This isn’t a writing prompt, just an idea that was in my head.

I could feel the blood drying at the corner of my mouth.

At least this part of me was healing, growing into a hard place right at the place lips meet.

I quickly ran my tongue over my teeth to check for any looseness.

None. Good.

Mike had retreated to some other part of the apartment. It was so quiet, I could pretend like I was alone for a few minutes, at least before I heard a loud snort and his voice yelling at himself.

I sat on the floor, feeling my body for the sore places even while my mind had gone numb. I’m not sure where I got this routine from, but I appreciated it – I knew after An Incident that I would be left alone for a few hours. And I saw this as an opportunity to get some peace.

There was no sharp pain on the sore spots. That was good – I wouldn’t have to put anything on any open cuts. I hate Polysporin.

I slowly got off the floor, mentally scanning my body for any sharp pains. I stood up. A wave of emotion started from my chest but I stopped it at my throat. I would have to be stronger than I was the last time. The last time when I stood up, I started to heave-sob and couldn’t stand up straight because of the pain in my chest. This time I was going to cry but I was going to keep my back ram-rod straight.

He wasn’t going to beat the strength out of me.

He must have heard me move because I could hear his footsteps coming back to the bedroom. This I hadn’t planned for – should I make my way to the bathroom and risk having my back to him? Or should I stand still, facing the door so I could try and defend myself? And what about this welling up in my chest? He wasn’t going to see me —

The door swung open while I was trying to decide. The whole room seemed to be disrupted by the verocity of it – papers rustled and the handle hit the wall with a bang. It would probably make the dent that’s been there for months even deeper.“So you’re up, eh?”

His voice was too quiet, too low. I stood there without saying anything. I was used to him coming at me for a beating. That’s what I thought when the door swung open. But it occurred to me after he spoke that he was just anxious to see if I was conscious.

Once he saw I was able to stand and breathing, he got his resolve back.

“Do you see? Do you see how the things you say affect me? I don’t understand why you have to be so… unkind all the time!!!

His voice got slightly louder on these last words. Oddly enough, I wasn’t as scared as I was last time. I could hear him, but I wasn’t worried about what he was saying. I was mainly thinking about how silly he sounded when he got all emotionally discombobulated. It was funny in way.

You always do this!!!”

He was going to run out of exclamation points if he continued for much longer.

“You always make me feel like I can’t do anything!!! Like I’m not enough! Like you’re better than me!!!”

The neighbours were probably hearing this now. Though they heard it so much they could probably mouth the words along with him.

That thought almost me snortle out loud. I swallowed the chuckle and was able to disguise it as a throat clear.

And then he said it. The one phrase he said every time he beat me that I could repeat back to him the exact same way he said it to me:


This was it. Either he was going to start beating me again or I could do something drastic. Something to let him know I didn’t need to hit back, I didn’t need to fight back when he raped me.

Something to let him know I wasn’t having this anymore. Every other time I was quiet, not saying anything unless he asked me something. This time was going to be different.

Something to let him know I wasn’t scared, and I wasn’t backing down and I wasn’t going to let his inability to be strong touch me.

I couldn’t put my hands on him and beat him down like he did me, but I had my words. He needed to know that. He needed to know I didn’t care anymore. He needed to know we could be doing this all night, that we would either die here together or he was going to get himself together.

I gathered every ounce of calm I had. I wanted to be as collected as he was in a mess.

He glared at me as I cleared my throat. Then the words came out. I didn’t consider how they could kill me until after they were floating between us, but I stand by them. They had run through my mind long enough:

“Well,” (pause for effect, raise your voice a little) “I imagine EVERYTHING I say sounds smart to you,” (breathe) “so you’re. going to have to be. more. specific.”

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