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Her mother was drinking again. The entire house stunk of alcohol and burnt food. A small part of her heart broke at the familiar stench.

So close. Just a couple more days and the record would have been broken. There was no time to dwell on it though. By the angry tone of voice as pots and pans were thrown around the kitchen, she only had a few moments before that rage was eventually turned onto the only other person in the house.

Clutching her backpack tightly, she all but ran to her bathroom. It was the only safe place in the house. When her mother was this drunk the passage of time was lost on her. If she could make it to the bathroom, she could wait out the rage.

At the end of that rage though, there was either sadness or she passed out. Either way, it was better for her health if she avoided the rage. Anymore bruises and the faculty at the school would start asking questions.

“Winona!” Her heart froze in her chest when her name echoed down the hall. She spared a glance over her shoulder, expecting to see the form of her mother bearing down on her with the closest object to hit her with. “That stupid girl; where did she put that pancake mix?”

The breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding rushed from her lungs. If her mother was sober, she would have remembered they used the last of the pancake mix a couple days ago. But that didn’t matter to the drunken version of her mother; nothing mattered to her except for finding the bottom of all the bottles of alcohol she could get her hands on.

She had to tiptoe through the last of the hallway. It was littered with items that her mother had thrown around this time. She had cleaned it up with the hopes that it would stay clean but that lasted as long as the soberness of her mother did.

There was no door to her bedroom anymore. She slammed it once to get away from one of her mother’s rages and it only took her mother a couple days to take it off and chop it into little pieces. But the bathroom that was connected to her room was the haven. No matter how many times she hid in there, her mother would never take that door away.

It was weird and twisted but even a drunk mother valued the privacy of the bathroom.

Ever since her father had left, she had done all she could to survive the house that her mother controlled. She was the only one in her entire grade that did her homework by flashlight in a bathtub. It had been her system for years now; though the scars that littered her skin proved that it didn’t already work.

To make sure she didn’t give herself away yet, she tucked towels in around the faucet and knobs of the tub. If she dozed off, she wouldn’t accidentally kick one and turn on the water. Once that was done, she pulled a pillow from underneath the sink and made herself comfortable in the porcelain tub. It had been her metaphorical castle since she was a little girl and hadn’t failed her yet.

She had barely managed to open her chemistry book when the dreaded footsteps echoed in her room. It wasn’t uncommon for her mother to tear apart every single room in the house but there was a determination to these steps.

They moved around her room, the angry mumbling was muffled by the door. A short pause was enough for the truth to sink in. Her mother knew it was about time for her to be home, which meant that she hadn’t been drunk that long or wasn’t as drunk as she expected.

“Winona.” She sunk lower in the tub and hid her face in her book. Not today, she wasn’t going to open that door. “I know you’re in there young lady. Get your ass out here.”

“I don’t feel well Mama,” she lied through her teeth, depending on the echo of the bathroom to carry her voice. She couldn’t speak very loud anyway. The power of her voice was terrifying. “You don’t want me to hurl on the carpet again, do you?”

Last time that her mother had gotten her out of the bathroom, she had been sick. The beating that had followed had been bad but it was even worse after she lost her lunch on the carpet.

“What is it this time? The flu?” She hazarded a glance over the edge of the tub and shivered in fear when she saw the shadow beneath the door. Her mother was right there. She was so ready to attack if there was even a chance that the door would open. “Or is it morning sickness? Having you been sleeping around? Are you being a whore?! I will not have a slut in my house!”

“No!” She could feel the tears pricking at her eyes but she couldn’t cry now. If her mother heard then it’d just be another reason for a later beating. A small reminder to herself not to raise her voice and she was able to continue. “I haven’t been doing that at all Mama! I only ate something bad yesterday!”

“So help me, if you’re lying to me Winona Harvey, I will beat you in front of god and everyone.”

“I promise I’m not!”

The silence that followed was a blessing in disguise. It gave her a moment to compose herself before her mother started with something else. She pulled her shirt up to wipe away her tears while she waited with a bated breath.

“Don’t stay in there all night, y’hear! The kitchen is a sty. I expect it clean before you go to bed!”

Though it possibly meant leaving the room before her mother was in a safer state, she knew it would be worse in the morning if she didn’t. A messy kitchen gave her hung over mother plenty of things to grab and throw before she left for school. “Yes Mama.”

_____

I don’t know if any of you remember Winny from Silence is Golden, but this is her again! Only this time, it’s her home life before she was subjected to the torture on Avia.

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