She sat staring at her entwined fingers, their ruby lacquered fingertips wriggled against each other in her lap. She’d yet to meet my eyes, even to raise them at him in her own defence as he spent session after session railing at her.
My first impression was that she didn’t speak English, even though she didn’t appear foreign. You can change a person’s clothes but never who they are, and it came through loud and clear. Daintily, she lifted a hand, producing a lace handkerchief from nowhere and gently dabbed at the corner of her painted lips. It came away bloody.
“Jesus Christ, still with the sympathy card?” He jumped to his feet and loomed over her, roaring in her face, his hands on her shoulders.
“Sit down Mr. N_____ or I will have to call the police and have you arrested.”
Not once did she did do more than flinch slightly, but simply sat and accepted his rough treatment. He snapped his head around at me, gritting his teeth at me in an unspoken snarl. “She’s my wife. I can correct…”
I picked up my cell and scanned my thumbprint, keeping my eyes on him, “She has said nothing in her own defence since you walked through that door. Correct her for what? Breathing? Sit down or leave. You’ll be doing it alone.”
Her startled eyes leapt to mine, and my heart ached to see the terrified hope lingering there. She shook her head, all the while imploring me to save her and I smiled, losing myself in her steel-blue eyes. Horror was mine as I saw her lips fall open and realised why she wasn’t speaking.
Her tongue had been surgically removed, and not long before from pain lines that had grown deeper around her mouth. “You are a monster.”
“I got tired of her voice. Every time she opened her stupid mouth and attempted to use what passes for her brain, she fucked things up. Now she can’t interfere. Look at her. Who’d want her anyway, though tongueless her value went up.”
I was floored and frankly at odds as to what my best move should be. This man clearly belonged in jail, but was bound by confidentiality. “If you hate her, why not divorce her, instead of resorting to…mutilation! Who the hell did that?” My thumb slid across the screen, the image in my mind coming shockingly unbidden, not the screen but her moist lips, and I hesitated slightly. He was going to kill her. Today, next week, next year though I doubted it would take that long. He had cut out her tongue, what other violations had he visited on her smooth, supple skin. Dear Lord, what is wrong with me?
“I could tell you. But then I’d have to kill you,” he snapped, laughing menacingly into her frightened face. “Divorce? I don’t believe in divorce. Until death do us part, remember darling?” He held her chin in his fingers, and she lowered her gaze as they began to whiten at the tops, “I’m not going anywhere, so it’ll have to be you sweetheart.”
I turned on my Bluetooth, it’s light hidden by my thick curls, and hit dial on the phone.
“9-1-1 what is your emergency”
“So your saying that you’d torture Mrs. N____ and continue to mutilate her rather than divorce her? You’ve already removed her tongue.”
“Operator* “Ma’am. Are you in danger? Can you say?”
He stood, straightened his tie and lashed out to grab a handful of her glorious hair, and yanked her head back, “This is mine. I can do what I want to it. No one can stop me, least of all you. But I’ll make you a deal. I’ll get rid of this and train you up right.”
“No.” I paused a beat in answer to the operator’s sharp intake of breath and question, then continued, “Mrs. N_____ (XiXi what an exotic name) is a human being. She deserves to be treated like one. And Vic, is it? Never in life would I want to be any closer to you than this.” I glanced at her, again sitting eyes lowered and hands clenched in fists on her lap. Reaction at last.
“Ma’am. Police are on the way. Stay on the line If you can.”
I stood from my chair, the large antique mahogany desk between us, and smoothed my now uncomfortably short skirt across my hips and thighs. His eyes crawled over my breasts, lingering then travelling downward. “Why? Because I can tell you need a good hard fuck and no other man could do you so well.”
“Narcissistic bastard aren’t you?” The operator snorted laughter in my ear, coughing to mask it. At least someone was having fun. “You think you could turn me do you? Fact is, Vic, your wife interests me far more than you ever could.” It was no lie. He didn’t interest me in the least. Saving his wife did, and his narrowed glare settled on me as I stared at her.
*operator* “Draw it out. 3 minutes.”
Taking a deep breath, I stepped from behind safety of my desk and approached XiXi, my hand trailing along her shoulder to her cheek. “Leave Vic. Now. Consider my time as your therapist terminated. Fuck off.” I felt her stiffen and press her warm skin into my palm. Her hand landed softly on my ribs and then I was on the floor.
She struck like a silenced rattlesnake, puncturing his neck not with fangs but with the battered old letter opener I normally kept in my drawer. I’d forgotten it earlier while I was opening my personal mail. Again and again she thrust it into his face, his chest, screaming wordlessly.
*operator* “MA’AM! ARE YOU ALRIGHT!?”
“Send an ambulance.”
XiXi slumped back into her chair, her pale beautiful face speckled with red, her lashes shining in the bright office. “Darling. Put the opener down, that’s right. Drop it right there.” Reaching up, I turned off my Bluetooth, and crawled to where she sat, bloody tears streaking her cheeks. “It’s okay. You’re safe,” I whispered, and gathered her in my arms.
That’s how the police found us, wrapped in each other’s embrace, her handprint still tacky on the left breast of my blouse, and her cheek on the other. We’ve never been happier, the past two years have been the best of my life. Until tonight. Tonight I came home to find her sitting quietly and covered in blood, holding the letter opener. For the first time since I met her, I am afraid.
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Crash Palace Productions – Fear Is In The Mind