Beth

Prompt: Stay

The screams filled my head. The thoughts of the men around me stormed my brain. That’s what it felt. The voices drilling deep inside. The air they breathed out filling my lungs. I wanted to be smaller. Hide away into the cracks. The court yard was full. People yelling. Screaming. Growling at the news that was broad casted from the court house stairs. Innocent. The words stabbed my insides through and through. The anger boiling inside my lungs each day threatened to explode. The sadness in my chest melted through. Media. Media always found a way. Even with a coat, a hat, shades…I could feel the gaze, the way they tracked. I pushed my way through. Pushing men and women to the side, picking up my pace.

“Ms Robertson! Ms Robertson, wait!” I picked up my pace as I hit the pavement and ran down the street. People littered the path but it was easier. I could hear the shouts behind me. Not only of the media, but of the people. Innocent. They found the two faced asshole innocent. I screamed as I ran. I found the voice pulling through, the anger, the pain finding its escape. I tripped. Falling to my knees…I cried. I cried, and I felt ashamed, I felt so small and tiny. Bigger people wouldn’t. He wouldn’t have. He wouldn’t have cried. I banged my fist against the ground. I felt a hand grab me, pulling me up and dug into them, trying to hide my tears. I felt the gravel in my skin being brushed off, but bits stuck. Stuck and clung to me. Whispers of ‘it’s okay’ slowly crept into my mind. As he talked he slowly drew me to his side and he led me down the path. The press were taking photos. Yelling out questions. He only talked to me. Using that soft tone of voice used to calm the weak. I wasn’t weak. Yet here I was. Innocent. Bile crept up my throat. I felt his body twist as we stopped. A clink of a key, he lent me up a wall inside as he shoved the press away and locked them out. I slid down the wall. Her face haunting my eyes. Why? Why the fuck did they find him Innocent?! It was all there, motive, evidence…HE DIDN’T EVEN CRY AT HER FUCKING FUNERAL! I felt the hands pulling me up, only to sit me on a stair. His hands moved the hair out of my eyes. The tears blurred his brown eyes and hair, but I could see him. Colours merged but the picture was still there.

“Do you want a cup of tea?” I nodded. As he got up I started to pull thoughts together. Innocent. My sister is dead. Her body prodded, torn apart and sewn together again. Her life cut short, and he can roam the street. Create a future for himself. I felt my eyes threaten to betray me again. This is why I didn’t want to sit in the gallery. Mum and Dad…they were bad enough. I couldn’t sit there. Through his filthy lies…Not after they dug through my past. Tore my reputation apart. We never had a great relationship but she was my sister. They even threw the word jealous in. Me, jealous of her life. Her husband, her wealth, the prospect of her becoming a mother. Lawyers are the scum of the earth. Judges are just as bad. How could he just let them do that to me? Both prosecution and defence…like dogs to a rabbit…or worse. I found it difficult to keep up.

“Here” he crouched in front of me, passing the warm green mug into my hands. I whispered my thanks and took a sip. Plain tea. When was the last time I drank tea. “I heard the verdict. Must be hard to hear” I nodded. He seemed so gentle. So kind. For a second I saw Mr Innocents face in his. The same eyes, the jawline. The vision faded and I drank the tea.

“Is there a back door?”

“Sure. I can call a cab if you like. But the press are still outside” I nodded. He rang the cab company. Through the back door, and into the back street, I hopped in. Giving the driver directions. It didn’t take long. Twenty minutes of silence and then walking two blocks to a small house the press didn’t know about. The tears were choking my eyes again as I found the key under the mat and entered the old house. The dust creeping up the sides. I just wanted him dead. The bat kept by the door would help. The metal felt warm in my grasp. I dragged it behind me. He was having a shower. He must have had a decoy lead the press away. Too fucking easy. His smile greeted me. The bat out of sight.

“Well, well. Here we are” he stopped the shower, wrapping the towel around him.

He didn’t see the bat. Just like she didn’t see his punch. The blood burst through, and yet I swung again. He yelled. He had been surprised. Surprised that for the first time in fifteen years I had hit back. The swings became heavier, not as quick as before, but they hit their mark.

The tears still well up inside of me. The pain still boiling up. I wished she hadn’t visited. It should be me six foot under. After all. He was my husband.

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