Tortured Innocence

Tortured Innocence

by Betty Henderson
Tortured Innocence

Tortured Innocence

by Betty Henderson


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Annie suffered abuse her entire life from childhood to her adult life. She accepted the cruelty as a way of life until it was clear that the abuse was affecting the children and that was the catalyst that ended her life, but her spirit couldn't rest until she knew they were safe. The wrath she felt turned her into a protector of women and children who needed an avenging spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781490746470
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 09/12/2014
Pages: 178
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.41(d)

Read an Excerpt

Tortured Innocence

By Betty Henderson

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Betty Henderson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4907-4647-0


Annie married Joe a week after they graduated from high school, and she conceived their first daughter, Andrea, soon after they married. She was surprised but happy since she wanted to be a mother ever since she could remember so she would have someone to love her.

Joe made a decent wage from his job, but if Annie didn't find him before he blew every cent on his friends, she would have a hard time making ends meet, to the point of her starving so the children had enough to eat.

Andrea was supposed to be an only child, but when she got pregnant again, she was happy and scared at the same time, but she hoped Joe would stop drinking when she gave birth to their second daughter, Kathy, but the drinking and the savage beatings continued.

Annie looked forward to death until the children came along, and her death wish changed to the opposite because when Joe got drunk, he was a vicious man, and compassion wasn't in him. She had no doubt that he would harm them when he was in one of his foul moods. She decided to get a job so she could leave him and give the children a life free of fear and violence, but to her dismay, she got pregnant again. She had to postpone her plans until she gave birth to their third daughter.

Eve was born fourteen months after Kathy, and Annie knew she couldn't count on Joe for help with the children. Eve was two months old when Annie told Joe that she was going to look for a job when she regained her strength. He laughed and declared no one would hire a stupid woman like her.

Annie snapped back at him that she would get a job and he would eat his words. Joe wrapped his fingers around Annie's throat and squeezed until she blacked out, then he released her until she regained consciousness, and as if that wasn't enough to satisfy his depraved mind, he punched Annie in the face with his huge fist so hard that she actually flew across the bed and landed in the closet. When Annie opened her eyes, they were crossed, and stars flashed in her head. She lay in the closet floor until she regained her senses and climbed to her feet when she heard the hysterical cries of the children.

Joe's drinking got worse as time passed, and the abuse changed from brutal to sadistic, and the need for alcohol took over every aspect of Joe's life to the point that he was taking it to work in his lunch pail instead of food. The last straw came when he began to see other women. That caused the abuse to become more brutal and sadistic. He spent his money on women and drinking and stopped giving Annie money for food and bills. He would come home in the middle of the night to take a pound of Annie's flesh and terrorize her and the children before he passed out in a drunken stupor.

When Joe lost his job in West Virginia, the family moved to Cleveland where Joe could find work. Andrea turned six years old, and Annie had to enroll her in school with one dress to wear, and it was two sizes too small. Annie had to wash and repair it every night so she could wear it the next day.

Annie decided the time had come for her to find a job, but Cleveland was a big city, and Annie had no idea where to look for work. She took the children out in the yard a few days later and saw a neighbor cutting grass. She introduced herself and asked if he knew where she could get a job. He was very kind and recommended a knitwear factory, but he added that she would have to change buses twice to get there.

Joe looked out the window and saw Annie talking to the neighbor about a job, and he couldn't resist a chance to humiliate her in the presence of a stranger. He laughed and declared that she was so stupid that no one would hire her, and not only that, how could she get a job when she was a wimp and couldn't ride a city bus around the block. Annie's face turned beet red from the humiliation of Joe's double-edged tongue that cut like a sword. She couldn't defend herself because she knew if she opened her mouth to speak, the lump in her throat would choke off the words. She gathered the children and retreated into the house where she could cry until the lump in her throat vanished. She swore that she would make Joe eat his own words when she found a job.


Annie Finds a Job

Annie got up early the next morning and walked Andrea to school and left Kathy and Eve with their grandmother while she looked for a job. Joe was right when he said she was afraid to ride a bus, but she was a determined woman that was on a mission to give her children a safe and happy childhood. She didn't know anything about the bus schedule or which one to board until she was standing on the street with a group of strangers. She mustered up the courage to ask one of the women what bus to take to get to Twenty-Fifth. The woman was very kind to Annie and invited her to sit beside her and she would explain the system to her. Annie thanked her for being so kind and gladly accepted her offer, and when the time came for them to part company, Annie felt confident enough to get to work on her own, if she could find work. The second bus Annie boarded stopped directly in front of the knitwear company. Annie took in a deep breath and asked God to help her get through the day, and she pulled her shoulders back and entered the reception area with her head held high.

