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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Unbreakable Faith - 3. Chapter 3

! ! ! W A R N I N G ! ! !


Unbreakable Faith

Chapter 3

Come Sunday morning only a few last minute preparations had to be made for the church picnic. It had turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. He helped his mother all morning set the tables behind the church, the cool September breeze not strong enough to blow away the plates and cups. By the time the back yard of the church was all ready morning services began.

As the service wrapped up Reverend Richard Weaver smiled at his flock. “Now I’m sure you are all raring to get outside and have some fun on this glorious day our lord has provided us. Let’s all go and enjoy great fellowship.” Rather than do his hand shaking right then he stayed on the podium until the flock had flocked out the doors and to the back yard. The good reverend didn’t descend his pulpit until everyone was gone. He walked up to his wife and son. “You help your mother bring over the food. Then you go to your room. I don’t feel you deserve to be among good Christian folk today.”

Ian nodded his stomach sinking as he’d been dying to sink his teeth into the food he’d worked all week to make. “Yes sir,” he said hiding his dismay as he turned and followed his mother out of the church and to the rectory. It took only about twenty minutes to carry all the food over. Ian saw while depositing the many bowls and dishes that other people had brought food too. He saw cakes, cookies, puddings, salads, casseroles, tons of food he wanted nothing more than to eat.

Though he wanted it he knew he couldn’t have it so as he deposited the last bowl on the table he turned and walked back to the house without even looking back. Being told to go to his room meant he was to go there and stay until he was told he could leave it. Once he was in his room he closed the door gently behind himself then walked over to the bed and lay down on his side.

He wanted to not pay any attention to the fun that was going on outside. Wanted to pretend it didn’t exist. But after hearing around the fifth child’s laughter he slowly sat up. He pushed himself to the head of the bed and looked down into the back yard of the church which could easily be seen from his bedroom window. As he saw the kids laughing and playing, some tossing a frisbee some in a game of volleyball intermixed with adults tears started to stream down his face.

He wrapped his hand around the cold metal of his headboard. It was rare he let his emotions get out of control, rare that he cried because he was sad, his tears most always were for physical pain. He ached to be a good kid, ached to please his parents, and ached to be out there having fun like all the good kids were.

He watched and cried all afternoon as parents hugged their kids, as they paired up to do the potato sack races and the parents cheered their kids on in whatever events they took place in. He badly wanted that to be him. To just once have either of his parents be proud of him. To cheer him on in what he did. But most of all he wanted to be hugged by them. Wanted them to hold him and tell him they loved him.

As the first of the people started to leave the picnic he forced himself to stop crying. Crying that had gone off and on with no notice all afternoon. He pulled his eyes away from the window knowing that was causing his pain, and lay back down on the bed.

After controlling his emotions he sat back up and inspected his room. Not satisfied on just a visual inspection he got up and searched every drawer, every nook and cranny for anything that could be considered out of place. He got on his hands and knees and eyed the floor by pressing his cheek down onto it to make sure there was no stray dust or lint cluttering it up. He re-inspected the bed, until he was satisfied his hospital corners were correct and his blankets and sheets were taunt, not loose and not wrinkled.

Not daring to get back on the bed after spending so much time making it perfect he walked to his desk and pulled out the chair. Knowing his father could show up at any moment he pulled out his bible and began reading where he’d left off about half way through Mark on at least his tenth time in reading the thing from cover to cover.

It was about an hour later that his door opened and his father walked in. “Time to clean up.” He said simply then left leaving the door open.

Ian stood up tucking his bible back in the desk drawer. He put the chair back in its place and did one last quick inspection before leaving the room. He figured his father would probably do a room inspection while Ian was cleaning up from the party. Ian cleaned up the back yard which took a good two hours, did up the dishes then returned to the church to do his Sunday cleaning of that.

Halfway through vacuuming when he was at the front of the church he shut the vacuum off, looked past the pulpit and to the large golden cross that hung on the wall. He wondered how such a symbol could bring some people so much peace while all it did for him was fill him with a deep fear. He looked from the cross up to the ceiling of the church. Letting go of the vacuum cleaner he slowly climbed the five stairs up to the pulpit. His prayers had always gone unanswered. He thought that just maybe if he did it a little closer to this golden symbol it would help some. He’d prayed everywhere else and it never worked.

