn room!” the two-hundred-and fifty-pound mammoth said winded. She’d toss Scotty in her bedroom like a rag doll then slam the door behind her. Then she’d lean her back against the door catching her breath. When the other kids heard her door slam shut, they knew their prayers were answered. After getting her wind back, Ms. Greene would sit on her bed and grab whatever she was drinking from the night before and turn the bottle up to her mouth. Then she’d pop in another Newport and stare with her drunken eyes at the petrified Scotty. Her eyelids hung heavy as if she was ready to fall asleep. Her saliva drooled over her bottom lip causing her to continuously wipe her mouth as her Newport dangled in between her lips. “Get up from off that floor and come eat this pussy,” she yelled. But Scotty remained on the floor curled in a ball. “Boyee if you make me raise up,” she grunted. Scotty’s tears pelted the floor. “Please Momma, please,” he cried begging. “Get over here boyah!” she hollered as she blew rings of smoke in the air. Scotty slowly uncurled his body. “I promise this’ll be the last time. I swear,” Ms. Greene said imploring. Ms. Greene lay on her back as Scotty stood slowly. He strained to gain control over his wobbly legs. Ms. Greene untied her robe and spreaded her skinny legs. “Get over here, goddamn it before I take yo black ass back to that agency!” “Please Momma Greene don’t. Please don’t take me back there,” Scotty begged wiping his nose. “Then you know what you gotta do…and I ain’t got all night!” Scotty moved at a snail’s pace to walk two feet to her bed.

He crawled in and found his way to her “sinful lips.” Ms. Greene blew out her last breath of smoke before putting her Newport in an empty beer bottle. “Put your mouth on it,” she softly said as she scooted down, positioning herself to rape Scotty’s mouth. Scotty closed his eyes and slowly moved closer to her ammonia-scented vagina. Ms. Greene had been lying around all day without showering, drinking cans of Schlitz malt liquor and drinking Johnny Walker Red, along with smoking three to four packs of Newports and munching on sardines and pigs feet. Scotty almost vomited. He wiped his mouth and held his breath then stuck his tongue out grazing her darkened vagina lips. “Lick it goddamn it!” she hollered. “You act like you don’t know how to please Momma.” Scotty placed his slender tongue on her clit and began licking her pussy up and down like a dog. “Ooooooh yeah,” she moaned. “That’s it. That’s the spot. Leave it right there for Momma,” she sighed. Ms. Greene squeezed the back of Scotty’s head and pushed it deeper into her wet vagina; she then started fucking his mouth, stripping away all the innocence from his lips. She rammed his face harder and faster against her clit causing his lips to bleed from the pounding, and from the gray sticky hairs. Sometimes it would take Ms. Greene five minutes to cum, and some nights, all night. But after a few of orgasms, she’d be ready to pass out, but before she fell into a coma like sleep, she’d kick Scotty out; yelling and screaming, cursing at him in a drunken rage. “Get tha fuck outta here muthafucka! You get the hell outta here you bastard! Get outta my fuckin room! I’m callin the fuckin police and tell em that you tried to rape me!” She’d shout out a bundle of rage with spit spraying from her mouth, and then slam her door on Scotty. Scotty would stagger back to his room in a daze, bumping into the walls and crying his eyes out, feeling violated and less of a human being. He’d crawl back in his warm bed and lie on his back, tasting the bitterness of his own blood as it dripped down his throat. His tears rushed down the sides of his cheeks. Benjamin and Eljen still pretended to be sleep, listening to Scotty cry out his pain. Scotty curled up underneath his blankets and silently talked to God. “Why does this keep happening to me God? Every where I go somebody hurts me. What did

