Luke gripped the edge of the table, bracing so hard his knuckles turned white and the pale wood dug deep enough into his hand to leave its own mark. The belt came down hard and fast, metal and leather stinging flesh, turning what was already pink and inflamed, bloody and blue. His face was impassive, expressionless, a simple void. His eyes were two light brown dams holding back rivers of emotion he dared not express.
“Keep that faggot shit out of my house!” His Uncle roared with a final snap of the belt. This blow was enough to buckle Luke’s legs, and he slowly sank to his knees. The kitchen floor was cool on the sweaty palms that slowly came to meet it. They could feel the off kilter vibrations of the drunken footsteps of his Uncle disappearing in the next room. Then the quiet buzz of the TV flowed into the room and Luke knew his Uncle was done with him for the night.
After a moment quick, and soft vibrations seeped into his fingers as his Aunt entered the room. A cool rag was gently pressed into his back and a low hiss dragged itself out from between his clenched teeth. Still no tears fell from Luke’s eyes but he could feel his face heating up and his head beginning to pound from the suppressed emotion of pain. It wasn’t long until the cool touch of the rag was gone and replaced by the soft stiff feel of bandages pressing themselves into his back, wrapping around his waist and back again. Then quick and soft vibrations and the quiet warmth of his Aunt’s body behind him was gone.
Luke was silent as he turned slowly on his knees to grab the small tub of red water behind him. Silent as he climbed the stairs, emptied and cleaned the tub and entered his room. Silent as he sank into the bed careful to lay on his stomach, silent as he calculated the number of days of school he’d miss this time. Silent as he drifted off into a fitful slumber. Silent as the tears that finally streamed down his face.