as Eveline Hood
Have you ever wondered what fear tastes like? Like afraid for your life because this time it might be the end of it kind of fear? If not, count yourself among the lucky ones. To me, fear tastes like metal; like I’ve been sucking on a penny for too many hours. Coppery. Like blood. It feels acidic and it’s a burning itch in the middle of your back that you can’t get away from because reacting in any way gets you hurt. Not reacting does to but it’s a case of the lesser evil and when you are afraid, it’s a very real choice.
It feels heavy in here, too thick, the air and my chest feels like there is an anvil on it. Every sound is making jump, even the wind rustling the leaves outside is too much for my heart to take. It’s only 3 pm. He won’t be home for hours yet, at least three and that is plenty of time. I’ve been visiting instead of cleaning and he will be irate if it isn’t done.
He could be home early. It’s happened before and I was caught unaware. The thought terrifies me and I clean faster. Dirt isn’t always on the surface kiddo, he says when he finds dust on the television or on the picture frames and that usually comes with a slap across the head or even a gut punch. It’s true though. Dirt doesn’t always show on the surface. On the surface, he appears to be the most personable around, easy-going and likable even. A loving husband and hard worker. And it was true, in the beginning. He was that way. The cracks in his mind only started to show after we’d married.
I never know when it will come, or for what reason. Even the small talk about his day could cause a lash out, for the cracks to widen further and allow the monster out. It could be as simple as he wants steak and I made spaghetti. Sometimes it’s not even my fault. I’m just the punching bag he uses when he can’t get to who he wants. Lucky them. I’m shaking so badly and I dropped the fucking wine glass he wanted with dinner last night. Now there’s blood everywhere and I think I need stitches but I won’t go get them. Unless I have to. Maybe next week. Maybe… God I hate my life.
The door slams outside and my heart is slamming against my ribs so hard it hurts. There is no noise and my heart stutters. Silence. Bad. I call out hellos, putting a false cheer in my voice as I try to wipe up the drops of red that dot the white countertop. Then he is there and he is demanding to know why there are dishes in the sink and why there is blood on his counter. He’s had a bad day. Jesus it’s going to be bad.
Turn around with a wince and hold up my hand to show him the cut. I wrapped my hand in a facecloth I found on the table and the red is already seeping through. Then the world is white and blaring, an ocean of light and I am drowning, choking on nothing. Maybe this is Heaven but I’m scared it’s just more Hell. The brimstone is making my head throb and my ears buzz and ring. There is no pain, thankfully but my face is over warm and wet. Numbness. I won’t come away easy this time and maybe I will be finally free of this never-ending limbo.
There is a lot of noise. Male voices roaring and shattering sounds. There are people here, talking so low I can’t hear them at all. I’m still in the ocean of light and the Angels voices are muffled. Then the light has colour and I can see through a haze men in white and I think, finally they’re taking me away haha. I’d laugh but my body hurts so badly I would likely scream instead and the best I can do is let the hot tears flow from my eyes. I hate to cry. I wish they would shut that bitch up that keeps shrieking, it’s hurting my ears.
The doctors are back, talking to me about my injuries and I don’t understand what they are telling me. I hurt but no worse than I have before, unless you count my face. That is agony and they keep wanting me to answer them. One of them touches my hand and I try to pull away, from the touch as much as the pitying expression on her face. She is telling me that security has had to remove him from the room and the hospital itself. She wants to know when this all happened.
Two days ago. I suffered in silence, alone, while he worked days and called into my job claiming I had the flu and would be out of commission a while. Two days of struggling to breathe and not being able to eat or drink before he got me here. Oh he’s sorry, he will say, but I doubt he has one iota of remorse. His demon won’t let him. Again, it’s all about the show. I’m tired of performing and pretending. But the fear keeps me playing the game.
The doctor watches me fight myself, her dark eyes intelligent and she doesn’t understand a thing about survival. She tells me there are places and launches into the spiel that I’ve heard often enough, but am unable to take advantage of. I’m so isolated. So far from the people who love me and want me safe, so far away from everyone who knows me because he had to be in control. I’m too far away from anyone who could rescue me. I have no one to mourn me when I am gone and I wish I had died this time. I sigh and shake my head when she tries to hand me the pamphlets. She doesn’t get it. None of them do. I have nowhere to go and no way to run. He would find me. Only his friends are here, his family, and I know they won’t believe me.
I see him in the doorway, holding a bouquet of roses and some chocolate wearing a sheepish smile. Of course he knows I’ll come back home and that I will have to forgive him, and it will be good for a while and then I will be back here again. The doctor is yelling at him to get out and paging the desk for security when he sits on the edge of the narrow bed and gives his excuses, how it is my fault for pushing him to it. He loves me so much he can’t control himself. I have to try harder and keep loving him and how I have to forgive him for his actions.
The divorce papers are signed already and will be delivered to him the moment I leave this place. I will have to run with only what I have and hope one day I can recover. He will look for me and never stop. The other doctor called a few people and they will be here in two more days. They hope to pack some of my belongings but he will have destroyed everything by then. My mouth tastes like pennies again when he strokes my cheek with the same hand he punched me with, and I nearly gag when he tells me to keep my mouth shut from the flood of copper.
Two more days. Just two more…..
Coming to eBook and paperback in 2017