The bitter taste of blood filled my mouth as I scrambled away on my knees under the table. Gripping the closest leg, I spun my feet away from his steel toe boots kicking out and felt paint chip away between my fingers. The tile was cold under my bare calves and the smell of lemon bleach stung my nostrils. The radio hung by the extension cord off the edge of the kitchen island, its static noise filling the room after he had slapped it off the counter.
“Brig,” I cried, “stop this!”
His hands slammed down onto the island and I heard the supper I’d fixed for him fly across the floor. I could see a brown trail of tea leak across the floor, sliding towards me like a sweet snake floating in dirty ice cubes.
“You think this is a fucking joke? I won’t let you do this to me,” he yelled. His boot connected with the table leg and I felt it shutter above me. A plate fell off the edge and glass shattered around me in a cloud of white and sharp edges. I curled instinctively inward to become as small as possible; he was a towering rage at well over six foot and two hundred pounds above me. “I saw you, Emma. God damn it, I saw you!”
Panic cramped my muscles and fear had tightened my chest to an almost crushing weight. My hands shook so hard I had to force them between my thighs to keep them from reaching out. In the recesses of my frightened brain, I swore I heard the crack of the screen door but I knew it was just false hope created out of adrenaline.
No one was coming to save me.
Heat flooded my veins with the realization and I could practically feel my body vibrating with the words: Run. Run. Run.
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out? Do you think I’m stupid?” His voice was deeper, slurred with whiskey and graveled anger. My heart constricted at the trickle of blood beads in his palms but went cold at the thought of those hands killing me if I didn’t find a way out.
My husband was gone; a monster stood in our kitchen ready to choke the breath out of my lungs or crack open my skull.
“Brigham,” I whispered, pulling myself to my knees. Glass ground its way into my skin, little shock-waves of fire against the cool tile. I couldn’t see his face, just his hands clenched into fists at his sides and begged: “Please, just let me go. Don’t hurt me.”
His pacing footsteps stopped, hovering at the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Silence felt worse than his temper; I suddenly feared the quiet more than the fury. His boots disappeared from my line of sight and I heard my lifeblood hush to me now would be my only chance of escape.
I never heard him follow me as I fled, never heard him shout. My bare feet were stabbed with glass and metal and grit but I pulled myself from under the table and hurdled toward the door. My forward momentum threw me to my knees on the porch, skin splitting wide open and nails embedding themselves in my flesh. I crawled down the three steps off the porch and managed to climb into my truck, locking the door and flipping the key without looking up. My headlights lit up the porch like daylight and as I spit gravel in reverse, I finally saw him.
The pistol was under his chin before I could even brake and I watched the monster send himself back to hell.
Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou