I claw at your hands, tight around my neck, eyes stinging, lungs burning.
‘Remember Maddy,’ your face close to mine – coffee and cigarettes – ‘stick to the story. No variations, no extra details or they’ll be all over you, like flies on shit.’
Black flecks dance before me, obscuring your scarlet face. My thighs feel weak and powerless and just as I begin to crumple you step back and I slump the the floor, greedy lungs grappling for air.
‘Remember, last night I was here with you, all night.’
I nod but it’s not enough. I curl into myself, cradling my head with both hands as your steel toe cap connects with my ribs.
‘Yes,’ I croak.
There is a rapping on the front door, your footsteps pound up the wooden stairs. I haul myself to my feet, hands gripping the back of the armchair as I wait for the dizziness to pass. The doorbell sounds and I smooth my hair, tug my clothes back into place and weave my way into the hall.
They aren’t wearing uniforms, this is serious. Badges are flashed, introductions are made and then I am handing out tea that sloshes over the side of mugs as my hand trembles.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ the shorter one says, his brown beard is flecked with ginger and blonde and he looks kind, ‘we can protect you.’
I breathe in sharply, my ribs are bruised.
‘Tell us the truth Madeline, was he with you all night?’
I swallow with a throat that feels constricted.
I shake my head. ‘He came home about 3.00 am and gave me this.’ I pull deep into my pocket and pull out a gold locket.
An evidence bag is produced, triumphant smiles flashed. ‘We can tie all these cases together now,’ the taller man says, ‘once we find him, he will be put away for a long time.’
My eyes flick up to the ceiling, I nod towards the stairs.
It isn’t long before you are dragged down, cuffed and spitting with rage.
‘You stupid bitch, why didn’t you just tell the truth?’
The truth? The truth is I don’t know where you were all night. Yes you were fast asleep in bed when I ‘popped out’ at midnight, and still prone and snoring, spittle collecting on your chin, when I returned at 3.00 am to hide my bloodstained clothes, but I couldn’t vouch for the time in between.
All I know is it’s over. You can’t hurt me anymore. I collect black bags and begin to gather your things, whistling as I go.
Written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday – write the first thing that comes to mind following a prompt and post. No editing allowed. This weeks prompt is vary/very.