Tabitha Odutayo
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The State

Obey

The irony was evident: head drowning in a toilet, the burning of acid made its way up my throat and crawled out of my mouth, its bitter kiss lingered on my tongue. Of course, I would've longed to stay in bed. My intervals of heavy heaving came and went in quick succession. There was no time for reflection as the acid creeped its way back up, this time, wrenching last night's dinner from its imprisonment and straight to freedom where it layed dormant, floating on the surface of toilet water.

With a sigh, I slumped down on the now warm tiled floor, my knees must have transferred my blood to beneath me. Slowly, I placed a brittle index finger in between the lumps of meat and churned in a clockwise moment, trembling with each turn. The other hand, weaker, reached out for the handle, shakily wrapping each fragile finger around the cold metal of the handle. The hand's pull was strong enough to bring forth a whirlpool, to watch the lumps swirl, swirl, swirl down until it completed its disappearing act. My finger remained there, still. Perhaps I would have liked to be those lumps; swirling, swirling, swirling away from here.

Ha, I suppose it would be the easy way out. I dragged my hand out and wiped it on the white seat, before laying it beside me, letting it stain the recently polished tile floor. My legs were sprawled out in front of me, as if I couldn't open my legs wide enough. Last night proved that well, I thought to myself as my fingertips traced the handprints engraved on my thighs.

I could still feel his dagger pressed against my skin as I laid unresponsive. Retaliation was going against the state. I let him continue. Really, it felt like a hammer, with every sudden BANG opening up the crack, just a little wider. At times like these, I liked to think back to when I was nine and the nuns told us we were living God's word. This was the first time, and frankly, that was a lot of bs, although it certainly kept a lot of people going. He certainly believed so, his nails firmly planted into the skin of my thighs. He could have ripped off the meat if he so chose, but he was too angry and too focused on pounding to think otherwise. I would have liked to think he was impatient. Hesitation was going against the state. My eyelids veiled my view. It was easier to listen to the weak grunting and slapping of flesh than to witness it yourself. Some say you feel it more with your eyes closed. I didn't want to feel anything at all.

Without warning, his movements stopped. I would not dare to open my eyes again in case of a false sense of security. He stayed just as still, for a moment, as our breaths became one. It was hot, then warm. At times like these, I liked to pretend I had accidentally wet myself. I was four again and daddy was disappointed.

"Get out."

His voice broke me away from my thoughts. I didn't even feel his retreat backwards. I cautiously opened my eyelids to watch him zip up his fly. Oh.

"Did you not hear me, you deaf cow?" He slammed his palm against the wall behind him, his rage consciously taking over.

I stuttered. The words lost its formation once it reached my voice box.

"They... They say that-that it's better if you lie on your back," I managed to forge out.

He growled in response and left the room himself, ramming the door into the frame. I let out a deep breath and took in my surroundings. I could not blame him; we were property of the state. Besides, this was not the last time my dead son's blood would trickle down my thighs.

At least now I would have had a reason to become sick of sleeping with my body, and he would have found a reason to stop.

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The State
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