I do wrong? What did I do wrong? Why does everybody hate me? Am I a bad boy or is it because you don’t love me?” Scotty talked to God until he cried himself to sleep. After many nights like that, the next day Scotty’s jaws would be so tight and sore that he could barely open his mouth to eat. The skin on his bottom lip was stripped down to its last layer with a riverbed of purple blood underneath its surface. The slightest bit of liquid burned his lips like alcohol on a freshly shaven face. And no matter how much the other kid’s wanted to help and no matter how much it hurt them to look at Scotty’s face the next morning, they feared that if they befriended him, then Ms. Greene would go back to giving them the same treatment. So they kept their distance and barely even spoke. Scotty was truly all alone. When Scotty wasn’t getting beaten or molested by Ms. Greene, then he was getting molested and beaten by one of her drunken boyfriends, mainly Jeff. And those beatings that Jeff gave Scotty were more like a gang initiation. Jeff was a Vietnam vet and a heroin addict, and an ex-con. He served fifteen years in prison for bank robbery and attempted murder of one of the bank guards. Jeff was a big man, a big dark-skinned man with a bald head and a long thick beard and mustache. He stood six-footfour and weighed a whopping two hundred eighty pounds; he was built like a lineman and with dozens of prison tatts all over his arms and back. Jeff’s stomach stood out like a keg and his arms were built like tanks, and covered with Chinese symbols and biblical quotes. And he had a tatt of a huge black lion across his chest. Jeff’s chest was massive from the fifteen years of lifting weights in prison. His two front teeth were missing, which caused him to talk with a lisp and spit when he shouted. When Jeff wasn’t beating Scotty, he was making him suck his dick or making Scotty jerk him off. Jeff would creep into Scotty’s room late at night after having sex with Ms. Greene, and grab him out of his bed, and drag him to the bathroom. He’d make Scotty kneel down and Jeff stood over him. When Jeff came in Scotty’s mouth, he’d stagger back to Ms. Greene’s bedroom leaving Scotty on his knees crying with his lips dripping with liquor mixed semen. Eljen used to be Jeff’s favorite, but now it was Scotty. This went on for years for little Scotty Butch. This was his life— years and years of mental and physical abuse. But all those beatings and molestations turned Scotty into a menace outside the house.

By the age of twelve, Scotty had already built up a reputation of someone not to be fucked with. When he got beat inside; someone got beat up outside. Scotty picked fights with any and everybody—from kids his own age to older teenagers and even adults. Some neighbors didn’t think he would live to see sixteen. The once innocent and frail Scotty had become the neighborhood menace. At thirteen he got his introduction to afflicting his first near-death beating. One day coming home from school Scotty got into a fight with a seventeen-year-old boy on the Metro bus. The seventeen- year- old sat in a seat that Scotty wanted sit in. Scotty was instantly enraged by this act of disrespect. His eyes squinted and his pupil’s shrunk. His eyebrows drew downward and his lips scowled like an animal’s. He growled to the seventeen-year-old, “You need to get the fuck up out my seat.” The seventeen-year-old looked up at Scotty and chuckled at the young buck who was trying to be tough, but that was his first and last mistake. Scotty hit the seventeen-year-old over the head with his metal lunchbox; blood immediately shot out of the top of the boy’s head. He hollered in pain as Scotty continued pounding away at his head and face. “I…told…you…that’s…my…seat,” yelled Scotty ferociously, while bashing away. The seventeen-year-old fell to the floor, and Scotty started kicking and stomping him until the seventeen-year-old’s eyes rolled white, and he was rendered unconscious. With every swing and with every kick, Scotty thought about the beatings he had received in his own house. The bus driver stopped the bus and pulled over as some bystanders broke up the fight, but not before the damage was done. The seventeenyear-old lay bleeding, and his face was smothered in blood. Scotty knocked out several of the boy’s teeth, broke his nose and his jaw. The teenager’s eyes fluttered and his body seized. Police were called to the scene and arrested Scotty on the spot. That was the first time he’d been arrested, but it would not be the last. The police later released Scotty to Ms. Greene’s custody and gave her a warning, but her problems were far from over. On top of all the police trouble, she was being sued by the boy’s parents for hospital bills and damages. And because Scotty caused Ms. Greene to lose money, she gave him the worse punishment of all. She put him in “the hole.” The hole was a four-by-five-storage closet underneath the basement steps of house. That’s where Ms. Greene sent the kids if they messed up really bad, which usually meant they’d caused her

