Rated R





Martha Kent went to the front door, opened it and shouted, “Clara … we leave for church in 5 minutes.  Come in and get ready!”


Martha stepped back and a blur of motion ran past her and up the stairs.  A minute later, Clara came hopping down the stairs and said, “I’m ready.  Let’s go!”


Martha said, “Clara, I said ‘church.’  This is Sunday.”


Clara said, “I know … I’m ready.”


Martha said, “No, you’re not.  Stop kidding around and get dressed!  And get your hair out of your face while you’re at it – braid it in a pony tail or tie it back with a bow.”


Clara said, “I am dressed … and I like my hair this way.”


Martha said, “You can dress like that to do your chores but NOT for church.”


Clara said, “God won’t mind.”


Martha said, “But I do.  Scoot upstairs and put on a dress.”  Clara looked down at her feet and didn’t move.  Martha asked, “Are you having trouble today?  I said SCOOT!”


Clara quietly said, “You are the one with hearing problems.  I told you before you bought those dresses that I would never wear any of them!”


Martha said, “Go upstairs right now and put on a dress.  Pick the one you want or I’ll pick one for you.”  Clara didn’t move, but her lower lip started trembling.  Martha turned to Jon, who had been watching in disbelief.  She said, “Jon, go get the car started.  We’ll be out as soon as Clara changes.”


Clara said, “No, Mommy!  We have to go now.  I don’t want to be late.  We missed three weeks already.  I don’t want to make God mad at me.  I need him to forgive me!”


Martha said, “We don’t have to be late.  You can change in two seconds.”


Clara said, “NO!  I don’t WANT TO!”


Martha said, “And I don’t want to be seen in church with you like that!”


Clara said, “Then I’ll sit in the back … by myself.”


Martha turned again and said, “JON!  OUTSIDE!  I swear that if ONE of you doesn’t start listening to me right now I’m going to scream!”


Jon quickly turned and left the house mumbling, “Too late for that, Dear.”


Martha roughly took Clara’s hand and began walking up the stairs pulling Clara behind her.  They went into the room where Clara’s clothes were kept.  Martha began unbuttoning Clara’s plaid shirt.  Clara whined, “Nooooooo.”


Martha found a second shirt under the first and a third under the second.  She asked, “How many of these did you put on?”


Clara mumbled, “Six.”


Martha said, “That’s ridiculous!  How can you even breathe with all these clothes on you?”


Clara mumbled, “… Don’t need to breathe.  You said … you said …. I was old enough to pick out my own clothes … and wear … what I WANT to wear!”


Martha said, “Obviously I was wrong.  I guess I’ll have to dress you every morning until you learn how.”


Clara said, “NO!  It’s NOT FAIR!”


Martha said, “No, it’s not.  It’s not fair that you won’t spend just two hours a week acting like a girl and dressing up so I can be proud of you.”


Clara cried, “You’re not proud of me?!!”


Martha said, “At the moment, NO!”  Clara stopped holding back.  She started crying in big sobs as her mother stripped her shirts off of her.  Martha said, “That won’t work!  Pull yourself together!”


Clara sobbed, “Krypto Two.  I want Krypto Two!”


Martha said, “You’re a big girl.  You don’t need him.”


Clara cried, “Don’t make me go to church naked!”


Martha said, “Stop being dramatic!  I’ll put you in the plainest dress I got for you.  It will be very modest – pretty but not showy.”


Clara said, “I hate those dresses!  I won’t wear ANY of them!”


Martha said, “When we went to the store, I gave you every opportunity to pick out a dress for church but you wouldn’t.”


Clara said, “You should have listened!  I told you I wouldn’t wear them and I don’t lie to you!  Dresses are awful!  If I wear a dress, they’ll see my legs … THEY’LL SEE MY LEGS!”


Martha said, “You have very pretty legs.”


Clara yelled, “They’re MY legs!  I DON’T HAVE TO LET ANYONE SEE THEM IF I … IF I … IF I DON’T WANT TO.  And I … and I … I DON’T WANT TO!”


Martha said, “Be quiet!  Look!  It’s a long skirt.  We’ll put long socks on you so no one will have to see your legs.”


