Everything appeared as a blur. A young woman, perhaps in her early thirties, walked down an empty sidewalk. Her hazel eyes were fiercely fixed on the transparent air ahead of her. She was going home. Yes, that was where she was going, she told herself. But could she even call it that anymore? She pushed that thought out of her mind. She continued to step ahead, one leg behind the other. The rain started to drizzle harder. The round drops of rain bounced on her bare arm. She remained emotionless even when the drops stung her fresh wounds that were scattered all over her pale skin. Left leg forward, right leg forward, she continued.
The weed population overtook the patch of grass between the cracked road and the thin sidewalk. She stopped, bent over and pulled a dandelion off the ground. She blew gently on the feather-like whisks. One by one, they flew away, carried by the strong wind which now accompanies the moderate rain. She dug into her pocket and took out a wrapped sandwich. It was buttered bread with roasted turkey. She anxiously bit into it and savoured each bite. Only her mother could make a sandwich that good. Her mother was an amazing cook; in fact, she was good at everything. Maybe if she was like her mother then she wouldn't end up like this. No, she was fine. She was happy and she was going home to her husband, she tried to convince herself. For some reason, her mother had urged her to stay at her house.
"Bessie, why? How many times do you need to go through this to get it? Leave. You don't need him to survive," her mother tried to convince her with an undeniable desperation in her voice.
She shoved these words away. She was going back to where she belonged, where she was supposed to be. She gazed forward, though it was difficult to see anything at all. The black clouds conquered the sky and the rain became almost impenetrable.
Suddenly, a figure from behind grabbed her neck. Her heartbeats quickened. She turned her head about eighty-five degrees before the man pushed in front again. Still, she caught a glimpse of him. Of all his features, his eyes were the most daunting, almost like a void in his face. He threatened, "If you dare to move even one muscle, I will snap you tiny little neck. You understand?"
He loosened his grip on her neck. With his hand still constraining her shoulders, he grabbed her purse and clumsily pulled off her necklaces. The rain was easing off. By now, she could see that about a block away, there is a mini-plaza. The light was lit in one the windows. She glanced back at the man. He was browsing through her large purse and tossing out some things carelessly. She decided to run for it.
She sprinted with only the faint light in mind. Her right foot landed in a mud puddle and she lost her balance. Her head jerked back dramatically and her leg suddenly became inanimately pulled by gravity. But she didn't fall. She might as well has, because the one that spared her from landing in the mud was the man.
He glared at her and pulled on her hair tightly. Despite the pain, she remained silent. She just wished that he would shift to the back of her hair. The front of her scalp still ached from what happened last week- the incident that she ran away from.
"Little Blondie here trying to run away," he laughed. In a lower, coarser voice, "If you try to pull that stunt again, you will see what I'll do."
By now, she was whimpering softly. She whispered, "What do you want? I have nothing more to give."
He towered over her and scanned her. Somehow, he reminded her of someone. His eye shone, "Now, what's this?"
He was looking at her ring. "That must be worth something."
He yanked her hand towards him and tried to slide the ring out of her fourth finger. Her hand jerked away.
"No, leave that alone!" She shrieked. With her left hand, she clutched her other hand and tried to escape again. This time, she had even less success. She stepped, though with her left leg this time, into the half-dried mud puddle. He let her fall.
He snickered. Her round eyes were fixed on his deformed lips as his feet landed on her ribs. He lifted her long arms and bluntly pulled on her diamond ring. He said, "Remember what I said last time? I'm sorry, little girl. You disobeyed me."
In the water puddle in front of her, she could see a dull reflection of a car. She gathered all her strength and threw herself on the road. It felt as thousands of needles shot were pierced into her skin when she landed sharply on the bumpy road. The horn blared.
The man was shocked. He stood there as if he was a statue. He could not believe what he had just seen. After giving a cold look to her, the man sprinted. He had much more success at that then her.
Lying in the mud, she shuddered. She realized who he reminded her of. It was him. He attacked her, insulted her and taunted her the same way as he did. She remembered that day well.
That day, he slammed the door as he walked in the door. His nose was bleeding slightly and his cheeks were bright red. She gave him a tissue but he whipped her. He did not stop at that. The abuse and torture amplified. When she had had enough, she left. Behind her, she heard him yell, "Get back here!"
She closed her eyes. She was tired.
Today, she was going back until this occurred. Why did she do that? Every time she goes back, there is more pain. But now, there she was, lying in the mud. She lied there. She made no attempt to get up. She felt someone kicking her lightly. Someone said, "Should we call the police?"
"We're going to be late!"
"Let's just move her away from the road."
"Just hurry up."
Every muscle and joint in her body ached as the pair dragged her roughly to the sidewalk. She did not know how long she stayed there. It must have been a long time because the mud on her was drying.
"Miss. Miss? Miss! Are you okay?" A policeman dressed in his uniform asked.
The sharp sun rays hit her eyes as she unwillingly opened them. She squinted, "I'm fine."
"Are you Elizabeth Lisso?" He read from a driver's licence. She slid down and pushed on the floor to get up.
"Yes," She said, even though she felt like her body was wasting away.
"We've found a suspicious man who was running through a green light with few things in his hand. We searched him and found this. I presume this is yours?"
"Yes," She answered timidly, not making eye contact and trying to brush the dried pieces of mud off her shirt.
The police comforted her, "Miss, it's okay. He will not hurt you anymore. Would you like to clean up first or come to the station to file a report first?"
"Um," She looked down at her shirt and ripped pants. "I will clean up first."
She must have looked dazed because he questioned, "Do you know your way home?"
She was certain of where she lived. The police added, "Here is your ring. The rest of your possessions need to be kept as evidence for now. This is an exception."
He dropped it in her open palm. It rolled off her hand and onto the ground. It continued to roll, roll and roll. It plopped into a storm drain. The police watched dumbfounded, "Miss…"
"No, it's okay," She smiled.
She walked, in the opposite direction she set out on hours ago. The sun rested at the highest point of the sky. The air smelt fresh after the storm, but it was as if she smelt the smoky scent of roast turkey. Everything was really okay.