by Claire L. Smith
Mary felt as if the hammer had struck her once again as she awoke, her dented skull dipping into her pulsing brain. She lay where she’d fallen, horizontal across the bed with her feet and hands dangling over each end. With a throaty groan, Mary pushed herself up into a sitting position, blood slipping from her hair and slapping the bed sheets like a broken water balloon. She stumbled about the bedroom like a morning drunk, travelling via the wall until she found her dresser. She found her most modest of dresses, knowing that her husband was already mad at yesterday’s choice of a summer dress. The dress hung loosely on her nimble body, the back tag sticking out from her cleavage. Still innocently oblivious of her injury, Mary pushed open the bedroom door and began to descend the stairs, her blood falling like light rain on each step. Her body grew heavy on her wobbling legs, the wooden floor at the bottom of the stairs swaying like a ship deck. She neglected to notice the front door wide open with a night’s worth of snow clogging the entrance way and the handle of the hammer sticking out of the field of snow. Like every morning, she was desperate to have a warm breakfast on
the table by seven thirty. Shuffling over to the kitchen stove, Mary reached up towards the dangling saucepans on the rack above. The heaviness of the pan and the numbness of her fingers caused the pot to fall from her weak grip, denting the kitchen tiles like the hammer had her skull. Mary froze as a sharp clang echoed through the house, under the impression that her husband would awake and ‘complain’ about the wake-up call. She waited, greeted by only the whistling silence of the snow fall outside. Her sigh of relief was followed by a dizziness as the last of her drained clean of vital red fuel. Mary fell to the floor like a flower bending in the wind, her pupils sinking back into her battered skull as her body finally shut down, finally free of her duties and abuse. Yet all she could think of is what he would do.