The Caning

I am in a bedroom trying to go to sleep.  I cannot go to sleep because in a room down the hall, children are wailing and screaming.   They are being beaten.  I can hear them.  I leap from my bed and run down the hallway towards the room.  I fling open the door.

There, with her hand raised high, is my mother, a long, thick cane in her hand.  There must be fifty children in the room, some having already been beaten, others, waiting their turn, shaking in a huddle, unable to escape what is to come.

She has a child by the arm, and she is striking the child’s legs over and over as the child screams.  I see the child’s face, mouth open, sobbing and screaming.  The children who have already been beaten are in a group together. Some are laying down in the fetal position, so obviously in shock.  Others are rocking back and forth, weeping and holding their wounds. The skin on their legs are splayed open.  I can see meat and flesh, bright black and purple bruises forming.  I scream at my mother as I grab the child from her arm.

STOP! JUST STOP IT!”  I am screaming. “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY?

Her eyes are menacing.  She is looking at me with anger.  I feel no fear of her.  I will kill her if I have to.  I will not let her strike another child.   I am herding the children into one group, and as they see that I am there to save them, they begin to gather behind me.  We are all on one side of the room, and I am assessing getting them all out of the door, down the hall, into my room where I can lock the door until I figure out the next step to saving them.   My mother is on the opposite side of the room right by the door, the cane in her right hand. She is methodically tapping it on the palm of her left hand.  She has a wicked smirk across her face as if I am so silly to think that I can fight against her.  But I am ready.  I will fight her with all of my power, and in my mind, I will win.

She begins to advance towards me.  I stand strong in front of the children.  My fists are clenched.  I am planning.  I will go for her throat.  I will grab the cane from her hand and strike her on her head and neck, everywhere I can until she is beaten bloody and raw like the legs of these children.

But as she gets closer towards me, she becomes bigger and bigger, and I become as small as the children.  Suddenly, I am filled with terror, realizing, that I will not be able to fight her.  I am too little.  In my mind, I am an adult.  I am thinking as an adult.  In my view I when I entered the room, I was the same size as her, but now, I am no longer a grown up.  I am just an adult inside of the body of a little girl, and I know that I am next.  She is going to beat me harder than she has beaten any of the other children.   My throat is closing as I try and suck in my breath.

Her face is the most terrifying of all.  Her eyes are flat, black and soulless.  Her mouth is twisted into a crooked grin representing that she is enjoying inflicting this abuse, and that she will revel in beating me.   She is so close now, and I am no taller than her knees.  I am just a little girl with the rest of the children, and my body is shaking, shivering with anxiety and terror.

and the dream ends.

(featured image from Jill Greenberg’s “Crying Children”)

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