"Get in here, you little faggot!"

Heat screamed across his scalp as he was grabbed by the hair and dragged into the kitchen. Wet linoleum slipped under his feet and he fell forward, hair ripped from his head in a large chunk. A spike of pain jabbed through his skull as his head slammed into the floor.

There was a loud bang as the freezer door was opened and slammed against the wall.

Knowing what was coming, he tried to curl into a ball, hiding his face behind his knees. He moved just that bit too slow. Feeling his father's rough hands against the back of his neck, he choked as he was lifted off of the floor by the collar of his shirt.

His father dumped a bag of ice into the sink and forced his face under the water.

"Come on!" he shouted. "You want that swelling to go down, right? You turn up at school Monday with your face like that, who are they going to go to for answers? Huh?"

Legs thrashing beneath him, his lungs burned as he swallowed the freezing water. Briefly breaching the surface he coughed and spluttered before being submerged once again.

Over and over his face was shoved beneath the ice. It was all he could do just to remain conscious, the pull of darkness growing ever stronger. He couldn't afford to pass out. If he did, he knew that he would suffocate and drown.

Just as he thought he could hold on no longer, he was thrown down to the floor. Hacking and coughing until his throat tore, he gasped for breath. Blood scattered between his lips and collided with the floor. As if reacting to the shock, his body began to convulse and vomit surged up his throat and out of his mouth.

He felt a blow against his ribs as his father kicked him in the side.

"Clean that shit up."


Shocking awake from horrible dreams, he realised that he was soaked in a chilling sweat. Rising, he snatched up a towel before laying it over his covers and settling back down again. Curling into a ball, he fought against the cold of the night air and wrapped his arms around his body, as if protecting himself.

When he eventually returned to sleep, the terror came with him.