The woman seated behind the glass window asked if she could help her. Annie's voice squeaked when she asked if they were hiring. The woman handed her an application and asked her to bring it back when she finished. Annie was surprised how simple the questions were, and she handed it back to the woman in no time. The woman glanced at the application and picked up the phone.

A black man opened the door and stuck his head out and asked Annie to follow him. Annie followed him downstairs to a room that was obviously used by the employees as a break room. He introduced himself as Hampton Burton and hired her on the spot. Annie was shocked and as surprised as anyone could be that had doubts about her finding a job. The amazing thing was that it was the first place she applied to for a job.

Annie went home and told the children that she had to work to pay the rent and buy groceries and clothes for them. She hugged them close to her and cried because, hopefully, her nightmare would end since they won't have to count on Joe for support. Joe was right when he said she was afraid to ride the bus, but he had no idea how far a mother would go to care for and protect her children.

The children weren't happy about staying with a sitter and begged Annie to stay with them. She tried to explain to them that she had to work during the day and they must stay with a sitter or they would have no food or clothes to wear.

The doorbell rang, and Andrea stood up to open the door, but Annie stopped her. Annie looked out the window, and relief washed over her when she saw Clair smiling through the window at her. She opened the door and welcomed her new best friend with an affectionate hug. Clair asked if she might spend an hour with the girls in their room so they could get acquainted. Annie was delighted and relieved to have her.

Kathy asked why they can't stay with their daddy, and Annie didn't want to tell the children that she couldn't trust their father with them, and to her amazement, she didn't have to. Andrea tried to explain that Daddy had to sleep in the day because he worked at night.


Annie's First Day at Work

Annie's first day at work wasn't at all like she assumed it would be. The boss asked if she minded working overtime. She answered no; she would work as much overtime as she could get, but her children had to come first. Mr. Hampton was a kind man and understood how she felt and offered to give her first choice at overtime since the other employees didn't want to work any overtime.

She was surprised how kind people could be since she hadn't experienced it in a long time, even her neighbor was a kind person that didn't mind keeping the children until she came home and encouraged her to work overtime whenever she could get it.

The day was painful and very tiring for Annie. She never dreamed that standing on concrete hurt so much.


A Blessing from God

Andrea was only six years old, but she always helped her mother with her little sisters. She made sure they had sandwiches and other snacks when Annie was sick or busy with household chores. She asked her mother if she could go inside long enough to make snacks for the three of them after school. Annie gave her permission to go into the house long enough to fix snacks, but she must take it outside to her sisters. Andrea always followed her mother's instructions to the letter, and Annie knew she could count on Andrea to do exactly what she was told.

Annie was glad to be working days because she was less likely to run into Joe since he always worked nights, and that was her reason for being in bed when he came home. She prayed for him to be too drunk to pull her out of bed and beat her.


Annie Learned of the Girlfriend

The day Annie found out that Joe had a girlfriend was the day she packed his clothes in paper bags and set them on the porch. She expected him to come home and beat her up when he sees his clothes on the porch.

Joe came home that evening after being out all night and most of that day. He saw the bags with his clothes in them on the porch, and to Annie's surprise, he left without throwing any punches her way. She was tired of worrying what he was going to do to her when he did come home and decided to stand up and fight back in any way she could.

Annie and the girls had peace for the first time in their hellish lives, and they celebrated their freedom by grocery shopping and baking their favorite cookies and cupcakes. She prayed for Joe to stay away and leave them in peace, but she knew he would come back. The atmosphere in the house had an air of peace for the first time in years, but like an old penny, Joe came back with a vengeance and woke Annie up at three in the morning and demanded to see the children. She asked why he couldn't wait until a more suitable time. He was drunk as usual and demanded to see the children. Annie asked, "If you want to see the girls, why not during the day since you work nights?"

Joe threatened her before he woke the girls and left her to calm them as she had done all their lives. Annie sat in the living room with the lights off until she had to get ready for work. She knew he would be back for another round, and sure enough, he came back, but he had a gun, which was a huge surprise to her. He never used a weapon against her before, but she had no doubt that he would kill her when he put the gun to her head and said that he was going to kill her.

The children were hysterical, and Annie pleaded with him to let the children go outside where they can't see him hurt her again. He screamed at them to get out and stay there until he called them. Andrea grabbed her little sisters and pulled them outside and slammed the door and locked it.

Joe put the gun to Annie's head and whispered in her ear that she's going to die and if she had anything to say to him, say it now. She pleaded for her life because she didn't want to leave her little girls with a monster like him. He stood up and grabbed a handful of her hair and slung her into the kitchen and screamed at her to get busy and cook him some food.


