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La Don-a: The Rise of the Swan - 6

Updated: Feb 19

Author's Note: Warning this chapter of this Historical YA contains mentions of domestic violence, mentioned/implied rape, and child abuse.


6 Corpse Revivers: To enough being enough


At nine years old, Elsie was still stuck at home taking care of the chores instead of going to school. It was a point of contention between her older sister Geraldine and their father which got the fourteen year old a few teeth knocking slaps to the face. It all just made Elsie feel even worse at being the cause of her sister’s pain. Elsie had tried to use their time together to calm him down, hoping that it would distract him from Geraldine but her sister was smart and she could feel that Geraldine suspected something. The teen got into the habit of coming home earlier than usual or making surprised arrivals in the middle of the day to have lunch with her sister. Part of Elsie prayed for the girl to catch them but she had long resigned herself to her fate. It was almost as if God did not wish for her to be free, as her father said it was her duty as a good daughter to fulfill her father’s needs.

Miguel was becoming angrier and angrier each day, Geraldine was ruining everything. He should have known, he had suspected from the day she was born that the girl would be trouble. He had finally gotten Elsie to stop questioning him and fighting him, to just accept her new duties with more grace than her mother ever did. The young girl had already learned what was expected of her and did it without question or complaining something that even Ruth failed at, but now Geraldine was getting suspicious and cutting their time alone. “I do not see why she cannot even leave the house?! It makes no sense! How will she find a husband, a job or learn anything of value?!” The current fight had been a recurring one between father and daughter, Miguel wanted to declared that Elsie was learning valuable things but he knew that would give him away so instead he growled and glare. Geraldine has been more and more insistent about Elsie being allowed to go school or outside, the anywhere that was away from him was left unsaid but clearly heard.


“She is my princess and unlike you she is fragile and pure,”


“Yea, and that is only going to get her taken advantage of by sick, twisted creeps and perverts!”


The words that were spat out with so much hate and disgust filled Miguel with dread, but his panic soon turned into rage as he lashed out slapping Geraldine so hard that the young girl's body crashed against the wall and fell to the floor. Somehow she did not lose consciousness but her ear bled as she tried to get her vision and brain to cleared and steady. Elsie to the side could only flinched at the sound of Geraldine's body slamming against the wall and trembled in fear at the crazed look in her father's eyes.


Miguel for his part, looked like a raging bull, his face was red and his eyes wild as he panted. He looked like a lunatic that wanted to kill the teen girl that despite being used to her father's beatings looked at the blood falling from her ear and mouth in shock. Since she realized that she could heal almost any injury with water, Geraldine was never really affected by injuries she received. The fear of being hurt or in pain disappear as it became very similar to a woman's period, something unpleasant that she had to bear for a few days but then it was gone. Geraldine looked up into her father’s eyes and saw a panic beside the fury, then she saw her little sister lower her head in shame and at that moment it hit her. The pieces fell into place, making a horrific picture that had something try to crawl up her throat and out her mouth.


“It took me far too long to figure it out and I’m ashamed that I hadn’t before that moment when it was practically spelled out for me. The bastard seemed so offended and defensive that he gave himself away…” Geraldine paused as she tried to control herself in order to keep talking, one of her hands was in a fist so tight that Helen could swear she could see almost every vein in the older woman's hands. The other hand threatened to shatter a glass that still had some amber liquid in it. The dark eyes were terrifying, her teeth gritted almost as if she was fighting to stop the words that wanted to come out because they were not the measured and controlled words she wanted to say. Helen remained silent, not really wanting to draw the woman's attention to her especially when she was clearly hanging by a hair strand of a thread. For once she could and will be patient for the older woman to be ready to continue the story, fortunately she didn't have to wait too long.


“I hated that Elsie reacted as if it was her fault that the bastard was as twisted as he was, like she somehow tempted him to do the things he did. Elsie later told me that he had always told her that it was her fault because she was far too tempting for him to resist. That he was only a man and as such he had urges that had to be met. He told her that we would know it was her fault and hate her for it if she told us.”


