“Come on baby, open the door.”


I hugged my knees to my chest and stared at the feeble bolt on our bedroom door, knowing it wouldn’t hold if he tried to force his way in.


“I’m sorry baby.  Please?”


I glanced at my wrist.  Already bruises were forming; four parallel finger-shaped marks turning a ripe shade of yellow.


“I just want to make sure you’re ok.”


I raised my hand to my jaw, wincing as I touched the tender skin, once more becoming aware of the taste of blood in my mouth.


“Please baby.  Please let me in.”


I glanced at my bedside table, at where the phone used to be.  He’d removed it after the last time, after I’d called the police.


“I love you.”


I winced at those three words, knowing from experience exactly what they meant.  He was done begging.  I had to open the door or he would start getting angry again.  I had to let him in, let him apologise as he tended to the injuries he’d caused, or let him kick his way in and make me bleed some more.


A tear slipped from my eye as I climbed off the bed.



Many thanks to Alicia, whose editing expertise never ceases to enrich my work as much as she enriches my life