Clara said, “They could still lift up my skirt and see my legs … and my butt!”


Martha said, “Don’t be silly!  No one will lift your skirt.”


Clara said, “I’ll never wear a skirt again.  NEVER!!!”


Martha said, “We can put white leotards on you.


Clara said, “NO!  No, no, No, NO, NO!!!”


Martha lightly swatted Clara on the bottom.  Clara shrieked, ran to the corner of the room and threw herself on the floor.  Martha grabbed Clara’s hand and tried to pull her to her feet, but Martha couldn’t move her.  Soon Clara was radiating so much heat that Martha couldn’t get near her.  Martha said, “I guess we’ll have to go to Church without you.”


Clara shrieked, “No Mommy!  I have to go.  I HAVE … TO … GO!!!”


Martha said, “Not unless you are dressed like a lady.  You are in trouble now … but if you try following us to church or run off to some other church while we’re gone, you have no idea what trouble you’ll be in then!  I won’t put up with you behaving like this.  Understand me?!”


Clara said, “No, Mommy!  It’s YOU that don’t understand!


Martha said, “I may not be as smart as you Clara Kent … but I know a thing or two … and as your mother, I have certain rights and responsibilities.”


Clara said, “God doesn’t care how I dress … he loves me for me … I thought you did too!  God doesn’t want me to dress in ways that tempt men to do bad things!”


Martha said, “Your father and I are judged by how well we take care of you.  Do you want people to think that we aren’t willing to buy nice clothes for you?”


Clara said, “I don’t care what people think!”


Martha said, “You’ll care when they decide that we’re not good parents and come to take you away.”  Clara screamed and cried louder.  Martha said, “Well, I guess you’re not going with us then.  I’ll see you after church and we’ll talk more about this.”


Clara said, “Don’t leave me here alone!”


Martha said, “Then put on the dress.”


Clara said, “NO!”


Martha said, “Goodbye.  See you in a couple hours.”


Clara screamed again.  Martha turned and walked out of the room.  She went downstairs and out the front door.  She got into the truck next to Jon and said, “Drive.”


Jon asked, “Where’s Clara?”


Martha said, “Drive, Jon, drive.  NOW!”


Jon put the truck in gear.  He looked in the rear view mirrors to watch Clara come out of the house in her baggy jeans and layers of plaid shirts.  He saw her stand and watch the truck pull down the driveway.  By the time they turned onto the road, Clara was walking towards the barn.  A half-mile down the road, Martha leaned forward and burst into tears.  Jon rubbed her back with his right hand.  He said, “It’s okay, Honey.  It will be all right.  By supper time, it will all be forgotten.”


Martha said, “Who was that, Jon?  Who WAS that?!  Clara has never been like that.  NEVER!  That wasn’t my Daughter … and I have no idea what to do with her.”


Jon said, “She’s just growing up.  We had to expect it sometime.  She has her own style – remember the ballerina dress/cowboy boots and hat ensemble?  She’s finally growing out of being that scared, passive little girl we found and is finally telling us what she wants.  We asked for her to do that.  Now she is.  She’s taking a stand and demanding the right to express herself.  And this isn’t the first time she’s stood her ground when she thinks she’s in the right.  How can you possibly have forgotten her hunger strike.  I thought she would never eat no matter what we did!”


Martha said, “No.  No.  This is something very different.  Something is wrong -- VERY wrong!






When Martha and Jon came home, Clara wouldn’t say a word or come within a dozen feet of them.  She wandered around the farm doing chores and making repairs, but she wouldn’t enter the house for meals or any other reason.  It didn’t matter if she was asked nicely to come inside or given a stern order.  She just wouldn’t do it.  She had never ignored Jon when he asked for something (except during her prolonged hunger strike when he told her to eat).  Now she refused any orders about going anywhere near him or Martha or the house.  Since Clara’s clothes were inside the house, Clara hadn’t changed what she was wearing since Sunday morning.  Jon even went as far as taking Krypto Two into the house thinking that Clara would come inside to get him.  She was visibly upset, but still wouldn’t come inside even to the only toy that helped comfort her.  Jon and Martha went to the loft in the middle of the night to talk to her, but it was obvious that she hadn’t been sleeping in the barn.  No one in the Kent household was sleeping much.  When Wednesday came and nothing had changed, Martha told Jon that she was going into town.  He asked her what she was planning to do, but she didn’t tell him.


