Shattering Glass Doors
by Levi James Baldwin III
Amelia raced downstairs to greet her husband at the door, careful not to wake their sleeping daughter resting down the hall. Her nerves tingled at the thought of a nooner; Beast hadn’t said anything like that in a long time. Just as she reached the front hall she saw his 6’5 frame duck into the front door, still wearing his uniform. Thomas “The Beast” Mozzeti was an imposing sight. Blue eyes gleaming, Amelia threw herself into her husband’s arms.
“Hi gorgeous, did you like my phone call from the shower” Amelia asked, as she nuzzled his thick muscular neck.
“Oh yeah honey, you see I made it over here in like ten minutes right,” Beast said, as he placed his small wives frame on the thick carpet.
“And look what Jimmy from work loaned me.”
Flashing his Tom Cruise smile, Amelia knew it was something naughty. Cupped in one enormous hand was a digital recorder. Amelia picked it up and looked at the simplicity of the machine. A VCR-sized tape was loaded inside awaiting use. “So what’cha have in mind for this babe,” Amelia asked coyly. “Well you know, just a little something for me to watch when your visiting your mother,” Beast said while stripping out of his uniform briskly. All of a sudden he froze, one pant leg off, the other held in his hand. Where’s Vonica?
Placing the video recorder on the mantle above the fireplace, Amelia pressed play then slowly undid her bathrobe. “She’s asleep in her room. She ate too much sugar at lunch and it wore her out.” Letting the bathrobe drop to the floor, exposing her nude form to her husband, she knew her fresh-showered frame was also satisfying the metallic eyed voyeur resting on the mantle behind her. Quickly ridding himself of his garments, Beast asked her once again about the video recorder.
“I thought you came for a nooner, don’t you want a feature length film sexy,” Amelia asked while sashaying her way over to stand before her husband. Just as she began to unbuckle his creased uniformed pants, he grabbed her tightly by the shoulders. No longer aroused and slightly frightened Amelia looked up into her husband’s large, unsmiling face.
“What’s wrong papi, what’s going on?” His deep blue eyes now icy cold as he began yelling in her face.
“I ask for one fucking thing Amelia and you can’t just give me a simple yes or NO.”
Feeling his squeeze tighten, Amelia felt angry and defiant yelling back “fine, NO then.” Knowing this small act of defiance would only bring pain; Amelia closed her eyes just as a vicious blow across her face sent her sprawling across the floor. Letting out a cry of pain she quickly crawled back from his menacing frame as he vented his frustrations. “Why do you make me do this too you Amelia, do you like getting slapped around?” Feeling blood trickle down her lip and splash across her fingers into the plush gray carpet, she refused to allow the tears that burned at her eyes to fall down her cheeks.
Looking up she responded almost too calmly, “I don’t make you hit me Thomas, you can’t control your temper. You need help baby and that counseling center I suggested can really do something for us.” Amelia knew it was a mistake to mention the domestic violence classes again. Seeing her swiftly approaching husband she tried to tell him the tape was running and yes he could have his porno. All she managed was a “the video camera…” before the Beast wrapped one large hand around her neck. Squeezing so tightly she felt pressure behind her eyes, Amelia felt this hiss of her husband's coffee stained breath.
As he shouted “Counseling… counseling, I’m a cop, what do you think this will do to my career? No Amelia, I’m not taking any classes and your not telling anybody. If you did, first of all, no one would believe you; second, I would wait for the right opportunity and kill you.” Amelia felt as if her heart would stop while listening to those words. “I don’t think Vonica would adjust very well to single parenthood do you,” Beast asked humorlessly. Clawing at her husband's one huge hand with her two small ones, she strained for a wisp of breath to tell him he could have whatever he wanted: no counseling, plus his video, anything for a gasp of air. From behind, she heard a noise; Beast froze as well. Then instantly released her and rushed over to his uniform and began dressing.
Standing in the hall, still dressed in her farmer overalls, stood the six year-old cherub-faced, center of Amelia’s world. “I heard yelling and it scarred me. Mommy and daddy are you fighting again?” Vonica asked curiously.
