The Beast

The Beast
As I stared at The Beast lurking toward me, sweat droplets surfaced on my brow bone like dew on blades of grass. The Beast stole the air from my lungs, and my mind spun with fear. My stomach tossed about in my abdomen while my heart pounded dangerously fast. “I could die, I could die,” I repeat in my mind as my fingers quivered uncontrollably, “The Beast could kill me.”

I dropped the grocery bags my mom had me carry in. The glass milk jug shattered on the pavement. I ran inside, gasping for any air I could find. I slammed the door shut and blindly reached for the lock on the door. My head was spinning wildly. My fingers somehow discovered the lock and I twisted it hard to make sure The Beast could not get in.

Somehow, I still did not feel safe. I darted up stairs to my room. I sprawled out on my bed as the scene on the driveway played on repeat in my mind. Suddenly, tears started shooting out of my eyes like bullets. The image of The Beast crept into my every thought.

A knock at my bedroom door squeezed a small shriek between my sobs. The door opened and there stood my mother. Her eyes were screaming with blatant frustration or hopelessness. I couldn’t tell which. Her hand moved from her hip to her mouth as she chewed off a nail. “Just take deep breaths,” she sighed as she spit out her nail. “Come on.”

I breathed deeply as she instructed me. Soon, my heart slowed to a normal pace and my chest loosened. The room quit spinning and I faced my mom. “I’m sorry,” I said.

She shrugged, “I told Mrs. Martin to keep the dog in back. You’d think she could have at least listened.”

Before she left the room, I mustered the strength to speak again, “Hey, mom? Maybe we should consider moving. You know. Somewhere safer.”

She failed to respond and gently shut the door. I was left alone in my room; my thoughts were echoing off the walls. Not only that but my father’s voice made its way into my ears from the next room over.

“She has a problem. This isn’t just a silly phase anymore. We can’t put this off any longer. You know that.”

The next few seconds were silent. My mom was probably gnawing off another nail. She’s a very nervous person. “I do know that. I don’t want to send her to some doctor though and have them give her medication that makes her act all strange. I don’t want that.”

My dad’s much lower, much more authoritative voice said, “Well you don’t want this to happen again do you? You don’t want her to go through that every time she walks through the park. What will be next? Maybe she will be too afraid to go outside at all. You don’t want her to be a prisoner in our home, do you?”

“I don’t. I don’t. If only…” Her voice trailed off and I thought their conversation might have concluded.

Oh, but it didn’t.

“If only that didn’t happen. It’s all for that, you know? When she was five and she went to the library. She went over to pet that pit bull and he growled at her. That didn’t stop her though. She kept petting him and he bit her hand. God, and it left that scar. That scar…”

I try not to think of that. I remember certain pieces of that ugly day. I remember the pain that shot up my arm when that beast sunk its teeth into my delicate hand. It locked its jaw; it wouldn’t let go. I remember the blood that stained the white sidewalk beneath me from the bite. I remember the hideous sound of that beast’s bark and the pungent odor that ascended from its fur. I remember going to the hospital, and those doctors stitching up my hand. My clothes still smelled like that beast. It repulsed me.

I began listening again. It was my dad’s voice. “It’s done. She’s going to meet with Dr. Edsey tomorrow at two.”

Then there was a new sound. It was my mother. She was crying. I could almost hear her broken heart beating in half through the walls. I realized then that The Beast wasn’t any dog. It was my problem, my fear, a fear that towered above me and was in the process of engulfing my spirit. I had to get help. I had to.

This will certify that the above work is completely original.
Jennifer Ball





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