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Hi,

Okay, I'm going to try this here.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned a rather violent fic that I wasn't sure what to rate. Well, I've been posting it on fanfic.net but the people are reading but not sharing their thoughts. So, I was wondering what you guys thought of it.

*takes a deep breath*

Title: The Power of Speech
Rating: M for violence. Chapter 2 is the most violent.
Summary:An AU where Ryan's father wasn't arrested and continued to beat Dawn and the boys. Ryan meets the Cohens through a different way.
Author's Note The Cohen's come in a little later.

The Prologue


The shadow flickered on the wall.

Ryan watched it, trying to keep his hands from trembling.

The shadow lingered for a moment and he held his breath, hoping that maybe he wouldn’t be seen.

He held back the whimper of fear as the shadow approached once again.

He tried to make himself as small as possible. He was good at that, he’d been doing it practically from birth. He’d learnt long ago that the smaller you were, the less likely it was that he would see you.

He put his hand in his mouth and bit down on it, refusing to let out the scream that was trying to rip its way up through his throat.

He could hear the faint sound of his mother crying. Ryan knew he shouldn’t have been hiding, he should have been helping her. He was too old to hide away from him.

A scream reverberated around the room and he recoiled even further underneath the bed. He didn’t want to think about what would happen if he was found.

His mother began to scream for him, begging for him to help her but he couldn’t. He felt frozen, trapped. He could feel the silent tears begin to slip down his face.

He swiped the tears away quickly, he’d learnt long ago that he didn’t like tears.

Then, there was a deafening silence. His mother uttered no more cries and he suddenly didn’t know what to do.

The silence wrapped around him and he felt his breathing escalate. His ears began begging for sound and they craved the slightest creak or footstep.

But there was none.

The feeling of uneasiness weighed down on him and he wished that he had his brother’s strength. His brother would have left his hiding place and protected their mother.

He took a deep breath before shifting his weight a little. The floorboard underneath him creaked a little and he froze.

His ears once again searched for the sound that someone was approaching.

But, the only sound he could hear was his own heart beating.

The sun shone through the window and he looked at the blue sky outside. It looked so perfect, so problem free. If only life was that simple.

He shakily crawled out from under the bed and stood up as straight as he could. His eyes darted around the room, searching for something that he could use as a weapon to protect himself.

He moved as quietly as possible and picked up the hockey stick that, for some reason, his brother kept in his room. He’d never seen Trey actually play the sport and didn’t know why he needed a hockey stick, but there were a lot of things he didn’t understand about his brother.

He hesitantly opened the door.

The first blow caught him by surprise and it successfully knocked him on his front to the floor. It took him a few seconds to realise where it had come from. His cheek was pressed against the stale carpet and he could only see the boot of his tormentor.

He knew then that he shouldn’t have left the sanctuary of under his bed. He should have seen this coming.

“Dad… please…” he whimpered, trying desperately to keep calm as he felt his father lowering his body on top of his.

He heard an almost growling laugh from the man on top of him.

He could feelhis arms being splayed apart and pinned down.

The older man sat on his back.

He tried to kick out but it was no use.

He strained his neck around and the look on his dad’s face frightened him. It was clear the man was completely stoned and the panic inside of him escalated.

His dad’s eyes were ablaze with a pure fire of hatred. His hair was greasy and there was a smear of red on his forehead. He began praying that his mom was alright and guilt pointed its grubby finger at him, that he hadn’t protected her.

He tried to ignore the stench of alcohol on his dad’s breath but the smell was beginning to make his eyes water.

He knew that it was useless to try and plead with his father. The man only got spurred on by tears and would become more violent. He turned his head back around.

He didn’t want to see this.

He felt his father pull the hockey stick out from under his body and he squeezed his eyes closed. He tried to ignore the sensation it made as it slid out from under him. He knew what was about to happen and he desperately wanted to escape. He began to try and scramble away but his father’s hold was too strong.

The first hit makes him feel dizzy, and he felt his head flopping to the floor. He felt his dad lifting his head up again by his hair and tried his hardest not to let out a sound. He knew it would only make things worse.

He gritted his teeth as the blows began to come.

