Feeling a little bold after the 20 Day writing challenge and scoffing at my own whingeing about not writing more short stories, I have embarked on a journey to perhaps share some of my short stories, that have til now remained unpublished. Some are linked, some are not, but all have a particular piece of art that spark the story, or the story sparked the art. Please remember people in the images are character, and do not necessarily represent the person in the story.
She thought she had found the man of her dreams, he was handsome and charming and seductive. She finally understood what passion was, she could understand the term whirlwind romance, for that is what it was. He stormed in and swept her off her feet…all the cliché’s applied to this man and this marriage. It was too soon they all said, “what do you really know of this man”, they asked? She did not care, she was in love.
It was not long before he showed his true colors, especially as the child within her belly grew and so did his sulky, childish moments. He became moody and petulant and distant, he often left her to her own devices, she thought it was just an adjustment, once the baby arrived he would be back to his charming self and the three of them would live such a happy family life.
Then the drinking and the abuse started, confused and scared, she was too ashamed to ask for help and became withdrawn. She kept wondering what had happened to the man she loved, the man she married, what had she done to deserve this treatment. Then the hitting started, he would come home drunk and enraged and lash out, she had provoked him, surely she had, why else would he attack her? She tried and tried to do her best, look her best, cook her best. Nothing it seemed was enough.
One night, he was particularly enraged and he pushed her, hard. She fell to the floor, landing heavily in the last stages of her pregnancy. The pain was excruciating, she knew something was wrong, very wrong. She pleaded with him to take her to the hospital, he refused and left the house, left her crying and in pain and so scared for her baby. Out of desperation, she rang her Mother to come help her, quietly in the middle of the night her Mother arrived and took her to the hospital, too late she whispered, she arrived too late. As the dawn broke, her stillborn baby was born, perfect, untouched, unbroken, but no signs of life. She cradled her baby to her breast and cried, tears of shame and sorrow and heartbreak for the life it would never know. Her Mother asked if she would come home now, “Now you ask? No, what does it matter now?” she answered back in a cold dead tone, for that was how she felt, cold and dead inside.
She changed that night, she became cold, withdrawn and unapproachable. She did not care what happened to her; she had failed her child, she had failed herself. He still drank, he still hit and hurt her, but it didn’t matter, she didn’t care. She wore her bruises like a shield of armor. The years passed, the stares and whispering continued, why did she stay? Where would she go? Her parents scorned her and told her it was her fault, she should never have married him. They never understood. They never did try again to take her away.
It was several years later, she realized that again she was with child, created out of violence and hatred, this was not a child of love, of family, but it was her child. She came up for air, as it were and became stronger within herself, she could not, would not let him hurt this child. She formed a plan, this time she had to get away, there was no one to save her. Out of the abyssal depths of despair, she started to prepare for her journey, her departure. She would no longer wait to be saved, she would save herself. For she realized that was what she had been doing, waiting for someone to save her.
She waited till he left, he always left to meet his cronies, to drink, to gamble, perhaps even other women, she no longer cared, and with him none the wiser, she slipped out into the cold night, never to be seen by him again. She had secretly met other women, other survivors who agreed to help her, how could they not. What he never saw was her secret meetings, the phone calls, the emails. Not that he really cared, but it was all kept hidden. She met at the arranged spot, at the agreed time and day and a car waited for her, to carry her off to her new life. As she quietly sat in the back seat, she sighed, she had done it, escaped her wretched life. She had no idea where she was going, not really, all she knew was that he would never harm her or her baby.