Just Maddy pt. 5

by Martha Hubbard

Three years slogged away. Maddy’s menses started and her chest sprouted little buds. She took to wearing three layers of her baggiest sweaters and hoodies. Even with these she could sense the change in the way these winter guests looked at her. One night, she was in the kitchen finishing the dishes. Just as she was about to go see if Da wanted anything else, she heard one particularly odious old fart commenting to Bill. 

“That girl of yours is starting to look mighty ripe,” he said, laughing. “I wouldn’t mind having a crack at her one of these nights.”

“Keep your hands and your cracks to yourself. She’s mine,” her father spit. 

“But she’s your daughter, ain’t she?”

“Don’t matter. If I says she’s mine, she’s mine. S’long as I want ‘er. Later, we’ll see.”  

“I’ll wait then.”

It was like being kicked in the chest. Part of her wanted to grab a skillet and hit the bastard, both bastards, on their heads. A few seconds of deep breathing told her that would only get her in more trouble. Turning the kitchen lights off, she scrunched into a corner until she heard Bill and his buddies move into the lounge by the fireplace. This group’s week was almost over. They would stay up drinking until they passed out. Fuck them! They could get their own booze. When she was sure they wouldn’t notice, Maddy tip-toed quietly out the front door, down the steps to her path. Once she was in the shadow, she ran like a baby deer to her cabin.

Safely there, she closed all the shutters tight, double locked the door and pushed a chest in front. Any asshole wanting to get in here tonight was gonna have to work at it.
Did her father… really intend to, to do that to her? Somehow she wasn’t really surprised. In the last year or so, Bill’s supply of live-in bed warmers had thinned to almost nothing. Well, look at him… mostly bald, just a few greasy grey strands wavering across his shiny dome, red faced from shouting so much, beer belly dripping over his belt. What kind of woman would want to come here, spread her legs when he wasn’t too drunk to get it up, and work like a dog, for that? Maddy tried to picture a man that her mother could have loved enough to marry. He must have been attractive once. He sure wasn’t anymore.

Sure that she wouldn’t sleep a wink, she got into bed in all her clothes and called Granny Maggie’s image to mind. It didn’t take long, as if she’d been waiting for her call. 

“Is he for real,” Maddy cried. 

“Sadly, yes,” Maggie said. “And there are far too many men like that in the world. This is a good lesson for you to have learned – before you get out into the world outside of the Maine woods.”

“That’s disgusting. They are all disgusting. I hate men!”

“That’s a bit extreme, I think.”

“Damn! What do I do now?”

“I think you know.”

“It’s time to leave, isn’t it?”

“Well passed time. Make sure you have your plans in order, then do it.” 

As Maddy began to organise a check list for the next night, she fell into the healing sleep she needed but hadn’t expected to get.


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