As an "author" my one goal is to entertain, so all comments are welcome in making better stories.
Emerson high has a way turning the tables around on its students, which is no different from any other aspect of Emerson Lake. The smartest and most promising of students could turn out to be the town drunk before his or her time has expired, and the drop out could be one of the few who actually escape the deadly clutches of the town and lives the life of a king. That's just the way life goes in Emerson Lake.
That's the story with Corey and Kathleen.
Corey had a sports scholarship to any college of his choice, which for him, Purdue was where he would go. For football, and baseball, but all that changed in one game. The last baseball game of his senior career, and his life.
It was a sunny May day. Emerson high was ahead four runs. The opposing team had two outs, and Corey was pitching his best game. The batter up was a Junior and already had two strikes against him.
Corey got the signal from the catcher and nodded. He wound up for the pitch. Corey released what would surely be the final strike out of the game. The ball left his fingers and time slowed down for a moment. Corey watched the ball sail beautifully toward the catcher's mitt.
Corey smiled wide.
The Junior never did hit the ball. Instead, the bat slipped from his grip and tumbled end over end along the same path the ball had just taken. The CRACK heard across town was the crack of the bat connecting with Corey's left knee cap.
The bat shattered Corey's knee cap and his dreams of a sports career.
In the aftermath of the accident, Corey took to drinking. Hoping to drown the pain and the self pity. And there was the fleeting hope that he would forget all about what he lost that day. Instead, it only angered him more.
Kathleen was the valedictorian that year and Corey's biggest support, on top of his high school sweetheart. After the accident, Kathleen gave everything up so she could stay with Corey and be his biggest supporter through his time of woe. But she soon found that even becoming his bride didn't help him out of his drunken self pity.
The town did everything they could to help them out. Kathleen's father ran the local hotel and offered Corey a job, which he turned down. The church provided them a cheap trailer in Lake View Park in exchange for their patronage at the church. Kathleen was the one who held up that end of the bargain.
Kathleen also was the one who got the job to support them. She got a waitress job at the local diner. The money wasn't great, and Corey was getting disability, but they eked by. If Corey wasn't drinking so much, they would have plenty. But Kathleen never complained. She loved Corey and the town loved Corey.
The junior who let the bat slip from his grip was found three days later in his father's study. The boy had taken a bottle of sleeping pills and put a bullet through the top of his head. A note was found with three words written on it.
I am sorry.
The town felt so sorry for Corey that no one even noticed when Kathleen started wearing long sleeve shirts and dark sunglasses.
It was June 17 at 8:54 p.m. when the beatings started.
Kathleen had worked late that night. Her car had a loud knocking coming from the engine and black smoke pouring out of the exhaust pipe and she needed the money to get it fixed. The church helped out with everything, except what Kathleen needed. After all, she wasn't really the pride of Emerson Lake.
When Kathleen had called to let Corey know that she was working over, he had already been drunk. And now, as she pulled up in front of the trailer, she knew he would be even drunker.
Kathleen opened the front door and stepped into something that she had gotten used too over the years of "wedded bliss" with Corey.
The floor of the trailer was littered with empty beer cans. Even half empty beer cans that Corey was too drunk to remember opening. There were also dishes with crusted and moldy food, glasses with a film of dried alcohol, and clothes, some of which was urine stained underwear that Corey had stripped of and just tossed to the floor.
Which leaves only the King of the home? Corey was slouching in a ratty recliner as he usually was at this time of night, a plate of spaghetti resting on his start of a beer belly, and a beer in his left hand. Strands of tomato sauce-covered noodles lay on his chest and hung from the corners of his mouth.
A baseball game blared from the television.
As soon as Kathleen opened the door, Corey's attention was diverted from the television to the door.
"Where the Hell have you been," Corey slurred.
Kathleen slowly shut the door behind her. "I worked late," she said softly. Although she had put up with a lot from Corey, she never lost her composure over the years. She was just as soft spoken as the day they had met. And as beautiful. "I called you to let you know."
"Yeah right," Corey said, turning back the game and his spaghetti.
Kathleen slowly set her purse and keys on the table by the door.
Corey took a long drink from the silver can. "Yeah right. I bet you were whoring around."
