And heard chains rattle.
When the mother turned on the light, she saw her four children shackled and chained to the wall.
The youngest laid curled up and very still. She had been like that for a while now. The oldest child looked at her with dark eyes similar to her own.
“Please,” the child said. “Make dad stop.”
The mother pursed her lips, breaking out into a sweat as she clutched the cross that hung heavy around her neck. Her eyes were bruised and her figure too thin, but she had to believe.
She flipped the light back off.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child,” she murmured.
She shook her head and trembled as she went back up the stairs, her words whispering back into the darkness.
“Spare the rod. Spoil the child.”