He’d never been on the pulpit mostly from fear that maybe he wasn’t supposed to. It had never really been said for him not to though. So he decided since he’d never prayed there, and never had his prayers answered that maybe that was the key. His father’s prayers got answered. Not the ones where he prayed for Ian to be good but a lot of the others. His father always prayed up here. The more he thought about it, the more he was sure that had been his problem all along.

Once he was behind the pulpit he turned back to the main room of the church, a feeling of dizziness washing over him and he respected his father just a little bit more for actually being able to stand up here every week and preach. From this point of view the place looked immense; he could not even imagine it filled with people. People whose eyes were always focused right on his dad. He shivered no longer even wanting to picture it and turned back to the cross.

He walked up to it then knelt on the floor in front of it his knees coming to rest just a couple inches away from it. Not daring to touch the shiny metal and make a smudge he clasped his hands together in front of his face, bowed his head and closed his eyes.

“Dear lord, it’s me Ian.” He shook his head already having screwed up. Of course God knew who he was, God knew all. “Dear lord, I first want to thank you for everything that I have. I thank you for sending me parents, and I thank you for allowing me to have a warm house to come home to and nourishment to keep me going. I thank you for having patience with my sins.” He took a deep breath thinking on the part of the prayer his father made him say, the part where he thanked God for sending him a person that trained him in what was right and what was wrong. He couldn’t bring himself to say that though, not here and not when his father wasn’t breathing down his neck to make sure he said it. He just wasn’t comfortable being thankful for something that hurt so bad. Felt when he said it, even when he was forced that he was lying. Because he didn’t feel grateful about it at all.

“Lord, can you please help me to be good. Please guide me when something comes up and I don’t know quite what to do. Guide me to do the right thing, in your eyes. I want so badly for my parents to be proud, I want so badly for you to be proud. I just can’t seem to ever get anything right. I really do try and I just always seem to make the wrong choices. I’m sorry to bring you this burden; I know you have far more important and far better people to help. But I’m trying to serve you lord. I’m trying to do right; I just can’t seem to manage it on my own.” His mind fought frantically for something more to say but could come up with nothing, he figured maybe that was enough groveling for one prayer. “Thank you, Lord, Amen.”

He lowered his hands and opened his eyes. He slowly got to his feet and turned around. His heart jumped into his throat as he saw his father glowering at him less then two feet away. “What do you think you are doing?”

Ian’s eyes focused quickly on the floor. “I was just praying sir,”

“Oh I heard your little prayer.” Richard Weaver sneered stepping closer to the boy. “Do you really think in that stupid little brain of yours that God is going drop all his other obligations to guide you in life? Do you really think you are that important? Some stupid, insolent, whiner that can’t even follow a few simple rules?” His father threw a punch at him that knocked Ian off his feet and onto his ass immediately. The verbal torrent continued while the punches and kicks rained down on him. Ian tried his best to get into a protective position but the blows were coming so fast and so furious he could not really achieve covering all his most sensitive spots.

When the attack finally ended Ian was gasping for air his body burning and bleeding in several different spots. Tears, no doubt of pain this time, dripped from his eyes and down to the carpeting at the base of the cross. He figured through his mask of pain that praying close to the cross hadn’t helped either. If it had God would have guided him to stop doing it soon as he’d made his request.

He was dragged to his feet and half carried back to the house each movement causing him to wince from the pressure on his badly beaten body. He cried a little harder as his father opened the basement door and literally dragged Ian down the stairs. Once at the bottom of the cellar stairs his clothes were ripped from his body. His father dragged him over to the cross that was housed in their basement. This one was not gold; this one was made of rough wood.

He was slammed back against the splintered covered wood, several of the splinters driving into his back. His father made quick work of tying his hands up tightly against the horizontal beam of the cross. After his hands were secure his legs were bound tightly by another rope at the cross’s base.

Once tied, his father stood up and glared at him. “Maybe you need to see what Christ really went through. Maybe that will show you people in the world have much bigger problems than being so stupid they can’t follow a few rules.” The man disappeared into another room. Ian nearly lost his bowels when he returned with a hammer in one hand and two long nails in the other.