After 15 years, he couldn’t help to think that he should be used to this by now but it still felt as bad as it always did.

Ryan couldn’t help but utter out a small cry.

He regretted it as soon as it was out but the damage was done.

His dad gave out a snort and rose a little higher to get into a better position.

He tried to wriggle his way to freedom but his father answered his struggle with a hand holding on to the back of his neck. Ryan saw the hockey stick being thrown away and he struggled once again, panicked.

He felt the hand on the back of his neck tightening. His face was pushed further into the carpet and he kept his eyes closed as tightly as possible.

The smell of the carpet joined the smell of alcohol and he tried not to gag on the assault of his nostrils.

He felt his dad lower again and he could feel his hair being used as a handle once again to turn his head around to face his father.

He opened his eyes gingerly, and was met with the sight of his father’s burly face. There was a smirk there and he knew the fear was raw on his own face.

He began to struggle again as the face got closer but his father was pinning him down too tightly.

“You have got to learn to control your emotions, Ryan. I made sure your brother managed it and I will make sure you do.” His face was so close and spit punctuated each word.

The words were cold and Ryan tried to ignore the real hatred that came along with them. He knew his dad meant what he was saying and he knew he’d do anything to achieve it. His dad was not a quitter.

He thought of his brother. He hadn’t seen him in years; once he’d turned 16 he’d moved as far away from the house as he could. He’d been Ryan’s rock, and since he’d been gone, his dad had become even more frightening.

He bit hard on his lip as he felt his shirt being raised and the dreaded belt being thrust down on to his back. He hadn’t seen the belt coming and he was barely able to keep back the whimper. His dad liked doing that, to add an element of surprise into his beatings. That way, Ryan was never able to tell what was coming.

By the third lash he knew he wouldn’t be able to keep back the tears and pain for much longer.

It felt like his back was on fire and burning freely. Each time his dad brought down the whip, he could feel his skin being ripped open and the fresh blood running down his back.

He gritted his teeth and was faintly aware of his dad punctuating each hit with some sort of weakness he had or some vicious comment about how he was going to keep beating him until one day he could keep himself quiet.

The words faded in and out as the pain invaded his senses.

His brother had always told him to count the lashes as it would give him something to focus on.

By the eleventh, he couldn’t count anymore. The tears began to escape from his eyes and once he’d begun crying, he couldn’t seem to stop.

His dad rose up and stood over him, but Ryan could barely feel the release of weight. His whole back was burning. Each breath provoked the pain and he whimpered on each inhale.

He could hear more insults coming from his dad but he couldn’t concentrate on what was being said.

A sudden kick to his side rolled him over, leaving his back a victim to the scratchy carpet.

He looked up at the man before him. He saw him lift his foot and tried desperately to get away but it connected hard against his ribs, then again against his crotch.

He groaned and writhed in pain, trying to beg his father to stop.

The pleas were only responded by more fists and heavy boots.

By the time the black took over, he was very much welcome to the idea of oblivion.

tbc…

*scuttles off into the hole that I claimed for myself when no one commented on fanfic.net*

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
katwoman76
Mar. 16th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Yay! You finally posted it here.
Just read the latest chapter on ff.net.
I admit, I rarely comment on stories there.
Plus, you don't have to be as concerned about ratings here as there.
What about the other stories you only posted on ff.net so far?
Will they make their way over here?

And I for one totally like it. Woobie Ryan at it's best with Frank being a real asshole.
Without talking too much in detail about the chapters I read already on ff.net (I don't want to spoil anyone) - I wonder when and how the Cohens will get involved. Because they will, right? Soon? *hopeful eyes*
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
The Cohen's will arrive soon, I promise. I'm just giving Ryan a very angst, pre Cohen, start to the story.

I'm not sure if I will post them over here. I may post a couple of one shots but am not totally sure yet. Thanks for the encouragement though :)
muchtvs
Mar. 16th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Hey, hardly anyone ever comments on my stuff over at fanfic anymore either. I think most everyone has moved over here. I wouldn't fret over that.

Yeah, the story is violent, but not more so than many of the stories that have appeared here and there on the flist. Hell, look what I put the boy through.

