by Brian S Creek
With seven steps to go I stop. I can see across the landing, I can see him standing there. Scruffy boots, faded jeans and that tacky leather jacket. They must have let him out and now the bastard has come back. It takes every ounce of courage to move my right foot and carry on up.
Six steps to go and I catch a whiff of that cheap aftershave. My stomach heaves at the memory; him pressed against me, sweating, breathing, grunting.
Five steps to go and my legs tremble a little, legs that he forced apart even when I shouted no. The bruises are still there but, unlike the memories, they’ll fade eventually.
Four steps to go. I think about turning around and running but where would I go? Because of him I have no friends, no family. I’m alone in this city.
Three steps to go and the butterflies suddenly begin to fade. I have a new feeling taking over now. The fear drains away and rage floods in to fill the void. I won’t let him ruin me.
Two steps to go and I let out a little cough to get his attention. He turns around with that charming smile that I once fell for. Never again though, not now that I know the monster that lurks behind that mask.
“There’s my darling wife,” he says.
One step to go and I clench my fist inside my pocket, three keys poking out between fingers like claws.
And when he screams no, I won’t stop.