The Brief Escape

Annie waited until Joe passed out, and she tiptoed into the girls' room and whispered to Andrea to be very quiet and not wake up their father. She took the girls to a neighbor's house that was situated directly behind her house and used the key that her neighbor had given her in case Joe came back. She was shaking from fright as she took the girls into the dark house. She feared he would see the lights and kick the door in since he knew the neighbors were out of town. She gathered the girls close to her and moved inch by inch until she found the sofa. Annie set with the children on the couch, quivering from fear. She rocked back and forth in the dark room, pleading to the girls to be quiet. She stayed there for a couple of hours, hoping he would wake up and leave.

Joe woke up to an empty house, and he knew right away that they were at the neighbor's house, and his fury rose to the boiling point. He ran to the house and pounded on the door, swearing at Annie, and he shouted at her through the door that he knew they were there, and if she didn't come out immediately, she would suffer the consequences. Annie sat with her arms wrapped around the girls, rocking them back and forth like she did when they had nightmares. She prayed for God to calm the girls' fear so Joe wouldn't hear them. He finally gave up and left them in the cold and frightening darkness.

Annie listened, hoping to hear his car pull away, but he didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave. Andrea asked for permission to call her aunt Joan to come and make her daddy leave. Annie didn't know where the phone was located, and the room was so dark that she had to feel around the room until she finally found it. Andrea struck a match so Annie could see to dial Joan's phone number.

Annie's voice was shaking so badly that Joan could barely understand her. Joan asked if Joe was drunk again. Annie answered yes and begged her to come and get him so she and the children can go home. Joan asked if he beat her again. Annie broke down and cried that he had a gun and threatened to shoot her head off if she tried to keep the children from him. Joan became very upset when she heard what Joe had done to his family and told Annie to stay where she was and not come out until she heard her get Joe to leave with her. Annie looked out the window, hoping to see Joan when she pulled into the driveway. The children started to run outside to greet her, but Annie stopped them before they opened the door. When Joan pulled out of the driveway, she knew it was safe for them to go home.

Andrea held Kathy's hand and walked toward the house, but Kathy was too frightened to enter the house and struggled to free herself from Andrea's grip. Annie held out her hands to Kathy, and she ran into her mother's arms. The four of them entered the house together, and the children were grasping Annie's legs. Annie kept reassuring them that it was safe, and they reluctantly let go of her legs and walked into the kitchen in front of her.

Annie tucked the children in bed early, hoping to have time for herself so she could get her nerves calmed down before she went to work the next day. She had missed too much work already, and she couldn't afford to lose her job.

Andrea peeked around the corner, trying to see her, but Annie saw her and asked if she wanted to sit with her for a while. Andrea ran into her mother's arms and asked if her daddy was coming back to hurt them again.


Joe's anger grew to the point of choking the life out of Annie for calling Joan, because Joan was the only person that would never stand by and let him beat Annie without trying to help him, and he knew Joan would hurt him if she had to.

Annie went to work every day, and she worked as much overtime as she could get. Joe kept showing up at the house when the mood struck him. He beat and threatened to kill her so often that she began to look forward to death. She had known for years that Joe was the type of man that had to control everything and everyone in his life, and she had no doubt that her days were numbered.

Annie often found herself on the street late at night and scared out of her wits, for the streets were very scary at 3:00 and 4:00 am. She always looked for a safe place to hide from all the gangs that roamed the neighborhood. She found a church one night and tried to open the door, but it was locked, and she sat on the threshold until she felt it was safe to go home. Annie was very religious, and her only comforts were the talks she had with God.

Joe grew sadistic as time passed, and he let himself in one night and pulled Annie out of the bed. He threatened that if she didn't take the kids and leave, he would blow the house up with her and the kids in it. That scared Annie out of her wits because he had never threatened the children before, and the way he acted lately, she couldn't take the chance of him harming the kids. He left without speaking another word.

The next day was Saturday, and as usual, Saturday was the day she and the children went to the grocery store and watched cartoons and baked their favorite cookies and cupcakes. Annie put the children in bed around midnight and took a bubble bath. The house was quiet, and she was enjoying a cigarette and a cup of coffee and thinking how she and the kids could escape from Joe before he hurt the children or killed her.

The door flew open, and Annie ran for the girls' room, but when he didn't follow her, she tiptoed back into the living room. Joe was lying on the couch in a drunken stupor. Annie moved in silence to the bedroom. She was so frightened that she laid as still as she could, hoping he wouldn't drag her out of the bed for a midnight session of a fist in the face and a foot in the stomach.


Excerpted from Tortured Innocence by Betty Henderson. Copyright © 2014 Betty Henderson. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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