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Scared - Flash Fiction, Inspired by Billybuc’s Picture Prompts

I'm interested in social issues, relationships, problems of daily living, jobs, exercise, poems and fiction, plus safer living conditions.



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.”

Next 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


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 27, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

I also think that domestic abuse is a problem around the world. This story does talk about dosestic abuse at length and if just one woman gets herself out of type of relationshift, then, that makes any writing worthwhile. I certainly hope some women do have te guts prevent any more damage to themselves. Thanks for the comments.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 27, 2020:

Domestic abuse is a worldwide problem, education notwithstanding nor the fact that women are more independent than ever in this 21st century. You tackle the issue in this well-crafted story very nicely.

I hope women take the guts to get out of it to prevent permanent scarring of their psyche in many cases.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2020:

Thank you, Robert.

Robert Sacchi on March 21, 2020:

You're very kind.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 21, 2020:

Robert, I always like your comments.

Robert Sacchi on March 20, 2020:

You're welcome.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 20, 2020:

Hi Robert,

Thanks so much for your comments.

Robert Sacchi on March 19, 2020:

A good story about an important issue. The therapy video is an excellent addition to the story.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2020:

Hi MG, It is a problem throughout the world. I am not sure what can end this violence. Thank you for your kind comments about the story.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2020:

Hi Adrienne, I think the police do step in when they are called. There was a time a few years back that they were not allowed to do anything if they did not see the violence.

We still have a long way to go as I also think it is under-reported. Thank you for your comments.

Adrienne Farricelli on February 20, 2020:

Domestic violence is a big problem as it's something that takes place behind closed doors. Sadly, it's likely unreported so it may be a bigger problem than we may think. I hope more women would gain enough strength to speak out and get help.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 19, 2020:

A very touching story. Women are abused all over the world and I wonder how it can be stopped, perhaps it's part of human nature but all the same, it calls for some strict action. Thank you for a lovely story.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 19, 2020:

Hi Manatita, I have never heard of a woman not leaving until after 21 abusive events. i agree that there are many issues at hand and I do think fear can be very disabling.

I appreciate your informative comments.

manatita44 from london on February 19, 2020:

Yes. I was being gentle.

Very complicated cases. I read somewhere that a woman is abused on average 21 times before she leaves.

Putting my experience of others. education and intuition together, there can be many issues at hand: social, financial dependancy ... insecurity and fear, shelter issues, mental problems...

A big one at least for poets in London. Since poets are famous for depicting the real, then there's a lot here. Let us pray for all parties concerned

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 19, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada, You make a very good point. It does hurt everyone in the family. Domestic abuse is a worldwide problem that is horrible.

I appreciate your generous comments.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 18, 2020:

A well constructed, touching, absorbing and sensitive story.

You have used the picture prompts, so well, to spread awareness, about a very sensitive issue of the society. Unfortunately, even after all the education, it does happen. It not only destroys the physical and mental health, of those who are involved, but the entire family suffers, due to this.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful submission.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 18, 2020:

Hi Devika, I guess this article was a suprise for some but I wanted to address a serious problem around the world. I appreciate your commets..

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 18, 2020:

This is a great story told you followed the challenge with a hopeful and different attitude of an aspect of life. You took on this challenge and surprised me.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 18, 2020:

Hi Liz, I could't agree with you more. Even one case is too many. I imagine if we saw the real numbers we would be shocked and sad. Thank you so much for your comments.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 18, 2020:

You have highlighted a sadly all too common event in your excellent short story. Domestic abuse is a terrible situation for many to be in. It's encouraging that in this story you show a way out. Even one case like this is one too many, sadly I fear that the numbers are way higher.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2020:

Hi Venkatachari, As soon as I saw that photo of the old, rundown barn I thought of someone hiding there, so I gues my muse took over for the story. This is a worldwide problem, undortunately.

I appreciate you reading the story and for your kind words.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on February 17, 2020:

A good story, Pamela. It is an everyday social issue and your narration of it all fits well. You used these photos with this meaningful message. I appreciate your muse and thank you for raising this issue.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2020:

Hi Linda, Domestic abuse is surely sad. I hate to even hear about abuse to anyone, including pets. Thanks so much for your comments,

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2020:

Hi Flourish, Abuse is long lasting for sure. I didn't want children or pets in this sad story. Thanks for commenting and have a good week.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2020:

Hi Mantita, Many do not get help and it is heartbreakings. I don't know if there is such a thing as a straight-forward case as it seems to always be a bit complicated. I appreciate your comments. Have a blessed week.

manatita44 from london on February 17, 2020:

Touching kind of story. Never really know how to react. At least she seemed to have followed-up on a decent outcome. Many don't sadly, but there are so many fears and insecurities attached. Not a straight-forward case but told well.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 16, 2020:

I know several survivors in my family and the effects last for decades. Glad no children or pets were involved.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 16, 2020:

Domestic violence is a horrible situation. Thank you for sharing this story of abuse and raising awareness of the situation, Pamela. It's sad to think about people in real life who are in Jenny's situation. Your story matches Bill's photos very well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Meg. I wish them safety as well. Thank you for commenting.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on February 16, 2020:

Terrible things happen so often and I am sure that this is a typical story for many abused women. I hope they all find somewhere safe, just like Jenny.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Sean, I appreciate your comments about this tragic story. There is surely too much domestic abuse in this world. There are men abused also, just not as many.