to lose money or brought her embarrassment. It was worst than any solitaire confinement in the worst of prisons. She made them eat, sleep, piss, and shit in the hole. And Scotty was there for the longest stint ever—a whole month. When sent to the hole, you were given two empty tomato cans to use as your toilet, and if you missed the small cans using the bathroom in the dark, then you lay in your own urine and/or feces. As far as food, you were given the other children’s scraps; as far as water, you were given a mayonnaise jar filled to the top that last you till the next day. The only time they were allowed to leave the hole was to go to school; in summer, they were left to rot twenty-four-seven, in a pitch black sauna with virtually no ventilation except the cracks between the door and the floor, and that was also used by the roaches that came and went. Being in that tiny cubbyhole you could only do one of two things to find comfort. You can either lean your back against the wall with your knees pulled to your chest or you could lay curled in a fetal position on the cold concrete floor. This cruel and unjust punishment had an avalanche of psychological affects on each and every child that ever experienced this torture; some had symptoms of claustrophobia, and a few began to talk to themselves, some developed imaginary friends, and a few would use the bathroom in their bed when the lights were turned off. On Scotty’s fourteenth birthday, he ran away from Ms. Greene but was found sleeping in a Greyhound bus station two days later by police. The officers took the adolescent Scotty to the police station, where he could be identified. While at the station they asked him, why was he sleeping in a bus station? Scotty told the officers about the abuse he endured from Ms. Greene, but they didn’t believe him. They said his stories were too far-fetched. It was a hard pill for them to swallow because Ms. Greene was known for taking in kids from the street. She was well known for her foster care work and worked closely with neighborhood police departments. Scotty sat for hours telling the officers about Ms. Greene’s dark side, but the officers continued to fight against Scotty’s testimony, swearing that his stories were bogus and that Ms. Greene was an outstanding citizen within the community, and how she helped so many black youths. “Just like yourself, son,” said one of the officers. Ms. Greene arrived at the police station crying hysterically. “Where’s my baby, where’s my baby?” she screamed through the station. She looked over and saw Scotty sitting in a chair, and ran over and hugged

him and kissed him as if she really missed him. “Are you okay?” she asked worriedly. “You had me worried to death. Oh, I’ve missed you so much. Thank you officers so much for finding my son,” she said crying. “See son, this is a woman who missed you and loves you,” said one of the officers, as he released Scotty once again to Ms. Greene’s custody. Ms. Greene thanked the officers again as she and Scotty left the station holding hands, but once they were in the car, it became a different story. It became the story Scotty was telling the officers. As Ms. Greene waved good-bye to the officers, she grunted through her teeth, “I’m gonna kill yo ass as soon we get home. I swear to God I’m ma make you wish you were never born.” And once they got home, Ms. Greene did exactly what she said: she beat Scotty within an inch of his life. She continuously demonstrated the promises she made in the car. She grabbed a wooden hanger from in the closet and whipped, and punched, and kicked Scotty all over his body, but especially his arms and legs so he couldn’t get up to run. Scotty was hurt like never before. He lay helplessly stretched across the floor, coughing up blood. The other children sat at the top of the stairs, listening and watching. They cried with their hands over their mouths, as they witnessed a beating like never before. Scotty’s screams sent chills throughout their bones. They were plagued with a fear they’ve never felt before. None have ever witnessed Ms. Greene beat someone so bad, and what they were about to witness was the epitome of pain and suffering. Desiree ran back to her room and hid in the closet. The onslaught went on for more than an hour. And at the end, Ms. Greene was exhausted. Her clothes were drenched with sweat and stained with Scotty’s blood, and Scotty’s shirt was blood soaked and torn from his body. He lay on his stomach half dead with his blood painting the hardwood floor. His face was swollen and his left eye swelled shut. His right eye had a deep gash over it that leaked blood like a running faucet. His nose and lips were split open, and his body was tattooed a dark purple and navy blue. Ms Greene leaned her back against the wall catching her breath, panting like a dog after a fight. She took in a few more deep breaths and then wobbled wearily to the bathroom. Twenty minutes later, she came back out and dragged Scotty’s limp body to the bathroom where she tied him to the toilet with rope, and placed his face over the unflushed bowl. “Now think about that the

next time you wanna run some goddamn where!” she yelled closing the door behind her. Scotty was left tormented for hours, in during which, he continuously vomited blood and other bodily fluids and acids. He even passed out a few times and prayed for his own death. Ms. Greene came back to the bathroom and untied Scotty from the toilet then stripped him naked. Then she tied his hands behind his back and laid him in the bathtub. She turned the shower on full blast using only the hot water. The hot water burned Scotty’s wounds like salt to an open cut. He hollered in a high-pitch squeal and squirmed around like a worm on fire. And no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t get out the tub. All he could do was wriggle around and scream in agony. Ms. Greene walked to the kitchen and made herself a drink. After downing a few glasses of whiskey, she came back to the fog filled bathroom, dragging along a brown ten-foot extension cord. She wrapped the cord around her wrist and started whipping Scotty along with the hot water that blazed his body. The sound of the extension cord cracking against his wet skin sounded like firecrackers exploding, one after another. The pain was so unbearable that Scotty passed out within minutes, but that didn’t stop Ms. Greene, she kept on whipping him until she was ready to pass out. She eventually forfeited and cut the shower off. The children took off running to their rooms when they heard the footsteps of the evil giant getting closer the stairs. Ms. Greene dragged her way up the steps and headed to her bedroom. The children’s hearts pounded through their chests as they lay silently listening to the grunts of a hungry bear pass by their bedrooms. They weren’t for sure if she was finished with her rampage or not. Was she coming for more? Each child wondered who could be next? But when Ms. Greene closed her bedroom door, they knew they were safe for tonight, and that her point had been made: if you run, she’ll make you wish you were dead. About five that morning, Scotty awoke in disarray still in the bathtub. His blood was slowly flowing down the drain, and the bathtub and shower curtain had smeared lines of blood that looked like graffiti. Scotty was in terrible condition. Benjamin and Eljen crept downstairs in their underwear and witnessed the aftermath; neither had seen so much blood before in their entire lives. They stood solid for a few moments staring at the repercussions of what would happen if you were to run away. They then helped Scotty get out the bathtub. Scotty moaned in pain, and

