Saturday, October 19, 2013

Heading West

According to Safe, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Learn more here.

This is my flash fiction piece about it:

Heading West

He said she was nothing when he found her and would be nothing without him.

When she started sleepwalking he called her bat shit crazy. Sometimes she did normal things in her sleep, like watching late night television; Sometimes stranger things, like weeding the flowerbeds-- in the kitchen floor.

When the flowerbeds were clean and late night shows were reruns, she did other things like organizing drawers and packing for vacations that were only dreams. Sometimes she frantically scribbled to-do lists in the dark. When he found them he thought the preschooler wrote them and told him he hoped to God he turned out smarter than his mother.

He said he’d take the children she didn’t deserve and disappear if she didn’t see a shrink. She kept every appointment, twice weekly for months, but the sleepwalking continued. 

If her subconscious activities woke him, he would sometimes strike her, but things that happened in sleep were not as painful as words spoken in daylight, in front of the children.

After six months of therapy she came home from a session and found him drunk and still drinking with a buddy, laughing too loud about what a stupid stupid bitch he’d married.

Later, when he was good and passed out, she sleepwalked for the last time. 

She went to the dresser in the guest room and removed all the cash that he’d hidden there, slipped it into her bag next to the lists of contacts her doctor recommended, and loaded packed luggage into the car. 

She weeded flowerbeds in the kitchen once more, removing the things she’d hidden under a loose board: more cash, important papers, passports he never knew existed.

Then she carried the sleeping children to the car, buckled them in, and headed west.


  1. That must have taken a lot of courage... and to think such incidents are not fiction anymore...


    1. It is much too common Richa. Thanks for coming by and commenting.