Pete was born in August, a hot, sweaty, humid, month. During one of the worst heat waves in his area’s history. The summer of 1992 had been brutal, being pregnant during that summer had made his mother Janice, who was already short tempered, and waspish, by nature, nearly unapproachable. Pete’s father Mike, who had been bursting at the seams with joy over becoming a dad, had been forced out of their lives, by Janice’s increasingly hostile behavior. Finally being told to leave, and to never come back, after Janice had laid open a four inch gash on the side of his head with a well thrown glass ash tray.
Mike had been crushed by this. More so because he would never get to watch his son grow up, than because he would no longer be with Janice. In truth, he could no longer even say he loved her. Her behavior, and increasing hostility toward him having cooled his feelings toward her to complete indifference. But after one last phone call, where he had been rebuffed after begging to at least be a part of his child’s life, Mike had at last given Janice exactly what she had wanted. He left.
Pete’s earliest childhood memories were never what you could call happy. He was always walking a precarious line, between striving to earn his mother’s love, and avoiding her ever increasing wrath. Janice, after finally giving birth to “her little bastard” had turned to alcohol as an emotional crutch, to replace the men she could never manage to keep around. Janice would never admit that it was her attitude, and complete lack of respect for anyone other than herself, that drove men away after only brief spurts of initial happiness. Instead, she blamed Pete. She resented the fact that he so closely resembled his father, with his soft, wavy, brown hair, and curious, inquisitive, light brown eyes. Even his light olive complexion was a bitter reminder of the man she had pushed away because she felt he didn’t deserve her.
By the time Pete was four, his mother had become both his brightest hope, and his darkest fears, all rolled into one. She forever withheld her unconditional love for him, telling him he had done one small thing or another, to deserve to be left just outside the warmth, and love of his mother’s heart. But he was always striving to earn that place, thinking if he just became a better little boy, he might finally be good enough for her. The cycle repeated itself endlessly, hope, and desperation, reaching towards his own personal Olympus, only to be dashed away, by some slight, perceived, imperfection, banishing him to the depths and darkness of his own personal Tartarus.
By the time Pete was ready to begin school, he had already developed a more than healthy respect for Janice’s temper. Always ready to duck and cover, if her hand so much as twitched towards a belt, or a wooden spoon, or in some cases of his worst mistakes, the radio antenna kept next to the couch. Of course the beatings, and casual violence his mother was so capable of dishing out to him, only served to adhere him to her even more securely, in the off chance he might be graced with her fleeting affection. A smile, or a kind word from Janice, was to Pete, like oxygen to a drowning man. And sadly for Pete, his mother knew this, and used it to every advantage she could get.
Pete’s teachers could see what kind of toll Janice was putting on him, the small marks, and violent flinching, from so much as a raised voice gave testament to the morbidly unhappy home life the poor boy was being forced to endure. And yet they were never enough to take direct action. That he was phenomenally intelligent, and actually strove to prove he was worthy of any sort of praise, was not lost on them either. Sadly, it seemed, nothing was ever good enough for Janice. If Pete came home with a silver star on an assignment, then he had failed because it was not a gold star. If it was a gold star, then he had failed because there weren’t more of them. His first grade teacher Mrs. Raynerd was heart broken for the small, innocent little boy. So much so that by the end of school year, she had broken down into tears over the kind of life he was being forced to live, as her husband, held, and rocked her gently, trying to soothe her distress.
When he was only six, his Uncle Billy, seeing the emotional wreckage his sister was piling onto the poor boy, gave Pete the first real gift he had ever received. A beautiful, dark fawn, pit bull puppy that he instantly named Goliath, after his favorite Saturday morning cartoon character. Pete was over the moon about his new dog! He honestly couldn’t believe someone thought he was worthy of a gift of this magnitude. Unfortunately, Janice was of much the same mind.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” she had screamed at her brother, her eyes flashing with undisguised fury, as she slammed her fist down onto the table. “That little fucker doesn’t need a dog! He’s already enough trouble as it is!”
Billy was shocked at the venom in his sister’s voice as she railed at him over giving her son a puppy. “Janice” he stated as calmly as he could “Every boy needs a dog. We had one growing up, and I know you loved her as much as I did.” Billy explained, hoping the memory of their beagle Ruby would calm her down “And just look at them out there. They’re having the time of their lives!” he pointed out the window of the small trailer Janice and Pete called home. In the yard Pete, and Goliath were rolling in the grass, the puppy jumping and pawing the small boy as Pete laughed. Sadly, Billy thought, it was one of the few times he could remember hearing Pete laugh.
“Yeah, it’s fine for you to say asshole!” Janice hissed. “You’re not the one who’s gonna be cleaning piles of shit off the carpet for the next six months! That little barking shit machine is going to destroy my house, and make more work for me, than I already have, trying to keep up with that little bastard out there.”
Billy had finally had enough of his sister’s shit. And he stood up quickly in front of her, reaching his full height of nearly six foot four, completely dwarfing Janice’s five foot one and glared down at her. “That is the last time you will ever call your son a bastard in front of me!” he growled. His eyes darkening as he clenched his fists. “Do you hear me you self absorbed little cunt? If I ever so much as think you’ve done it again, I will break you over my knee, like you’re trying to break that little boy out there!” His emotions were plainly written across his face as he slowly backed his sister into the corner of the kitchen. “Do you understand me Janice? You made your life the mess it is now, and Petey had nothing to do with it. If I ever catch you trying to hurt that little boy again, I will make your life a misery the likes of which a horror movie couldn’t compare to!” And with that last warning to Janice, Billy turned and stalked out of her home.
