"You like that?"
"Aaw. Why not? I thought you liked it rough."
"Like a virgin, huh?" He chuckles, his voice lower than usual. Though I'm not looking at him, I can feel his old sneer, sense how much bigger he is than me. "Well. We both know you're no virgin. How 'bout this, then? You like this?"
I wince as my husband drives the toe of his boot into my stomach. "Uurgh."
"What was that? What did you say, bitch?"
Fuck, that really hurts.
"Promise to stop sleeping around?"
"I… never… cheated on you."
You fucking paranoid bastard.
Fucking hate you.
"Don't believe you."
I dare to lift my head off the carpet, abandoning my wallowing in the puddle of sick and spit to glare defiantly up at the thug I married. "It's the t-truth. I've never slept with anyone… but you."
His sneer becomes a scowl.
I feel my throbbing belly bubble with the urge to throw up again.
I keep asking myself:
What the fuck was I thinking, anyway?
Shitty coloured hair.
He's not even that good looking.
Never was, but I guess I was desperate.
Now I want to push him off the balcony.
Look at this guy.
Look at your husband, you dumb broad.
Cheap, fake leather jacket.
And those fucking biker pants…
I smile a little as my eyes scan him downwards.
What a small crotch bulge.
Was I so frantic to get away from my family in the bad district, that I joined this thing?
Fat fucking lot of good that did for me.
"What're you smiling at?"
I've gotten over the terror of being beaten up. I know he'll only go so far. "You. You're a f-funny guy, you know."
He growls. He's like the results of a threesome between a pit-bull, pig, and crocodile.
One ugly son of a bitch.
Again, what was I thinking?
I roll onto my back, gazing up at the ceiling for a few seconds before slowly sitting myself upright with a grunt of pain, rubbing the grit, tears and carpet fibres out my eyes with a calloused thumb. In my most calmly detached voice I drawl, "Hey, you finished yet? I promised a friend I'd meet her at the bar downtown. I'm already-" Glance and the clock on the wall. "Fifteen or so minutes late."
You've already lost, asshole.
"You fucking… agh, get out of here. Not worth my fucking time anyway. Whore." And then he storms out, boots thundering on the kitchen tiles, the sound of the fridge slamming shortly afterwards. "And get more fucking beer on your way back, woman!"
"You say the F-word way too often, mister." I sigh and force myself to stand, to get to the bedroom, the bathroom, to freshen myself up and hide this mess I call a life.
Dammit, I hope she's still there, waiting for me.
I'm out the door quickly and quietly. My car purrs as I pull out the driveway and roars when I jet off into the night, safe from him; a middle finger jabbed out the window alongside a barked curse beginning with an 'F'.
I hate that fucking douche bag.
She's there when I arrive.
Waiting for me.
A seat open beside her – my seat.
You're always so good to me.
I smile without having to fake it, sneaking up behind the pretty young lady sitting quietly at the bar, laying both my hands on her shoulders and bending forward to press a soft kiss atop her head. "Hi. This seat taken?"
"Guess not," is the airy response as I plonk down beside her.
"Whew. I need a strong drink."
I don't like that tone.
She takes my hand, drawing it over the countertop to her side, playing with the wedding ring on my finger. "You're late."
"Sweetheart." Her eyes are unimaginably inviting and compassionate. It's frightening. "Was it him again? Did he hurt you again?"
She glances down at my throat, seeing this gesture of weakness. She looks close to bursting to tears. "Oh, darling…"
"Can we not talk about this? I just wanna have a few drinks with my best friend. That's you, by the way."
"Sure. We can do that."
She releases my hand and takes up her glass, sipping it delicately whilst moist eyes rove about the place aimlessly. She'll look at anything but the bruise on my cheek.
I order something simple from the nice bartender and fill the time with talk.
Tell her about work.
Ask her a few questions.
She answers, albeit reluctantly. It's obvious what she wants to talk about.
Take regular sips to stay cool.
"I want you to leave him."
I choke into my bottle.
"I know why you married him. But that doesn't matter anymore. You don't have to hide behind that sick, abusive prick. I could take care of you. I want to protect you."
I tremble as a soft hand finds mine once more, prying the ring off my willing finger and tossing it into the dark recesses of the bar.
"Enough is enough."
"I have a plan."
I turn to my old friend, startled by the determination in her set face. "Okay. The ring's gone. So, what's your plan?"
"We kill him."
My jaw drops.
"I mean it." She meets my eyes with her own. "I will not let him hurt you anymore."
I stare dumbly back.
She talks softly, leaning closer to whisper in my ear so we won't be overheard. "In the boot of my car there's everything we need." Her breath tickles my cheek, lobe, and neck. "We'll drive to your place and surprise him. We'll finish him, together. Tonight."
I'm not even thinking about any holes in this plan. I'm just imagining doing that fucker in, once and for all.
It's so simple.
I always thought about it.
'But that's crazy!'
"Conclude your drink, my love. And then we'll go."
It's surprisingly easy to strangle somebody.
"You know…" I'm sitting on my husband's back, the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, sinking into red flesh. I pull back further, twist the cord tighter, and listen to him hiss and splutter into my puddle of sick and spit in the carpet. "There's something orgasmic about doing this."
"Having fun, yeah?"
Shit, whatever was in that syringe doped me up pretty good.
I feel like a superhero.
Like I can punch through mountains and leap over buildings and shit like that.
He didn't stand a chance!
"Good, good. A little longer. I'll tell you when it's time to stop."
"And gimme an extra five minutes after that. I want his fucking ghost to see me do things to his corpse."
My friend lights up this dingy little room with her smile. "I love you."
"Oh, baby, I love you too."
When he finally stops twitching, we embrace.
"Let's pack up your things and go home."
"Are you sure the cops won't find out we did this?"
"Positive. I've planned this night for a long time. You don't spend years working in forensics without knowing how to cover your tracks."
"And they won't find the body, right?"
"Not unless they check the crap of every irradiated feral dog outside the city's fence. And you know they're too chicken shit to go out there."
"Fuck, it was hard getting him over the fence. All the bits of him, I mean. And those tentacle things that look like trees sure make a lot of noise."
She giggles. "Wonder if he'll turn into a zombie or ghoul."
"He might. But those creeps don't talk."
"Just as well."
Hope his ghost got a nice eyeful before then.
"You're fantastic," I murmur into her neck and she plays my ribcage like a piano. The bathwater is delightfully warm. "And I'm free."
"Yes, you are."
I close my eyes.