Nonbeliever

Abby looked in the mirror and frowned, quickly pulling on a hooded sweatshirt to cover up the bruises on her body. The beating she had taken last night had been a brutal one, probably the worst since the abuse had started.

Abby's mother had been a spiritual woman. She believed in God with all her heart and had taught Abby everything about The Bible. When her mother died a year ago after a head on collision, Abby's father became her only security blanket.

But he didn't offer much security.

After his wife's death, Abby's father became an angry man, always drinking late into the night. His kind face had turned into one to be feared; his once soft features had turned hard with the loss of a loved one.

The first night it happened, Abby had just returned from school after soccer practice. She had forgotten to tell her father about it, but decided that, since he wouldn't be home from work yet anyway, it wouldn't matter.

As soon as she opened the door and walked into the living room, his drunken voice called out.

"Where were you?"

Surprised at the obvious slur in his voice, she quietly answered, "I had soccer practice."

"And you didn't think you needed to tell me? Who am I? Your father?!" his voice was rising in decibels and anger.

Abby was scared, even though she kept telling herself, it's just Dad; he would never hurt me. Still feeling afraid, but believing her words, she said, "I didn't think it was that important."

"Not important?" he repeated, incredulous. His face went red, his eyes turned into slits, and his nostrils flared.

"N-no, what I meant w-was—,"her stuttering was cut off by a backhand to the face.

Intense pain radiated out of her right cheek and she cried out in anguish. Abby ran to her room, sobbing silently the whole way. To make herself feel better, she repeated "The Lord is my refuge and my fortress: In Him will I trust."

And now as she looked at her broken body in the mirror, she snorted, God didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered.