It started when I was six years old. My father was a drunk and ultimately my abuser. He beat me like I was nothing but a rag doll. He raped me when I was ten and continued to do so until we left him when I was thirteen. But the story I'm going to share happened the night we left. My father decided he wanted to kill my mom.

It was March 2nd 2013. My father had been drinking and mixing his medications again, it was like any normal night. I was in my room, my little brother (10) was in his and my mother was in hers. It was about three am when the banging started. He typically threw shit around when he was drunk, punching holes in the walls and being loud and obnoxious. I remember hearing him storm into my mother’s room and demand her cigarettes before calling her vulgar names and storming back to his room. Less than twenty minutes passed when my mom got up to take the dogs, who were visibly shaken outside to go to the bathroom. I got up when I heard my father’s bedroom door slam open, I had a bad feeling.

I walked out of my room and in my direct line of sight less than fifteen feet away was my father, with his shotgun headed straight for the back door. I walked to the kitchen quietly before shouting "what the fuck are you doing" he shot around to glare at me, placing his gun on my counter just to grab me by my t-shirt and slam me on the floor telling me to shut my mouth.

He grabbed the gun and proceeded to stumble out the back door. I ran to my brother’s room, he was awake and staring out of his door, he saw the entire encounter. My brother’s bedroom window had a direct view of the back yard. I yanked the window open to hear the following conversation.

Father: You can't leave me you stupid bitch
Mom: Fuck you
Father: I'll kill you before I left you leave whore

He went to shoot his gun at my mom but he fell down the stairs and dropped it before he could fire. He screamed vulgar names at my mother demanding if he loved him to help him up and crying that he was sorry. My mom screamed back, walking down to the window we were at whispering for me to get her secret cellphone and bring it to her. It was the scariest moment of my life.

I ran to my mother’s room, snatched her phone and snuck through the living room to the front door. My heart was pounding so loud it was all I could hear, everything felt numb as I unlocked the door and bolted down the stairs to the side of the house. I got on all fours, phone in my mouth and "army crawled" to my mother to remain unseen. I knew if he saw me he would get enraged again and he would murder us all. I got on my knees when I knew I was hidden securely behind a wooden make shift garden and handed my mom the phone. My father was stammering up the back stairs I only had seconds to get back inside, lock the front door and run to my brother’s room.

I honestly thought I wasn't going to make it. To my luck I did with only seconds to spare. I ran into the room and told my brother to put his shoes on quickly but he was struggling and I was so scared I was getting mad. Everything fell silent, to silent. I moved to the door and there I stood in the door frame of my brothers room just as my father came falling inside the house, gun in hand. He locked the backdoor, saw me and came towards us. I stood in between my brother and my father the following conversation pursued.

Me: Don't come any closer or I'll scream
Father: Excuse me, baby I'm not going to hurt you, your mother is a filthy whore I just want to talk to you and Alex
Me: Say what you have to say from where you are
Father: Stupid bitch

He shoved me into my brothers dresser located next to the door. He continued to rant and rave about how life was going to get better. I should mention my father was 6'3 475lbs at the time. He literally ripped the cheap wooden door off the hinges before ripping it apart screaming in a slurred mumble like tone he was going to get us new doors and a new mother.

For the next two hours he degraded our mother, we were standing by the window now, cornered. My brother was trying not to cry as I stood between him and our father. To mention he still had the gun.

He, surprisingly enough, walked away without saying anything as if nothing had happened back to his room tossing the gun on the pool table and slamming the door to his room. Everything was silent again. We slowly moved to the front door. I was praying it wouldn't squeak as we jolted outside.

My mother called the cops as we walked the mile long drive way we had. It took them an hour to respond to us. My father got locked up and we were moved to a domestic violence shelter. I haven't seen him since that day. I've moved states with my mother and my brother since then trying to rebuild a new life. It still haunts me to this day.

Counseling couldn't even help. I've been diagnosed with things I have a hard time even understanding. I'm eighteen now. My life has just begun and I feel as though it's almost over. I have more stories to tell but this is the one that stuck out like a sore thumb to me. I will never forget that night. Abuse sticks around even when it physically ends. The emotional trauma never goes away.

A. Heffner