Katie stood with her face pressed against the pane of glass while listening to Eddie play with his big red truck. The sun was setting, and she knew Chris would soon be home from work. He would carry a scowl across his face, while his breath would stink of whisky. He would be angry over one thing or another.
Dinner was in the oven, and the table was set in the hope of appeasing the beast as he entered his man cave. This used to be home, but that was when they were in love. Now she was his bitch who waited on his every move. Life before all of this was enjoyable, but if she had only known the outcome, she would have walked away. Although she would never trade her son for anything. Eddie was her pride and joy; now, all she had to do was save him from this hellhole.
Katie stood over the table, serving dinner as Chris bolted through the door. His face carried a stern expression covering what used to be a smile, and instead of flowers, he held a box of beer beneath his arm. Trying to hide what she felt, she smiled and asked about his day. He glared at her as if she had asked for a million dollars and popped open a beer, “What’s for dinner? He said in a gruff voice while pulling out his chair. She watched as he examined the table and the dinner she provided, “I made your favourite. She said as she smiled at him.
Katie finished serving Eddie, then moved on to fill Chris’s plate. There were days when she wouldn’t get to eat because he needed more. He would sit, filling his face and leave nothing for her. She didn’t dare to say anything for each time he would beat her black and blue, and since she never left the house, no one ever knew or cared to ask. Now she was smart and would eat as she cooked. He didn’t seem to bother Eddie much; perhaps it was because he was a boy and his heir.
It had been a little over a year since this began. It has been that long since Katie spoke to her best friend Charlie, who was in a panic right about now. Just before it all happened, Chris bought a house, and before she could contact anyone, he cut the cord so she couldn’t call for help. Now Katherine wandered through this large house with a monitor on her ankle, with no idea how to remove it. Many days she sat there picking at it, and at the end of the day, it remained locked. It was a heavy plastic that snapped into place; there was no keyhole and no obvious way to take it off. Something somewhere controlled it, and chances were, it was on Chris’s phone. She thought about leaving daily, but doing it without a plan wasn’t wise. Her husband’s words echoed in her mind each time she attempted to come up with a strategy.
“Leave me and you forsake life, my love. You’re no longer an independent woman I’ll tear down your life and kill Eddie if you attempt to go. If you succeed, I’ll hunt you like an animal and feed you to the fish.”
Tears filled her eyes at the mere thought that she loved this man at one time. Oh, how she was wrong about her choice in love and here they sat in danger with every breath they took.
Katie waited for Chris to finish eating before snatching his plate and placing it in the hot soapy water. He preferred if she had the dishes done right after he completed his meal, this way, he never laid eyes on a dirty plate. The house was spic and span, not a thing out of place. She preferred a home that looked lived in, but who would argue with an irate man? Her cupboards were lined by size and shape, the cans pushed tightly against each other with the newest in the very back. Her bathroom towels were never on the floor and always presented neatly. Katie had the bed made the minute Chris left for work. Her entire day consisted of work while caring for her child.
Eddie often asked his mama why she was crying and how come daddy is so mean. Katie attempted to answer his questions to educate him, but never gave him an answer to provoke Chris if he dared to repeat her words. She completed the dishes and stood drying her hands.
Chris sat in his old easy boy chair, cleaning his gun; Katie realized it was time. She knew he only cleaned that damn gun when he had a lot on his mind. He swore one day he would kill her if she didn’t stop her foolishness, whatever that meant. Katie could tell he was irritated with her and that the time was close when he would keep his word. More and more each day, he became impatient and violent; some days, it only took a smile, while other days, it could be as simple as asking him how his day was.
They used to speak for hours. That was when Chris loved the sound of her voice. That grew old, and so did her beautiful smile. They had married three years ago, and everyone said they were the perfect couple and wished they were that lucky. She prayed their wishes never came true. Katie was oblivious to what set him off or why he hated her, but he insisted on staying with him and didn’t give her a choice.
At night he would force her into position and pleasure himself while silent tears fell from her eyes. She hated him for it and considered killing him in his sleep, but then she’d think of Eddie, realizing he needed her.