"What?" Kathleen asked in disbelief. Corey had never said anything like this before. Even when drunker then he was now.
"You heard me," Corey said sitting up. He set his hand on the cane leaning against the arm of the recliner. He didn't need the cane, but it brought on more sympathy from the townsfolk. "I can see the disgust in your eyes every time you look at me. You can't stand that I'm crippled."
"If that was the case Corey," She said. Her voice finally raised and shaky. "I never would have married you."
"Whatever you say." Corey said turning back the television.
Kathleen shook her head and bent over to pick up some of the beer cans. When her arms were loaded, she stood and looked to Corey. His attention was still on the game. Kathleen turned and walked to the kitchen.
"Don't turn your back on me whore," Corey growled. Corey picked the remote off the arm of the recliner and through it at his wife's back. The remote tumbled end over end until it hit Kathleen in the center of the back, between the shoulder blades.
Kathleen screamed and arched her back as white hot pain exploded up and down her spine. The back of the remote popped off and the batteries slammed into the wall to Kathleen's left. Kathleen fell forward onto the linoleum of the kitchen floor, sending beer cans to every corner of the kitchen.
Corey used his cane to stand from the recliner, then limped across the littered living room to Kathleen. When Corey reached her, she was starting to slowly get up from the floor. Corey stuck the end of the cane in her back where the remote just hit her.
"Did I give you permission to get up?"
"No," Kathleen answered through gritted teeth.
"Then why did you?"
Kathleen didn't answer, she only relaxed back to the floor.
"You like that don't your whore," Corey said as an evil smile cut across his face. "What a surprise, the whore likes pain."
Corey pressed harder into her back. Kathleen closed her eyes tight and gritted her teeth against the pain and the ensuing darkness that threatened to overtake her.
"Answer me," Corey said. When Kathleen didn't say anything, Corey lifted his good leg and stomped on the side of her face as hard as he could. Corey took the cane off her back and Kathleen quickly crawled across the kitchen and huddled into a corner.
Corey followed her and knelt as close as his "Bum leg" would allow him. He grabbed a handful of her long blond hair and lifted her head as close to his face as he could.
"Are you going to listen to me?"
Kathleen nodded. The left side of her face was already starting to swell.
"Clean this house. And I mean every inch."
Kathleen nodded. She was fighting back the tears as hard as she could.
"Then I want you to take your filthy body in the shower and wash of the stink of all those men you whore around with. Do you hear me?"
Kathleen nodded again.
Corey pushed her head back, bouncing it of the wall. He then stood and limped back to the recliner.
Kathleen slowly stood on shaky legs, still fighting back the tears. The stench of Corey's breath burned itself into her memory along with the hate in his eyes. She didn't know what had gotten into him. This was a first, and hopefully the last.
She began picking up beer cans as tears finally spilled over her eyelids.
Kathleen stood in the middle of a white room dressed in a long white gown. A sheet of smoke a foot thick lay at her feet. She looked around and saw that she was alone.
"Hello," she called out.
"Hello Kathleen," a voice said from behind her.
Kathleen turned around to see a young man standing behind her. It took her a moment before she realized who this young man was. It was the batter who had hit Corey in the knee. The young man hadn't aged a day. At the sight of the young man, she gasped and took a step back.
"I won't hurt you," he said.
"What do you want?" she asked. Her eyes were wide with fear.
"I have come to warn you,"
"Warn me of what?"
The young man closed his eyes and looked to the smoke covered floor. A tear rolled down his cheek.
Kathleen stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. "What do you have to warn me of?" Despite her fright, her voice was calm and soothing.
He looked up at her, still crying. "Corey."
"What about him?"
"He is going to hurt you again."
Kathleen took a step back from him. "He's not going to do it again," she said defensively.
The young man stopped crying. "I've seen it a million times. The man hits the woman once, says he's sorry, then it happens once again. Until..." he stopped.
"Until what?" Kathleen asked.
The young man was silent for a moment. Then, with a sigh, he continued. "Until the man goes one step too far and kills her."
Kathleen turned away in anger and hidden fear. She fooled herself into not believing a word the young man was saying, but she knew every word to be true and that scared her even more. She had read the papers, heard the stories, and seen the movies. Still, she didn't want to believe for one second that Corey could be that man, she could be that woman.
