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The Perfect Escape
By Tony Cowger
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Not rated by the Author.
An individual is trapped in an abusive relationship. If that individual leaves, the trouble will follow so how does one find freedom?
Soon, it has to end soon. It has gone on way too long and it must come to an end. All the yelling, all the hitting, all the excuses, the attempts to undo the damage. It is always the same and it's never right. In the beginning it felt like love. It was a great feeling, one I never wanted to lose. When the yelling started it wasn't that big of a deal. After all, no two people are exactly alike so there are bound to be differences and differences of opinion. Of course, some we could handle calmly but others escalated to shouting. By the time the physical abuse started we were too far into the marriage to simply walk away. Besides, I wanted to believe it was temporary, that I could change the person. I wanted to see past the bad to the person I fell in love with but it is not possible. This is a difficult reality to grasp. After I realized that I could not change what had gone wrong, of course I thought I should leave. It was always the same though. I would pack up and leave, hide somewhere until finally I was discovered and brought back home. The longer it took to find me, the more I payed for my betrayal. After a few failed attempts and the increased suffering inflicted for my attempts I simply abandoned that thought. Even if I could get away, how long could I really hide. No, leaving will never work. It has to be more final. It has taken time but I'm almost ready to escape.
* * * * *
"Good morning, Nicklar Brokerage, can I help you?
"Yes, this Brianna Krell, where is Camden, that little weasel husband of mine?"
The receptionist rolls her eyes and takes a deep breath, "Mrs. Krell, as I keep telling you, he is on the floor of the exchange while the markets are open."
"Don't get smart with me you little witch! If he is there and you are covering for him you will be sorry!"
"Are you threatening me?"
"Consider it a not so friendly warning. Just try your luck. I'll take care of the rat when he gets home but I'm onto your little affair too. As soon as I find the proof I need not even God himself can keep you safe." With that the phone went dead.
"Wow," replied Jill. "I could hear that all the way over here at my desk. Does that happen often?"
"About two to three times a week for the past couple of years."
"Really? Aren't you scared?"
"No, there is no affair and if she was going to do something she would have done it a long time ago. I just feel sorry for Mr. Krell. He seems like such a great guy but I think he's stuck in that abusive relationship. He covers it well but I just can't imagine going home to that every day. He really needs to get out."
* * * * *
The little widow next door was out hanging her laundry on the line. Over the fence she could see Brianna coming out of the house. She seemed to be doing her laundry as well and she flashed a wicked little smile to the neighbor. As she began to hang the men's shirts, underwear and pants on the line the widow could see that they did not appear to be wet. Why would she be drying clothes that were not wet from washing.
When Brianna pulled out a lighter and began to calmly light the hanging items on fire the widow was speechless. When she recovered her composure she rushed to the fence. "What are you doing?!"
"Cleaning up, just like you," Brianna replied with that same smile.
"What are you talking about?"
"No soap is going to get out the stench left by that husband of mine so I'm burning it out. I suggest you mind your own affairs," she finished, pointing the lighter at the widow.
The widow paled and turned away. There had been strange happenings in that house for quite some time. Occasionally, Brianna would do strange things like this and give her neighbors even stranger explanations. In the evenings there was a lot of racket inside the house like things, or people, were being broken. He never yelled about it though, just took her abuse. None of the neighbors interfered, fearing for their own safety. That poor man needed out of that nightmare though. That much was true .
* * * * *
The front door of the house swings open so fast and hard it seems to be kicked open. "Where are you, you little hussy?" roars Camden. I hurry from the kitchen to greet my husband. "Hi, honey, how was your day?"
"I've been home twenty seconds and already I am sickened by the filth you force me to live in. That's how my day was," he sneers. "The porch needs swept, the front windows are filthy and there are cobwebs on the ceiling."
"I'm sorry. I'll clean them," I reply.
"Yes, you are right about one thing. You certainly are sorry. Why do I even keep you around?" With that comes the backhand. I knew it was coming and even saw the first movement out of the corner of my eye. I knew I could easily have avoided it but that would only bring more and it is easier to take the shortest road to the end of each beating. The back of his hand might not be that bad. He is not a large man but he is still athletic. To prove that fact he still wears the national championship ring he earned as the field goal kicker for his college football team. Of course he likes to wear it next to his college ring and that is the hand he uses to hit me. "Now," he continues as I fall to the floor, "where is supper?"
