The Ball that Disappeared – Part 3 – Story Finale

sandlot

If you missed Part 1, click here

If you missed Part 2, click here

Hugo remained where he landed – on top of the screen he broke down after diving into Old Man Semos’ living room. The harsh landing knocked the baseball out of his hand, and Old Man Semos had picked it up.

Hugo pushed himself up to his feet. The giant hound continued to bark ferociously as Hugo wondered what would happen next.

Old Man Semos wore a a big straw hat, and he chewed on a long piece of grass. A rifle lay in his lap, and Hugo had no doubt he’d used it before.

“What you doing over here, son? Some people get killed for trespassing.”

Hugo gulped. “I’m not afraid of you.”

Old Man Semos turned the rifle barrel and aimed it at Hugo. He squinted one eye, and locked in on his target.

“Pow!” He said.

Hugo flinched and took a quick step back. Old Man Semos laughed outrageously, then set the rifle aside. “Sure look scared,” he said.

“Give me my ball, sir.”

“What do I get?”

Hugo cautiously approached Old Man Semos. “Nothing.”

“Then I can’t give it to you!” shouted Semos. He grabbed the rifle and aimed it at Hugo again.

“Please sir, that baseball is the last thing my dad left me!”

“Your dad?” Semos lowered the gun, and arched an eyebrow as he stared at the ceiling. “Your name wouldn’t happen to be Hugo, now would it?”

Hugo kept his eyes locked on that baseball. Semos was holding it in his hand still, which was at his hip and level with Hugo’s eyes. One quick snatch and he could have it.

“No,” said Hugo.

“What is it?”

“Pudgy.”

“Pudgy?” Semos said, staring curiously back at the boy. “You sure? Can’t imagine any real folks would be dumb enough to name their kid that.”

Hugo’s eyes went wide. “I swear it’s my name.”

“Well, that’s too bad then,” said Semos, before sitting down and tossing the ball up and down in the air. Hugo watched it rise and fall. Semos continued.

“Cause if you were a little boy named Hugo, I might just be able to tell exactly what happened to your dad.”

Hugo stopped tracking the baseball, and looked back at Semos. “What happened to Hugo’s dad?”

Old Man Semos grinned. “He left town altogether. His boy will never see him again, not for the rest of his life.”

Hugo’s heart sank. He knew his dad had left, but hearing he was gone for good made nothing easier. He turned around, then started walking away with his head down. “You can keep the baseball,” he said on his way out.

“Funny thing about that boy Hugo, though,” said Old Man Semos.

Hugo stopped at the doorway, and turned around. Semos tossed him the baseball and he caught it.

“I heard his pops telling people, right before he left, about that boy. Said he’s got an arm like you wouldn’t believe, and so much potential he has no doubt that his kid’s going to be someone special someday.”

“So why did he leave then?”

Semos grinned. “Well, Hugo’s father felt it wouldn’t be fair to the other boys if he stuck around to raise him. Said the only way he could possibly imagine his kid not succeeding, is if all the odds are stacked against him. Says no boy is tough enough to make himself into a man.”

“He said that?”

Semos nodded.

Hugo tossed the ball up, then caught it. “Huh.” He started toward the backyard again.

“Oh, and Hugo?” said Old Man Semos.

“Yeah?”

“As long as you don’t run, my dog isn’t going to chase you.”

Hugo nodded, then walked back through the yard. He squeezed through the fence, ball in hand, and found all the other kids waiting for him on the other side.

“Woah, he did it!” said Pudgy. “We thought you were dog food.”

“Way to go, Hugo,” said Measles, before tossing a friendly punch at Hugo’s shoulder. His reach wasn’t long enough so his elbow straightened and jammed instead. “Ow.”

Hugo smiled as he walked, tossing the ball in his hand as he did. The rest of the kids followed after him.

“What are we gonna do now?” said Measles.

Hugo looked around. He spotted an old, abandoned house way out in the distance. “Betcha I can hit that house.”

“From here?” said Pudgy, before laughing hysterically. “I’d like to see you try, straw man! Ten bucks says you can’t even throw it halfway.”

