Eve Eggers was the youngest of five children and the only girl. Her brothers tormented her in what they thought of as a fun and delightful way. Eve disagreed and told them that fun was never involved, just the torment. Her brothers laughed and continued with their nasty ways, leaving Eve bruised, sometimes broken and battered. As she grew older Eve was less and less inclined to take the constant punishment from her four evil brothers. Her parents did nothing to protect her and told her that boys were rough and tumble and not to take it personally. The school eventually called and told Eve’s parents that they were sending an officer to their house because they believed that Eve was being physically abused, since she was constantly black and blue, cut and swollen. The Eggers’ told the school it was all good fun. The school disagreed.
Eve was happy that someone was finally going to look into her beatings. The officer came, saw the four large and very strong boys and smiled. “Ah,” he said, “I had three older brothers myself,” then he had a cookie and left. Eve saw that she was on her own.
Later that night, after being pushed down the stairs for the thousandth time, Eve took a bat and broke the bones in her brother’s legs. She laughed and said, “This is all good fun, Michael. Just your sister, having a lark. You know how girls are.”
She went into Peter’s room and kicked him in the stomach a couple of times with her pointy shoes. “You know,” she said, as she took his penknife and cut his arm, “I can see why you like this. It really is fun, but only on this side of it, believe me. I’m so glad you all ate the pudding I made tonight. The extra ingredient you tasted was a drug that made you sleep so soundly, brother mine.”
She skipped to the next room and the room after that. She left her brothers in quite a messy state. When she was finished, she picked up her packed bag and fled into the night. She purchased a train ticket with the money she took from her brothers’ rooms and went to the city.
Life was difficult for a while, but Eve was used to difficult, so did what she had to do in order to survive. She took menial jobs and slept where she could. One rainy Tuesday morning she saw a sign in the window of a woman’s clothing store asking for a cleaning woman. She was hired, with reservation, since she looked quite pitiful, after all. But she told the woman in charge, that if she was not happy with her work, she did not have to pay her and she would leave quietly.
Eve’s work was perfect. She continued to sleep outdoors until she had enough money to rent a small apartment. Every night, before she went to bed, Eve looked into the mirror and smiled at herself. She thought of what she had done to her brothers and rejoiced in the fact that she escaped from their brutality. Empowered, she went to her twin bed and curled up with Twinkle, a ginger cat she found in the alley and took home.
Once Eve had the shop in tip-top order there was little to do but maintain the job she had already done, but as she walked past the display window she noticed the dresses and models looked rather limp and out of sorts. Without much thought, she climbed up onto the ledge and went to work. She moved everything around, took things from the shop and turned the window into a delightful splash of color and beauty.
When the owner, Mrs. Nightingale, came in at nine o’clock she saw a line of women waiting to enter. They were chatting happily and pointing at the window, nodding in agreement. Eve was afraid she had done something wrong but Mrs. Nightingale was extremely pleased.
“I didn’t know you had an artistic flair,” she said to Eve.
“I just changed a few things around,” muttered Eve.
“You shall do it again and again, my dear,” said Mrs. Nightingale. “From now on you are in charge of the window treatment.”
Eve couldn’t believe her luck. Every week, people came to see what was in the newly decorated window. Eve was so busy that Mrs. Nightingale had to hire a new cleaning woman, so that Eve had more time to work on her designs.
Eve was suddenly well dressed and saving money. The customers sought her advice when making purchases and she became a saleswoman as well as a designer. Eve was happy, Mrs. Nightingale was happy and the customers were happy as well.
On the night of October 4th, Eve was closing the shop when she heard a woman scream. She ran to alley behind the shop and saw a man beating a woman with a stick. She never slowed down, she just threw herself at the man and knocked him to the ground. She bit him, kicked him and screamed in his face. He hit her with his fist and she smiled. The man blinked. Eva smiled again and her eyes went a little scary. She reached for the stick and pressed it against the man’s throat as hard as she could. “See,” she said softly, “this is supposed to be fun. It’s just boy stuff, right?” The man gurgled and tried to push her off. But Eve had him pinned down, the same way her brothers held her to the ground so that they could torture her. The man’s face eventually turned a lovely shade of purple and even in the dark, Eve immediately though of how wonderful that color would look if made into a velvet skirt with a matching jacket. The man finally stopped fighting and lay still. Eve waited a moment, to make sure he wouldn’t move, and then she removed herself from his body. She kicked him once then went over to the weeping woman and helped her to her feet.
“I’ll call the police,” she said to the woman.
“I think he needs a hospital,” said Eve, looking at the man. “He might have a broken rib.”
“I think he’s dead,” cried the woman.
“No, you just have to know the pressure points in the neck, that’s all. I just knocked him out,” laughed Eve. “He’ll be fine.”
The women went into the shop and called the police who arrested both of them immediately. They were charged with attempted murder. The man was taken to the hospital and give the finest care The women were placed in dark, damp cell.
“There’s something very wrong with this situation,” said Eve.
“I agree,” said the woman, holding her broken arm tenderly.”
The women were held overnight. During that time they made plans to start a vigilant group that would come to the aid of women who were being attacked by men. Mrs. Nightingale got the women out of jail and demanded that the beaten woman be given medical attention. She brought a reporter from The Times with her and the reporter took photographs and the women’s’ statements. The story was front page news. Women were outraged, men said that the man was probably just fooling around and having fun.
Eve had the reporter get a copy of her mug shot so that she could frame it. Now, every night before she goes to bed, she looks into her own eyes and sees the fury there. She sees the thin smile, that may go unnoticed by others. Most of all, sees her power. The thing she doesn’t see…is fear.