…hide from the wooden hill, and the blunt edges of every step that I have been thrown down.
…hide when he drinks, hide when he doesn’t, hide when I’m the object he kicks, punches and humiliates.
…hide in the dark places in my head, for there are no places to hide in reality.
…hide inside this house. I cannot leave for fear of others seeing bruises my skin, or cuts that weep and draw unwanted attention.
…hide from the lawn in the back. Afraid that a bundle of bones will rise from the earth; that my miscarried child will ask why I didn’t protect him.
And…the house windows watch like eye-witnesses that won’t speak.
And…the curtains hang like ragged limbs.
And… the mould-spore walls talk, rasping infection.
And…he says “you’ll never leave me.”
And…”you are dirty.”
And… “forgive me. I didn’t mean it. I will get help. I’ll never lay a hand in anger on you again.”
And…”you won’t use that knife, you’re my woman and I will punish you.”
And… I know he is wrong. So wrong. For I will do anything. I will…
…seek to protect my unborn child, its heartbeat strong and growing inside me.
…seek to share the beauty of an untainted world with my baby, yet born.
…seek to play in the woods and listen to the hush of the wind and the tranquil lullaby of a woodland stream.
…seek to lay with my child and do nothing but listen to it inhaling and exhaling under the shaded canopy of woodland.
…seek a house — no — a home, a place of protection, a sanctuary, a place of nurture and growth and laughter.
…seek a garden with no bones, there will be places he can play, among the fairies and gnomes, the colours of autumn, colors of oxidized copper, there will be magical tunnels and hollowed out trees and ornamental creatures he can hide in.
…seek to leave now while this animal sleeps the deep and limitless sleep of someone walking the abandoned wastelands of grey. Now he can only hurt us in nightmares. And we will walk in colour.
As I mentioned in my previous post, this was a very challenging weekend – emotionally and practically. I completed this story after midnight, after travelling to Ireland for a sad family event. It took a lot out of me, but gave me something to focus on.
I really wanted to try another experimental format – but I didn’t know if it would work.
I felt it worked well.
But…there were a record number of entries (21), all of which were fantastic, written by highly talented writers. So given the circumstances, I was delighted to hear that I was given a 2nd place award.