by sarAdora

stigmata, n. brand, scar, mark of Cain

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned."
"What did you do, child?"
"I was born."


The doctor shook his head when he reviewed the old file in his hand. He had recognized her right away. The young woman had been a frequent patient in his emergency room over the years.

~ 3-year old female - broken arm - black eye
~ 5-year old female - malnourished - admitted unconscious - severe beating - open wounds - right wrist broken - right elbow broken - left eardrum pierced - left shoulder dislocated - required blood transfusion
~ 6.5-year old female - malnourished - admitted unconscious - severe beating - open wounds - both legs broken - both ankles broken - 4 broken ribs - left collarbone fractured - concussion
~ 9-year old female - dislocated knee - admitted overnight for observation - missing and unaccounted for after midnight
~ 11-year old female - admitted unconscious - multiple bone fractures - ribs, arms and legs - old scars opened and bleeding - repeat beating - both eyes blackened - required blood transfusion
~ 12.5-year old female - admitted unconscious - raped - multiple face and body bruises

"Will she live?" the tall stranger asked, his voice hushed and strained.

"How bad is it?" he queried, swallowing the lump in his throat.

The doctor looked at the 18-year old woman hooked to IV's and monitors. Shaking his head at the results of man's inhumanity to his fellow being... man's cruelty and rage... he spoke softly and with deep regret. "Broken bones," he enumerated clinically. "Numerous broken bones, fractured ribs, bruises, welts, some internal bleeding."

"Can you fix the damage? Will she heal?" ...please

"Physically, yes. Too soon to talk about the rest."

"She seems to have a strong will to live," he murmured mostly to himself, the sound of prayer tinting his voice.

"Too early to tell." Some days... I hate this job.

The sounds and smells of the emergency room faded; the stranger's concentration on the small female swathed in bandages, splints, and Betadine. An IV hung above her head, nourishing her body... ...tubes everywhere, leading god knows where... Watching the monitors with their digital readouts and pulsing strident lines, he gently touched her hand, willing her to live.

There was a lone cry in the night, waking him from restless sleep, a scream that heralded pain and circumstance, the body's prayer for peace. Angels in white fluttered to her side, adjusting machine dials, feeding... sending her into greater depths of oblivion... silencing her vocal cries... her body weeping now... in sterile silence. He wept for her as well and bowed his head in reverence to a greater being... ...if there is one... somewhere... maybe...


"Are you out of your mind?" he raged. "You can't have this baby!"

"Of course, I can," she said, the steel in her voice making him pause, seeing her as if for the first time. "I will not abort. God has blessed me with this child." She stood her ground, hands on hips, unafraid of her brother's wrath.

"He has no ambition... won't amount to anything. He won't provide for you. He's probably... a... Protestant!"

Her soft laughter caught him off-guard and he looked down at the sprite that was his beloved sister. "Don't do this, Marianne. Don't..."

"I cannot abort. It's a sin. I will not discuss this further."

"Have the babe," he said wearily, wondering how he could have asked otherwise. "Just remember that he won't provide for you and your bastard child."

"I married him, Martin."

"Without the blessing of the Church?" shocked that she would do such a thing. She nodded.

"That's not a marriage the Church will recognize and you know it," his hissing rage resurfacing.

"Martin, do you love me?"

"With all my heart, Marianne."

"Accept my husband and our child. Please."

He gathered her into his arms, this sister he adored - the sister he wanted life to bless with happiness. He hugged her tightly to him, this sister who married without his knowledge, this sister who would bear the child of a man he didn't approve of... this sister he had always lusted for in his heart of hearts.

"For you, Marianne," he said quietly, wondering how he'd stretch the budget to provide for her and the babe when her worthless husband moved on, leaving them behind.


The child came too early - its tiny body bursting forth, erupting from the womb - a small collision rupturing the uterine wall, and gasping breath - grasping life - tiny fists flailing - small feet kicking - covered in her mother's blood, draining it and taking her life.

Stigmata he thought when he first saw the babe who took his sister's life. Stains of evil, the devil's child - she should bleed for this... she will bleed for this.

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned."
"What did you do, child?"
"I drew breath."


Her father died early, from drink... from grief... unable to continue life without his beloved wife. He left the child with Marianne's brother... an innocent thrown to a wolf... a wolf rabid with the madness of his own deep grief... a grief that was shrouded in bitterness... and rage. The first two years were easy... smooth... neighbors helping with the infant child, the girl, daily reminders of her mother, the sister he had loved and lost forever. And every time he looked at her, he remembered that Marianne had died to give this child life. She became a symbol of his sister's death... and his never-ending grief. His madness deepened.

He abhorred her presence - his hatred festering into a living, breathing thing.

"Up!" she demanded one day, the tiny two-year old reaching for her uncle's arms.

"Have you been good today, Maris?" he scowled at the tiny child.

"Maris good," she piped up, reaching for him.