Martha parked her truck in front of the Sheriff’s office, went inside and asked to talk to Sheriff Adams.  A few moments later, the Sheriff came to her office door, smiled at Martha and waved for her to come in.  She said, “Mrs. Kent, It’s a pleasure to see you again.  Would you care for a cup of so-called coffee?”


Martha forced a smile and said, “No thank you.  Do you have a little time … to talk?”


Sheriff Adams said, “Sure thing.  I appreciate any excuse to get a break from all the paperwork.  My predecessor wasn’t big on making legible reports or filing much of anything.  Pull the door shut behind you and take a seat.  I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you look awfully tired.”


Sheriff Adams walked to the other side of her desk while Martha lowered herself into a chair.  When the Sheriff was seated and giving Mrs. Kent her undivided attention, Martha said, “When you visited us a few weeks ago and had that little talk with Clara, you told us to be patient with her.  I’m not used to having to be patient with her.  She’s usually such an angel.  I always have to be careful with her to make sure that she isn’t anticipating what I want to hear from her … and just telling me whatever she thinks will make me happy.  She can be very devious in that way.  She usually wants to be whatever we want her to be.  But what we want her to be ….”  Martha started to cry softly, but continued, saying, “… is happy.  And I never know for sure if she is or not.  … Well … right now I know.  I know she isn’t happy at all.  She’s very different.  She’s very scared of me and my husband.  She won’t talk to us.  She won’t come near us.  She looks at us like we’re wild animals who want to devour her.  She’s really hurting … and so are Jon and me.  After your visit, we were worried … but nothing seemed to change.  Everything was fine.  I had almost forgotten about your warning to be patient with her because we were the same family we had always been.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “What happened?”


Martha said, “I insisted that she dress up for church.  She wouldn’t.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “Did you hit her?”


Martha said, “I lightly hit her on the bottom just to show her I was serious.  That’s the first time I ever did anything like that.  Believe me, she felt no physical pain … but it had to be emotionally devastating for her.  I’ve whacked her bottom many times … playfully and a lot harder than that when we’ve been fooling around.  Just love pats.  She always laughs.  This time she knew I was disappointed in her … and she screamed like a banshee!  It cut through me like a knife.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “Did she give in?”


Martha answered, “No.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “Did you?”


Martha answered, “No.  I left her at home.  We went to church without her.  She wanted to go too.  She really, really wanted to go.  Clara is NOT a disobedient child.  Something’s different.  Something’s wrong.  And what you said the day you were out at our place leads me to believe that you know something about it.”


Sheriff Adams said, “Obviously, she hasn’t told you.  She was so ashamed and she begged me not to tell you.  I promised to give her the opportunity to tell you herself – and I urged her to do just that.  I was going to visit you tomorrow just to check in and make sure you knew what happened.”


Martha said, “There isn’t anything Clara couldn’t share with me.”


 Sheriff Adams said, “I know that … but I guess she couldn’t bring herself to tell you.”


Martha said, “Tell me what?!”


Sheriff Adams said, “Someone hurt your Daughter … made her do things she didn’t want to do … made her submit to ….”


Martha interrupted, “NO ONE could force my little girl to do anything that she doesn’t want to do!”


Sheriff Adams said, “That’s a pretty strong statement.”


Martha said, “It’s the truth.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “Has she had martial arts training or something?”


Martha said, “Something like that.”


Sheriff Adams said, “So if she isn’t of the mind to do something, she won’t do it?  Didn’t you just finish telling me how obedient she was?  Hasn’t there ever been a time when you told Clara to go to bed before she wanted to … or told her to eat something she didn’t want to … or told her to change her clothes or get a bath when she wanted to do something else?”


Martha said, “That’s entirely different.”


Sheriff Adams said, “She respects your authority?”


Martha said, “Yes … that’s it.”


Sheriff Adams said, “Over her own judgment?”


Martha answered, “Usually … yes.”