Nothing is ever good enough, nothing is ever clean enough. There always has to be a reason to exert his power over me. Every night is the same. He will come in, complain about the house, and eat his supper with several beers. He will then move to the couch and sit in front of the television and continue to drink beers I would fetch for him. The amount of abuse is small, relatively speaking, since I have "learned my place." After I realized I could not simply walk or run away I resolved to what needed to be done to get out. The first step was normalizing the beatings and thereby, for the most part, reducing them as well. It's when I step out of line that things get ugly.
Long before the abuse started I convinced Camden that we should get life insurance policies. I should have seen something was wrong when he became genuinely concerned over the possibility of being killed so I could collect. I thought at the time that he was joking but, of course, he wasn't. The agent assured us that neither of us could ever get the money in that way. Between the insurance company and the law it would simply not be possible. Still, he would only get twenty-five thousand. This was enough, he said to get him buried but not make anyone rich. I agreed that that was all I wanted.
A few years ago, after I realized I was trapped, I called the agent and raised the amount to a quarter of a million. Camden is a smart guy and keeps track of our finances but not closely. As long as he is confident that all the money he makes is going into the bank and the amount coming out is the same he doesn't pry into the details. For the small difference in the payments I simply made some adjustments in our expenditures to cover it. The expenses are now the same and we are better protected. It was small things, mostly. After about four beers he can't tell the difference between his imported beer and cheap, domestic stuff so I simply pour it into the better bottles. There have been small adjustments in the quality of the meals that he does not notice as well.
* * * * *
It is now midnight and he is just realizing he has once again passed out in front of the t.v. I watch as he gets up and heads to the bedroom. I wait five minutes and follow. I walk in softly to find him on the edge of the bed. He has managed to get his shoes off before collapsing backward onto the bed. He won't wake easily now. I kneal down and put his shoes back on his feet. I then move to the closet and change to my long nightgown. I walk downstairs and retrieve the gas can from the closet. I return to the top of the stairs and take the small rope out of my nightgown pocket. I tie one end to the banister at the top of the stairs, about six inches from the floor. I let the rest fall to the floor and lay it across the beige carpet, leaving the other end in the bathroom on the other side of the stairs. I take off my nightgown an eighteen inch strip around it with water, beginning about a foot up from the bottom. I then splash gas on the top half of the nightgown and put it back on. I wash my hands to remove the gas from them
Next, I take the gas can into the bedroom and soak the bottom corner of the bed spread at the foot of the bed opposite of Camden. I set the can back in the bathroom and return to the bedroom. I strike the lighter to start the fire, making sure to not harm Camden. As the flames rise I back out of the room, pulling the door to me and step the three steps back to the bathroom. Now, I scream "FIRE!" at the top of my lungs to wake him up. I don't hear him moving so I let out another scream and follow it with the same warning, "FIRE!" This works and I can hear Camden jump up and run into the door as he runs to save his own life, showing no regard for mine. As he reaches the stairs I pull the rope taught and he trips, falling head first down the stairs. As he falls his body turns to face up and his eyes meet mine as I stand at the top of the stairs, putting the rope back into the pocket. I watch exactly how he falls to help me with the next steps. He lands face first on the hardwood floor at the bottom of the stairs. As the small puddle of blood forms around his motionless head I pick up the gas can again and move quickly. I splash gas on the bed around where Camden lay moments before. I then splash more at the right intervals on the stairs as I walk down the stairs to give the impression that he was holding it as he fell and it fell with him. I then lay it on the back of his legs as if it had landed shortly after him. Finally, I put the lighter in his hand after lighting the bottom of my nightgown on fire. The water between the flame and the gas should keep me safe long enough, I think. I run barefooted out the front door onto the hard pavement. The crowd is already gathering.
"He tried to kill me!" I scream. "All I ever did was love him." The crowd is mostly shying away from me but one younger gentleman who is fairly new in the neighborhood pushes me to the ground and rolls me until the flames go out. I am burned but it is a small price to pay. My hearing is still pretty good, despite the numerous shots to the side of my head, and I can hear the murmurings in the crowd.
"Not surprising." "She had it coming." "Too bad he didn't succeed."
* * * * *
The investigation was short and sweet. Everyone the police talked to said they were not surprised Camden had tried to kill me. They shared the stories of how horrible I was to him. Put that with the gas on me, not him and the evidence on him and they called it an open and shut case. Between the insurance money and the money left from the homeowner's insurance after I paid off the debt I was able to buy a condo for myself as well as three others for rental income in Miami. I don't know if I'm completely over the whole thing but I definitely feel happier.
Site: The Life and Death of Fame
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