“Please sir, don’t.” He whimpered in dread. This was something completely new. He was accustomed to being tied to the cross for hours on end but never in a million years had he thought he’d actually be nailed to it. His father’s fist nailed him in the gut knocking out his breath along with his ability to speak. Ian felt his hand being held out flat. Trying to save himself he quickly folded his hand into a fist the minute his father tried to hold up the nail.

Never one to be easily swayed, his father brought the hammer crashing into Ian’s fist. Still unable to breathe Ian’s mouth simply fell open in a noiseless scream. Unable to feel his hand for the moment he could not fight his hand being flattened back out. As the nail pierced through his hand his breath returned and he screamed with all of his might as the pain ripped through his hand and up his arm.

Halfway through his second hand being nailed to the cross his stomach roiled. He opened his mouth and threw up the morning’s oatmeal all down the front of himself.

“There,” His father said stepping back looking pretty proud of his ingenious plan. “Now maybe you’ll see what it’s like. What God gave up for us. Maybe you’ll realize why it is so important for you to at least be good. After all he’s done for you.”

Ian barely heard him as his mind swam with excruciating pain and his stomach continued to roil threatening to send up another load of the foul smelling vomit that was dripping down the front of him. His mind didn’t register his father leaving and didn’t register the cellar growing darker and darker. He was lost in his pain the only sign he was conscious at all were the repeated whimpers that came from his down turned face.

The sun rose and started to set again before the cellar door opened back up. Ian was vaguely aware of his hands being released from their torture. He was lifted off his feet and carried up the stairs then dropped into the bathtub. His blurred vision saw his mother approach the tub as his father left the room.

He felt her clean his body with professional precision as his awareness slowly crept back to him. It was over, he realized, it was over and he’d survived it. Soon the pain would fade, even if only to be replaced by other pain. Either way it would be gone. His mother held his hands out as she applied Iodine, then some antibacterial cream.

“Keep them out of the water.” She ordered when she was done applying the cream. She drained the water out of the tub then refilled it and washed him again. After draining the tub a second time she wrapped his hands in bandages, wrapped him in a towel and called her husband back into the room.

Richard walked back in scooped Ian up like he was a bag of feathers then carried him across the hall and deposited him on the bed. The towel still on him Ian was still not with it enough to get up and put on his pajamas. As the minutes ticked by with no appearance from his parents he carefully reached down and pulled up the blankets. He closed his eyes as he tried to push the terror of the last 24 hours behind him.

Tried to block out the pain he could still feel though not as severely. Tried to block the feeling of the bugs crawling over his body in the dark confines of the basement.

After spending all of Tuesday in bed he was awakened Wednesday morning to go back to school. Though he was still pretty queasy he didn’t have any say in the matter. He got up and got dressed then joined his parents at the breakfast table. His mother like always got up and filled his bowl with oatmeal.

Ian clasped his still throbbing, still bandaged hands together. He bowed his head and delivered his morning prayer with the same fear that he always did. He didn’t get smacked when he was through and started in on his breakfast. His stomach didn’t really feel up to eating but he knew better than to not eat. Knew that was incredibly disrespectful.

“Anyone asks you burned your hands on the stove. Understand me?”

Ian nodded. “Yes sir,” this always confused the heck out of him. He didn’t understand why sometimes it was okay to tell a lie and other times it wasn’t. There were so many things over the years that just didn’t seem to add up. It all just confused him the more he tried to figure it out so he just did what he was told.

“And if I ever hear you saying such a groveling begging prayer such as the one I heard the other night you will get the same treatment all over again. Understand?”

“Yes sir,”

“Tonight when you get home you need to start your homework right away, you have three days worth. When you are done your homework you’ll write a paper about what’s proper and not proper to pray about and read it aloud in church on Sunday got it?”

“Yes sir,”

“You’ll work on this paper during every spare minute until its good enough. So you may want to start thinking on it now.”

Ian nodded for the fourth time. “Yes sir,”

“Saturday your mother and I need to go out of town. While we are gone I expect you to sit right here at this table. You can get up only to go to the bathroom. If by some miracle you get your speech done by Saturday I’ll come up with something else for you to work on. Don’t try and defy me by leaving this table young man, if you do I’ll know.” He said pointing his finger into Ian’s face who nodded again.

