Warning: This is pretty grim even by my somewhat gritty standards, so it's probably best to wait for my next post in conjunction with SMAndy and carry on reading from there.
The worst thing is that this stuff really does occur
Who: "Cassandra Jones" - sixteen years old
"Come on, wake up love; time you were going..."
Narcissa groaned and stirred, raising her head slightly to look blearily up at the librarian from amidst the old fashioned paper books scattered across the desk she had fallen asleep at
"Library's closing" the young man smiled
"'Kay" she murmured fumbling to check the time on her terminal: 20:58
"Five minutes before we lock you in, ok?" the librarian called over his shoulder as he strolled off
Still feeling a little fuzzy, Narcissa quickly logged off from the library's net, scooped her terminal into her bag and shrugging into her coats, ran down the library's steps, out into the cold December evening for the half hour walk back to what she laughingly called home
She was already late for her curfew and as such, glumly held little hope that she would come out of the evening unpunished for her tardiness; although if she was lucky, her father, an alcoholic ex-copper, might have dunk himself into one of his more dismissively ambivalent moods and she wouldn't wind up with a black eye or worse
Hurrying as quickly as she was able through the darkened streets of Bolton, her long skirts and coats billowing around her in the bitterly cold northerly wind, she noted that the streets of the town were uncharacteristically quiet; the forecasted snow storms seemingly deterring all but the most determined of the local vermin, and those who were out were as well wrapped against the cold as she
Of course, she reflected as she broke into a worried jog, she would have preferred not to have had to go out and to be able to stay in like everyone else; but over the years she had found that it was easiest if she just stayed well out of her father's way, since bitter experience had taught her that pissing him off, or breaking any of his randomly prescribed rules, like the 20:30 curfew for example, only made for a miserable life for her
The house, a dilapidated two up two down, was lit but silent when she got back, so she slipped in and locked the door behind her as quietly as she was able before creeping up the stairs, hoping she would be able to make it up to her room and pretend that she had been back ages if her father bothered to check on her
"Where the smeg have you been?"
Narcissa froze half way up the stairs, her heart plummeting as she looked up to see her father waiting in the darkness on the landing above her
"Just the library dad"
"The library" he sneered swaggering around to stand up at the top of the stairs, swigging the dregs from the bottle of cheap brandy he was carrying; if anything Narcissa thought he seemed even more inebriated than usual
"You're late!" he exploded, flinging the empty bottle down at her, which missed but shattered on the floor at the bottom of the stairs
"I just fell asleep in the library, ok?" Narcissa tried to placate him, even though she knew it was next to useless "I... I've been working hard recently..."
"Smeg your smegging work" her father snarled "Pick that glass up!"
"I said: 'Pick up the smegging broken glass'!" her father bellowed, barrelling down towards her to fling her bodily down the stairs "All of it!"
Narcissa only managed to escape injury by virtue of having hold of the banister, which she used instinctively to slow her descent, but still wound up winded on her back amidst the glass on the floor
She twisted onto her hands and knees and tried to scramble frantically up onto her feet, but before she could manage it, her father was upon her, grabbing a fistful of her hair and hauling her painfully upright
Whimpering in pain, she grabbed at his hand, trying to pry it out of her hair by working her nails into it
He punched her in the mouth in retaliation; hard enough to split her lip, and threw her aside to examine the scratches on his hand
"You little bitch" he snarled, advancing towards her
This was more than enough for Narcissa and she bolted towards the front door, fingers working frantically trying to turn the key in the lock and haul the door open
Her father, however had other ideas and grabbed another fistful of her hair to drag her screaming back into the filthy, bottle strewn living room where he spent most of his days, and threw her across the room onto the old, stained sofa
"You smegging bastard" Narcissa cried, wiping blood from her mouth, her voice bubbling around her fat lip
Her father strode across the room unbuckling his belt
"I'll teach you some smegging respect you little cow" he growled "Just like we used to do in the force"
Narcissa's eyes widened in horror and she scrambled up over the back of the sofa, trying to put any amount of distance between her and her father, but he closed it in a single bound, catching her around her neck her in the crook of his arm, and wrestling her, screaming, down onto the ground where he pinned her by the throat and began hauling her skirts up
She tried to fight back but was punched savagely into submission
It had been almost a year since this had happened
She had been twelve the first time
Surreally, one of the neighbours hammered on the party wall above her screams and shouted to tell her to be quiet
Narcissa slit his throat from ear to ear while he slept that night
Her only regret was that he didn't suffer enough