In times of uncertainty, it’s difficult to know what is right and what is wrong. The question seems to always depend on perspective, context, and the other party’s intentions in the matter. There are always several sides to each story, after all.
For Mason, there’s no such difficulty. Her so-called “mother” is the root of all evil and she’s fairly sure that she is actually Satan’s spawn from the fiery depths of Hell. No, Hell is too good for her. Whatever lays in Tartarus and below is where that woman who replaced her mom belongs.
As she sits in her closet, hidden behind a couple of hangers with thrift store clothing that she doesn’t care for, Mason plots her revenge. She’s accompanied by her only friend, Jonathan. He’s a pet rock that she found over ten years ago by the lake where she grew up. She still remembers walking around the lake with her dad with a big smile on her face, holding hands with him and her mom together and enjoying the sunset as a family.
She wishes she could just run far, far away from this hellish placed that’s supposedly called home. Maybe she could go to Los Angeles or New York City and start anew, take the bus cross-country or hitchhike. Whatever it is, it would be leagues better than this nowhere town lost to society in the backwoods of Washington.
But wait, a bus costs money and hitchhiking might get her killed. She has some money saved from birthdays and the few side gigs she did for some extra income, but it wouldn’t be enough to last long at all. Okay, back to how she can get revenge here if she stands her ground up against the antagonist of her life.
“Mason? Are you in your room?” It’s the heinous woman itself, knocking on the door of her room. Her words are slurred, as expected. Good, she hasn’t breached close quarters yet. “Come out, I need to borrow some money from you.”
She remains silent, hoping and praying to a God that she doesn’t believe in for her to be drunk enough to forget what she’s doing and leave her alone.
“Mason, I know you’re in there!” There it is. The cursed tone that threatened to take away all that she has and edged closer and closer to physical violence with each moment gone unanswered.
“I’m doing homework!” Mason shakily yells back, and flashbacks of beatings from the last month begin to surface. Her bruises are still freshly black and blue, with a tinge of grossly discolored yellow on her arms, legs, and back. There’s hardly a scratch on her face, surely to protect whatever public image this woman had remaining in this dreadful town filled with adults who didn’t care.
“I don’t care, come out here right now,” she snarls, before voice shifting to something sickly sweet. Just as it always does. “Mason, honey, please come out so we can talk.”
Mason hurriedly creeps out of precious hideout, bringing Jonathan with her for emotional support. His gentle smile that resembles his namesake gives her comfort, and she takes a deep breath before opening her bedroom door to face the monster waiting for her.
On the other side is the dimly illuminated outline of the witch’s figure. She looks exhausted, paranoid, and distracted all at the same time. Her eyes are greedy, consumed by the need for alcohol and whatever flavor drug of the week she was using. Poorly embellished with messy, ratted hair, she smells like the town’s dump and is in desperate need of a shower.
“Mason, my beautiful and generous daughter,” she croons, acting as if she’s sweet, caring mother and not a disgusting fraud with substance abuse issues. “Mommy needs to borrow a little bit of cash for groceries this week.”
It’s not a question, but a vaguely thinned demand that will turn threat and subsequently action if not satisfactorily responded to – and she knows very well it’s not groceries the money will be used for. “I don’t have any.”
Her icy gray eyes turn a shade darker. “Don’t you dare lie to me, Mason Wendy Cooney.”
Mason grits her teeth, clutching Jonathan in her hands as if her life depended on it. “I don’t have any to give you.”
And as this snake of a woman raises her hand to slap her, Mason’s body moves on its own out of fear of what would come next. She lifts up Jonathan with both arms and slams him down as hard as she can on her head, striking with the power of all of the beatings, abuse, and neglect that she’s endured over the past decade. It’s a display of righteous violence that she’s been waiting to unleash this whole time. A rush of pure adrenaline courses through her veins as she watches her mother fall in what feels like slow motion to the ground, her stunned expression asking, why?
You know why.
Mason stands above the villain’s body, and for once, she feels like the hero of her story. Where the awful witch lays unconscious, a pool of blood forms around her head to make an ironic halo. Jonathan’s beautiful smile is becoming tainted with dark red, but he looks as happy as can be. It’s almost as if he’s proudly congratulating her for standing up to such a menace to society. It’s a sight straight out of a movie.
She doesn’t feel remorse, hurrying back inside her room to gather some belongings and the money she had stashed away in a box in the floorboard of her closet. On top of the cash, sits a faded photograph of a small Mason with her dad and her mom tightly hugging her. All of them are wearing big grins, excited for whatever the day ahead held for them. Jonathan, Marie, and Mason, together forever is written on it in her dad’s messy scrawl.
As she stuffs the money in her backpack, Mason leaves the picture behind. Although she’ll always remember her origin story, she doesn’t need the physical reminder of her tragic past; after all, she’s a vigilante now.
Armed with her bag filled with a few necessities and all the cash to her name, Mason leaves the house for the first time in years with a smile on her face.