“I thought your mom gave you that money because you said you needed a better plunger?” said Measles.

“Shut-up Measles,” said Pudgy.

Hugo smirked, then whirled his arm around and let the ball fly.

THE END

  • Thomas M. Watt

The Ball that Disappeared – Part 2

sandlot

If you missed Part 1, click HERE

Hugo and the rest of the kids stared at the busted fence. His baseball was on the other side, and the only way to get it back was to set foot on Old Man Semos’ property.

“You have to forget about it!” said Measles. “Go over there and you’ll get killed!”

“Of course he’s not going over there!” Shouted Pudgy, with a laugh. “He’s too big of a wuss.”

Hugo took a step forward, then stopped and gulped. That baseball was the only thing he had left to remember his dad by – it was more important to him than all the pop in the world.

“Don’t do it, Hugo,” said Measles. “I don’t want you to die. Not yet at least.”

Hugo continued his slow trudge forward.

The only kid who walked with him was Measles, who adjusted his glasses then said, “Old Man Semos puts bags of candy on his front porch for Halloween every year, and still nobody goes over there. You wanna know why?”

“Why?” said Hugo. The two of them were now well afar from the rest of the gang, and only feet away from the fence.

“Because the one kid who ever took some of that candy swears on his life that it was human flesh, mixed with sugar!”

Measles stopped, but Hugo kept going.

“Don’t do it, Hugo. It’s not worth it.”

“I know,” said Hugo, before peaking through the hole in the fence. No sign of any dog, and no sign of Old Man Semos. The baseball, however, just sat there, in plain sight.

“It was good knowing you,” said Measles.

Hugo turned, then watched Measles walk back to the other kids, hanging his head like Hugo had already been mauled to death. Hugo didn’t have time to worry about that now – if he acted quickly, maybe he’d be able to live and get his baseball back.

He ripped the rest of the broken plank away. The opening was narrow, but Hugo was skinny enough to slide through. For the first time in his life he was grateful for being such a rail. By the time he spotted it, he was in too deep.

The gargantuan hound. It really was the size of a horse! Sitting in its dog house, Hugo heard it growl once his shoe touched down on the burnt-out lawn. Hugo looked over at the ball, then back at the hound.

It growled again.

Hugo took one last breath, then booked it.

As he bolted after the baseball he could hear the hound’s chain dragging through the dry brown grass. The hound ferociously barked as it raced along the ground.

It wasn’t charging at Hugo – it was charging after the ball!

Hugo couldn’t afford to lose focus now – his eyes stayed trained on the baseball the entire time. As he neared it, Hugo realized he’d have to pick it up and keep running without losing a step – this hound’s chain was nowhere close to being taught.

The hound opened its jaw and Hugo swore he saw fangs in its mouth. Hugo returned his eyes to the ground, right where the baseball sat, and swiped it up then kept going.

The giant dog still chased after him; slobber splashed up and soaked Hugo’s elbow.

He was running out of room to escape – Hugo headed straight for the screen door to Old Man Semos’ house. He busted through and tore it down, landing in a rough dive that knocked the ball out of his hand. He barely escaped the Hound, whose chain tugged the collar on his neck and cut-off his pursuit.

Hugo stayed on his stomach for a bit, breathing heavily until he caught his breath. When he finally worked up the courage, he took his eyes forward to figure out where his baseball had rolled to. Sitting on the couch, tossing it up and down in the air with one hand and holding a rifle in his other was the scariest person Hugo had ever laid eyes on – Old Man Semos.

Hugo gulped.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

‘Master’ Update

7000 words into my latest piece. I only intended it to be 10,000, but I think it’s going to take a little bit more. Probably going to be about 20000.

The story is about Phillip Gordon, a former football star who is tormented by a figure who goes by ‘Master’ in his dreams. Initially Phillip ignores Master’s warnings, but after his wife and child are abducted he sets out to take whatever action necessary to guarantee their safe return. Unfortunately for Phillip, that means carrying out the atrocious orders of a madman with a hidden agenda.

I’ll publish it on amazon as soon as it’s done, and keep you updated on my progress.

