The Beast of Montenegro

“You must endure pain”, Mrs. Crane would say. “Like this family has. We are everything you have. Family is important, remember that.”

Ms. Crane would point to the window when she said those words.

“We are not like the others, we are different and unique.” Mrs. Crane would continue.

Her mother had a way of making her feel contrite. Guilt was how her mother raised her. Mina could never cease feeling ashamed or afraid. That was how it was growing up in the Crane family. That was how Mina felt every day. Though, she was an only child, Mina wasn’t completely alone.

In her room, Mina spoke to two kind ghosts, Alena and Natalia whom she was able to see. Mina couldn’t recall when they first appeared to her, but her darkness was illuminated by their florescent specter.  They gave her the attention and compassion her parents never did.

The ghost protected Mina, especially when it came to her father. They knew he was short tempered and belligerent towards Mrs. Crane, and though, the first years of Mina’s life he ignored her, he eventually began to take notice of her. The ghosts would forewarn her when her father arrived. Though, Mina believed she was the only one to see them, she never told anyone about them. They made her promise to keep that a secret.

“People that see ghost have a terrible fate”, they would tell her. “Worse in life than in death. It’s never a good sign among the living to see ghosts. Many believe it’s a warning that something horrible is about to happen.”

“Will something bad happen to me?” Mina would ask, thinking of her troubles.

“Don’t worry, child,” Alena would comfort her. “You haven’t been damned.”

Mina wanted to believe them.

 

The Beast of Montenegro

Mrs. Crane, like Mina spent her days repined inside the apartment, waiting for Mr. Crane to return. Mrs. Crane was a solemn figure dressed in a black dress, who reproached Mina with her eyes. Mina was afraid of her mother, but she was more terrified of her father. She too waited for him. Not because he might bring food or warmth, but, because when he came home hell would begin for them all.

When Mr. Crane finally came home he was often drunk and bellicose. It didn’t take long for him to start a fight with his wife. He would assault her leaving her bloodied and bruised, but Mrs. Crane was stubborn. She wouldn’t dare leave him.

When he exhausted his energies he would leave and not come back until the next day. Mr. Crane didn’t need to be drunk to be violent. There was something seething inside of him. Mina could see it in his eyes. His pupils were completely dark, lacking any human qualities to them.

Mina was afraid of her father and when he pelted Mrs. Crane, Mina stood by helpless. For some reason, he would spare his child from the beatings. In the Crane household, there was nowhere to run, nobody that cared to stop him. It was common to hear husbands hit their wives and it was common for nobody to get involved. This was life on Z street.

The days would lapse one onto another. There was never a change of routine. Her father would come home in the evening and sometimes never at all. If Mina was lucky she would find a piece of molded bread for dinner. When her father returned he would be infuriated for the lack of food. He often mocked Mrs. Crane and called her terrible names in front of his daughter.

“She’s not what you think she is,” he would say in a conniption. “She’s a monster. Don’t let her fool you.”

Mrs. Crane would accept the insults and beatings while Mina watched in despair. She wanted to stop her father, but she couldn’t. She feared someday he would kill her mother and that scared her even more. She never left her mother alone, hoping her presence would prevented him from harming her further.

As Mina got older, her father never became tired on preying on her mother. His rage only seemed to thrive and soon he would turn on his daughter. What changed, nobody could say? Mr. Crane was unpredictable and he did as he pleased. Despite the constant abuse, Mrs. Crane taught Mina to be obedient and loyal to the family.