It’s dark. So dark. I can’t see my hand in front of my face. I know it’s there, I can feel the energy generated by the limb. My nerves are tingling all over my body. Waiting, for what’s to come.
I’m not sure what will happen if I move, but it can’t be good. The air around me is charged, as if any spark might ignite it. Maybe that would make it better. Set it on fire. Set me free.
I hear something. A shuffle perhaps.
Small. Something tiny moving quickly in the dark.
It’s not him. He hasn’t found me. Yet.
My breathing is shallow. Quietly, so no one can hear me.
I’ve been in the dark for what seems like hours, days. It’s surely only been moments.
I sit motionless. Any movement may give me away, my hiding place.
If he finds me, what will he do?
Thank God, the babies at Mom’s. I couldn’t hide him too. He’s so little. He doesn’t know to be quiet. He’s safer, no matter what happens to me.
His father is mad. He’s trying to find him but I won’t let him. If he finds me, he’ll kill me. All that matters to him is the baby. I made him mad. I sent the baby away without telling him.
I was trying to escape as well but there was something I forgot and he came home. Now I won’t ever see my baby again.
A muffled crash interrupts the silence. I jump and my elbow bumps a broom in the dark. I grab the pole just in time.
Lucky, so far.
I hold my breath just in case. Where did the noise come from?
Heavy footfalls come closer, traveling up the stairs. Closer.
Please don’t let him open the door. Please don’t let him find me.
I’ve been hiding so long, crouched in the dark. I’m not sure my legs would respond if I had to run. I have nowhere to go. I have to wait him out.
Please go away. I can’t stand this anymore. Maybe I could make a run for it?
I quietly scoot towards the door, placing my ear against the cool wood. My imagination manifests an image of my pursuer on the other side of the many layers separating us. Confidence builds within me as I sense his presence.
He calls me. He sounds worried. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe it’s a trick? He’s trying to lure me into a false sense of complacency. I curl into a ball. They told me he would hurt me and my baby.
They said we weren’t safe. They said he lied to us. He didn’t really love us and never would. They’re my friends but no one else sees them. I don’t have to share them with anyone. They take care of me, giving me warnings. I need to get back to my friends. They’ve been quiet for so long. Where did they go?
My heart pounds and my breathing quickens. Sweat beads on my forehead and drips down my back.
He’ll hear you. Calm down.
They’re here. They know I can’t handle the dark. The noises of all the things I can’t see.
What do I do? Wait.
Silence. Maybe he gave up?
Suddenly I hear the knob turn. It’s right above my head. My eyes widen. It’s turning slowly. Ever so slowly.
I quickly shuffle as far from the door as I can get in the tiny space. Cowering in the corner, my friends voices grow louder in my ears.
Don’t let him get you. He’ll hurt you and the baby. Protect the baby.
Squeezing my eyes tight, I try to ignore their screams. My hands pressed snug to my ears. My knees tucked under my chin and hot tears cover my cheeks.
It’s him. I’m paralyzed.
He kneels in front of me, scooping me into his arms. It’s so easy for him, as if I weigh nothing. His arms are strong, his chest wide and reassuring.I feel safe. But the tears won’t stop. I’m confused. It doesn’t feel like he’s mad.
He carried me to the bed, setting me gently against the softness.
My eyes are still shut tight. I’m afraid. Afraid of what I’ll see. I don’t understand what’s happening to me.
He’s talking quietly, his voice full of an emotion I can’t identify. He asks me to look at him. To talk to him.
You can’t trust him. They tell me if I open my eyes he’ll know my secret. He’ll make me go away.
The bed dips beside me, his arm wrapped around me. He’s talking softly. I can’t understand the words. But the sound relaxes me. He’s rocking me like a child, making me feel safe. The hum of his voice is drowning out my friends.
I open my eyes. Nothing looks menacing. It’s the room I share with him. I feel lost inside myself.
Lifting my head slowly, afraid of what I’ll see. Tears gleam in his eyes. Touching my face and wipes away the tears. Looking in his eyes I forget what I was running from.
I sit with him. I hear a noise. A cry. The baby is here?
He explains that the baby was crying when he got home from work. He couldn’t find me, so he took care of the baby before finding me. He didn’t want to scare me so he let me hide for a time.
He found me where he always finds me.
I’m so very tired. The voices are gone. For now.
He helps me into bed to rest. Then goes to the baby.