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Adventure Fiction Suspense

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger Warning: Contains Domestic Abuse/ mental/verbal abuse.

I sit and stare out the window of the train car.

There she is. Fall in all her glory. My absolute favorite season. And I have to admit she's even more beautiful in this part of New England. Rich vibrant shades of scarlet, gold, orange and emerald green saturate every strand of landscape. It comforts me to know that as I embark on this journey, the world itself has decided to transform too. It seems fitting that as I change, grow and embrace my dreams mother nature has come along for the ride.

I have never been to Vermont. I'm more excited than anxious. Honestly, I've never been off Long island. Wait that's not entirely true, I went New Jersey six years ago.

***

It was for my husband's brother's birthday party. We drove almost three hours to get to some strange sounding town in South Jersey. I liked Michael, my husband's brother. He is calm, mild mannered and has a great sense of humor. The complete opposite of Jack, the man with whom I have chosen to spend my life. We sat in Michael and Carols backyard and I wondered if Carol even know how lucky she was? Jack brought me over a drink. He smiled at me so I smiled back. I was so grateful to be out of the house that I even subjected myself to Jack's cousin Milly. Once she had your ear there was little chance of escape. I continue to nod and pretend like I'm interested as Milly goes on and on and on about her spoiled son and how ungrateful he was at Disneyland.

***

The train station is hectic. More people than I had anticipated. My mind wonders to the money I was able to withdraw from the bank. Its safely tucked inside my long leather boots but this is all that I have in the world. I gather up my one big duffel bag along with my purse and search for the ladies room. At the mirror I take in my reflection. My hair is filthy. But I will be changing it anyway. My eyes have matching dark circles and my complexion is gray. I've never looked so awful. I turn on the water, lather my hands and scrub away. I reach into my duffel and retrieve the blonde wig I packed the day before. After I brush through the tangled mane on my head, I'm able to secure it under the wig with bobby pins. I position the blonde bob carefully. I take a moment to admire myself. I apply false eyelashes, bright red lipstick and a birthmark (applied with eyeliner) onto my left cheek.

"Hi, my name is Morgan."

***

I had one of the worse migraines of my life, so I slept past eight. Jack has called my phone three times. I listen to his last voicemail.

~Rachel, where are you? You better be home. If I find out you've done something stupid like the last time, I don't have to tell you what's going to happen, because you already know. Answer your phone! ~

I stare at the clock on the wall its only 8:27 but that wont matter.

I call his office. I drag my hand through my hair and try to buy myself time as his receptionist transfers the call.

"Jack Morgan?"

"Hi honey, I'm sorry I didn't hear the phone."

"Where the hell have you been?"

"I've been here. I had an awful headache when you left. I fell asleep..."

"That's all you think about is sleep. What about our home? I need my suit from the dryer cleaners. Did you forget about that?"

"No Jack, I will get dressed and go get it now. I said I was sorry."

"Yeah well, sorry doesn't fix everything does it? You get your ass out of bed, put on something sensible and get my suit. And if I call this phone again and you don't answer it... I'll break it in front of you. Maybe a night in the guest room till you've learned your lesson."

"Jack please, I promise I wont let this happen again." I beg him.

But he has already hung up.

***

A blue neon sign is calling my name. I stand outside the quaint looking diner. The sign reads Buttermilk Kitchen. The red and white checkered curtains(visible from the street) give it a real homey charm. I take a deep breath and walk right inside. The bell above the door announces my arrival. I can hear Diana Ross's Love Child on the jukebox. I glance at a few patrons but keep my focus on the counter. I notice a waitress whose hair is the same shade of crimson that I've chosen on my lips, she's wiping down the counter with a hand towel , when she notices me.

I take a seat. She grins. Her name tag reads Amy.

"Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen, what can I get for you?"

"Um, I'm not sure. I guess I'll start with coffee."

Amy hands me a brightly colored menu. I thank her. Before I can make up my mind, Amy has returned with the coffee. She turns over the white porcelain cup that's in front of me on the counter and pours coffee from a large glass pot. I continue to read the days specials.

"Your not from around here are you?" She asks. I meet her eyes.

"Is it that obvious?" I ask meekly. Amy nods.

"Yeah, and I pretty much know everyone that comes in here."

"Well, I'm just visiting. My name is Morgan."

I extend my hand and she gently shakes it.

"Nice to meet you Morgan. I'm Amy like the tag says."

She laughs so I relax momentarily.

***

I'm walking again, this will be good for my legs after so much time on the train. I take in the local shops as I walk casually down the sidewalk. I'm a stranger here. And I must admit it makes me feel free. I notice my reflection in the window of a nail salon. Armed with my new disguise, I can be just about anyone. A single woman taking a much needed vacation or maybe I'm looking for a new job.

After my amazing pancake breakfast, Amy gave me the name and directions to a Bed and Breakfast that is only short walk away. I pick up the pace wanting to get there and get settled before half the day is gone.

I'm falling in love with this town. Everyone smiles at each other, most of them say hello, oh how I wish I could just stay. But I know its not an option.

Jack could find me here in under twenty four hours.

Just the thought of him here makes me shudder.

***

I hustle up and down the aisles of the supermarket. I stare at the contents in my shopping cart. Milk, eggs, bread, carrots, potatoes, yogurt for me, prime rib for Jack, a package of chicken cutlets and fresh fish from the seafood department. I head to the front of the store and the lines are longer than usual. Its not even noon but I'm dreading another phone call from Jack. I get on line and notice the woman ahead of me has dark brown hair and is wearing work- out clothes. She's speaking to someone on her phone. I glance at mine in the top of the cart and sigh deeply.

I can't help but over hear her conversation. I begin to bite my finger nails.

"She had to it was like living in prison. I know, yes, she had no other choice. Today, in this day and age, there are so many places that help women. Of course its scary, I'm not saying it wouldn't be... Debbie, I'm surprised she stayed this long. Yes, I thought so too. We have to help her. Good, good for her. I was always afraid he would kill her."

My heart is slamming against my ribcage.

I wipe the tears from my eyes then touch the stranger lightly on her shoulder.

She tells her friend to hold on, as she turns around to face me.

"Are you ok?" she asks me.

"No, but I'm going to be. I just wanted to thank you."

I grab my purse and phone out of the shopping cart. She is baffled.

" But I haven't done anything."

"Today you and Debbie saved my life."

***

Six months have passed since I left my husband. In that time I have traveled to Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina. And that is where I currently reside. I have been blonde, maroon, gray and my current shade of chestnut brown. I have worn glasses, colored contacts and even changed my accent. I've been Morgan, Carol, Amy, Debbie and even used my middle name Nicole. I was married to Jack for eight years, six months and ten days. I was not allowed to work, get my own bank account and I was isolated from my family and friends. These last six months haven't been easy.

I left Jack with four hundred dollars and the clothes on my back. When the money was almost gone, I waited tables all day and stocked shelves at night. As I sit here now looking at the words on my laptop, I know with every fiber of my being that I made the right choice. All I ever wanted was to write a book. To get my words out there to the world. Never would I have imagined writing about my marriage.

Yet, my marriage has made me strong, brave and fearless. Walking away from it finally made me free.





















September 15, 2022 14:49

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