Anyway, interesting AU with Frank still in the house. I think Frank killed Dawn...and I think Ryan isn't far behind. Excrutiating details to read.
katwoman76
Mar. 16th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
You would actually need to POST there (or anywhere for that matter) to get comments, sweetie. *nudges with the pointy stick*
But yeah, I am guilty of not commeting on ff.net much either.
Here I usually try to give at least a shot comment, when I read a story - there only once in a while.

(no subject) - philippa_ - Mar. 17th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
jassylou
Mar. 16th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
This is great Phlippa. You really are evil to our poor yickle woobie. Going to search on FF now.I'd better be quick as I imagine Ryan might be dead before I get there.

You "Mean-Meanie"!!! LOL
katwoman76
Mar. 16th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
You should check out all the stories, phil has posted over there.
http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1064312/Phil929
They are all worth the read IMHO.
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malinr
Mar. 16th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
A great begining. If I could write I would only post here. You really have a way with words. More please. Hugs
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
Aww thank you :)

Well, I have quite a few chapters ready to post.
chazper
Mar. 16th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Did you think we'd be put off by the violence in this story? I'm certainly not. I have no problem with violence if it's written well and in character, which this certainly is. So come out from the hole! Even though it's painfully grim, this is a gripping story. I hope the TBC happens soon; I admit that I'm very anxious to learn how and when Ryan meets the Cohens. He clearly needs them now!
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Chapter 2 is umm well... is a tad ott violent, comically so at the end.

I'm really glad you like this. I came out of my hole today and was very pleased to see that people are enjoying.

I have another five chapters ready to post so I'll put the next chapter up very soon.
themus_revenge
Mar. 16th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
This is great, seriously. And I'd say this is probably and M, especially if the second chapter is worse, although you can always rate chapters separately. Personally, I think it's always best to err on the side of caution - which is why most of my fics are rated M even when people think it's probably pretty tame.

As a rule if there's graphic anything it needs to be at least an NC-17, graphic violence, death or suicide and I automatically make it an M.

But as Kat says, it doesn't seem to matter as much over here.

Back to the fic - I really like it. The descriptions are vivid and haunting, and there's a frightening mystery about the whole thing. We can see what's happening specifically, but everything else is slightly off-balance and unquantifiable. Trey is gone, for instance, but we don't know where or for how long. Dawn is a terrified presence made known only by her cries for help - and as much as we don't like Dawn, the affect it has on Ryan not knowing what's going on with her, whether he just let her die and all of the guilt that entails . . . beautifully done.

You've put the reader in a position here where we're just as wrong-footed as Ryan, coming in in the middle of the scene with no knowledge as to what's going on in the larger sense, we are now too off-balance and awkward, having to simply react to everything that happens, as confused and isolated and frightened as Ryan.

And poor, poor scared-out-of-his-wits Ryan! As much as I want the Cohens to rescue him, I can't help but be strangely glad that there's at least one more chapter of angsty!beaten!Ryan. It hurts so good :)

Now, you're not going to keep us waiting too long, are you?
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, I didn't think of that. I'm never sure on how to rate them. As like you said, I may think their violent but other people may think they're actually pretty tame.

I'm glad you like what I'm doing with the story.

The Cohen's don't come in for another few chapters, so there is a lot more of angsty!beaten!Ryan.

Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment :D
fifimom
Mar. 17th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
F--k ffnet and the horse it rode in on. I'm sorry I missed this over there. I going now to find it but I must admit that often I miss good stories because I don't really expect to find anything other than Malex and SS and I'm always kind of surprized when I find a "Sanity" or other great Ryan fiction. Thanks for posting here.
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Haha :)

I know what is up with all the Malex stories? I mean Seth/Summer stories I get because they were a big pairing in the show but Malex!