"Good girl," he said sternly, unable to do more than touch her hand, fearful of being tainted by her stigmata... stains... the devil's spawn... she should bleed for this. She will bleed for this. In her short life, he had never held her, never kissed her, never cuddled her close. He could not forget who she was and why she lived. His hatred grew stronger every day and especially so on the day of her birth... the day of her mother's death. Marianne, my love, my love, he chanted silently. I'll make her bleed for this!

"Happy birfday me," she chortled when she was three, cupcake and icing covering her face, a gift from a kindly neighbor.

"Birthdays are for good girls," he snarled, pulling the small treat from her hand and tossing the rest of it into the trash. "You are the devil's own, stained with your mother's blood. There will be no birthdays for you!" he swore, slapping her hands and then grabbed her roughly, twisting her small arm until he heard it snap, the first of many bones he'd break.


When she was four, she broke a plate, dropping it by accident.

He cuffed her across the face, splitting her lip, and cursed her clumsiness.

Her cries were loud as she swallowed blood and choked on it, her stomach hurling from bile and adrenaline.

He cuffed her again.

She ran to a neighbor's house.

He dragged her back and whipped her with his belt, beat her with a long wooden spoon until she passed out, and then took her to the emergency room, her blood on his hands. Stigmata... he remembered as he cleansed the blood from his hands. The devil's own... that's what she is. I'll drain the evil from her body.

When she was five, she tripped, falling against the Christmas tree. An ornament hit the floor and shattered.

He threw her against the wall, breaking her arm and two ribs.

The police arrested him - he paid the bail. He found her, broke her other arm, and blackened both eyes.

The state took her away from him.

She lived in foster care and when her bones had healed, the court gave her back to him. He paid a fine, took a court ordered class on anger management and made easy promises to do right by her.

He went out of his way to make each of her birthdays a living hell. Marianne died because of you, he remembered as he beat her unconscious, no rhythm to his rage, seeing only the stigmata stains of birth bleeding before his eyes.

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned."
"What did you do, child?"
"I lived."


In spite of his abuse, she blossomed, on the edge of womanhood - favoring her mother but with her father's eyes and birthmarks - a tiny black mole at the corner of her bottom lip, another near her eye - a third he didn't know about at the corner of her mons.

Stigmata he chanted the familiar words. Stains of evil, the devil's child - she will bleed for this. I'll cleanse her soul. It was a mantra in his head, a litany, a prayer that lived in the recesses of his mind, a wound that had cut his heart... eviscerated his sanity, and left him empty and bereft except for the madness that permeated his soul.

... if he still had one...


He cuffed her if she was only minutes late coming home from school, slapping her face with the back of his hand, bloodying her nose... or splitting her lip... or used his fist... blackening an eye... or fracturing a rib or collarbone... or kicking her... or...

When he noticed she had developed breasts, he whipped her with a belt, driving the devil and his alluring gifts from her.

Hail Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with you


If dinner wasn't perfect, he beat her with his fists.

The first time she wore lipstick, he broke her jaw.

Blessed are you among women
and blessed
is the fruit of your womb,


When a boy called to ask her for a date, he blackened her eyes, broke her wrist and chained her to a post in a tight corner of the basement, locking her in.... for days at a time.

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners


His last perilous link to life was the Church so when his favorite priest told him that Maris would probably marry young, the tiny cleaving thread to sanity began to shred. The good Father offered a hopeful prayer that Maris would bear many beautiful children. With those words, Martin felt himself violently expressed from the Church's womb... flung... into hell's abyss... away from God... and alone.

Dragging her into the house by her hair, he threw her to the floor and kicked her until she passed out from the pain. Stigmata, stains of evil, the devil's child - she will bleed for this. I'll cleanse her soul. He kicked her repeatedly... until he slipped on her blood... "For you, Marianne... for you."

and at the hour
of our death.


Void of sense and sanity, he tossed her battered body into a Dumpster along with the week's trash, dusted his hands... and from lifelong habit, fell to his knees, praising the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and of course... the Virgin Mary. For the length of a breath, his brief hold on sanity returned... rude and ugly, reality raised its head... He had survived the cauldron fires of hell and been relieved of the devil's spawn. His life's work was done.

"Martin..." he heard her voice in his head. "Marianne..." he answered as the bullet tore through his brain, the gun falling from his hands as he joined his beloved Marianne in eternity.


Angels conspired... and intervened.

The stranger heard a sound, unsure what it was as he took an evening walk. Probably a kitten someone threw away.

He peered inside the Dumpster, inhaling sharply when he saw her - a bruised and broken rag doll.

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned."
"What did you do, child?"
"I defied death."


She stayed in the hospital until her life was assured, then transferred to a rehabilitation center until her broken limbs healed. The bruises faded over time, a few small welts permanently scaring the skin on her back. The stranger who found her visited every day - offering his hand and gentle smiles, urging and encouraging her to return to life.

She looked at him, wondering why he bothered, wondering what he wanted from her, keeping a distance between them... physically and emotionally. He looked back, wondering why she had been thrown away with the detritus of life. He wanted to protect her, keep her safe, cherish her, and make her whole again. He fell in love with her.

