Wednesday Snippet – It Won’t Happen Again

Chapter Three


If Martha weren’t handcuffed for her session with the psychiatrist, she would have fled the corridor in a heartbeat. What good would it be to talk – that’s all they ever did.

 It only made things worse, not better.

‘Martha, please come on in.’

Her eyes darted from the desk to the chairs and to the psychiatrist, who, as usual, beckoned her in with a welcoming smile. Yet, for some reason the pleasant greeting always made Martha feel uneasy.

It was like she was under the watchful glare of Laura’s headmistress once more.

As Thomas said, they trick you with their kind words, only to take away the things that are most precious to you. This woman was no different. On previous occasions she tried to talk to her about the day Thomas died, but she said no comment at every turn.  

Dr Stapleton glared at Martha’s companion. ‘Do you really think these handcuffs are necessary? Please remove them, you can wait outside the room until we are finished.’

Not understanding why, she should be allowed the curtesy of her handcuffs being taken off, Martha shook her head. ‘I don’t mind.’

The psychiatrist didn’t budge an inch and said to the officer. ‘I do, please remove them and wait outside.’

There wasn’t a good reason for the psychiatrist standing up for her. Their last meeting hadn’t gone well. Martha was surprised at the amount of rage still inside. Flight or fight, she had chosen to fight.

Turning the key on the handcuffs, the female officer did as she was directed and left the room.

Once they were left alone, Martha’s eyes couldn’t settle on where they wanted to be. The room seemed to shrink several sizes all at once and like a frightened animal, she scanned the area for a suitable escape route. The doctor gestured for her to sit down in a black leather chair. Martha glanced at the empty space before her, trying to think of a good enough reason to leave.

‘Why don’t you sit down.’

Hesitantly, she obeyed the instruction. Once seated, it was hard to get comfortable. Every time she moved the chair, it swivelled against her legs.

‘Is there anything I can get you?’ the psychiatrist asked.

Martha dug her nails into the robust leather.

‘A cup of water?’ Helen asked, not deterred by the silence.

‘I’m fine,’ she said, hoping that would be the end of the matter.

The doctor glanced down to her notes and Martha wondered what was written inside. Some of it had been revealed in the trial, but the rest was a mystery she didn’t want to solve. Did those pages reveal her dark thoughts? Did they reveal the extent of her wickedness? Did they reveal her violent nature?

‘Martha, we’ve spoken about when you first met Thomas, your married life with him. Today I would like to speak to you about the night Thomas died. I need to know what happened between you and Thomas.’

The shadows fell around the room and the ghosts refused to leave her. Martha didn’t want to talk about the night she had lost her husband. It wasn’t going to change a thing. Thomas would still be dead, and she would still be responsible.

‘Would you like to tell me what happened on the afternoon prior to your husband’s death?’

Why is she being so reasonable? Why didn’t she just come out with prior to his murder? Death made it sound so miniscule. Thomas deserved better than this.But, if it was the only way she could leave this office, then she had no option but to comply.

Martha dragged her feet under the chair.

‘Thomas rang, and he asked me to get dinner ready early, he had a meeting with his boss and couldn’t be late,’ Martha said.

Leaning the pen on the notepad, Helen was poised to write. ‘Was this a frequent occurrence?’

‘Yes, but I knew the promotion was important to him and I understood.’

‘Can you tell me what happened after he arrived home?’

‘He was quiet, I wanted to wish him luck, so I went into the front room.’

The nape of her neck rubbed, a scratch opened on her skin, and it bled. ‘He had my diary in his hand, he was extremely angry with me.’

‘Do you think his anger was warranted?’

‘My diary wasn’t meant to be seen by Thomas – by anyone but me. I wrote some despicable things in there. He had every right to be furious with me!’

 ‘Could you tell me what happened next?’    

Martha did her best to picture the scene, which replayed inside her head night after night. She couldn’t even do the simplest of tasks without doubting herself. It was as if Thomas was telling her what to do – telling her what not to do. She wanted to die, but he said that was too easy.

If she rejected life, then he died for nothing.

Why was this doctor so infuriatingly unruffled? Martha’s whole body was shaking now, and her enflamed cheeks flared red. ‘I killed him. I deserve to rot in prison for what I’ve done!’ She rocked backwards and forwards in her seat, tried to think about Thomas when he was alive, but all she could see was a red mist. The scene was replaying inside her head. It zoomed in on the sharp remnants of the vase. Her lungs were slowly filling with his blood and the room felt like there was a circle of piranhas going in for the kill.

            Helen leant down in front of Martha and kept her eyes on the same level. ‘Can you take a few deep breaths for me – in for ten and out for ten.’

Every muscle in her body shut down. ‘I killed him!’

Her last statement was quietly repeated. ‘You can do this Martha. Breathe in for ten and out for ten.’

Slowly, Martha’s racing heartbeat began to slow down, and the room gained lucidity. She stared into the space beyond the psychiatrist. As Helen sat back down, her limbs relaxed against the arm of the chair.

 ‘Would you like to speak about your father?’

 Martha could almost see her father’s gentle smile. It wrapped around her heart like a security blanket.

‘Yes I would.’

Her dad could always make the sun outshine her grief.

Published by writerravenclaw

I am a fifty something mother of two grown up children, and one beautiful grandchild. I have been married for nearly thirty-four years. My first book was published ten years ago. I wrote my book Sticks and Stones because of my experience of being bullied at school.

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