Between the hours of midnight and six am, he would pass out from drinking. Those were the only hours available if Katie were to escape. She required access to his phone. It had to be the key to unlocking the clamp that hugged her ankle. What else could it be?
Tonight, is the night. Either she would die, or victory will reign, and place them on the next bus to Charlie’s house. She dreamt about this and how it would feel to be far away from him. To be free and out of harm’s way. It had been years since she had seen her daddy’s ranch and longed to raise Eddie there. Living the life, she had always known and ditching this hell, she walked into. Chris didn’t know about that part of her life. She often wondered why he never asked but found it to be a blessing once he changed.
Katie finished cleaning the kitchen, then went to read to Eddie. He loved when she curled up with him and read his favourite books. It was something they have done since the day he was born. It wouldn’t be long before Chris would ask about their son’s bedtime and give her a look. Usually, by then, he would be drunk and mouthy. Katie didn’t argue with him and always put Eddie to bed right away. That way, if anything happened, he would never witness it.
With Eddie tucked into bed and nearly asleep, Katie seen to Chris. There was nothing about this man’s touch that made her feel safe, nor was there enjoyment in any aspect of their life. Most nights, she would disappear into her mind and dream about something different. Even when he forced his way onto her, she would pretend to be elsewhere, far away just until it was over. She was thankful he never took very long and that her nightmare would end once he was out cold.
Chris rolled over, groaning, as he adjusted his pillow. Katie laid silently, waiting for him to pass out, her heart beating frantically against her chest. She was nervous and wanted to cry. She questioned her decision, then thought of Eddie and how he could be free. Maybe he could have a backyard to play in and even get a dog.
She knew Chris kept his phone on the table next to the bed. Katie peered over to be sure, and just as she thought, it was there. Taking a deep breath, she crawled out of bed. Attempting not to move the mattress, she crept. She stood for a minute watching her husband, wondering why he was like this and what she did to deserve it. Realizing there was no time for self-pity, she tiptoed over to his side of the bed, watching him closely as she picked up his phone. There was a screensaver but no lock.
Chris took a long, shaky breath and let out a deep groan. Katie stood there, shaking. What if he were to wake up? What would she say to calm the beast? He didn’t wake up, but that didn’t stop her heart from feeling utter panic.
She stepped into the bathroom with the cell phone and opened it while praying nothing led him to wake. God help her if he ever found her with his phone. Katie had no idea what she was searching for but figured she would know it when she saw it. There wasn’t much to sort through, an address book filled with the names of women, something Katie had already suspected for quite a while—a folder of nudes and an app called auto connection. Raising a brow, she clicked on it, hoping it would remain silent. There was a list of electronics it controlled, the light switches, the garage, and oh my God… her ankle monitor! She clicked on it and heard it release. Katie reached down and removed the monitor, quietly placing it on the counter. Then peered out the bathroom door to assure Chris was still asleep.
Katie set the phone next to the bracelet and went to get Eddie. She wrapped him in a blanket and picked up her purse. Then gripped Chris’s wallet and slipped out the front door. Katie quietly shut it behind herself, yet in her head was screaming. All she wanted to do was run and yell for help.
Running down the sidewalk with Eddie in arms, she rifled through the wallet and removed all the money, including the bank card, then placed the wallet in the post-box. She waved down a cab and asked him to take her to the closest bank machine. With Eddie waiting in the taxi, she removed as much money from the account that it would allow her to, then dumped the card in the closest mailbox. She didn’t want it traced back to her and somehow have her seen as a thief, only to have the police drag her right back to him.
She got back into the cab and headed to the bus station, her heart thumping viciously against her chest and her hands trembling. This was it; she was out. Now all she had to do was get away.
After paying the cabbie, she went to buy a ticket for the two, hoping there would be something leaving soon. The woman at the counter was friendly and quick. Soon, Katherine held a ticket in her hand for the next bus out of the city, leaving in just thirty minutes.