“How could he…?!” Helen was disgusted and indignant, she could not believe that a father would do something so horrific to their own daughter. She was sure that she was going to throw up just at the thought and imagines that they invoked. Geraldine simply pointed her in the direction of a small trashcan off to the side of the room and Helen rushed over just in case.


“I don't know and I don’t care, at the time all I wanted to do was kill him,” The older woman was unbothered by the sound of heaving coming from the young woman.


“Why didn’t you?!” Helen demanded when she was able to get control of her mouth and throat. She almost sent a silent glare at the older woman.


“I almost did,”


Fourteen years old, Geraldine felt sick to her stomach but somehow she manage to talk, “I hit a nerve didn’t I?” despite not having any hearing in one ear and being in immense pain, Geraldine felt an armor hard as ice covered her and give her strength to face the man’s wrath. “I get it, if no one acknowledges it you could continue fooling yourself into thinking you're not a disgusting pervert!” She screamed out wanting everyone in the building, the city and the whole world to hear her. Elsie was frozen in her place to the side and Geraldine wasn’t sure if it was in fear or shame either way it made her more furious with the man until she could hear the pipes within the walls rattling loudly. Elsie looked around at the sound, her eyes widened before turning back to her older sister in worry. She saw the teen’s eyes flash blue for a brief second and it made her panic. She did not want Miguel to find out about Geraldine being an Elemental because the man would either exploit her or condemn her.

“Gera…” Elsie tried to intervene but her words were so soft they couldn't compete with the rattling pipes and Miguel’s fury.


“How dare you…!”


“How dare I? How dare you!? That’s your daughter! She is part of you and not only that but you’re more than ten times her senior!” Geraldine made sure to emphasis the senior part just to enjoy as the vain man flinched,


“What are you, so pathetic and useless as a man that the only way you work or feel strong is by breaking a little girl down?!” Geraldine knew she should stop, taunting the man was only pushing him over the edge but her own anger was so strong that she wanted Miguel to realize and hear how much of a piece of trash he was. There was a part of her that wanted to tear him down the way he no doubt tore down Elsie’s self-esteem and innocence. She wanted him to be nothing but broken and abused pieces like he had left them, it was like there was a little demon inside her egging her to push, to fuel, to break.


“Or was it that you knew no one would stoop so low as to even look at you unless you forced, threatened or you manipulated them into doing it?” The man flinched so violently Geraldine almost expected him to fall over, “That’s it, isn’t it? You know what a useless piece of trash you are, a waste of space…” Finally Miguel snapped and the man rushed at her ready to finally do what he had wanted to do for a long time. His hands were out ready to grab Geraldine’s neck and snap it but just as he was getting close he felt an immense pain in his stomach that made him collapse on the floor. He didn’t see Geraldine flexing her fingers as if squeezing some invisible object. This time the flash of blue in her eyes lasted much longer than before.


Elsie, who had been reduced to tears by her sister’s anger and the situation she feels she caused, could not help but react. She rushed over to Geraldine to try and stop the girl from making a huge mistake. one that she would later regret. Elsie could not lose Geraldine, her older sister was the only pillar and strength she had, she was the only reason why Elsie survived the hell she had been living through. “Geraldine, please you have to stop. This will not end well for you.” Elsie tried to grab her sister’s arm but it was cold as ice to the point she could see the smoke coming from it. Miguel kept twisting and turning on the floor like the snake that he was. The man was clearly in pain and Geraldine was extremely satisfied by the sight.


Miguel had blood and water coming out of every pore of his body almost as if the liquid in his body was overflowing and fighting to come through any possible opening. Then to make matters even worse Elsie felt water on her bare feet, she looked down in surprise to see water traveling over to the withering man on the floor. If the water touched Miguel, there was no going back, even in pain the man was not that stupid. He would know what it meant, he would put it all together and figure out what Geraldine was. While being an Elemental was not illegal, it was more and more frowned upon, Elementals were treated with fear and caution, like wild beasts that will snap at any moment. Elsie did not want that for her sister, her older sister was strong and unbreakable but even she would buckle under that much fear, hate and tension directed at her.



