Scott Kinney

It felt heavy in her hand. She’d never held one before, never approved of them. She was surprised at how comforting it felt, empowering, cold. She shifted it one way, then another, getting used to the feel of it, playing over scenarios in her head. The bruises on her face throbbed with an angry heartbeat all their own; the welts on her wrists where he had held her were bold and deep, branding her, reminding her.

It was worse this time,” she thought. “It’s always going to feel worse.”

Her fingers tightened, the weight in her hand didn’t feel as heavy as it had only moments before. Her arm felt light, almost weightless, her eyes burned warm and wet with tears. She watched him, sleeping in the darkness. Content, peaceful. Large head resting on large arm, large hand limply open. She wasn’t fooled. She remembered the fists.

The hazy glow from the streetlight softly illuminated the picture of their wedding day. They had been smiling, happy. There had been no bruises. The frame that held it had been taped together, previously broken in one of his rages. He had been sorry then, he swore he’d never lose his temper again.

You never will. You never will again.”

Slowly, deliberately, she raised her arm. A soft *click* broke the stillness of the night. He didn’t stir. Her hand didn’t shake. She held him there, her eyes boring into what was left of the man she knew. Looking for everything. Finding nothing. Slowly, her finger began to squeeze.

She placed the gun back in the drawer, careful to leave its contents exactly how she found it. Softly, quietly, she made her way to their bed, watching him sleep. She could still smell the whiskey. She sat down on her side of the mattress, he didn’t wake. She’d grown used to not disturbing him.

You never will. You never will again.”

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