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Her happiness shone through the collection of bags and the two tiny backpacks she carried, still managing to lead her little boy and girl, barely toddlers, tightly by the hands. She hummed attractively, and this kept them close to her, amid the busiest of streets as they were. Anyone looking upon them would smile as they passed, at the perfect picture they painted, of the easiness with which she held her motherly role. Passerbys would smile down on the children with pure thoughts and would reminisce about their own miniature adaptations.

This was the mother’s intention, to hide from the public with the mask of a smile, the embarrassment and panic which awaited her at home.

He had loved her once, as she had loved him dearly, but their debt had run too high while his patience had run out. The bags and backpacks hid her bruised arms, while her smile and tune hid her injured mind. As soon as the public of the town turned to the privacy of their street, the woman aged twenty years, as fear set heavily upon her person. Even her bright children, from whom she was still able to hide truth, were suspicious and wary, their sudden silence speaking louder than anything.

She knocked on her own front door, a stranger at home, and he opened it widely, the grin for his children stopping at the hatred for her which remained in his eyes. He quickly sent them off to play with borrowed toys while she hugged him for show and screaming inside, her fear for his person had all but died.

Such was the life of this single mother, who allowed her smile to linger in hopes of abating the anger she knew was to come. Without saying a word, he pushed her to their room, to their rickety mattress where she had never slept a wink. As he had every day, for weeks on end, he ripped off her clothes as she tightened her eyes. He yelled not a sound, let action dictate, and gripped her wrists tight, ravaging her and raping her well into the night.

Smiling cruelly near the end of his deed done, he went with a horrid satisfaction to dine with the children who he found he still loved. Not a sound escaped her lips, as she lay there and suffer, nor would a tear fall that night. She knew it would spark his anger, and cause yet another fight.

Supper finally done, and his exhaustion taking hold, he fell into bed and slept, completely out cold. She rose quietly, and tucked in her tots, sung for them softly until their breathing slowed. She tidied the house, then, and picked up their mess, fell asleep on the couch, not bothering to undress.

Morning came anew, with no hope for her, yet she donned both those bags and her happy disposition. She walked her babies to school, where they could socialize healthily, and out of the home, and she would smile with pride, her pain still unknown.