Suddenly they heard the loud stumping of hurried footsteps in the hallway before their mother stormed into the room, a look of complete and utter terror in her eyes.


 

Ruth was exhausted both physically and emotionally, she decided to go home from work early because since Stella’s wedding she has been wanting to spend more time with Elsie and Geraldine before they also had to leave to make their own families and live their own lives. The girls didn’t mind and Ruth liked having daughters that actually still tolerated her presence. She reached their block, she saw a crowd forming in front of her building and immediately worried. Ruth did not see any smoke or flames but still hurried over. As she grew closer she began to hear it, the loud rustling and clinking of pipes. It sounded as if everyone was banging pots and pans at the same time, which would not be worrying, just annoying but this sound made the whole building shake with the pressure.


“I told you this building was falling apart!” One man that Ruth knows lives on the first floor exclaimed.


“Yea but that old bastard doesn’t care!” A robust woman that lived with her four kids on the last floor shouted as she also tried to rock the crying infant in her arms.


“I knew the pipes here were no good but did you listen? No! You just called me crazy.” And old man waved his cane with a fierce glare, he was well known as the buildings crazy old geezer that the children loved to tease.


“The building is perfectly fine! You have all been messing with the water pressure. I should sue you all for damages,” The landlord finally showed himself with an equally indignant and angry expression.


The landlord’s words started a riot among the small group as all the tenants argued passionately with the man. Ruth had no doubt that it would get physical, she could see some people gesturing to the kids playing around, no doubt sending them to get the coopers. Ruth’s eyes widened as she rushed inside, climbing up the stairs two at a time. As she suspected the rattling got louder the closer she grew to their apartment. “Oh please, dear Lord don't let it be...” She rushed inside, her shaking hands made the ordeal of opening the door take much longer. She could hear Elsie begging her sister to stop and she pictured the absolute worst but even then she was somehow not prepared for what she saw. Her second youngest daughter stood almost in a trance, sneering at her husband who was clearly withering in pain at her feet, water slowly making its way to him.


“Geraldine!”


Ruth rushed over and wrapped her arms around the girl and pulled her face into her chest, hoping that it would distract or throw the teen's concentration off. She ignored the almost burning cold emitting off the girl’s body or the wetness that covered her. Fortunately her tactic worked because she could hear Miguel coughing and gasping as he tried to get air back in his lungs. Geraldine had fortunately lose concentration and since she was still not as skill in controlling her powers the pressure stopped completely all around.


“She...she...she’s a freak!” The man could barely speak but they all heard and understood him clearly. Elsie and Ruth’s worst fear had come to be, Miguel had put it together and figure out about Geraldine's powers but the teenage girl didn’t seem to care.


“Says the man that raped his own daughter!”


“Wha...what?” Ruth asked breathless and shocked, she was hoping she had heard Geraldine wrong or that perhaps the girl had misinterpreted the situation but a part of her knew that she hadn’t. Geraldine ignored her mother and continued to sneer and spit at the man that could still not stand, his body shook with the aftermath of the pain.


“Out of the two of us, which one do you think the people will view as more of a freak?”


“Lies! You filthy little liar!”


“I don’t have to lie, not only can I smell it on you but even worse I can see in Elsie’s eyes!” Ruth turned to her youngest who refused to meet her eyes. She was hunched into herself as if trying to disappear but Ruth had to know.


“Elsie, is this true?”

“Of course it’s not true! She’s a liar!”


Miguel snapped with more strength making Elsie flinch, in that moment that was all the confirmation that Ruth needed. She did not miss the way Miguel sent Elsie panicked looks that demanded she stay quiet or deny everything. Ruth had suspected that something was wrong with her youngest, that something was going on but she refused to even think about it being something so horrible. She knew that Miguel was not the best father but she did not think him a monster at least not to that extent. Ruth felt something break within her, something she did not know possible. She had already believed herself to be completely broken long ago but in that moment she realized there was still a part of her that was whole and strong and that part finally crumbled.


“Geraldine, take Elsie and go to the room.”


“Mom, you’re not going to believe him?!”