  • Thomas M. Watt

Trophy Wife

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2:00 AM

He put the phone down. Where was she? She was supposed to get home hours ago. He called again – no answer.

Mr. Turnip rolled out of bed. He rubbed the wrinkles out from his eyes, huffed and moved to the closet. He was in his pajamas and slippers. From the closet he grabbed a coat, top hat, and his rifle. The rifle was just precautionary, of course – he had no intention to use it.

Mr. Turnip exited through the front door, got in his Lexus, and pressed the start button. Rather than driving to her sister’s, or her friends, Mr. Turnip traveled to the one place he hoped not to find her – the one place he might need his rifle.

The beach.

She was a young fox. Jessica was her name, but she preferred Jessie. Too young. Too beautiful. Too arrogant.

Mr. Turnip knew she was with him for his money. Most girls got flowers for their first date. Mr. Turnip bought Jessie got a new rack.

The problem with Jessie wasn’t that she was a gold digger. It wasn’t that she was a cheater, either – Mr. Turnip didn’t give a damn about fidelity. He didn’t believe in love, he believed in money.

What was that thing people said? It’s what’s on the inside that counts? Laughable. Mr. Turnip was a man of power, and the only way he could maintain his pristine image was by force and manipulation. And if Jessie was on the beach with them, she’d be putting everything he ever worked for at risk. Mr. Turnip would be the laughingstock around town in no time. He looked at his rifle and gulped.

As he returned his eyes to the road ahead, an unexpected memory resurfaced.

His ex-wife. He thought about the time Scruffy ran away, and they spent the entire night driving through neighborhoods looking for him. Helena was so concerned. Her hand never moved from her mouth, and she must have asked him over a hundred times is he thought they’d really find him.

Mr. Turnip laughed in his Lexus, and a rare smirk formed on his weary face.

He’d been so grumpy that night. He’d been so nasty to her every night. But she always loved him, and she always needed him to comfort her.

Funny, he used to hate that so much. He used to hate how much she needed him. And now he was married to Jessie, who was half Helena’s age, a quarter her IQ, and an eight as dependent. She never needed Mr. Turnip for anything – but when it came to his money, that was a different story.

Mr. Turnip parked right by the train tracks, overlooking the shore. He could see the fire pit a short ways down, and the young people partying around it. Body make-up, palm trees, grass skirts and dancing. That came hand-in-hand with the ectasy, sex, and whatever other kind of trouble they could get in.

Mr. Turnip shut the car off and groaned. He shook his head, picked up his rifle, then exited his Lexus. He had no intention of shooting anyone, of course, but he couldn’t risk allowing the press to catch wind of his wife’s night time activities. And if he didn’t get her home now, she’d be lying on the beach half-naked and drunk when the sun came up.

He carried his rifle with him as he crossed the train tracks and started on the sand. He took his slippers off and walked towards the fire.

The thought of his ex-wife came to him again. She’d died a while back, not too long after their divorce. Many of her friends and family said it was the divorce that made her sick, and his new marriage that caused her death. Mr. Turnip had been able to shake that off with a grunt and some brandy for many, many years.

He saw his trophy wife up ahead. She was dancing with some young shirtless dude with dark hair and a dragon tattoo on his back. Not two seconds later her hands wrapped around his head and Jessie had his tongue in her throat.

Mr. Turnip scoffed and shook his head.

All these years the thought of Helena had been painful – he never liked to admit when he was wrong. But for some reason, on this night, Mr. Turnip felt at peace with his ex-wife. It was like they were together again – like those days when Mr. Turnip was just another working suit, fighting to pay the mortgage and keep up with the Jones’. Like he felt before he made his big payday and changed his life for the better. New car, new friends, new wife.

Mr. Turnip stopped and turned, looking back toward his Lexus.

“I hate that fucking car.”

He laughed after saying it, and when he did he swore he heard Helena laugh with him. Mr. Turnip smiled. If she were with him, if they were together, she would have laughed as well. And he would have bet every new dollar he had on that.