"He'll never do it again."
The young man sighed. "You believe what you want, but I will see you again."
Kathleen spun around angrily, but the young man was gone.
Kathleen sat up in bed, her back and the left side of her face throbbing in pain. She looked over at Corey beside her snoring loudly and began to cry.
The next morning, Kathleen woke up to breakfast in bed. When she opened her eyes, she saw Corey standing in the door holding a t.v. tray with a plate of bacon, eggs and toast, a cup of orange juice, and a vase with a single rose.
"Good morning," he said with a smile and limped to the bed.
As he got closer to the bed, Kathleen sat up, fear in her eyes. Corey set the tray over her lap and sat on the bed next to her.
"I'm sorry," he whispered starring at the floor. "I don't know what came over me last night."
"You were drunk," Kathleen answered.
"Yeah," he sighed and turned to her. "I don't want to lose you," he said, tears streaming down his cheek. "I know I screwed up last night, and I am sorry. You're the best thing in my life and I can't lose you."
Kathleen couldn't say a word.
Corey turned back to the floor. "I'll understand if you want to leave."
Kathleen reached out and gently placed her hand on his shoulder. "I don't want to leave, but I'm afraid it'll happen again."
"It won't," Corey said quickly as he turned back to her. "I'll do whatever I have to."
"Quit drinking," she said.
"Consider it done," he said with a genuine smile.
Kathleen leaned forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. He hugged her back, his hands touching the bruise on her back. She ignored the pain, happy that he was going to stop drinking.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear.
"I love you too," she whispered back, and meant it.
For the next three weeks, everything was great. It was even better then before. Corey kept to his promise and stopped drinking, the house was always spotless when she came home from work, and dinner was always ready and on the table.
It was just too good to be true.
The bruise on her back disappeared, and the swelling on the left side of her face went down. Corey was always tender during love making or when they lay on the couch and watched television. Things were the best they had ever been.
Then came Jason. She had no interest in the man whatsoever, but he just wouldn't stop coming into the diner. Jason was in his early fifties and worked at the train depot. He only came in when he knew she was working and sat only in her section.
He always had to touch her, and he demanded most of her attention so her other tables got poor service.
It was a Tuesday night, an extremely slow Tuesday night. Jason was there as usual, and Corey just happen to come in for a visit.
Kathleen was just clearing off Jason's table as the door opened. Kathleen had her back to the door and was walking away from the table when Jason reached out and smacked her ass. Kathleen turned and glared at him a moment.
"Hey," Corey yelled from the door. Kathleen and Jason both looked to see Corey standing in the doorway. "That's my wife buddy," Corey growled as he limped toward the table.
Kathleen quickly set the dirty dishes on the empty table beside her and walked toward Corey. Her arms out, pleadingly. "Wait a minute Corey," she said before she reached him.
When the two reached each other, Corey pushed her to the side. She hit the table beside her with her hip, and fell on top of it. The table toppled side ways, and she fell with it, bruising her left hip.
"No Corey," she yelled when the fall was over and Corey had reached Jason. But the words fell on deaf ears.
Corey grabbed Jason by the front of his shirt and lifted him out of his seat. As Corey lifted him, his knees hit the table, lifting it five inches off the floor before it crashed back down. Without a moments wait, Corey hit Jason in the eye and dropped him to the floor. Corey dropped to his knees beside Jason's head, keeping his bad leg straight. Corey grabbed Jason's right hand.
"I'll teach you to mess with another man's wife," Corey growled. With a quick turn and a sickening crunch of bone, Corey broke Jason's wrist.
Jason let out a loud scream. When Corey let go of Jason's hand, Jason cuddled his hand to his chest and curled into a ball. By this time, the other waitress and the cook were in the dinning room watching all of it silently.
Corey stood and glared at the two a moment before turning to Kathleen, who was now standing. "It's time to go home," he said. He took two steps toward her and grabbed her arm.
"Kathleen," the cook called out stepping forward.
"It's okay," she said looking over her shoulder as Corey pulled her to the door. "I'll be okay."
