This story is by Dawn Charmaine and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
She slammed the door shut behind her grabbed her red coat and jumped into her black boots. She had to deal with her actions. There were consequences. She needed a reprieve. She looked at her red hands, shoved them in her pockets rubbing them against the soft fur.
Walking through the quiet park near her house will be enough isolation for now. She rinsed her hands in a nearby pond. High above the trees, loud,cawing ravens kept guard. The sound was deafening on the clear, nippy Fall day in 2016. She sat upon a huge tree trunk to reflect and wondered how it came to this and why everything changed so drastically.
She felt a little peace, perplexed but relaxed. She thought of Grant coming home again after one of his many trips. Ten years ago at that very park they met while jogging. She didn’t notice him at first but he noticed her many months before and had to finally make his move. That day her ear phones were on and she never noticed he was talking to her as he uninvitingly joined her for the jog.
Her peripheral vision showed him and she immediately moved to the right to allow him to pass. He kept along with her at the same pace. She looked over and he smiled. She returned the warmth, simultaneously pulling the earphones out of her ears. She stopped jogging and they both conversed. He told her many times he saw her jogging and he wanted to talk to her but didn’t have the nerve. Mary was willing to accept the friendship that day.
Mary was young, beautiful, single and lived alone in her nearby house. Grant was also single with chiseled looks that most found attractive. He lived on the other side in his deceased parent’s home which he shared with his brother. He was an entrepreneur at his IT company. Mary was attending university, working toward her degree as an English Professor. Her last relationship lasted two years before she broke it off. He was too controlling. Grant was married for three years and was divorced two years ago. He had casual encounters but nothing serious. When he set his eyes on Mary, he immediately liked her. They started dating a short while after and Mary was ecstatic.
Before Grant, she was with Greg. They met at the university.. She eventually moved in with him and everything was right in their world. Then came the day when she found out she was pregnant. Greg was ecstatic and wanted them to get married right away. Mary was unsure but considered it and they exchanged vows at a simple courthouse nuptial where two of their closest friends witnessed. She was only three months into the pregnancy when she lost the baby. Stresses at the university where she worked part time in Administration and her studies consumed her every effort and time. The day it happened she was out shopping with Lisa, her best friend since kindergarten.. Returning home, she casually and momentarily unconscious of her pregnant state, picked up a heavy bag to place it on the counter. The excruciating stomach pains caused her to bend over and she began bleeding profusely. She was haemorrhaging. She lost the baby.
At the hospital Greg blamed her for the loss. She was also disappointed but of his attitude. The relationship became strained and after a few months they divorced. It was amicable with Greg realizing he was wrong. It was too late. Mary threw herself into her work and studies.
Two years later she met Grant. Apparently, Grant was also controlling but he never divulged to Mary anything of his former marriage. When Lisa met Grant for the first time, she told Mary that Grant was not whom she thought he was. But Mary was unphased.w. He treated her with respect and kindness. He listened to her and was polite to her family and friends. His friends and family adored her. She fell in love with him.
Sitting on the tree trunk, recollecting the past, other memories daunted her. The first time they argued was because he wanted her to get pregnant. She wanted her degree but he was adamant. That day she saw a side of him that scared her: that was hard for her to believe. She confided in Lisa who was not surprised. After her decision to not get pregnant Grant’s attitude became strange. His temper was out of control. There were times he almost hit her. He was jealous when she spoke to co-workers, friends and family. The abuse began. She made excuses of her bruises to everyone. When Lisa went to meet Mary at the university she noticed Grant there. He was being inconspicuous. Lisa later asked her if she saw him. Mary never saw him that day. Later, she asked Grant about it and he began abusing her verbally and physically. He threw her on the ground, shouting obscenities while punching her. She was distraught. She was afraid. That night he raped her in bed. He told her if she said anything to anyone he would kill her family. The next morning he left to go on a trip. She had deadlines, exams and couldn’t uproot herself immediately. He knew where she worked and went to classes. She was trapped. He went home two nights later and jumped on top of her and raped her while she slept. She was mortified. It was horrific. She was ashamed and couldn’t tell anyone, especially Lis. She bottled it all up inside. She endured her pain and the monstrosity.
Grant raped her each time he came home from a trip. But the night before, she planned for his onslaught.
About 2:30 am she pretended to be in bed but she was standing at the corner of her bedside. . She previously placed an iron on the side of her bed and taped it down. She heard him coming quietly up the stairs. He quietly opened and closed the door. He couldn’t see her in the usually pitch dark room and thought she was asleep. He jumped upon her but was greeted with the iron. As he pounced, his erection hit the iron and he screamed in pain. Mary grabbed the heavy iron lamp beside her bed and whacked his head. He rolled over to the other side of the bed with his hands between his legs. She turned on the light and looked at him.
“It’s over now Grant. You will never rape or abuse me again.” He looked at her with disdain ; writhing and weakened. He advanced toward her but she whacked him again and he fell back on the bed. He was bleeding through his ear and head. She lifted his head. He was dead. She wrapped a blanket around him and coddled him so the police will believe her care.
Mary was already dressed to go to the park. She sat on the bed, looking at the corpse, trembling and trying to catch her breath at this terrifying moment. She wiped the iron, placing it back in the closet. She left everything as it was; replacing the iron with another contraption. Now she had a reprieve. She left the park , called the police, told them while she was asleep a burglar entered her room and she killed him not knowing it was her husband.
The police arrived as she was in the kitchen. One asked,
Being still spaced out and crying uncontrollably she answered,
“He was my husband but I didn’t know it was him at the time. He was supposedly away on a business trip and was returning tonight. I was in my bed when he came and without making a sound he jumped on top of me. I was masturbating and had my vibrator on. As he jumped his erection hit my vibrator which is big and hard. I thought it was a burglar and I immediately grabbed the lamp and hit him. He was moving and moaning and I hit him again. I really thought he was going to kill me. After I turned on the light I saw that it was Grant and I couldn’t believe I just attacked my husband.”
She was in hysterics. The officers looked around the room, collected evidence and called the coroner. Mary was taken to the station for questioning. She stuck to her story except to Lisa with whom she confided. Lis was saddened about what Mary silently endured for such a long period.
With tears, she hugged her and said,
“No woman should ever have to go through anything like that. If it happened to me I would have done the same thing. Differently, but with the same end result.”
There was a court case. Mary walked out of the courtroom a free woman. She smiled and whispered under her breath, “ I made sure that you will never touch me again Grant.”