Mr. Turnip returned his attention to the party and moved onward. He gulped. He was nervous, yes, but he needed to get tough and fast. It was the only way Jessie would leave those idiots and come home for some rest.

“Hey,” said Mr. Turnip. “Party’s over, time to come home.”

He kept the rifle aimed at the sand, just so everyone knew he had no intention to use it.

Jessie turned to look at him, smiled big, then came prancing over with one hand behind her back.

She reached him, kissed him, then whispered in his ear.

“You’re right. The party is over.”

Jessie moved away, then swung her arm out from behind her back and into Mr. Turnip’s gut. Before he realized what happened, Mr. Turnip found himself falling over with a knife lodged in his stomach.

His eyes rolled up to see Jessie and the rest of her friends standing over him. The man with the dark hair picked up the rifle, loaded, aimed it –

Then he saw Helena again.

Thomas M. Watt

The Worst Kind of Marriage – Part 7 – Grand Finale!!

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Bethany and Amanda were stuck at the front door after slashing Huerto’s throat. It was locked from the inside. Huerto had the key upstairs. At least his bloody body did.

“We have to get the key,” said Amanda. “It’s our only way out.”

Bethany nodded, then gulped. She clutched her stomach wound, and the two girls ran up the stairs. As they approached the room they could hear the moaning and groaning. Huerto wasn’t fully dead.

Bethany took a breath then creaked the door open. He was sprawled out across the floor. Blood was oozing out of his neck and he held his rifle in one hand. He was facing away from them.

Attached to his belt loop was the ring of keys. Bethany slowly approached.

As soon as she reached Huerto he grumbled and turned to face her. His eyes were glossy and wet. 

Bethany kept her focus on the key ring. She struggled to sift it out from his belt loop. She had it halfway off when Huerto called out to her.

“Honey,” he said.

She looked at him. 

“What are you… doing?”

Bethany bit her lip. The gun barrel was pressed against her head. 

Huerto smiled. “You disobeyed me.”

Bethany tried to snatch the gun away, but he moved it out from her reach. He aimed it again.

“No, I don’t… don’t think so.” Huerto smacked his lips. “You.. you die now.”

There was no way to escape. After four months of living in hell, after doing everything in her power to survive, this was it. The final straw. There was nothing more she could do. She needed help from above.

Huerto shifted and loaded the rifle, chuckled weakly, then caught a knife with his forehead, which stapled his head to the floorboard. 

Bethany looked up, staring blankly. “I thought you were a bible girl?”

Amanda nodded and pointed a thumb at herself. “Thus says the Lord, vengeance is mine.”

Bethany took the key ring, stood up, then sprinted down the stairs. They reached the front door, unlocked it, then ran straight outside and found safety.

Hours later the police arrived and held a press conference. Amanda and Bethany were both given awards of honor. They accepted graciously, and spent the rest of their lives teaching women’s self defense. Needless to say, perverts everywhere lived in fright. 

THE END!

– Thomas M. Watt

 

The Worst Kind of Marriage – Part 6

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Missed the beginning? – Click below

“What the fuck are you doing?” said Huerto. He was holding Amanda up, his fist clenching her hair.

Bethany concealed the knife behind her back. She did not want the sick-kidnapper to know she found it.

Four months since Bethany was taken from her normal life. Amanda just arrived, and it was Huerto’s intention to make a wife out of her. Bethany already was.

Huerto pointed the gun. “What do you got there honey?”

Bethany swallowed and looked at Amanda. The teenager’s face was bloodied from the beating. Her eyes were down and her blond hair was layered with red streaks from Huerto’s wet fingers.

“A good wife doesn’t hide things from her husband.”

Amanda lifted her chin. Her mouth was agape and jaw looked off center. She shook her head slowly side to side. She asked Bethany earlier not to put her life at risk.

Bethany bit her thin lips and squeezed her eyelids together.

“WHAT DO YOU HAVE?”

She sniffed. “A knife.” Bethany looked at Amanda again. The poor blonde girl wanted to live. She deserved to live and who was Bethany to jeopardize that for her.

Huerto spoke through gritted teeth. His face was pockmarked and his toupee a puffy bread loaf. “That’s not good of you dear. Not good at all. Bring it here.”

