He awoke to the flick of a lighter. Opening his eyes slowly, his head pounding in time with his heart, his hands bound steadfast on either side of him, he spotted a blurry silhouette standing against the wall. The only color was the orange glow of their cigarette.
"Who…?" he choked out, coughing as bloody saliva got lodged in his throat.
"Nice to see you awake, honey," a familiar voice said and the light above him flicked on. He slammed his eyes shut against the bright, onslaught of the florescent bulb, his stomach churning as another wave of pain washed through him.
"How did you…?" he slowly opened his eyes.
"Baseball bat, sweets," his wife said smiling brightly. Her golden hair was tied back into a thick braid, her green eyes amused despite the situation. "It doesn't take that much force to take a half-drunk man down."
"You bitch," he snapped yanking on his binds, wanting to teach the whore a lesson, but finding he was bound too tight. The only thing he achieved was rubbing his wrist bloody and raw.
"Now, is that any way to treat the woman holding your life in her hands?" he finally spotted the shotgun propped against the wall, her hand absentmindedly stroking it. Almost lovingly.
"Where did you…?"
"Back of the closet," she deadpanned her smile wilting. "Kinda hard to miss the storage box, hon. And using our daughter's birthday as the code…" she shook her head tsking.
"What are ya gonna do with it?" he snarled doubting she knew how to aim the thing, let alone shoot it.
She sighed, glancing down at the gun. Then she met his eyes, her green ones cold, and responded, "Haven't decided whether to shoot you in the face or the chest. What do you think?"
"I think that when I get lose, I'm gonna beat ya within inches of your life," he spat expecting the usual flicker of fear in her eyes. Instead, this time, she just smiled again and said, "You aren't getting free. Not now, nor ever, sweetie pie."
He chuckled but chose not to say anything. She picked the shotgun up, almost like a pro, and let it settle on her shoulder as she started pacing back and forth. "Did you know my daddy was a hunter? Deer, bear, pretty much anything worth firing at. And he taught me how to shoot."
"He sounds like a real winner," he shot at her sarcastically, attempting to staunch the panic that was slowing rising in his chest. So maybe the bitch could use the thing, didn't mean she was gonna.
"And I knew I could kill, but I would never do that to our daughter. She loves her daddy more than anything. So, I put up with the abuse, both verbally and physically, for our daughter's sake. Then you slapped her…" she shook her head again. "And something snapped, you know? Some maternal instinct that I should have embraced a long time ago. And I thought enough was enough."
"You had every opportunity to leave me you stupid bitch."
"But I had to think about how to go at it," she continued still ignoring him. "I mean, I couldn't just do it while you slept. That wouldn't be satisfying enough. But I couldn't let you face me like a man either. You've had too much power for too long. Then it came to me. Tie him up…" she stopped pacing, staring him directly in the eyes. "I mean, you have those ropes for the tire swing you were supposed to put up for our daughter. Why not use them on something a bit more constructive."
He started laughing, her brows furrowing in confusion. Answering her unasked question, he said, "You're not gonna shoot me."
"I'm not?" she questioned her brows rising. "Why?"
"Because you would have done it already. I know you, you're nothing but a scared little girl who will untie me later and get what's coming to her. You and that little bitch of a daughter. So, have your fun while you can, because the moment I get lose I'm gonna kill you and that little brat. You ungrateful, fucking whore…" he cut off when she cocked the shotgun, pointing it directly at his head.
"Any last words, asshole?" she asked, and before he could respond she pulled the trigger…
She had ditched the gun a while back, along with her clothes. He had been right, she could have left him anytime, but she knew he would never let her take their daughter. And she couldn't, she wouldn't have that. She couldn't leave her with that monster.
She glanced back in the rearview mirror, watching as her daughter slept. Tomorrow they would have new identities, tomorrow they would start anew. She just had to drive tonight, drive and let the road take her as far away as possible. He wasn't going to be bothering them again; she had made sure of it…