Clutching a tattered eared stuffed rabbit in one hand while wiping dried sleep from her eye with the other. Amelia’s lungs were just remembering how to breathe as she dragged herself into a sitting position on the couch. Seeing his wife was incapacitated, Beast covered the space between himself and his daughter in two quick steps. Snatching her up gently with the same hand he had just used to nearly strangle her, Amelia watched Beast carry their daughter back towards her room. Once out of sight, she ran over to the video camera and ejected the tape, placing it in one of Vonica’s Disney movie covers. Amelia then followed her husband and daughter’s steps; managing to only cover with five steps the space Beast had covered with two. Amelia could hear the amused laughter of her daughter coming from her bedroom. The Beast rounded the corner to the hallway and reappeared just as quickly as he had vanished. Tom Cruise smile firmly placed once again on his cheeks, the Beast finished dressing in a rush. Offering no apology for his actions, Amelia felt the warm imprint of his lips on her cheek as he sped past her to grab the empty video recorder, and then rushed out the door, police radio blaring.
With a tired sigh, Amelia collapsed back on her couch allowing a few tears to roll silently down her face. Unnoticed and unheard, little Vonica had made her way back into the living room, feeling perplexed seeing her mommy cry. “Why are you crying mommy?” little Vonica asked innocently, her curly blond hair and blue eyes sparkling with curiosity.
“I was crying because I’m happy Voni; soon we’ll have enough money to visit auntie Maddie in Houston.” Wiping away a mischievous hair from her child’s face, she patiently waited for her to process the question.
“Will daddy come with us… will you guys fight allot… is the horsy still there and can I ride ‘em?” The questions came out in one rushed breath. Amelia tried to answer each separate question without forgetting any. “ Daddy won’t be coming with us, so No we won’t be fighting.”
She saw her daughters face physically relax at that admonishment. “Two, yes the horse is still there and Maddie says Brownie is waiting for you, because no one’s been riding him.” “Yea,” Vonica said clapping her hands joyously.
”When do we get to go mommy?”
Amelia thought about the question and dreaded the answer and dreaded telling her daughter the truth. They had a chance in a few months when the savings were high enough to live off for a while. Making once she left wasn’t the biggest obstacle; she knew the only real obstacle was the Beast guarding the entrance. The minute she and Vonica left he would have every officer in the city looking. Once they were found, he would act all worried, like the perfect husband in front of his partners and superiors, like always. Once they were home and Vonica was safely tucked away in bed, the pain would start and wouldn’t end this time. Terrified at the thought that she would be left alone with the Beast’s temper, Amelia pulled her daughter to her chest and held her close, so she couldn’t see the trickle of tears escaping her eyes.
Knowing something was wrong, instinctively, like most children, Vonica tried to lighten the mood. “Want to watch my Blarney video mommy? The sunshine song at the end will make you feel better.” Wiping away the wet, salty evidence, Amelia smiled widely at her daughter, feeling love swelling in her heart. “Sure Voni, I’ll watch Blarney with you. Tell you what, I’ll go get the cookies and milk and you turn on the video okay.”
“Okay,” Vonica said, excited to see her giant purple friend, while having milk and cookies.
Amelia tiredly walked to the kitchen, pondering how to get away from the Beast for good. She knew her chances of survival were slim, since he had every person on the force in his shirt pocket. There was really no one she could turn to and no support group, cuz there was no one she could tell who wouldn’t tell her husband. Angry and feeling hopeless at the same time, Amelia pauses in front of the open refrigerator door allowing a wave of depression to wash over her. Then closes the door with a tired sigh and returns to her lovely daughters company. She returned to see Vonica dancing and singing along to the goofy voice of the purple T-Rex. Sitting the milk and cookies down on the stand, she paused for a brief moment and debated whether she should grab the video now. Hearing Vonica’s giggles of innocent glee, all thoughts of the tapes existence faded to the back of her mind. She promised herself she would erase whatever was on it, once she put Voni to bed.
The Beast sipped his long, cold coffee like it was still freshly brewed; cold, blue eyes focused on the suspect they had been trailing for two days. His rookie partner sat behind the wheel mouth moving a mile a minute. Beast pondered whether he should just tell him to shut-up or just put his tool in his face and vacate some space. Deciding the second choice was the more appropriate he politely said, “Jennings, if you don’t shut the fuck up I’m gonna break your face.”
