Not willing to do as instructed, she fixed her legs to the floor and stared at the open doorway. Another officer would walk through at any moment. They would say that Chris had been taken to hospital. Tell her it was all an elaborate joke. She felt a sharp scratch. The muscles in her arms unclenched, as all the strength left her. Swaying in the middle of the room, she watched Miss Prentice signal for her colleague to leave.
Martha, you need to sit down.’
‘I don’t want to sit down; I want to see Chris.’
‘I promise there was nothing we could do she’s been dead for hours.’
Martha covered her face with both hands. She collapsed on to the waiting chair and felt the energy drain. Slowly at first, the walls moved closer. Her thoughts held in limbo. She closed her eyes, Like a ball of forgotten wool, the events of Thomas’s death unravelled.
Martha grabbed the vase. Its cold crystal beneath her fingers. Something from deep inside her stomach seethed and simmered. Piece of shit! What would he do if she smashed this into pieces? Laura, their son, and Tabitha. She lost them all. For what? Wilted flowers. Control wasn’t enough for Thomas. He wanted to break her. Crush her like her delicate robin broach. Not this time you bastard! I’m not your fucking punch bag anymore! From the tips of her fingers, she wielded the weapon. An explosion of glass struck his temple, and his immense frame crumpled to the floor.
Light, and without substance, her arms drifted to her side. She looked down. Blood from a gaping wound on his head, blended in with their maroon carpet. Thomas uncharacteristically silent. Martha prodded him with her foot. There was no reaction, his body still, and without purpose.
No longer in control of her legs, Martha crashed against the fire surround. Thomas only inches away from her. He didn’t scream, or shout, as the shadows crawled around to take him down to hell. Snatches of darkness and light came in and out of view until she was forced out of unconsciousness.
At first there was pain – like she hadn’t known before, then her body went numb. It wasn’t long before torture reared through. Sharp stabs impaled on her legs. She waited for the pain to subside again before she heaved her body up. She searched for the crystal vase, but it wasn’t on the mantlepiece.
Shards of glass pierced through her tights. She fell back to her knees. Thomas’s eyes were wide open, jaw slack. Congealed blood was around a wound so deep, she was in no doubt – Thomas was dead. He had done some damage too. She could hardly move. The room went black, but she forced herself to stay awake this time.
As the setting sun scorched through the tiny opening in her curtains, Martha tried to raise her hands. A deep throbbing forced them down again. Her legs stopped bleeding. Nothing stirred in the house, but an incessant beating of the clock on her wall.
She stared back at his body. Thomas couldn’t hurt her anymore. A glance to his drinks cabinet and his brandy bottle was open. Martha crawled over the broken glass. She sat against the wood not sure of what to do next. It’s base trembled. The brandy bottle clattered to the floor. It didn’t break and Martha slowly lifted it to her mouth. What would he say to her drinking his alcohol? It didn’t matter now because he was gone. She would never again have to watch, what she said, or did. The tip was against dry lips, but apart from a few mouthfuls she couldn’t swallow the vile liquid down.
There was nothing more to be done now. The police had to be informed and soon. With more control than she felt in years, Martha managed to stand up. The phone call was easy to make in the end. When the policewoman answered the call, she knew exactly what to say. ‘My name is Martha Whitman, and my husband is dead. I killed him.’