Deliver Me From Evil

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by J.A. Goodman

Deliver me from Evil

She was busy cleaning up after supper. The kids were watching TV in the living room. She decided to ignore the yelling coming from that room. She had problems of her own that were consuming her thoughts.

I wonder what his excuse will be this time, she thought. Working late? Helping a friend? Oh, it’s snowing, maybe he’ll use the old standby..the car ran off the road and I had to wait for the tow truck… Asshole.

The noise from the living room grew too loud to ignore. She counted to 10 before she went in to settle them down. She knew from past experiences that she could sometimes lash out at them… when she was really upset with him. She hated herself when she did that. Sometimes she just lost control. After all she was human and way too often, she felt like she was at the breaking point. Only a short trip to the funny farm her husband would tell her when he threatened to have her committed.

If she complained, “The kids are driving me nuts”.

His response was always the same. “That’s not a drive, that’s just a short putt.”

When bedtime came she put the kids to bed and told them a story. Most of the time, she made up the stories. Tonight it was about a bad, bad wolf who loved to roam around and play with the other female wolves while he ignored his own family. A family he had tucked away in a small den on the other side of the woods. The kids liked the story and wanted to know what happened to the family. She said they all grew up to be good little wolves. What happened to the bad Daddy wolf, they asked. She thought about it for a minute. Then said, “He was killed and eaten by a big hungry bear.” Then she said good night and added, “Sweet dreams.”

That night, she went to bed alone. At first she couldn’t get to sleep. He was still not home and she wondered where he was. She slipped in and out of sleep.

Suddenly she heard the door slam shut. She sat up in bed and waited for him.

“Oh good, you’re awake,” he said when he walked into the bedroom.

“I wouldn’t be if you were more considerate at 2:30 in the morning. Where the hell have you been all night?”

He walked over and sat down next to her. “Take is easy sweetheart, you’re not talking to one of the kids.” His self satisfied smile turned her stomach. “Now, you aren’t going to believe this, but my car slipped off the road after work and I was waiting all this time for a tow-truck. I’ve got the receipt right here.”

He started to empty his pockets until he found a piece of paper that he proudly dropped on the bed in front of her. She looked at the receipt as he stood back up, took off his coat, unstrapped his holster and removed his gun. He set the gun on the night stand.

“Who was with you while you were waiting? You reek of beer and cheap perfume.”

His face turned red. “You sayin you don’t believe me? Who the hell do you think you are to question me? I’m the only one working in this family and you’d best not question what I tell you… or else.”

She heard an unfamiliar voice come out of her mouth. “Or else what? You going to hit me again? You’re nothing but a poor excuse for a man let alone a husband or father.”

“What the hell? Are you talkin back to me? What happened, you grow balls since this morning?” He glared at her, his face contorted in anger. “I’ll teach you to talk to me like that… bitch.”

She saw him lean over. Felt him punch her across the mouth with his closed fist. Then he calmly walked to his side of the bed. He turned his back to her as he undressed and slid under the covers.

She held her jaw. It felt like it broke when he struck her. Her eyes filled with tears that began to run down her cheeks. Her hands were shaking. Her brain was signaling… fight or flight. She tried to move her legs. She felt herself floating to the night stand. The gun was in her hands. It felt so light. She aimed and pulled the trigger. She saw the surprised look on his face. She felt joy as she watched him die.

Her eyes opened. The room was dark. Her blood was racing and her heart pounding in her chest as she realized it was a dream. She could hear him snoring, smell the beer and cheap perfume. He was still alive. She moved her jaw to assure herself it was not broken. She climbed out of bed as her dismal future with this man flashed before her eyes. She saw his gun sitting on the night stand. She picked it up. This time… it was real. She could feel the weight of it in her hands. It would be so easy to pull that trigger. Bang, you’re dead. One little bullet could free her and her family. She aimed the gun and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. It took a second for her to realized that he must have the safety on. Her hands were shaking violently now. The gun fell onto the bed. She dropped to her knees and thanked God that she had not been able to shoot.

The thought that she probably would have missed anyway caused her to smile in spite of the situation. Truth was, she had never been able to kill anything except flies and spiders. Why not? she wondered. Was it because she knew what it felt like to fear for her life? Or was it because her parents had instilled a belief in God? She instantly pictured herself at the gates of heaven. They were questioning her about the evil she had done. She hoped killing flies and spiders didn’t count. A little voice reminded her about the hundreds of mosquitoes that she had smashed with gusto. Didn’t matter, if she had killed her husband, how would she explain that? She shivered at the thought of defending the indefensible.

She put the gun back where she found it and walked out of the room. She made a cup of tea and contemplated her next move. The time had come to take her life back. She needed to talk to a good lawyer. Find a safe place to live. Reconnect with family and friends. It wouldn’t be easy but somehow she knew she would find the strength.