Sheriff Adams said, “Do you think that she would respect the law?”


Martha said, “Definitely.”


Sheriff Adams asked, “Or a man that represents the law?”


Martha said, “Wait a minute ….”


Sheriff Adams asked, “And willingly submit to punishment prescribed by law and administered by a law enforcement officer?”


Martha said, “What are you saying?”


Sheriff Adams continued, “Or submit to someone else’s will if she thought that you or your husband were threatened?  Or if she felt that man could and would say something to you that would make you stop loving her?”


Martha said, “Oh my God!”


Sheriff Adams said, “Your Daughter has weaknesses that can be exploited, Mrs. Kent.”


Martha said, “Oh my God! OH MY GOD!  Did he rape my Daughter?  Did that bastard rape my little girl?”


Sheriff Adams said, “No, but it was pretty awful.  He touched her … made her touch him … and made her feel responsible for what was happening.  He told her that she made him do what he did by being too pretty.  After going through an experience like that, she doesn’t want to be beautiful anymore.”


Martha said, “But it wasn’t her fault.”


Sheriff Adams said, “I told her that … but words won’t convince her.  She’s not taking any chances.  She wants to make sure that what happened to her never happens again.  She even blames herself for not saving Sheriff Ethan’s life … thinks she could have pushed him out of the way of that truck.  Thank God that she was too scared of him to try it.  They could have both died.  It will take time, Mrs. Kent -- lots of time.  You might even want to consider getting a family therapist.  Watch her to make sure she isn’t cutting herself.”


Martha said, “But … but ….”  Martha leaned forward and put her head on the desk and cried.


Sheriff Adams got up from her chair and put a hand on Martha’s back.  She leaned closer and said, “I’ll leave you alone for a while, Mrs. Kent.  I wish I could do something … but I’m out of my depth here.  I can’t even pretend to have any answers for you.  But that little girl is your daughter and you’ll find a way to do what’s best for her.  I know that in my heart.”






Martha parked the truck in front of the house.  She spied Clara near the barn.  She got out of the truck, smiled to try to comfort Clara and walked towards her daughter.  When she got within twenty feet, Clara moved away to avoid her.  Martha followed her around the yard saying, “Clara … come here.  Please, come here.  Mommy isn’t angry anymore.  Please, Clara.  Please!”  Martha never got closer than 15 feet from Clara.  Finally, Martha sat on the ground, put her face in her hands and started to cry.  Clara stood and watched her for about ten minutes … then she walked over, sat in Martha’s lap and put her arms around her Mother’s neck.  Martha said, “My baby ….”


Clara said, “I’m scared, Mommy.”


Martha said, “Not of me, Honey.  Please don’t be scared of me!”


Clara said, “I’m scared of what you might make me do.”


Martha said, “I want to show you some things I bought.”  Martha stood up with Clara in her arms.  She carried Clara to the truck and put her down by the passenger door.  She got out a bag.


Clara whined mournfully, “Oh, no!  Please, no!”


Martha said, “Please trust me.  I’ll show you the pants first.”


Clara said, “Pants?”


Martha said, “Yes, these are thick cotton pants … like sweat pants that people jog in.  And these are petticoats.  You can put them over the pants … as many as you want to put on.  And here is a baggy dark dress that will go over everything.  It’s very plain.  It’s not very pretty at all.”


Clara said, “It’s ugly.”


Martha said, “I know.”


Clara said, “I LOVE it.”  Clara jumped forward, buried her face against her Mother and wrapped her arms around her.  She sniffled and said, “Thank you, Mommy.  I love you.  … and I’m sorry for being bad.”


Martha said, “And I’m sorry … I’m sorry I was insensitive … and pushed so hard.  Anytime you want to … you can talk to me about it.  There is no need for you to be frightened – not of small places, not of men … not of what men want or expect from you.  You can be indestructible … if and when you decide to be.  You have nothing to be ashamed about.  I know everything and I am very proud of you … no matter what I said when I was angry.  I couldn’t love anyone more than I love you.  Just let me know when you are ready to talk about it.  I’ll be here.  I’ll always be right here.  I want everything to be all right again.  And I know that it will be … someday.”