There had been no sign of her in the house when he had returned from the shop. She should have known better, she should have known that she couldn’t get away far enough, that he would catch up with her and that there would be punishment.
He had found her at the top end of the field not far from the old cowshed, Peter’s and Blacky’s shed. He hadn’t believed her when she had said she was out looking for the dog. As though his day couldn’t get worse she had disobeyed the rules, but he had taught her a lesson and made sure she couldn’t get away. He had pushed her and she had fallen backward onto the ground. Then he had punched her, not in the face, never in the face, all these years never ever in the face. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times. It was all her fault, everything was all her fault. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, his right fist slamming into the soft tissue of her chest, just below the breasts, holding her down with his left, putting all his weight onto his left arm, pinning her down by the shoulder. The sound of a rib cracking with the last punch before he let himself collapse on top of her. Oh, how good that had felt.
Stupid woman, what had made her think she could get away. She had whimpered, begged him to take her to the hospital. Why should he, she was no use to him now that Peter was gone, the livestock sold. He didn’t need her any longer. Sure, it was handy to have a woman to do the cooking, but there was nothing difficult about roasting a nice piece of ham and cooking a few spuds. He’d just do it himself.
He had dragged her back down to the farmhouse and across the farmyard into the tool shed. “I’ve a vacant hotel room for you in there, you silly cow,” he had snarled. She had gone limp half way down the field, all resistance gone from her body. Served her right. There had been no response to his vicious snarling announcement that she could die in there for all he cared. It was all her fault. Her eyes had been wide open. Oh yes, let her be afraid, very afraid. That was how he liked them, scared to death. He had lifted her up and thrown her down onto Cath’s bed. She had felt limp like a rag doll, her eyes glassy and unblinking, staring up at him. He had wanted her to scream, then whimper and plead with him some more but she had remained silent. So he had punched her once more in the stomach. “I’m punishing you,” he had shouted at her, “do you hear me, woman? It’s all your fault. You’ll never get out of here. You can rot in here for all I care. Peter’s gone, she’s gone, Blacky is gone. It’s all your fault. Say it. Say ‘It’s all my fault’, say it.”
She hadn’t responded, her eyes wide and staring she had just laid there. Useless. He had wanted a reaction, no, he had needed a reaction, so he had picked up the empty glass that had been sitting on the bedside table and filled it with water from the tap over the little sink in the corner of the room. He had gone back over to her and thrown the water into her face. She hadn’t reacted at all, her eyes had stayed open the water running over them and down along the sides of her face onto the pillow under her head. It was then that he had noticed the smell of piss and feces that was coming from her.
He had slammed the door behind him and locked it before going back into the house. He’d keep her locked up in there for a while anyway. If she had thought she could escape his punishment that easily she had been wrong.
© Ash N. Finn, 2016