Over the next two years life became a steady pattern for Pete. His drunken, abusive, mother kept him still on the balance between hope, and despair, extending her hand in acceptance, and withdrawing it, only to lash out at him both verbally, and physically, in equal enough measures to keep Pete under control. But life was different for Pete now. He had Goliath, and the beautiful, loyal dog was Pete’s anchor. A shining beacon of unconditional love, and joy, in the otherwise vast emotional wasteland Janice kept him in. The dog did not seem to be your typical pit bull however. He was not the broad, muscle bound beast, most people thought of when they pictured the breed. Goliath was tall, coming up to Pete’s bellybutton at the shoulder, and long and lean, his coat gleaming over well defined, muscle. His body, from nose to hip was almost as long as Pete’s outstretched arms. And his light chocolate eyes always lit up when Pete bounded in the door from school.
Janice despised that dog, with every fiber of her being. She recognized what the dog meant to her son, and the very thought of something making Pete, the thing that had ruined her entire life, happy, burned in her gut like acid. She took every opportunity she could to kick, or otherwise abuse the poor animal. Often locking him the closet with her water heater for hours at time, where Pete would sit next to the door, whispering to him, telling him it was alright, and that he was a good dog, while Goliath whimpered, and scratched at the door, trying to get back to his boy. No matter how she tried, though, she could not break Goliath, the dog always remained loyal and loving, no matter how hard she pushed him.
Four days before Pete’s eighth birthday, in late August, things finally came to a head for Janice. She had spent the entire night before at The Station House, a local dive bar, flashing her low cut dress, to anyone who showed any interest, looking for anything, even just a quick hard cock in the parking lot, to justify to herself that she was still sexy enough to matter. She had gotten what she wanted, some blurry, unrecognizable anonymous man, drunk enough not to care, as he shoved his half hard cock deep into Janice’s sloppy cunt. This had simply left Janice feeling hollow, and empty, knowing that this was the absolute best she could get. And so she threw herself back into the bottle, ending the night, not even knowing how she had gotten home, waking up on the couch, her hangover so severe that the sound of the small TV in Pete’s room sounded like a hammer striking an anvil inside her skull.
This just wouldn’t do. She had to make this stop. Hauling herself to her feet, Janice stumbled to Pete’s room, and only giving him time to slip on a shirt and flip flops, pushed the small boy, and his lousy mutt, out into the back yard, and stumbled to her bed to try and sleep off the worst of her condition. Unfortunately it was only a few hours later, that the laughter, and happy barking of Pete and Goliath roused her again. She woke up in a puddle of her own piss, reeking of stale booze, cigarette smoke, and urine. Her condition infuriated her beyond her ability to cope. ‘Why hadn’t Pete made sure she had gone to the bathroom before he let her lie back down!’ She thought darkly, her bleary eyes seeing him in the yard, wrestling with that fucking dog! She had had enough. Of both of them! She was going to make sure that fucking mutt never bothered her again, and that that little bastard finally learned to respect her properly! Stalking to the kitchen she grabbed the largest knife she could find, the eight inch carving knife, and she turned towards the back door of the trailer. Just before she opened the door, she saw something else that would help her teach them both a lesson, and picked up the two foot of scrap pipe left over from when she had had to have some plumbing work done a month before, and violently kicked the door open.
Janice didn’t bother with words, as three quick steps brought her up to her now terrified son. The look of outrage on her face said everything he needed to hear, as she quickly swung the pipe at him. Pete had just enough time to cover the side of his head with his hands when the pipe connected. The hollow ring of the metal striking him was punctuated by the snapping sound of the fragile bones in his left wrist fracturing. Pete screamed in pain, as he fell to the grass, cradling his broken wrist to his body, as the pipe swung again, this time hitting the unprotected right cheek of the poor boy. An explosion of pain, and color erupted behind his eyes as he felt the bones in his cheek and jaw break.
As he laid there, moaning and screaming Goliath tried to protect him from the woman who had tormented them both their whole lives. Jumping over the nearly unconscious boy the loyal dog tried to cover Pete from his mother’s fury, caring only that his boy, the boy who gave his entire life purpose, was in trouble. Janice swung the pipe again, the heavy club bouncing off of the beautiful fawn coat of the beast she hated so much, again and again she swung, the yelps of pain were somehow satisfying to the horrible woman. Blood from Goliath’s nose, and the wounds the pipe was inflicting sprayed at Janice, and this only spurred her on. Finally, after several minutes of abuse Goliath simply could not hold on any longer. Crumpling to the ground, still covering his boy, the magnificent, loyal animal, tried one last time to protect Pete, the boy he loved.
Seeing that he could not even protect himself, Janice screamed, and brought the knife down into Goliath’s side, causing the dog to yelp in pain one last time. Pete, beyond horror at what his mother had done to his best friend, lunged over the dying dog, trying to protect him from his mother’s rage. Janice simply didn’t care. The knife fell again, driving through Pete’s forearm, and down again, into Goliath’s body. Thinking to protect his dog, Pete curled up around the knife, wrenching it from Janice’s grasp. Howling in outrage, the woman began to kick, and flail at Pete with the pipe. The feeling of hot pain as the metal and feet continued to rain down on the poor boy soon became numb as the world slowly folded into blackness, and Pete finally passed into the void of unconsciousness.