Miguel smirked from his place sitting on the floor, he knew he had won. Women like Ruth, those weak enough to allow themselves to be pushed around, to allow their children to be pushed around, valued their husbands more than they did their children because they believed that was what measured their worth. It was what was expected of them, children will go off and make their own lives but husbands stay forever and they feared being abandoned by them over all. Miguel knew this, he knew that no matter what he did, his wife would forgive him and even beg him not to leave her. He was thinking that maybe he could find a way to have her give him more time with his sweet Elsie in exchange for not telling the world about Geraldine’s abnormality.


“I need to talk to your father, go to the room!” Ruth's voice was firm and strong for the first time in a long time, she pushed the girls over; it was the first time ever that she had raised her voice at them. Geraldine guided her little sister towards their bedroom making sure to put herself between Miguel and the little girl as they walked by. She glared at the man promising revenge even if she had to go against her own mother, she sent one last glared at her mother disappointed and a little disgusted by what seems like her choosing her husband over her own children.


“I never hated my mother in that moment, I thought that she was going to let him get away with what he had done. I had always understood her to an extent or at least supported her but in that moment she disgusted me more than Miguel…”


The room was once again silent as they heard the girls enter the only bedroom and closed the door. “Why?” Ruth was the one to finally break the silence after what felt like hours, her voice as shaky as her hands.


“Are you seriously going to believe her?! Geraldine hates me! She’s been spending too much time with Moretti!”


“Don’t change the subject!” Miguel was shock, Ruth had never raised her voice at him, “Why? Tell me why you would do that to your own daughter?!”


“Maybe if you actually did your job as a woman I wouldn’t look for what is owed to me as a man elsewhere…” Miguel realized there was no denying it, he was already thinking about how to make Geraldine pay for ruining everything.


“So it’s my fault? There was no other woman in the world you could have fucked!? Your own flesh and blood was the only fucking option!?” Miguel's eyes were wide, this was a whole new side to his wife. Ruth did not curse despite her Italian background he had never heard the woman curse even before they got together.


“Of course, it’s your fault. Everything is your fault! You couldn’t give me a son, you gave me a defective daughter, and you couldn’t please me, you can’t even take care of this house! You are a failure and that is the reason Elsie had to make up for your misgivings.” Miguel ignored that second part of Ruth's question or her tone. He knew that he had to gain back control so he hit the woman were it hurt to push her back into being the docile submissive wife she had always been.

 


In the bedroom Geraldine hugged a sobbing Elsie as they heard the words that were being screamed from the other room. She felt furious, once more the pipes began to rattle except that this time the windows rattle as well. Geraldine squeezed her little sister tightly, she was filled with shame and self-hate as it hit her that she had failed as an older sister. She was meant to protect Elsie and she couldn’t even do that, she had been too focused on her own issues and enjoying her own freedom to release that it came at the cost of her little's.


Geraldine felt so powerless, she wanted to be able to make men like Miguel pay for the things society seems to ignore or praise them for. Suddenly they both heard a loud bang, it was the sound of something or someone being hit by an object that was followed by a crash. They both flinched as after the first sound more followed them in a constant and brutal succession. Each sound made even Geraldine shake, they were sure that this time their father had murder their mother. She got up once the sound stopped but Elsie stopped her, fear in her eyes as she shook her head frantically.


“I have to check on her and heal her before it’s too late. Stay in here and lock the door as soon as I leave.”


“But…?”


“No buts, do it! I’ll be back.”


Elsie didn’t want to let her sister go, she was scared that her father would hurt her too and then she would be stuck alone with the man continuing to live her own personal hell. But she also understood the importance of checking up on their mother, she didn’t want to lose the woman either so she loosen her hold on her older sister. Geraldine gave her a gentle look before ordering, “lock the door and use the dresser to barricade yourself if you need to.” The older girl placed a soft kiss on Elsie's forehead before leaving the room and closing the door behind her. Geraldine could hear Elsie’s sobs but she had to focus on their mother. Geraldine had never killed anyone and for all her bravado she was not sure she was ready to do so but if she had to she would force herself to do so. The walk to the living room felt longer than ever but she made it and the site before her made her gasp.