Officer Jennings multicolored, freckled face frowned up and he immediately stopped talking. Adjusting his tortoise shell frames on the bridge of his nose he resumed staring at the suspect with Beast. After a moment of silence Officer Jennings asks in a whinny voice that grated Beast’s nerves, “Is it true that they call you Beast because you bit off the finger of a guy while he tried to shoot you?” “No, I bit off his dick,” Beast said sincerely. Out the corner of his eye he could see Jennings green eyes bulge out their sockets. After taking a slow sip of his coffee he said, “Just kidding, yea it was the finger… now shut-up cause there our perp goes.” As if on cue, the suspect stopped circling the liquor store and silently ducked inside. Right hand stuffed deep into the pocket of his long black trench coat, Beast unholstered his 38 special service revolver, slid out the side of the vehicle and told Jennings to call for back up.
Amelia woke to the familiar sound of Beasts keys in the door and instantly panicked. She had forgotten to see what was on that tape so she could erase it, now it was too late. Amelia filled with dread, just as Beast entered the living room, Tom Cruise smile flashing. Walking quickly over to where she laid on the couch, Beast swiped the controller aside and sat beside his estranged wife. Amelia terrified, but too tired to show it, felt the light kiss on her forehead, but didn’t acknowledge it. She droned out the tale of the apprehension of another petty thief. She heard little if any of Beasts conversation; the Blarney Takes a Ride video was the center of her world. With a final lions roar of a laugh at his sly accomplishment, Amelia watched as Beast began fingering through the videos, collecting the rental.
Jumping off the couch with a start, Amelia asked “what are you doing Beast?” Looking at his wife confused he replied, “I just told you the videos have to be back before midnight tonight, weren’t you listening?”
Eyes wide, Amelia placed her hands on her husband's back and began massaging. “Beast, you’ve worked hard today and deserve to relax for awhile. How about I take the tapes back and you stay here just in case Voni wakes up.”
Hoping beyond hope he would go for the ideal, Amelia continued massaging. Beast was silent for a moment, and then walked off towards Vonica’s room with no response. Taking this chance as a blessing, Amelia quickly opened the video cover to Blarney takes a Ride, only to find it empty. Pressing the eject button accidentally, while secretly rummaging through their video collection, out pops the tape. Staring at the title on the spine of the video, Amelia stresses to remember to find the video knowing her daughter probably placed it with the blank video’s like she was taught. Frustrated that her daughter was so orderly like her father, Amelia began going through the stack of VCR tapes with no labels.
Behind her, Beast asked in a slightly amused voice “taking up sports lately Amelia?” Whipping her head behind her, Amelia looked into Beast’s grinning face with a look of total surprise.
“No, I think Voni put one of my soap opera tapes in with your sports ones” Watching the giant eyebrows furrow slightly, Amelia was scared he didn’t believe her. Then like the sunlight breaking through on a cloudy day, out flashes the smile and Amelia knew she was fine.
“I think I’ll take the video’s back babe, I wanted to make a run to Jennings house anyway.“
“Okay then baby, I’ll see you when you get back,” Amelia said, thinking once that door is closed, every tape in the house will be ran through until the video was located. Beast left with the three video store rentals and the one sports highlights tape from the second VCR. When he left, Amelia felt nothing but relief until she got to the last tape and realized the video she was searching for wasn’t in the house.
“What was that you said carrot top, you wanted traffic detail?” laughing at Jennings obvious discomfort at the mention of his warning from the chief.
“Nah, I didn’t say nothing Beast,” Jennings said, glowering with hatred toward Beast’s turned back.
“I wouldn’t have anything to say either if I let a twig like that perp we nailed earlier take my weapon from me.” Beast’s laughter bounced from wall to wall as if it was coming from everywhere. Jennings ground his teeth to near powder before trying to get Beast out of his house.
“So what part of the series you got on tape?” Glancing over his shoulder at him, Jennings felt a slight shiver pass over his body, like someone walking over his grave.
“I got the whole five games on this one tape, carrot top. I haven’t watched it yet so the next time I see you, there better be all five games. If not, your better off committing a crime, cuz prison walls are the only thing that’ll keep me from you, GOT IT!”
Beast punctuated his question by slamming his fist down on the table. Angry at feeling intimidated in his own house and resentful that it was by his partner, Jennings offered a quick “yes” while walking to the front door and opening it. Beast walked out the door leaving his statement linger in the air like the scent of rotting carrion. Relieved he was gone and anxious to watch the games, Jennings popped the tape in the VCR and headed to the kitchen for a beer.