What is life?

“Now,” said Huerto.

Life is freedom. Life is laughing. Life was hers until Huerto took it away. Now he was going to take Amanda’s.

“Honey?”

Bethany stepped forward. This isn’t life.

“Give it here,” he said, dropping Amanda and flapping his hand together.

I’m already dead.

“Very good dear,” said Huerto, as Bethany took the knife from behind her back and slowly moved it towards his hand. “Now-”

Before Huerto could finish, Bethany swung the knife up and sliced it across his jugular. The rifle shot once into the dresser and he fell back. Blood sprayed everywhere and he knocked porcelain plates and china to shatter. He tried to yell but only sputtered blood and babble came out. Huerto swiveled his head side to side and stomped his heel into the ground. A puddle of blood oozed onto the wood floor.

“Let’s go!” Screamed Amanda. She stood and ran out.

Bethany took the knife and ran after her. She locked the door to the room once they exited and ran down the stairs. They smiled and reached the front door and heaved to pull it open then realized something.

The front door locked from the inside. The windows were all boarded up. Everything needed a key and they didn’t have a key. Huerto had the keys. All the keys. He also had a rifle.

The girls looked at each other.

“Do you think he’s dead?” said Amanda.

“He’s gotta be,” said Bethany.

A loud ‘thump’ came from upstairs.

Part 7, Coming Soon!

– Thomas M. Watt

The Worst Kind of Marriage – Part 5

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Missed the beginning? – Click below for Part 1

Bethany finished up the stairs. She entered the room first, while Amanda followed behind. Huerto, The sick pervert who had kidnapped each of them and called himself a husband, was in the back, carrying his rifle with him.

Bethany looked to the bed. Her puddle of blood still remained. She clenched her stomach wound. She was dizzy.

Get a hold of yourself.

Bethany squeezed her eyelids closed, grimaced, then remembered she had one chance to escape.

Find the knife.

“Ok my little lady. Are you ready to get our wedding underway?” Said Huerto to the young blonde teenager.

Amanda sniffed, but did not answer.

“I love you, you know,” said Huerto.

Amanda sniffed again.

“Say you love me bitch!”

Huerto smacked the young woman across the face with his rifle. After she kept at a hunch and he started to swing again.

“HEY!” Said Bethany.

The pock-marked Huerto stopped. He looked at her funny, smirked then raised the barrel in her direction. “What was that, honey?”

“Don’t hit her.”

Huerto shifted the bolt handle then locked it down, loading his rife. “Dear, I’m beginning to wonder if you’ve forgotten how this relationship works. Have you?”

Bethany looked down. She spotted the bloody knife. It was on the ground behind Huerto.

“I’m the master, you’re the slave. Right?”

Bethany gulped. She looked at Amanda.

Amanda barely shook her head. “No,” she mouthed with her lips.

“Right?” said Huerto, holding the gun to Bethany’s pale cheek.

She finally nodded.

“All right, great!” He hugged Amanda in close with his free arm. “Let’s get the ceremony underway. Are you excited baby?”

Amanda didn’t answer.

Huerto threw her headlong into the desk near the window. “I said, are you FUCKING excited!” He walked over to her then kicked her in the stomach.

Bethany looked at the ground. The knife was in plain sight, and Huerto’s back was to it.

“ARE YOU?” Screamed Huerto.

Amanda cried.

Get it. Get the knife.

Bethany started after it, but as soon as she did Huerto whirled around and loosely aimed the gun at her. “Where are you going?”

Though she was curled up in the fetal position, Amanda bit Huerto on the front of his shin.

“Ahh!” He returned his attention to her and smacked Amanda in the ribs with his barrel.

Bethany moved fast, too fast. When she reached for the knife she kicked it instead. Over shoulder she saw the painful expression on Amanda’s face. The young girl bit Huerto’s leg again anyways, and dealt with the repercussions.

The knife had slid under the dresser. Bethany crouched to her hands and knees and reached for it. The blade cut her fingertip and she felt it spin away.

C’mon!

