Little Red Riding Hood’s Mother
Another empty beer bottle smashed against the wall, the broken glass cutting her arm as she tried to move out of the way. Followed by a stream of curses, she quickly made her way to the kitchen and grabbed another drink from the fridge.
She was no longer surprised by how long it took for his cold mask to drop and reveal the sadistic monster she never got to know until the knot was tied. She squeezed the bottle with anger, her knuckles turning white from pressure. Today was the last time. She won’t have to suffer any longer. As soon as Rose comes back from school…
“Ma, you’re bleeding!” she heard a little, frightened voice behind her. Letting go of the beer, she turned around just in time to cover her daughter’s ears as her husband yelled another series of obscenities from the TV room. Rose’s mother smiled gently, the warmth of her eyes so soothing, the girl instantly forgot why she was upset.
“I need you to do something for me, Rosie. Can you go see Nana by yourself tonight? I’ve prepared a bag of cookies and some milk for you to bring”
“Yes, Ma.” said Rose as she took the backpack from her mother. “Why aren’t you coming?”
“There is work to be done around the house, sweetie. Now, off you go! Oh, and wear that red scarf Nana you. She’d love to see you wear it.” she said, while gently pushing Rose towards the entrance. She had to hurry and settle things before he decides to get up.
“Remember, don’t talk to strangers and keep to the sidewalk. Ma loves you.” she gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead and saw the girl run out the door, her face lit up with excitement. After all, Nana’s stories were the best.
Rose’s mother reached into the pocket of her cardigan, her fingers finding the small glass vial Nana gave her a few months back.
The day you decide to free yourself of that man, send Rose to me and make sure she wears the scarf.
Slightly dazed by the memory, she poured the contents of the vial into the beer and walked back to the living room. She watched him down half the bottle. She smiled when his eyes rolled back. She laughed when his face turned purple. When his limp body slid out of the armchair, Lily finally felt alive.