the more Benjamin and Eljen moved him, the louder he moaned. “Shhhhhh, you better be quiet,” Eljen whispered. And although they were young and weak, they used every bit of strength they had to drag the fourteen-year-old’s dead body weight upstairs. Scotty was in pain beyond his imagination. While dragging him pass Ms. Greene’s bedroom, he let out a loud groan. “Shhhhh, if Momma Greene wake up, we gonna be dead,” Benjamin whispered. Once they finally got Scotty to their bedroom, they didn’t know what else to do with him, so they laid him on his stomach and pulled the sheets over his head. Scotty moaned and groaned as his blood quickly soaked through the white linen, and straight through to the mattress. All of a sudden there was a loud BOOM and cement flew off the back wall again. Ms. Greene stormed through the bedroom door and caught Eljen and Benjamin jumping back in their beds. “What the hell ya’ll think ya’ll doin?” she screamed. “Come here you lil bastards!” Both walked cautiously up to Ms. Greene with their little hearts pounding through their chests. Enraged, she smacked Benjamin to the floor and grabbed Eljen around his neck and started choking him with both hands. “I said, what the hell ya’ll doin?” Eljen wet himself before being thrown to the ground. “Get tha hell outta here!” she growled. They both got up and ran for their lives. Ms. Greene stood over Scotty’s messy body loathing. “I guess I gotta take you to the hospital now and spend sum mo damn money on yo ass.” She dressed Scotty and dragged him by his feet to the car and laid him across the backseat. As they pulled up to the Emergency Room at Providence Hospital, Ms. Greene turned around and told Scotty that if he told anyone how he got those bruises that she would beat him until he was dead. “If they ask you how you were injured, you just tell em you were jumped by two men in front of the house last night, and I’ll do the rest.” “I should tell em the truth,” Scotty whimpered. “And if you do, those’ll be the last words you ever speak.” Ms. Greene got out of the car and helped Scotty to the Emergency Room. The doctor treating Scotty was appalled, and curious about how he got those injuries. “Son, how’d you get these wounds?” he asked Scotty

in Ms. Greene’s presence. Scotty gulped his saliva and looked up at Ms. Greene with terror in his eyes. “Listen, son,” the doctor said placing his hand gently on Scotty’s shoulder. “If anyone has hurt you, you can tell me, its okay.” “We already told the nurse what happened,” Ms. Greene said with much animosity in her voice. “He was outside last night, and two men beat him up.” “Ma’am, I’m asking the young man,” the doctor firmly replied. Ms. Greene glanced at Scotty with death in her eyes. The doctor could see fear in Scotty’s eyes, but Scotty stuck to the plan. “I was jumped by two guys,” he stuttered. Scotty did exactly what he was told to do and avoided certain death. He was treated and released a few of hours later. And the doctor could do nothing because Scotty stuck to his alibi. Scotty was given a few weeks of mercy from Ms. Greene’s wickedness, but while he was healing the other children suffered. She substituted them for Scotty, and they became resentful and cruel toward him. Scotty was the reason why Ms. Greene left them alone in the first place, for some reason he was her favorite. Even Eljen and Benjamin’s hate escalated because they felt most of her wrath, but mainly because they were caught helping Scotty. Ms. Greene raped and beat Eljen and Benjamin almost on a daily basis; she told them that it was Scotty’s fault why they were getting the “treatment” as she called it. She would tie Scotty to a chair and make him watch as she performed horrific acts with Eljen and Benjamin. She made them do things that she’d never done before, like making Eljen suck Benjamin’s dick. Scotty would turn his head, but Ms. Greene would smack him repeatedly and then stand behind him and hold his head straight. “Look at what you made me do,” she’d grunt. Then she’d lie on the floor and force Eljen and Benjamin to eat her pussy, both at the same time. She even made them kiss each other afterward. Scotty was repulsed and sickened, and mostly helpless. He could do nothing but endure; with two huge casts going up each arm, eight stitches in his head, six above his left eye, six in his bottom lip, and ACE bandages wrapped around his fractured ribs, all he could do was just watch while bound to a chair. And Eljen and Benjamin were never the same again. Once Scotty’s wounds healed, Ms. Greene went back to treating her favorite as her favorite, but this time there was no one there to

