Today is JC Martin's Fight, Fight, Fight Blogfest. Click Here to follow Mr. Linky to the other entries. Somehow I doubt this is what she was expecting, but it's what came to me. Perhaps a cop out because I took inspiration from a song (found below), but forgive me anyway. I did write my story before watching the video, but this song always makes me tear up. Probably not for the reason you're thinking either. I hate that people can become this desperate, and yet part of me thinks, you go girl!
Here's my rough draft, enjoy!
Peggy sat at the dinner table with her eight year old daughter. The pork chops sat in a pool of congealed gravy on three plates. Butter covered the peas in a thin layer of wax, and yet they waited.
“Mom?” The tiny voice drew Peggy’s attention.
Her eyes focused on the thin girl cowering in the chair. Stringy brown hair hanging in her face, pale skin and haunted eyes. Her child shouldn’t look like that. With a sigh, she nodded her head. Hang the consequences.
The girl dug into the cold potatoes, gulping them down as fast as she could get her fork to her mouth. She used her fingers to scoop up the peas. Peggy’s eyes stung as she looked away.
When her daughter finished eating, Peggy gave her a hug and sent her to bed. She cleaned the kitchen without touching her own food. He stumbled in the door at midnight.
“Peggy! Where’s my dinner?” He bellowed and tossed his keys toward the coffee table. They slid across and fell to the floor.
“We ate hours ago Dan.” She spoke from the couch.
His head swung in her direction, and his body followed. In two strides he stood before her, lifting her to her feet by the shoulders. He shook her as he spoke.
“I didn’t ask when you ate. I asked for my dinner!” He threw her back to the sofa.
“I’ll warm it up.”
“I don’t want it warmed up. Is it too much to ask to come home to a hot meal with my family? Where’s Anne?” He continued to yell his words.
“Dan! Shh, she’s sleeping, and if you had come home after work you would have found dinner waiting for you. We waited for you.” Peggy stood as her anger simmered.
She saw the movement of his arm too late. The force of his back hand snapped her head to the side. Her arms flailed out for balance. He grabbed one and pulled her into him, wrenching her arm around until it was pinned behind her back.
“You don’t talk back to me, you worthless piece of trash. You’re nothing without me.” He hissed in her ear.
Through the starbursts exploding behind her eyes, Peggy saw a small form standing in the hallway.
“Mommy? Daddy?” The small voice broke Peggy’s heart.
“Go back to bed honey.”
“Stay, you should know how worthless your mom is so you don’t make the same mistakes.”
“No! Anne, go back to bed, I’m just getting your dad some dinner.” Peggy completely relaxed her body, knowing from experience it was her only hope of getting free. She hung her head and prayed.
Anne disappeared and Dan grunted as he shoved Peggy to the floor. She caught herself, but grazed the coffee table on the way down. She clutched her side and watched Dan sink into the chair.
“Five minutes. Dinner better be on the table in five minutes.”
Peggy scrambled to her feet and into the kitchen. His plate, already made, waited in the microwave. She pushed start and stood in front of the window. Her hands shook as she touched her cheek. The reflection mimicked the motion as she wiped away the blood from where his ring gouged her skin. Tears threatened, but she curled her hands into fists instead. Not tonight, she thought. Tomorrow.
Peggy rested her hand on Anne’s shoulder.
“Wake up, it’s Independence Day.”
Sleepy eyes looked up. Peggy smoothed the hair back from her daughter’s forehead.
“Good morning. Would you like to go to the fair today?”
Anne reached up and touched the bruised cheek.
“Are you ok?”
“Yes, dearest. Here, get dressed quietly, Dad’s sleeping.”
She dressed quickly and stood at the front door while her mother kissed the top of her head. Peggy pressed a wad of money into Anne’s hand.
“Have as much fun as you can today. Will you promise me that?”
“Yes, Mommy. Come with me?”
“I’ll meet you if I can, but don’t wait for me.”
Peggy’s arms ached. She let the bat fall to the blood splattered floor. Her anger spent, she filled her emptiness with the smell of gasoline. It splashed on the floor and soaked into Dan’s clothes. She could see his chest rise and fall and knew he wasn’t dead yet.
She crawled into the middle of the bed and sat cross-legged. Spfft. The match lit. Her hands were steady as she tossed it to the floor.