Day by day, week by week, he visited her and when she was due for release, took her to his home and nourished her. He provided her body with sustenance, her mind and her spirit with acceptance, gentle encouragement and any love she would accept.

Time... patience... infinite patience...

She remained shy and unsure, retreating to the shadows inside her head, afraid and insecure. When he heard her cry in the night, he went to her, held her, chasing the monsters away, his arms and warm body a safe haven from memories. She began to lean on him, daring to trust.

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned."
"What did you do, child?"
"I survived."


The days were easy. The nights were hard. The dreams few and far between, the nightmares a constant reminder of what had been. In the beginning she ran from him if she stumbled at anything no matter how minute... spilling coffee, coming home a few minutes late, hesitant in her speech. He often found her hiding in one of the closets, and crawled in after her, wrapped her in his arms, and kept her safe, chasing the demons away.

The cacophony of a thunderstorm woke her... the loud claps of a coronach... a wailing threnody... lamentation for the dead. Lightning filled every window... brilliant shards of impending death... She ran... a need to escape... to remain hidden from the storm. He took her to his bed, his arms encircling her, holding her through the night... safe cradle... easing her fears, murmuring soothing sounds until she slept.

"Why?" she asked when she woke in his warm embrace.

"I love you," he answered softly.

Months passed... patient, caring months... time filled with gentleness... encouraging words... soothing sounds... warm hugging moments... acceptance... tears... slivers of happiness surrounded by love... an easy calm in the midst of storms... quiet moments of peace... a shy smile or two... and one day... a moment of immense joy.

It burst forth like a black hole disintegrating... shattered into prisms that dissipated in space, sunlight and starlight filling every sight and sound in his universe... and in hers.

She laughed.

A genuine laugh... a laugh filled with joy... a laugh that made her mouth smile... wide... a giggle... unheard since her third birthday... a genuine laugh. A strange and beautiful sound... bubbling up from within her... She looked at him in wonder, unused to the strange sound. It bubbled up again... filling her... filling him with its wondrous sound.

His arms opened wide... she moved into his embrace... hugging the warmth and the shelter he provided... accepting his love... she was home...

"Bless me, Father."
"Tell me why, child?"
"I thrived."


Sweet times followed... he touched her, the stigmata fading... cradled her, the stigmata fading... filled her with his body, gentle and tender lovemaking another joy they shared. One day she kissed him first... touched him first... loved him first... asked for his love in return... the stigmata disappeared... she was his.

He gave her free rein to be who she was and whatever she wanted to be. Rarely, did he argue with her wayward ways. Until... she came home so late one night... without calling... with no remorse that he had worried... with no heed to her safety and well being... with no conscience...

"Never again," he said, the voice of reason calm, softly spoken. "I love you. You will not worry me like that again."

"I'm sorry for worrying you," she apologized, true act of contrition. "Will you beat me?"

"Never," he swore. "But I *will* spank you."


"So you'll remember what will happen if you worry me again."

"Will it hurt?"

"A little," he confirmed, taking her over his lap.

"Will I hate you for doing this to me?"

"No, you'll love me for caring."

Cupping her bare bottom, he hesitated, wanting to teach a lesson, unwilling to bring her to the point of lasting pain, desperate to maintain her trust and her growing love. Slowly, with great care, he rubbed her bottom cheeks.

The first few spanks were light... love taps... tingly love taps. The ones that followed were a little harsher... still light as spankings go... an occasional light sting... warming her. He cupped her bottom, massaging, fingers tracing the curves... his palm lingering at the fullest part, stroking lower between her thighs. Lifting a hand to her face, he cupped the curve of her cheek as his other hand spanked dead center, the fullness of her sit spot filling his palm as her body bounced from the spank.

She gasped, inhaling sharply as she turned her mouth into his palm. "That stings," she said, surprised at the sharpness of the spank. "Don't do that, again."

"Will you be so careless with your safety again?" he asked softly, watching her.

"I hope not," she answered quietly.

"Will you call me the next time you're going to be late coming home?"

"If I remember..."

"You *will* remember," he told her, emphasizing his words with another harsh spank.

"Will you worry me again?"

"Probably," she admitted, then took a shaky breath when he spanked her twice more, belatedly realizing that wasn't the answer he was looking for.

"Will you worry me again?" he repeated the question, his hand rubbing her pinking bottom, and caressing her warmed flesh.

"Not on purpose," she said softly.

Smiling at her honest answers and proud of her courage, he continued the spanks... light tingly ones... interspersing kisses, his fingers drifting down to test her readiness for him. When her breath became a little ragged and his hand was coated with her dew, he turned her onto her back and loved her willing body with his hands and mouth.

"Are you disappointed in me?" she asked when she could breathe again and he was deeply thrust between her thighs.

"Never," he told her, covering her mouth with his, intent on kissing her thoroughly as his body urged hers to join his in ecstasy. "You'll never disappoint me."

"I love you," she spoke the words he had longed to hear.

"And I love you, mia adore and I always will."

"Bless me, Father."
"Tell me why, child."
"I am deeply loved."


~ End ~

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