There was definitely a body on the floor in a puddle of their own blood, so much blood that it spilled over to where she was. Her eyes could not move from the body, she had never seen a dead body before, for all his dirty deals and his less than moral personality, Joseph made sure of that. She did see him slap around a few people even almost torture them but never kill although she knew that he did it, still knowing was not the same as seeing it.


When she was finally able to look up she followed the dripping of blood to what was no doubt the murder weapon, a cooper kettle that one of Margarita’s rich clients had given her for Christmas one year. The thing was heavy and their mother insisted on only using it on special occasions. Margarita had left it behind as a gift to her mother and a promise that she would come back for special occasions. Geraldine followed the kettle up to the hand and to the face of the culprit, to see her mother staring down at the body of her husband. The woman seemed just as shocked as Geraldine, almost as if she didn’t realize what she had done as she stared at her husband’s dead body.


“Did you hear that?” Someone outside asked with a alarmed tone.


“What was that sound?” Geraldine could hear the voice of their neighbor step out of their apartment and wonder.


“Sounds like someone is getting it.” A made declared in a lewd tone that got him reprimanded if the sound of a slap and an exclamation of pain was anything to go by.


Geraldine couldn’t help but think that the man wasn’t getting 'it' any more and how none of these people even made a sound when Miguel was beating them for all to hear. “Mama,” Geraldine didn’t know what to say, what did one say to an abused wife that had just killed her husband. What came out was probably not the best thing or even appropriate “that’s going to suck to clean up.”


“Geraldine!”


“Police, open up!” The loud banging on their door made them all jump, Elsie rushed out of the room and gasped at the sight of the dead body. She had no time to ask anything and they had no time to explain before the door was broken down and police flooded the small apartment like an army storming the enemy lines.


“Drop the weapon! And put your hands up!”


One officer pointed his gun at Ruth, yelling loudly and aggressively like she was some wild psychopath about to attack or she had personally attacked him. The other pointed his gun at Elsie and Geraldine, the youngest tried to bury herself within her sister’s arms while the older glared at the officer with a defiance that no doubt pissed him off. “That won’t be necessary, this is my husband and I killed him. My girls were sleeping while it happened,” Ruth stepped forward for the first time calm and collected, the bruises plain for all to see. Geraldine could see the coopers’ mind running and composing the story, ‘abused housewife had enough.’


She also could see the headline in the papers that will have everyone debating and commenting as they had a right to, as if they understood anything. Elsie tried to step forward and say something but Geraldine held her back as they watched the cooper put their mother in nippers [handcuffs] and took her away. The other copper then led them out of the building to the morbidly curious stares of their neighbors. They were placed in separate cars that would no doubt take them to the Clubhouse [jailhouse.] Geraldine looked back at their building and couldn’t help but smile.


No matter what was coming their way she felt happy, she felt Elsie’s head land on her shoulders “it’s like the stories, the evil dragon is dead.” The young girl whispered in almost reverence, feeling the same sense of peace and freedom.


“Yes, slayed by a brave knight.”

“In that moment, my mother was the bravest knight of all. I genuinely did not think she had it in her and until this day I’m not sure what made her snap but I’m happy for it. I had never been more proud to be her daughter and call her my mother.” Geraldine smiled at the thought and the memory of how happy she felt in that moment. Thinking about it that moment was probably the highlight of her life because after that things were back down.


“Why were you two arrested? You were both just children,”


“I don’t really know and at the time I didn’t really care. The monster in my story was dead and I was free, that was all I cared about.”


“But that wasn’t the only monster you dealt with.”


“Yea, turns out Miguel was just the runt in the hoard and the worst was yet to come although in that moment I swore to myself that I would handle anything life threw at me, multiply it and throw it back. I wasn’t going to let another Miguel have control or power over me.”


“I mean you kind of did.” Helen declared tentatively scared of the reaction to her words but Mama Swan just shrugged her shoulders.


“Yes, but this time, I walked into the dragon’s lair and handed myself over. This time I had a plan or at least I had a goal, a goal I was dead set on achieving no matter who or what I had to run through to get it.”






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