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Little Teddie – Edward Parker – was the nicest kid a mother could have. But little Teddie’s mind had refused to grow beyond that of a seven year old. Hence the ‘little’ in his name had stayed even when he was twenty-seven, 6’1″ and 180 pounds. His mommy, Linnette Parker, had the patience of a saint. So despite a mentally challenged boy and a drunk wife-beating husband, she had managed to keep her nerve and her job intact.

Image Credits: Tess Kincaid@Magpie Tales

Every morning, on her way to work, Linnette would drop Little Teddie off at her sister Clara’s, where he would play with his Aunt Clara’s seven and nine year old grandchildren. She would later pick him up from Clara’s on her way home. And during all of this, Seth – Teddie’s dad – would hang out with his no-good cronies boozing, jumping jobs or gambling. He loved Teddie, oh he loved him a lot. But when under the influence, all he knew was how to beat up his Lin, slamming all kinds of harsh accusations at her whenever he felt like. This behavior of Seth’s had begun after he was laid off from work four years ago. Seth had been unable to cope with this, and had taken to booze, and subsequently, abuse. And over the years, Lin had learnt not to retaliate. After all, Seth was too strong for her. She would take some of the beating and later manage to calm Seth down with either moreΒ liquor,Β food, some gentle coaxing or sometimes, even an unpleasant quickie. But whatever it was, she made sure that her Little Teddy never witnessed any of the beating… EVER! This she managed by making him watch television in the living room with the door shut, and placing before him a bucket of caramel popcorn and a quart of his favorite cookies-n-cream. Occasionally, after a beating, Teddie would ask her whatΒ caused the boo-boo on her face, and she would give him a tired but fake-sheepish grin and say, “The door just rammed into my face.. how stupid of me!” or “Can you imagine I accidentally hit myself with the rolling-pin today?!” or some such thing. And of course, little Teddie would take every word that came out of his mommy’s mouth at face value. He always did, like when she would read those wonderful books to him and tell him how Santa Claus was for real, and what a hero Spiderman was and that this world was full of wonderful people. She would even teach him how to read those great books. And sometimes, when an odd fruitfly would bother her while she was reading to him, she would absently swing the book at it, make sure it went away, and then smile her sweetest smile at him. Oh how he loved his mommy. And his daddy too. He had never even dreamt that his daddy would hurt mommy.

The evening of June 12th was no different…well, most of it. After being at the receiving end of a long monologue from Clara about Seth and his horrid ways and the possibility of a divorce, Lin returned home with little Teddie just after seven. Seth was already home, and the scattered cushions and toppled chairs suggested that he was drunk – again – and was in some fit too. Digesting the situation, Lin involuntarily switched on the television, raised its volume, pulled the living room door behind her and hurried into the kitchen, where Seth was seething in rage. She asked him what’s wrong. He said nothing, and just glared at her. She was debating with herself whether or not to move towards him, when all of a sudden he rose and flung a punch at her. She barely managed to deflect the blow, but Seth caught her by her ponytail and began to strangle her with his bare hands – his strong hairy hands.

But at that very moment, something else had happened too. In the living room, Little Teddy, after having waited infinitely for his mommy to bring him his caramel popcorn and ice cream, had stepped into the kitchen to get some himself. And there, what he saw made him stand rooted to the ground! All he could see was a fly – a VERY LARGE HAIRY fly – causing a lot of pain to his mommy… his sweet mommy. And then he remembered what mommy used to do to get the fly to go away. So he went into the study, got the fattest book he could find and started swatting this big hairy fly. He swatted and swatted till the fly started to bleed, and finally fell to the floor… motionless. It would trouble his mommy no more…

Little Teddy seemed very pleased at himself for having saved his mommy from this hairy fly. And all Lin could do was snatch the book from Teddy’s hands, heave a sigh of relief, hug him tight, and close her eyes and see herself in the witness stand telling the jury, “It was all in self-defense”. She knew they would understand. She knew this world was full of wonderful people… She knew she had her Little Teddie by her side…

**Written for Magpie Tales (Week 66). Check out how the others were inspired by this beautiful picture prompt… and ENJOY!!! **

***Umm.. This is my first attempt at short fiction – prose… Kindly tolerate me if I have stretched it a little beyond “short” :)… I am pretty darned sure there’ll be tons of errors here, as I don’t quite have the same patience like Linnette does πŸ˜‰ So please excuse me for that as well… And need I even mention, your comments and feedback are most welcome and will be greatly appreciated!! ***