Scared - Flash Fiction, Inspired by Billybuc’s Picture Prompts
Jenny had really seen stars when Hank slapped her so hard she ended up on the floor. He grabbed her up by her arm and punched her on the left side of her face. Jenny screamed, “Hank, Stop it! What did I do?”
“You deserve this. You don’t ever do anything.”
Jenny didn’t respond as it never helped to say a thing. Jenny stayed on the kitchen floor and looked at the door. It was unlocked and she decided to see if she could get out of the house. She jumped up and ran through the door.
She ran toward the bar and heard Hank yell, “Try and run Jenny. I will find you.” Then, she heard his awful drunken laugh but he didn’t seem to be chasing her.
Jenny ran toward the old barn, slipped in and got as far back into a corner as she could, while a myriad of thoughts raced through her head. The howling wind outside on this moonless, cold night was all Jenny could hear. She didn’t think Hank knew where she was but she was still shaking with fear. She figured he would just assume she would come home like she always did in the past.
The left side of her face was swollen and her eye was already turning black. She listened intently for any foot step or sound. As her breathing started to slow down a barn owl made a long, harsh scream, which made her shake all over and sit up straighter. After a few minutes she knew it was an owl and obviously not Hank.
This was one more time Jenny knew she had to find a good way to leave Hank. He was violent when he drank and he had promised to quit drinking countless times. He had been sober for almost two months until tonight.
As she sat in the corner she was cold as the air leaked into the old bar through holes in the rafters. She had run out of the house without a jacket. Her thin T shirt, jeans and tennis shoes were not enough to keep her slim body warm. Her long blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her blue eyes were swollen from crying.
She looked up through the boards on the side of the roof and could see no light. She was thinking about what she should do now. As she looked up she finally said, “God, if you are listening I need you to show me a way to leave Hank safely. I can’t take anymore”
After about three hours Jenny decided to see if she could sneak back in the house to get a jacket and her purse. Then, she planned to hike to Mary’s house, which was a friend but about a four mile hike. Jenny knew she would have to move fast on this cold, dark night.
She ran as much as she could and arrived at Mary’s house about 2 AM. She knocked on the door softly but Mary answered. Mary noted Jenny’ black eye and swollen face as she told her to come in. Mary was a tall woman who was in her mid-forties, which was about twenty years older than Jenny. She had dark hair and a kind face.
Mary stated, “I see Hank has been at it again. Come on in sweetheart and let’s put some ice on your face, then you can get some sleep”
Jenny just nodded her head.
Mary got a blanket and wrapped it around Jenny as she sat in the chair. Then, Mary got the ice pack and sat next to Jenny, putting her arm around her.
“Jenny, what is next? You have got to make a decision for your future. Hank has beat on you so many times and it is time for you to find a way to be safe.”
“I know you are right and that is what I have been thinking about. He is drunk again and I have had enough.”
Mary replied, “Jenny, Hank might kill you if this keeps up. I am glad you have had enough. You don’t know if Hank will come here looking for you when you don’t go home.”
“I think he’s passed out in bed as i snuck back in to get my jacket and purse.”
Mary said, “That’s good. Do you remember that place I told you about that helps abused women?”
“Yes, but I don’t know if I want to got there.”
“What are your options? How about your sister?”
Jenny replied, “No, I can’t go there. Hank threatened her last year and she is concerned about her children.”
“What are your other options?”
“I don’t have any I guess.” She reached the back door of her house and didn’t hear anything. She was shaking with fear and the cold air didn’t help. She turned the knob on the door and it was unlocked. She paused for another minute while holding onto the door knob. Then, She quietly opened the door and didn’t hear anything. She walked into the living room, grabbed her jacket and her purse was sitting on the coffee table. She quickly turned and left just as quietly, closing the door behind her.
Mary said, “Why don’t you get some sleep in the spare bedroom and we will talk in the morning.”
The following morning Jenny woke up with dread as she remembered exactly what happened. She went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror at her bruised face and black eye. She started to cry when she heard Mary knock softly on the door.
Jenny opened the door and Mary handed her a towel so she could shower while also telling her she would feel better after a hot shower.
Jenny entered the kitchen and saw Mary sitting at the table reading a paper. Mary promptly said, “Sit here while I get you some coffee and your breakfast.”
“You don’t have to do that Mary.
“Don’t worry. It is already done.” Mary poured the cup of coffee and got a plate with bacon and eggs for Jenny and one for herself.
Jenny didn’t think she could eat but when she took a bite she found she was hungry and ate everything on the plate. There was no conversation during the meal.
Bridge Over Troubled Water
New Plan for Life
When they finished eating Mary said, “Have you thought about what to do now?”
“Yes, but I still don’t know what is best. I do have some money in a bank account that Hank doesn’t know about but it is only about four hundred dollars.”
“Well, that is something. I would like to take you to the safe house and if you don’t want to stay, then we’ll do something else,” Mary said.
“Okay. I don’t have many choices.”
As Mary drove them to Nancy’s Safehouse Mary told Jenny a bit about the house. “My garden club has made donations to the house and it has been around for about ten years. You can get a restraining order and maybe find a good job when you are ready.”
When they knocked on the door it was opened by an older gray haired woman with a big smile, who introduced herself as Audry. She didn’t act like she was surprised to see Jenny’s bruised face. She led them into an office with comfortable chairs.
Audry asked Jenny for her name, address, birth date and some other factual information. She explained the services they offer, which included providing counseling, group support and domestic violence prevention programs. She told Jenny she could stay there and that she would be safe. She would have time to get her life in order.
Jenny just started to cry while saying, “Thank you.” Mary hugged her goodbye and told her to call if she wanted to talk. Jenny knew this was her only option and was glad to finally feel safe.
Therapy for Domestic Abuse Survivors
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby