She was breathing hard as she ran. She had snatched her purse, and ran from the house to her car, panicked mutterings under her breath cursing the car to be unlocked. He was bellowing out into the rain after her, drunk and furious, before hurling something blunt at the car, banging into the windshield with a loud crack as she ducked into the car, slamming the door and locking it behind her. He stood on the porch, out of the rain, and proceeded to wave his arms and howl at her in the car. She didn't hear him through the rain, and she started the car. With a moment of reprieve as she watched him, she was able to assess some of the damage herself.
What had begun as a rather calm evening had spiraled out of control, over a piece of lingerie that was, without question, too small for her. He insisted. When it didn't work, in his stupor, he took out his frustrations on her. She could feel the bruises forming already, and she could still feel her heart racing. She wasn't sure what instinct had set her to run away, but she now wondered if it had saved her life. She still had on an oversized, ripped t-shirt, but otherwise was naked in the car, and this left her feeling even more exposed, hurt, and vulnerable. She thought she had only glanced down for a moment, when she heard her phone ring in her purse. She glanced up, and saw that he was nowhere to be seen.
She looked at her phone- it was him. Hand shaking, she answered it.
“H-hello?” she stammered.
“Get out of that car right now bitch.” he called.
“No.” she said, trying to sound braver than she was.
“Get out of that car right now, or I will make you regret it for the rest of your life!” he howled back at her, his fury crackling in the phones speaker.
“No!” she reiterated, a tear dripping down her cheek.
“You've got NOWHERE to go.” he said, a menacing tone to his voice. “You got that bitch? You're mine. You'll always be mine! Now get out of that car!” he yelled.
“NO.” she said defiantly, hanging up on him.
She sat in silence for a moment, realizing the magnitude of what she'd done. After a mere 4 months with him, she was finally free. But, he was right, she hadn't any idea where she could even go to. She put the car in reverse, when he emerged again onto the porch of the house, brandishing a rifle!
“Shit! Shit! “ she yelped, hitting the gas pedal with her bare foot, sending it back down the driveway at an alarming speed. All the same, the figure took aim, and fired! The shot made a loud thud as it struck the car somewhere, but she could tell she hadn't been hit, so she spun the wheel wildly to get the car facing the right way. In the process, she plowed the back bumper into, and then over the mailbox. She put the car in drive when he fired again! This time, the shot went through the rear passenger window, shattering it, before striking the inside wall of the door opposite. She pushed the car into drive, and in a squeal of tires, pushed the car to nearly 60 miles an hour down their residential side-street, and into the rainy unknown of the night.
She drove a short while, gradually slowing down, as rain fell in through the broken side door window, soaking the rear seats of the car as she went. Her mind raced- what could she do? The logical thing to do would be to go to the police, or a shelter, or something. In most abuse cases, that is what you would do. However, the man who had just shot at her was a decorated police officer of the force, going on 10 years. His darker side was unknown to the public, and she was sure his friends in the police department would have no pity for her. She could already hear them conjuring up how she'd stolen this car, run over the mailbox, who knows what else. She wracked her brain for a solution, when one finally presented itself. It was a stretch, but she was nearly naked, with only a handful of items in her purse, so it was the best she could do. She drove a short ways until she found the intersection leading to the old county highway, and soon was driving out of the city.
Though it felt like ages, passing by darkened farms, worn road signs, and very little traffic on the largely disused stretch of road, when she saw the bright red barn near the roadway, with the little house behind it with the light on- he was home. She pulled the car onto the large open gravel driveway, maneuvering slowly around a large tractor parked along one side, before stopping before the house.
She climbed out again into the rain, and carefully made her way barefoot over the sharp, wet stones of the gravel driveway, before ascending some painted wooden steps to the door of the little farm house. She knocked a few times, and moments later, the door opened, showering her in light. Standing in the doorway, coffee cup in hand, was Art.
“Krysia?” he exclaimed, shocked to see her. “What happened to you!” he called, ushering her in from the rain, before he closed the door and turned to look over her wounds.
“I... I...” she trailed off, tears welling up.
“It was him wasn't it.” Art said, shaking his head. “That bastard. Please, come, warm yourself in the den. I'll light a fire in the fireplace for you.” Art said.
She cried softly at her misfortune, but was pleased to finally be somewhere that was safe. Art grabbed a throw blanket off of the back of the couch, and draped it over her- he hadn't said anything about her appearance, though she may as well have been naked. She was, mostly, and the white t-shirt was soaked, leaving nothing to the imagination. She took a seat on the couch, and at once an slender gray cat appeared, hopping onto the sofa beside her, before moving in close as if to ask for affection. A few moments later, a very old gray-muzzled golden retriever walked very gingerly into the room, and up to her. The old dog sniffed around her knees a bit, before silently lying at her feet.
She looked around the room- she'd been to Art's house before, but it was always changing. Artus "Art" Petrie was an structural engineer by trade, but an artist at heart- painting and woodworking being his specialties. Strange and colorful landscapes dotted with bright and surreal shapes lined the walls, or sat about in piles, some finished, some not. A carved gnome stood watch over one door, while what appeared to be an in-progress owl carving dominated a chair nearby. Beyond her was a huge fireplace, mostly clear of things, save for two stacks of binders on the mantle labeled “REPORTS”. She could see in the corner where a well-worn chair had a laptop seated on it where Art had been working on something rather dull dealing with a cracked smokestack or something.
Art returned with a hot mug of something, and handed it gently to her, before collecting up the cat into his arms, and taking a seat beside her. “I see you've met these two. This annoying little guy is Fitch.” he said, petting the cat's head a few times before releasing him to the floor. “This is Quinn. He's nearly 10, so he's doesn't do much anymore.” Art added, gesturing to the dog laying at her feet.
“They're nice.” Krysia said.
“Now, are you alright. Can I get you something? Can I take you somewhere?” Art asked.
“I... I left him.” she said.
“Good.” Art said. “He's a fiend, I'm glad you see it now too.”
“I... I don't know what to do...” she said, tears welling in her eyes again.
“It is going to be alright Krys.” Art said. “You are welcome to stay here for as long as you like. But please, if he has hurt you, we must take this to the police.” Art said.
“It's...” she began. “It's too dangerous.” she said.
This gave Art pause, as he considered what she had said. “Well, all the same, you are welcome to stay here, away from where that sociopath can get you, for as long as you like.” Art said.
The idea behind this one was to be more of a narrative, with her getting pregnant by one of the men, and then trying to hide from her evil ex as she gets bigger and bigger. To spoil the outline, in the finale she would have been trying to save Art from her ex's murderous rage, in which her ex was to wind up collapsing the smokestack foreshadowed here on the evil ex for the big finish. Alas, this is technically based on some real events, and it's not nearly as promising as some other prompts I've got going even now. So, onto the fire it goes!
Until next time...