|The alarm clock raised her from the dream she had; his perfect face, his body, his hands, everything disappeared in less than a second. Sweat drops returned to her skin as she realised that reality was becoming clearer, that it was only a dream she had. Her hands felt the area next to her, where she dreamt he lied, empty. A sigh of relief and somewhat disbelieve filled her body. On the opposite side of the bed, someone slept in she saw as the blurry image sharpened. Her heart raced when the bathroom door opened ajar and the figure was illuminated. He walked out and his face filled her body with dread like every morning. He walked with a limp leg, but the figure looked steadfast. His hands raised her small body with ease from the bed where she laid and kept her inches from his face. The smell of brandy and steak came between them, but it didn’t stop him from kissing her. He forced his free hand down her back; an eerie feeling came with the sensation of his hand going down. It stopped on her backside and the kissing stopped as well. His eyes looked into hers, fierce eyes hardened by time and death. She hated them, she feared them. A smile formed on his lips, but she knew from experience what was going to happen.
‘I missed you Jess,’ his voice was hoarse and emotionless. Jess thought back to the day they met each other; he was handsome, caring and full of emotion " especially the love he showed towards her. It all faded away. Before she could say something in return he forced himself onto her and they fell onto the bed. He forced his lips on her; his free hand mover her night gown up. The cream coloured underwear was exposed as his hand moved; she felt the fear subside as her mind started to dwell off. With time she taught herself to fantasize about the person she met on the peer, in her dream world where only love existed. His face became clearer as she walked towards him. The calm ocean wind brushed against her face, the sand under her feet tickled. The dark figure became clear in the sun shining through the clouds. They stood in front of each other. His mouth opened. The words she wanted to hear did not roll out of his mouth like always and the dream faded once more.
He forced himself into her fragile body. She moaned, not for the right reason. Pain shot through her body. This part never seemed to get easier. Her body tensed up, a thousand needles punctured her body where he touched her. Tears rolled down her face, but she quickly wiped it away. As quickly as it started it ended. He fell on her, limp by the overwhelming feeling filling his body. The smell of his breath fell over her nose; nausea set itself in her stomach. Some things you can’t get used to she thought.
He stepped down from her, his body weight settled on the edge of the bed. The smile from earlier vanished to an emotionless face of black stubble and blue eyes. He stood up and walked out of the room with nothing covering himself. The door closed with a thud and the tears burst from her eyes. She pulled her naked body into a ball of pity under the blankets. The white linen was stained with a small amount of blood. Silent sobs filled the room. Her mind was blank; thoughts did not dare to enter her mind.
The door slammed close behind her. She woke up with a start. It was dark outside and she realised that she slept the whole afternoon, or was it already night? She felt disorientated and lost inside her bed. She threw the blankets open and saw the red stain on the mattress between her legs and realised what happened earlier. Again it made her feel small and vulnerable.
‘He’s been doing it again,’ Jess said over the phone.
‘You need to stop him! He is going to hurt you, it is only a matter of time,’ Jess’s former roommate, Angelique, said with a touch of concern in her voice.
‘He had done it already,’ shame filled her voice.
‘I thought you said…’
‘It was the first time, about two weeks ago. He only hit me once,’ tears rolled down her face. ‘He promised to love me Ang. He promised.’
‘You cannot stay there for longer! You must get out of there today.’
‘I can’t just leave!’ the tears dried up and she defended against her friend’s suggestion.
‘He is going to kill you.’
Silence fell over the friends. The front door opened and closed while she stood in the bedroom. ‘He’s here. I need to go.’ She put the phone down and walked to the cupboard. She took out her night gown and put it on over the light blue negligée. She tried to smile; she tried to summon up all the energy she had to force a smile through. If success was measured with a broken ruler, she achieved it. She made way for the door when he stood in the door frame, his bulk shoulders standing the door full.
‘What happened?’ the hopeless attempt to smile evaporated into the air around her. Blood shot eyes looked into hers. A silence fell between them. Her mind raced with different situations, about what to do and what he was going to do " the sound of something that dripped aloud stuck her mind to nothing.
His large body moved aimlessly in half circles as he struggled to keep his balance. Only the bed lamp shone, but she could make out a faint trickle of tears running down his weathered face. She couldn’t help but feel a little sad, or rather sympathetic for him " she did not know why. Did she feel love towards him after all that she had been through, after all the hurt? Did she really love the hardened soul? Is the man on the peer in her dreams the image of this hardened soul?