I'm glad you like Sanity. Thank you for all the reviews you have left me for that, I've been wanting to thank you for a while actually. I think I was a bit spoilt from all the reviews over all I recieved from Sanity!
mirella67
Mar. 17th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
It's violent, but if there's a point to the violence, then I don't mind. This looks to shape up as a good story.
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I hope you feel that way after a couple more chapters of violence.
beachtree
Mar. 17th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
Either we're all sadists, in which case you're among friends and have no worries, or you've tapped into something very powerful and compelling here. I'm not at bothered by the violence, mainly because I don't perceive it as being at all gratuitous, but essential backstory for establishing who Ryan is and why. You're giving us a jarring and shocking departure from our own realities and a shocking entry into his. That's what the show did, but using a more circuitous and less extreme manner.

Without doubt, you convey Ryan's vulnerability, despair, and compromised state. You definitely create the impression that he's prisoner in that household- and has been sentenced to that particular hell for so long that is the norm. His conditioned responses are testament to that.

You also emphasize how powerless he is. What Ryan wants to do and what he needs to do vs. what he can actually do is one enormous discrepancy. It's also clear that he's utterly alone. Trey has gone his own way for some time. Dawn apparently relies on him in ways he can't possibly fulfill, and Frank objectifies him in a completely inhuman way. I'm not sure what sort of controls Frank uses, but I'm not even quite clear on if Ryan is permitted to speak unless spoken to- and only to reply to Frank as directed.

You write Ryan's inner dialogue- in all of its hurt and torment- very hauntingly and movingly. I've always seen Frank as someone who made a lasting impression on Ryan as a violent, dangerous, self-serving bully of a man with little conscience and a real taste for alcohol and immediate gratification. I could envision someone capable of child and spousal abuse, along with armed robbery, as capable of far worse. If Trey was prepared to kill Ryan any number of ways, I could see Frank as having little regard for anyone's life other than his own.

I'm wondering just how traumatized Ryan will be as this unfolds. He's certainly at great physical risk, although I'd suspect he already sadly resembles a feral cat or stray dog who has been exposed to the elements and brutalized and battered and has far too many wounds and scars already. His emotional state is also a source of great concern. He's been kept on such a tight leash, apparently, and subjected to so much that could cause irreparable harm.

Sandy better be on top of his game!

I hope you continue with this. You've got me on board.
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Hey Beach! How are you?
I think I'm a tad bit sadist where Ryan is concerned :)

I agree with you about Frank. When Kirsten was busy trying to persuade Sandy that Frank had changed I was so annoyed and then he goes and impregnates Julie!!! I wrote this to get back at Josh.

I've just posted a post with links to the chapters I've posted on fanfic.net. That way I'm at the same place in the story in both fanfic.net and lj.

Thanks for the lovely comment :)
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chrisear
Mar. 17th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
Well, I've been posting it on fanfic.net but the people are reading but not sharing their thoughts.

hey hey i always comment. not the most useful comments but still ;-). so this is you on lj. I havent made the connection yet....

why isnt sanity here too? so now I am going to work through your tags page again.

philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Hey, it's nice to see you on here! I didn't make the connection either haha.

I do love your reviews, you're most generous. Other people aren't so, I see that over 300 are reading but I only get 4 people reviewing. It's very disheartening.

Sanity isn't on here. I only posted that on fanfic.net.
caligirl59
Mar. 17th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
OK,I admit it,I love Ryan hurt and suffering...but I also love it when things start to turn around for the poor boy and the crap is heaped on those that were mean to him...so really looking forward to the appearance of Sandy...soon I hope as I worry that Ryan cant hold on much longer.Not too long to wait I hope?
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to lie, it will be a few chapters till the Cohen's arrive but I promise Sandy will eventually arrive.

I've just posted a post that has links for all the chapter I have posted on fanfic.net. There are 3 more chapters on there.
brassebouillon
Mar. 17th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
I really love it and have read all the chapter on FFnet. Now I'm waiting for an update!!!
Your writing is really great and this AU is really interesting!
philippa_
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)

I'm glad you like and that you've read on.

Thanks for the comment.
mel39
Mar. 18th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Ouch, that's nasty. I'd have liked to see more than a glimmer of Frank's meanness in the show, to justify what we'd heard about him. And this is very, very mean!
philippa_
Mar. 20th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I felt the exact same way. Here, he's a little nastier than the Frank we saw :)

Edited at 2008-03-20 06:00 pm (UTC)
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )