The Taming of Violet

By: J.M. Dabney


“You punch like a fucking girl, Clem,” Violet Canne taunted from her position on the ground. She took the stomps and the kicks with a smile on her face.

“I’ll show you a girl, Violet.”

The menace in her oldest brother’s voice should’ve scared her. He snarled and brought the sole of his steel-toed boot down on her ribs harder. The pain was instant as she felt the bones give, but Violet didn’t cry or even acknowledge it.

Seventeen years of beatings in the name of toughening her up taught her a valuable lesson. Weakness and pain were useless, and they only invited more punishments—more lessons. This current round was due to the university acceptance letter with a full academic ride she’d received. Violet hadn’t gotten to the mailbox quicker than her brothers or father. Its pristine envelope was already sullied by their dirty grease-stained hands.

She’d worked her ass off for that full scholarship. She wanted out of this fucking town and the endless series of shacks and motels that rotated every few months when either the money ran out or the current landlord lost their patience.

Peeking through her brother’s legs, she saw her father reading the paper, folding the corner back every so often to check that the boys were doing their job. Clem, Garth, Chuck, and Lonnie were all older, but sure as fuck not meaner than her. She was female and the youngest, but the Alpha position was determined by who inflicted the most pain—wounds. Violet made sure she wasn’t on the bottom often.

She was done letting them have their fun. She reached into the pocket of her pink dress and slipped her tiny hand into the brass knuckles. The agony and the flavor of blood on her tongue receded until nothing remained but the rage.

They considered her weaker, the runt of the litter, and she’d fought for survival—her place—since she was three years old. She curled her body as if to protect herself, but quickly she attacked. She moved to her knees, and uppercuts and wild swings forced her brothers back. Once on her feet, she didn’t allow them to circle her. If she’d learned anything, it was never to give these fuckers her back. She’d awakened too many times from being choked out and earning her father’s disappointment and scorn.

She fought, giving as good as she got, but four, sometimes, five against one weren’t odds in her favor.

An hour later, she slumped on a gurney in the Emergency Room while her father told the lie he always did. They lived in a bad neighborhood, and she’d gotten jumped on the way home. The cops didn’t give a fuck about some poor kid in a bad area. She wasn’t a stranger to dealing with the police, so most of them knew her name and record. Shit happened, and they didn’t want to waste time on the paperwork. It wasn’t like she was going to talk anyway.

She’d lost track of what was in her medical file. The one that grew thicker every week. If she’d grown up normal, she’d have seen it for what it was—abuse. Unfortunately, it was just her way of life, and she survived by any means necessary. No one gave a shit about her, and she knew it. Her only chance was to get out of this town and never look back.

That was what she had college for, and as much of a lost cause as everyone believed her to be, she’d worked harder than everyone. They didn’t have as much to lose as she did. She’d die if she didn’t escape. Either her brothers’ beatings would go too far, or some asshole on the street would punch her ticket. Violet didn’t much care about dying. To her, if it happened, then it would be an escape. Just a lot more permanent than her plan A which was school and a new life. All of it would follow her—the memories and scars telling a story as clearly as if they were inked marks on paper.

She simply needed to survive a bit longer—be stronger than the five men who shared DNA and spilled her blood in the name of making her better and tougher. She lived with her rage that permeated each cell—deep in her badly healed bones. Either they’d kill her or she’d kill them, but in the end, she’d learn who possessed the most brutality. She was a product of her environment, and she’d make sure failure wasn’t her option.

He Was Going to Kill Her