The once sturdy body fell to the ground, causing her to start. Confusion engulfed her mind; should she help the man that ruined her life, that hurt her every day? Her movements were made up of small steps, but then they retraced themselves back to safety.
‘Brandt? Brandt?’ she said in a whisper. The sudden silence in the room scarred her. Cracks on the walls made conversations with her, each crack begging her to listen to their stories. The wind outside lurked through the small seems that was not covered properly. The exposed window filled the room with darkness, calling her to stay away from the hideous creature lying on the floor. ‘He is not a creature,’ she felt herself say to her own mind. She walked to his body as her mind let herself think rational for a second.
‘No, no, Brandt,’ her hands shook his lifeless body lying on the floor. A black puddle of blood formed around his stomach. She scurried away from the hideous sight. From a young age she feared blood, she could not stand the sight. As she moved backwards, she hit the end of the bed. A new smell made it to the room, an irony-bloody smell. Nausea fell on the bottom of her empty stomach. She realised that she had not eaten anything the whole day. She tried to stand up, but her legs only gave away under the stress. Above the smell of fresh blood, urine stank above it. She moved uncomfortable with the urine seeping underneath her legs. The first set of tears rolled down the edges of her plump cheeks. She did not know what to do; life did not prepare her for this. No one ever told her that this is what her life would turn out to be. You couldn’t buy a book on how to prepare yourself on how to react to death, could you? Small things became more evident to her in the room, the faintest smell above the urine and blood. Was it fear she smelled? The smallest movements caught her eyes, the whitest moth sitting on the wall, the lonely ant running down the wall, the small cracks forming on the wall she could hear. Everything became surreal and dreamlike. This was after all only a dream, it could not be real?
Dreamy figures swam before her; colourful fixations swam with elegant movements that calmed her. Minutes passed before recognisable figures started to appear in front of her. The figure from the peer did not appear as she hoped, but only a great shadow. Her mother’s face was attached to a swimming body, her lips moving but no words came out. The deafening silence still held its composure, adding to the dreamy effect. Her eyes felt heavy, but she could not close them. Her mind was too awake. She stretched her hand out to touch something, but she only managed to catch air. In the distance of this outstretched world she could hear a faint call that disrupted the silence. It was too far to hear though. Her head fell to her left side to look at something moving in a rigged movement, different from the other daunting objects floating in the air. She focused her eyes, but this only caused strain on her them. The noise grew louder with every second, and it quickly turned into a scream. She felt a strong grip on her arm that sent her flying across the room and all the objects with her.
‘Jess!’ The arm latched itself around her arm again, but the voice she could place somewhere in the history of her life, but the images was still blurred. Something snapped, she could hear it, feel it, but she did not know what it was. The smell of blood entered her nose again, it made her feel lightheaded. The sound of someone walking faded to silence, the images moved out of the way into the sides of her eyes, making way for the darkness. Her eyes closed and the sound of nothing soothed her fear and tired body.
As the sun lit the room through the open windows, shadows formed in the darker parts of the room. They walked among the rays of light, but did not touch them. The room did light up, but light was not a sign of hope, but a constant reminder of what went wrong " or what was meant to be unseen. Jess’s body lay on the bed covered with the white linen. At the bottom of the bed, on the now red tiles lay the body of her dead husband. A low murmur came from Jess’s closed mouth, the noise somehow escaped through her nose. A sudden burst of morning light hit her face, forcing the closed eyes of her to open abruptly to the room she remembered as a cell rather than a safe haven. She sat up straight on the edge of the bed with her hand trying to rub away the sleep; little did she know the horror lying in front of her. She forgot everything about yesterday because of the dream she had, the dream that was a reality. Flashes of memories returned to her mind, and she thought why would she dream something like that, but before she could finish the thought her eyes saw the trail of dried blood on the floor. Her eyes traced the lines of his body, and a smile formed on her mouth. She couldn’t believe that he was out of her life for real now, that he could not hurt her again. The smile only lived shortly when the reality struck her; how would she survive without him?
‘He is dead,’ the monotonous voice said over the phone to someone. ‘He is dead!’