Amelia thought her heart would stop the moment Beast walked into their bedroom. Flashing his Tom Cruise smile, Amelia imagined for a split second that it might be all right. Feeling his warm embrace and soft kiss on her lips, Amelia knew what he wanted. Debating whether to tell him now, or after when he would be tired, she let Beast continue his machinations over her body. Sex, like most things with Beast, was an aggressive and explosive affair ending almost as quickly as it began. Lying underneath his two hundred and seventy pound, sleeping body, Amelia felt she would be crushed through the bed.
After several rib pokes Beast finally rolled over on his side, Amelia immediately got out of bed. All the post sexual activity woke Beast; Amelia felt his eyes on her before she turned to meet them. Staring into the pools of deep blue asking, “what’s going on?” Amelia didn’t see any signs of danger, but wasn’t fooled. “Beast, I have something to tell you, and um…. it’s probably gonna make you laugh.” Attempting a laugh, Amelia sounded more like a dying swan with the flu. Involuntary tears began to fall from her eyes as she continued her recount of the day’s events. Beast dressed while she let the whole tale unfold about the tape and it’s disappearance.
After she finished, Beast just sat on the edge of the bed and stared at her. Amelia could see the icy shine that his deep, blue eyes had adopted and knew to run. The instinct occurred a second too late, as she felt her head get jerked back to it’s neck’s limit. Feeling one crushing blow after another, Amelia struggled to hear what Beast was yelling. Words, pain, and emotions merged inside of Amelia as she felt Beast’s hands tightly clasped around her throat.
Jennings returned from the kitchen with several beers in one hand, two bags of chips in the other, with one hanging from his mouth. It all dropped from his hands and mouth as he stared, in disgust, at the television. He knew what he was watching, but he wasn’t sure of how, why or what to do about it. Waves of revulsion pounded at Jennings insides as he dialed the numbers, not sure what to say.
Amelia was relieved, once Beast’s hands left her neck; the relief was short lived, as she felt a tooth knocked loose. Through her pain, blurred daze, and swollen eye, Amelia could see Vonica pulling on the Beast’s free hand. The other was being used to hold Amelia by the lapels of her robe, so she couldn’t fall when struck. Hearing her daughter’s frantic cries made Amelia redouble her efforts for escape, smashing her tiny fists against Beast’s one gorgon-sized hand. Amelia only managed to anger him further as his slap relieved her of the tooth that had so recently become loose. Hitting the ground with a slight bounce before laying still, Amelia felt her tenacious grip on awareness fall free. The blackness began to move in, when Amelia heard a loud scream which forced her eyes wide.
Across the floor, several feet from her, Vonica lay sprawled out unconscious. A small trickle of blood escaped her split and slightly swollen lips onto the carpet. Never knowing the Beast to get this violent, Amelia no longer feared for her life, she was afraid for her daughters. Crawling with agonizingly, slow movements, Amelia tried to make it over to Vonica, praying with each step that she was just unconscious and nothing more serious. Barely covering one of Beasts footsteps she once again felt his hands on her throat as he yanked her to her feet. “Did you really think your plan would work, Amelia? Did you really think you could make that tape and have me put away? I told you that you can’t win…it’s to bad you had to lose your life to figure it out.” This said, Amelia felt the hands around her neck; begin squeezing out the remainder of her life. Beating her hands with all the might she could muster, Amelia strained for one breath to tell him he was wrong, it wasn’t a plan, even though she knew it was too late to do any good.
The door flew open with a gush of cool air and loud sirens. Amelia felt Beast’s hands let go, but couldn’t register why the world had turned to blue and red Technicolor. Feeling hands on her shoulders, Amelia tried to fight at first, then realized the hands were gentle, not harsh. The world was a blur to Amelia, she felt herself lifted then gently down on a bed. She tried several times to ask about Vonica, but all she was able to ascertain was that Vonica was alright. Wanting to see her daughter but too tired to fight any longer Amelia succumbed to blackness.
Amelia woke in a soft hospital bed, with Vonica sleeping soundlessly beside her. As she recapped the events in her head, she began to hear a small voice laughing. Pressing her mind for information, she couldn’t silence the strange laughing inside. The more she thought about the nights events the louder the laughter got, until it drowned out every other thought except one. Nuzzling deeper into her pillows Amelia recognized who the voice was and felt a smile spread the length of her face. The voice of freedom laughed merrily in Amelia’s head and she laughed aloud with it, as she looked over at her daughter peacefully sleeping.