She could hear Amanda getting pummeled. Time was running out. Bethany lowered all the way to her stomach, felt around underneath, then finally took hold of the handle. She shimmied her arm back out, knife in hand. She gritted her teeth, shot to her feet, then turned around.

“What the fuck are you doing?” said Huerto. He was holding Amanda up, his fist clenching her hair.

Part 6, Coming Soon!

– Thomas M. Watt

The Worst Kind of Marriage – Part 4

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Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Bethany was locked in the closet with Amanda, the young bible-clenching girl who had made the terrible mistake of knocking on Huerto’s door.

“We need to get out of here,” said Amanda. She was blonde and had a fresh black eye.

“I know.”

“Can we? I mean, how has he managed to keep you here?”

“Every window is boarded up. Every room is locked from the outside. He’s always within reaching distance of his rifle. And he never has any visitors over,” said Bethany. She’d been locked in the house with Huerto for four months.

Amanda swatted the hanger poking her. “What happened to you? I mean… why did he stab you?”

Bethany swallowed. “We got in a fight this morning.”

“About?”

Bethany felt her wound and winced. She stood at a hunch – upright hurt too badly. “I asked to go outside. Even if it meant having a gun in my side.”

“And?”

Bethany looked down and ran a hand straight through her dark hair. “And he got upset, picked up a knife, then stabbed me.” She sniffed. “A minute later he got out of bed to ‘make us some breakfast’.”

Amanda’s face went blank. “What kind of man is he?”

“He’s not a man,” said Bethany. “He’s a coward. A sicko with a gun.”

“I wish I never came here.”

A shout came from the other room. “Marriage ceremony! Later today, Huerto and the bitch with the bible!”

Bethany shot a glance at Amanda. “Marriage ceremony…”

“What?”

Bethany swallowed. “I know what he’s about to do. He’s going to wed you with the rifle barrel pressed to your temple.”

“So?”

“So,” Bethany said, licking her lips before going on. “So maybe that’s my time to do something. I remember where the knife is that stabbed me. If I can manage to get hold of it in secret, maybe I can kill him before he knows what hit him.”

“But won’t that put me in danger?”

“What?” said Bethany.

“If you lunge to stab him when his gun is at my head he’ll shoot me, and I’ll die.”

Bethany bit her fingernail.

“C’mon,” said the teenage girl. “You can’t take that risk-“

“In all the time I’ve been here, not once have I had the chance to hurt him. Today I’m either going to bleed to death or fight back. What would you do?”

Amanda looked terrified.

“What?”

“Please don’t get me killed.”

Before Bethany could respond, the lock clicked and Huerto swung the door open. “Wedding ceremony, upstairs!” He pointed his rifle at Amanda. “Get out.”

He waited for Amanda and Bethany to exit, then walked behind them. Bethany led the way, eyes glued ahead. Blood continued to drip down her nightie and the pain was getting worse. She could feel her legs shake as she stepped up the stairs.

Her eyes were dark, as was her hair, but her skin was pale. As they reached the top of the stairs her breath intensified. A strange feeling mixed with all the pain, fear and anger she’d had to live, day in, day out.

It was hope.

Part 5, Coming Soon!

 – Thomas M. Watt

 

The Worst Kind of Marriage – PART 3

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Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Bethany was in the closet, towel wrapped around her mouth and her bleeding stomach in her hands. Bethany’s husband, Huerto, had locked her inside. He was also the twisted man who stabbed her.

She listened in as he opened the front door, and hoped to God the visitor was a policeman.

“Hello? Can I help you?” said Huerto.

“Good morning sir, I just came to talk to you about the good book.”

“Oh?”

“Do you mind if I come in?”

There was a brief pause. “You know what, fine. Come on in,” said Mr. Huerto.

Bethany wanted to cry. She wanted to pout and shout or punch her fist into the wall but she knew it was too late. No matter what sound or shriek she made it would do nothing to help. As soon as she heard the door fasten close, she knew all hope was lost.

“Why don’t you come in here little lady,” said Huerto. “Got something I’d like to show you.”