I agree! God bless the helpless.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on February 16, 2020:

My dear Pamela, your story is so alive and unfortunately so true for many women like Jenny! We all have to be aware and willing to help. You did great work here and I thank you for writing it.

God bless all the helpless!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Bill, It is an epidemic. Thanks so much for your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 16, 2020:

Domestic abuse is an epidemic in this country and I'm so glad you wrote about it. A powerful story, Pamela. Thank you for this!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Linda, I know some also and I think that is why I wrote this particular story to shed light on domestic abuse. I appreciate your comments. Have a nice Sunday, Linda.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 16, 2020:

Pamela this one hurts; you've done an excellent job of describing the scenario. It gives me shivers. I know some of the survivors, and I know they would say "thank you."

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Shauna, I am glad you escaped these abusive men. I agree that Abusers abuse also. They don't change, at least not in the people I personally know that have escaped abusive relationships.

I appreciate you sharing your experience. Have a lovely Sunday, Shauna.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Maria, I agree that domestic abuse is a tragic reality of our society and around the world. A women's club I belong to gathers products monthly to take to the safe house here in Jacksonville.

Thank you so much for your very nice comments. Love and hugs.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Eric, Domestic abuse is a horrible problem and not easy to think about. I appreciate your comments, Eric.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Lori, I believe verbal and mental abuse are just as damaging as physical abuse. It is a great goal to open a safe house and give educational programs so people will understand this problem. There is a safe house here where I live and we collect food and other products for them.

Thank you so much for your generous comments, Lori.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Rosina, I am glad you liked the story and your comments are appreciated.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Lorna, I think this is a heartbreaking problem for women living in domestic abusive homes. I agree that the abuse is physical and mental, which was what I wanted to portray. I appreciate your comments, Lorna.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2020:

Hi Nikki, Thank you so much for your comments. Have a lovely Sunday

Nikki Khan from London on February 16, 2020:

Such a heart-touching tale to tell, Pamela. Out buildings do provide good homes to those victims of domestic turmoil.

You met the challenge in a unique way, Pamela. Incredible.

Lorna Lamon on February 16, 2020:

A very real look at domestic abuse Pamela and the untold damage it can do both physically and mentally. You created a very real sense of fear, help and hope within your paragraphs Pamela. Many people remain for years in abusive relationships, too broken to try and leave. I am glad your story had a good outcome and shone the light on this very real and current problem. A great read.

Rosina S Khan on February 15, 2020:

This is a good, interesting story about how a lady escaped physical abuse from her husband, finally being able to land in safe hands. I really liked it and it certainly meets Bill's Photo Prompt challenge adeptly.

Lori Colbo from United States on February 15, 2020:

Domestic violence is a heinous problem around the world. My best friend once created a faith-based domestic violence education organization in our small community. They went to a few major cities to give workshops and presentations as well as locally. They had a goal to build a safe house also. I learned a lot. Unfortunately, the board voted to make it a non-faith organization. My friend left. They managed to get a safe house up and running but it went under very quickly as did the organization. My ex was verbally and mentally abusive but never harmed me physically, but I think those kinds of abuses can be just as damaging to a person as the violence.

You did well with Bill's photo prompts.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 15, 2020:

You did this issue and challenge justice. I had to come back to read, I find the area so disgusting and depressing I have to get in a space to even think about it.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 15, 2020:

Domestic violence is a tragic reality of society. This story is written sensitively and shows the hopefulness that results with the support of friends and safehouses.

Powerful writing, dear Pamela - thank you. Love, Maria

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 15, 2020:

Pamela, this story resonates with me. I've been in abusive relationships in the past. It is hard to leave because they hunt you down with promises of "never again". However, that's not true. Abusers abuse. Period. Fortunately, I was able to get away and move on with my life without having to go to a safe home. I moved out of state from the first one and beat the shit out of the second one. I'd had enough!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2020:

Hi Ruby, I know so many women have trouble leaving, and when I saw those first 2 pictures of Bills I thought about someone hiding in that barn. I am glad your sister is happy and doing well. Thank you for your comments, Ruby.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 15, 2020:

This story rings true, so many women stay in an abusive relationship. My sister did, finally leaving him. She remarried and he was a gentle man who loved her dearly. I loved your story. Well done!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2020:

Hi John, Domestic abuse is a problem around the world. Your comments are very much appreciated.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 15, 2020:

Pamela. A good story drawing attention to an issue of ever growing concern, domestic abuse. A worthy response to Bill’s photo prompt challenge.

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