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Damage control

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

This story was originally published in late November in “Power,” the third issue of Talisman magazine.

Editor’s note: This piece reflects upon instances of abuse and PTSD.

Illustration by Hannah Good


I am sitting on the floor between my bed and the wall, right on top of the bronze heater grate where I feel safest. Safe is, of course, a relative term in a house so hostile.

The air warms my thighs, almost to the point of burning. The grate presses a red grid onto the palms of my feet. I am only dully aware of the physical sensations of heat and metal and carpet and wall. The rest is my numb, fuzzy head, stinging eyes, ringing ears and a bruise forming on my thigh. I don’t remember how I got it.

It could be any day. It could be any time.

I try to write in my journal, but I can already feel memories of the event begin to dissipate. I find myself unable to reconstruct the last few hours. How did it even start this time? How does it usually start? I can’t remember. Why can’t I remember? All I know is that I’m numb. Numb, numb, numb. I’m numb, and I’m tired, and I have school in the morning.

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