Corey threw the door open as hard as he could and drug Kathleen out behind him.
The ride home was a quiet one. When they got home, Corey was the first in the house. Without a pause, Corey went straight to the kitchen and began digging around in the cabinets. Kathleen came in and gently closed the door.
"What are you looking for?" she asked as entered the kitchen and saw him.
Corey ignored her. He finally found what he was looking for, a bottle of whiskey. He took the cap off and took a long drink.
"I thought you quit that," she said crossing her arms over her chest.
Without a word, Corey walked past her, purposefully bumping her with his shoulder. He carried the bottle to the living room, turned on the television and sat in the recliner.
Kathleen stood between the living room and the kitchen with her arms still crossed. "Are you going to say something?"
Corey looked at her. "I walked all the way to the diner to surprise you and what do I see? Another man with his hand on your ass."
Kathleen rolled her eyes and dropped her hands to her side. "Do you actually think I would even consider messing around with him?"
Corey took another long drink. "Knowing you, you've probably already fucked him twice today, you fucking whore."
Kathleen laughed. "And even if I had wanted to, when have I had the time? I'm either at work or here with you."
"You could easily sneak into the bathroom and suck his cock," Corey said.
"Fuck you," she said and turned away from him.
Corey leapt out of the recliner and limped after her. He grabbed her elbow and spun her around. "What was that?"
"I said fuck you."
"No," Corey yelled. "Fuck you."
He lifted the already half drained bottle of whiskey and brought it crashing down on the top of her head. The bottle exploded, cutting her head, and cutting a long gash on her forehead above her left eye. The whiskey got into the cuts and turned them into burning lines of fire. She would have collapsed onto the floor if Corey hadn't had a hold of her arm.
With his hand empty now, He grabbed a handful of her whiskey and blood soaked hair and pushed her toward the back of the trailer. "I bet you've done all kinds of things with him haven't you."
Kathleen grabbed his hand and tried to pull herself free. He pushed her through the bedroom door and threw her onto the bed, so she lay on her belly. Corey grabbed her pants and ripped them off, leaving her naked from the waist down. She tried to get up, but he grabbed the back of her head and punched her in the back.
"Lay the fuck down."
She heard him unzip his pants and started to scream.
"Let's see how you like this," he said just before he forced himself into from the rear.
Pain exploded into her as she buried her face into the pillow and bit down. Her whole body tightened with every thrust. It wasn't long before with every thrust, he would punch her in the back of the head, or back, or any place else he could.
After a long time of pain, Corey finished with a loud grunt. Spent, he rolled over and fell asleep. Kathleen lay there for hours on her belly, staring at an empty spot on the wall.
That night, the young man came to her again.
This time, she was standing on the pitcher's mound of a baseball field. The young man was standing over home base, a bat raised over his shoulder.
"Pitch me the ball," he said with a smile.
Kathleen looked down to see a baseball in her right hand and a glove on her left. She looked up and smiled back. "I've never pitched before."
"You'll do fine."
"Okay," she pulled her arm back and pitched the ball to him.
The young man swung and there was a loud crack as the ball and bat connected. She watched the ball as it soured high over head and over the fence around the field.
"Good hit," she said turning back to home plate and the young man. He was now inches from her. She jumped slightly.
"He hit you again," the young man said.
Kathleen looked to the ground.
"I can't do that," she said turning away from him.
"You must," he said grabbing her and turning her gently toward him. "If you don't he's going to kill you."
"If I leave, he'll kill me."
"You have friends and family. Surely some one will help you," he sighed.
"It'll never happen again," she said unsure of herself.
"If that's what you believe," he said stepping back.
Kathleen woke up, still on her belly, the spot on the bed next to her empty. Her head, her back, her arms, and her ass hurt with even the slightest of movements.
It was deer hunting season before the two said more then three words to each other. Corey had been out all day and Kathleen was left at home alone. After the incident at the diner, Corey had forced her to quit. She wasn't happy about it, but she did it to avoid another beating.
By the time Corey got home, he was already staggering drunk, and driving a full sized truck. The truck was light blue, where it wasn't red from rust, which nearly covered the entire truck. The bed was nearly gone, the interior was a mess, and there was a loud tick under the hood.