“I’ll be good sir,”

His father let out a bitter laugh. “I won’t believe that until I see it.”

During his third period study hall that was held in the library Ian sat at a table over by the windows and pulled out his English book. He read the chapter he needed to read for that night then went on to read the other chapters. He looked sideways as someone sat down in the seat next to his. His heart beat a little faster seeing it was Nathan, someone he’d been hoping to avoid.

“How you doing Ian?”

Ian looked back at his book knowing he should tell the guy to be quiet but not daring too. When Nathan spoke again he glanced up at the librarian who was paying no attention to anyone in their vicinity then looked back at Nathan. “You can’t talk in the library.”

Nathan grinned causing Ian to narrow his eyes. “Everyone talks in the library man; do you see a sign in here anywhere that says no talking?”

Ian turned his head and looked around the room; sure enough other people were talking. And he could not find such a sign anywhere. Talking had not been allowed in elementary school and he guessed he must have just figured it was the same for high school. Still though he knew he wouldn’t get away with it. If his mother walked in and caught him there would be trouble for sure. “I can’t talk to you.”

“Why not?”

“I just can’t. Now please leave.” He hoped he sounded a lot stronger than he was feeling. He’d never given out an order before, but knew to save his own skin he had to.

Nathan looked from Ian’s face down to his bandaged hands. “What happened to those?”

Ian looked down at his hands as well. “I burned them.”

“Both at the same time? How in hell did you do that?”

Ian’s eyes widened at the swear word. “You shouldn’t curse,” he said half as a reproach and half as a subject changer.

Nathan nodded grinning again. “Well then how did you burn them both at the same time?”

“On the stove.”

“What, did you walk up and put your hands on the burners?”

“No, why would I do that?” he asked getting frustrated.

“I just don’t understand how you could burn both your hands in one shot on a stove.”

Ian shook his head. “It’s not for you to understand. It’s none of your business at all. Now please,” he said his eyes darting nervously to the door. “Just go away and leave me alone.”

Nathan continued to sit there and continued to look at him. “You know there’s people that can help you. Numbers you can call, hotlines, you don’t have to live like that.”

Caught off guard that Nathan seemed so sure of the truth Ian shook his head.

“Why not?”

Ian looked back at the door then back to Nathan. “I tried that once.”

Nathan’s eyes widened, surprised that Ian had already sought help and surprised the kid was actually talking to him about it. “What happened?”

Ian dropped his eyes back to his book hanging his head in the process. The whole experience had left him permanently wounded and he hated to rehash it all. Nathan though was the first person to ever show him any concern at all. The first person who had taken the time to talk to him and not be mean. “I was like ten. I got the number off a poster at the grocery store, my mom was there so I couldn’t just take one of the little papers, but I memorized it. That weekend when I was cleaning the church I called it.” He stopped and Nathan, thinking he wasn’t gonna say anymore urged him on.

“Then what happened?”

“These people came to the house. They talked to me and they talked to my parents. I got a big long speech from them. They told me the line was for kids who really needed help. That being spanked was not abuse.” He pressed his fingers into his eyes and shook his head. “Then they left.”

“Then what happened?”

Ian only shook his head again not about to relive the horrors of that night for anyone. “It doesn’t matter. I tried to get help, I tried but it didn’t work. I learned that I was just being a baby. That my life was nothing compared to what others endure. That I have to be thankful for what I have. I won’t make the same mistake twice.” He stopped, thinking he had made plenty of mistakes twice and added, “Well that mistake anyways.”

“Ian, what I saw in the bathroom the other day that was abuse, that’s not just being punished.”

“I just gotta do better.” Ian looked back down at his book. “If I’m good, I won’t be hurt. If I do what I’m supposed to do things will be fine.”

“But Ian it’s not right.”

Having had enough with talking Ian only shook his head. Nathan said a few more things but after each comment was ignored he got up and walked off leaving Ian to breathe a huge sigh of relief. He didn’t need anyone messing with his head. Didn’t need anyone trying to undo what it had already taken him fifteen years to learn.

Copyright © 2011 vlista20; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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