She yanked out the plug. Water, smeared with her blood, disappeared. It held her attention for a few seconds before she slowly became aware of the dampness between her fingers.
With the cotton pressed deep inside her palm, Martha crashed to the floor. She didn’t care about the beige streaks on her blue nightdress, or the blood on the towel. Her new bloody washing machine would deal with that.
Nothing she tried to do loosened her mood. Upstairs in seconds, her diary was grabbed from her underwear drawer. Negative thoughts refused to let go. Who does he think he is? Orders. Orders. Orders. That’s all Thomas gives to you. As fast as one stopped, another began. The palm of her hand throbbed, but Martha didn’t relinquish her hold.
Kaleidoscope leaves were kicked aside. They crashed on to the immaculate lawn – with its regimented stripes. Not a blade out of place, just the way Thomas liked it. It was the one area of the garden that was his domain. The rest he left for Martha – plants withered and died in his hands.
Her pulse refused to slow down. Even when she reached the apple tree at the end of the garden, she couldn’t quite think straight. It had long since lost its yield. Soon its brittle branches would be the only thing exposed to the winter frost.
Martha tugged at the arms of her jumper. The bandage tightened against the cut. Just like tie-dye on an old t shirt, blood seeped through. She stared at the inkblot pattern it created. Refused to look away.
Don’t you know the rules by now? Why don’t you colour within the lines? Who in the hell do you think you are? More and more questions. It was as if Thomas was right there beside her.
Martha yanked out the pen from her diary and forced herself down to the floor. All her secret hatred written in a myriad of ways.