help him to his bed. Scotty eventually turned his back on God. He believed that God hated him because he let all those dreadful things happen to him, so he hated God right back. By sixteen, Scotty Butch was no longer Scotty Butch, he became Butchy. And one day, Butchy got tired of all the beatings, he got tired of all the verbal assaults, all the sexual assaults, and all the times of going to the hole, and one night Butchy decided to make it all come to a tragic end. One night, while Ms. Green was “entertaining” Jeff, Scotty walked in way pass curfew and turned on the bright lamp in the dark living room. The room was possessed by the melody of Sam Cooke, and the smell of lust, nicotine, and whiskey floated through the air. Ms. Greene jumped up startled trying to button up her robe; she was embarrassed and pissed. “What the hell you think you doin comin’ in this goddamn house this time of night? It’s one o’clock in the goddamn morning!” she yelled slurring. But Scotty didn’t say a word; he kept walking and hung up his windbreaker. Jeff stood up with his shirt unbuttoned, and beads of sweat dripped off the black and gray knotted hairs on his chest. “Hey boyah! Didn’t you hear this woman ask you a question?” Jeff sounded like a drunken drill sergeant. Scotty just stared at Jeff with his piercing black eyes. His face was expressionless. Jeff swayed back and forth holding the half of fifth of Johnny Walker in his hand. Even in his mid to late fifties, Jeff was still very intimidating, but not to Butchy— not on this night. Ms. Greene snatched her pack of Newports from off the table and smacked the bottom of the pack. She grabbed one, lit it, and then took a puff. She sat back crossing her legs and blew smoke out of the corner of her mouth with a gale force wind. “I told you before nigga. You don’t run this goddamn house—I do! I told yo ass a long time ago that I’m the HNIC around here.” Scotty stood staring into space. “See, Jeff, I told you he was retarded,” she slurred. “That’s why I’m takin his black retarded ass right back to that goddamn agency where nobody’ll want his stupid ass.” But saying that same ole line for so many years no longer had the same affect on Scotty Butch. Jeff marched over and got right in Scotty’s face. “You lil nuffin’ ass

nigga,” he shouted spraying Scotty with a mist of spit. “When you hear that woman talkin to you, you had better answer. You understands me boyah?” Scotty stared in Jeff’s eyes without a sign of fear. Scotty’s eyes were cold and dark like the belly of the sea, filled with hate and the fury of a hurricane. His eyes were no longer of the living—they were the eyes of the nonexistent. Jeff angered because he felt Scotty was disrespecting him by staring him in his eyes. “Oh you think you tough, huh?” Jeff grunted. Then he palmed Scotty’s face and shoved him to the floor. Scotty immediately jumped up and stood back in Jeff’s face. He huffed and puffed with his chest stuck out and his fists balled tight. Scotty used every inch of his “will” to hold back his tears. His thick eyebrows arched downward preparing for war as if he were a dog facing another dog. Jeff hunched over and pressed his nose against Scotty’s. His drunken red eyes stared dead into Scotty’s black eyes. “Well,” Jeff grunted tilting his head from side to side. “You just gonna stand there lookin stuck on stupid or is you gonna do somethin?” Ms. Green burst out in a drunken stir while Jeff continued humiliating Scotty, but Scotty stood his ground. And he had the devil in his ear giving him advice. “Kill em both,” said the devil. Benjamin and Eljen sat at the top of the steps watching while Angela and Desiree stayed in their rooms. Scotty turned and marched toward the front door breathing heavily. “And where the hell you think you goin you no good fucka?” Ms. Greene shouted. “You betta get yo black ass back in here.” Scotty ignored her order and continued walking. “Hey, lil nigga, didn’t you hear what this woman say to you?” Jeff yelled. Scotty opened the front door and grabbed a wooden baseball bat that he’d put on the side of the door before he came in. He grabbed the bat by the handle and dragged it along the floor walking toward Jeff. Scotty walked in a demonic state, like a zombie. His shoulders were slouched down, and his eyes were hung low and crossed. He didn’t blink once.

Blood Lies & Secrets by Frankie J.  

A new thriller novel by Author Frankie J.