Despite knowledge of her effort’s futility, Bethany started smacking around in the closet chaotically. She screamed as loud as she could, though her voice never left her head. She flopped around, whacking the clothing all around her, and began kicking the door as loudly as she could.

The door to the closet swung open. A chain rattle swiftly and an overhanging lightbulb turned on.  She saw Huerto’s pock-marked face. He wore a brown wig like it were a loaf of bread, and always wore one of those blue button downs with the birds and flowers. Huerto slapped Bethany across one cheek, then the other, before finally throwing the young teenage girl visitor at her. Holding the bible into her chest, the young girl had a black mark on one eye and a towel wrapped around her mouth. She met eyes with Bethany.

Huerto rubbed his hands. “All right, all right. I’ve never had two wives before. Hmm.” He laughed, then pulled them both in for a hug. They didn’t hug back.

“Well, you two wait here while I go figure some stuff out. I’m excited to have you at the Huerto residence Amanda.

Amanda tried to yell, but it expelled like a hum.

A tear ran down Bethany’s cheek.

Huerto smiled, poked Bethany in the tit with the barrel of his rifle, then shut the door to the closet and locked the two of them up together.

Bethany reached out and hugged the girl, who began shaking convulsively. After wrapping her hands around her head Bethany managed to undue Amanda’s towel. Not that it would do any good, a shout was only as good as its nearest set of ears.

After a lengthy struggle, Amanda returned the favor and removed Bethany’s gag.

“I’m Bethany.”

“How long have you been here?” said Amanda.

“Too long.” She looked down, then back up again. “I’m sorry.”

Amanda looked away. Her lower lip was trembling. “What’s going to happen now?”

“I don’t know. I need to get treatment.”

“What happened?” said Amanda, before noticing the river of blood staining Bethany’s gown. “Oh my…” She covered her mouth and her blue eyes widened. She looked mortified.

“Fight with the husband.” Bethany smiled as best she could.

They laughed. Weakly, but they laughed.

Part 4, Coming Soon!

– Thomas M. Watt

THE WORST KIND OF MARRIAGE – PART 2

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The blood from the knife wound drenched her nightie. She looked over to her husband, the one who had stabbed her. He tilted his mug back and had a sip of his coffee. He was reading the Sunday comics until he noticed her gaze, at which point he raised his eyebrows.

She smiled as best she could.

Four months of this now. Four months since he had found her walking and forced her into his van. A gun to her head the entire ride over.

Play it cool. 

That was what did her in. Play it cool. A lot of good that did. From the moment she set foot in his house she was finished. Every window was boarded up with blinds to keep outsiders from peeking in. A lock on the front door to which only he had the key. She was only allowed in the backyard under his supervision. His supervision was a pointed rifle.

She hated him.

Huerto was his name. The first day he forced their ‘marriage’. The ceremony was him forcing his grandma’s old wedding band onto her finger. Huerto declared them husband and wife.

With the barrel pointed at her head, she said, “I do.” With the barrel still pressed to her head, she received his kiss.

Bethany looked over to Huerto. He was still at the kitchen table tearing a white napkin into little pieces. She moaned softly, so that only she could hear, and felt the bloody wound again. Her vision was beginning to blur. Her strength was already depleted. She leaned against the counter top and looked around to all the boarded windows. She sniffed.

A knock came to the door.

Huerto immediately looked to her, eyes wide. He picked up his rifle from its lean against his thigh, brushed his hands off each other and stood up.

“Let’s go,” he said.

He shoved her several times as she struggled to walk. She passed the front door biting her lip, begging beyond hope that the door-knocker would just barge in and spot her. He didn’t.

Huerto threw her into the closet. Quickly he wrapped a towel tightly around her mouth, then stuffed it into her bite.

The doorbell rang three times.

“Don’t say a fuckin’ word,” Huerto said, pointing his finger.

Bethany gulped.

Huerto shut the closet door and locked it behind. She was engulfed in darkness. Blood oozed from her wound onto her thigh. ‘Police,’ she whispered in her mind. ‘Please, be the police.’

She needed to get out.

Today.

Part 3, Coming Soon!

– Thomas M. Watt