Cara’s heart pounded in her chest. Nausea and the desire to sit down, cry and give up felt like overcoming her. Instead, she powered through packing up her suitcase. She’d felt fear before, far too many times to count. But it was different now, knowing she might be out of this situation in mere minutes added to the fear, because this time, there was something to lose.
She’d called a taxi fifteen minutes ago and they had given her an estimate of twenty minutes. She prayed that Mark wouldn’t come home for some reason; that he wouldn’t catch her in the act of leaving him. It would be ugly. She knew it would, which was why her adrenaline was coursing through her veins making her feel shaky and unsteady.
Grabbing her keys, she turned around to glance over the house. There was nothing else she could possibly need. With her suitcase in hand, Cara turned for the door in time to see a black and white taxi pull into the driveway. Locking the door behind her, she stepped into the car and gave the address for a hotel in Gresham, one city over. She hoped Mark wouldn’t look for her there.
Stepping into the hotel room, alone and safe felt good. It was as though a weight was lifted off her chest. Now she had time on her hands to ponder her next stop. Would she go to a different town and talk to the police there? She’d considered this before, but the thought that they wouldn’t believe her was too strong in her mind. She’d briefly mentioned what was going on to one of the officers in his department and had gotten the beating of her life for that. The man hadn’t believed her anyways. She wondered if a female officer would be any different. A female officer in a different town. She still had bruises from two nights ago when he’d drunkenly beaten her after she had caught a man’s attention in a grocery store; at least that was the reasoning Mark gave her. He’d said she was ******* herself out and wearing things to illicit attention from other men. She had wanted to say the man was probably wondering why she was wearing a long sleeve shirt and long pants in the heat wave that had hit, but she knew she’d be in more trouble questioning him.
The weight of everything came crashing down and Cara felt the high she’d gotten from her adrenaline subside. She felt tired and achy and chose to sleep a few hours before going down and looking up nearby police department addresses.
A knock woke her from a light sleep. The thought that Mark had found her hit first but then she took a breath and told herself it had to be someone from the hotel. He couldn’t know where she was.
As she slipped from the bed she heard a distinct click as the door opened. She’d instantly become aware of seething anger radiating towards her.
“Cara.” Mark growled and slammed the door simultaneously. She opened her mouth to scream. Here there would be witnesses, she would run and hide in the bathroom but he stood right next to it. She hated that the bathrooms were right next to the rooms entrance. Nothing came from her mouth before Mark flew across the room, one hand slapped across her mouth and the other slipped around her neck as he slammed her into the wall. Muffled cries stuck in her throat. The hand that covered her mouth pinched her nose shut. She couldn’t breathe and panic filled her. He wouldn’t kill her would he? She’d always been able to count on that. He might abuse, but she didn’t think him capable of killing her.
Her hands and feet kicked out of their own volition as she strained for air. She looked into Mark’s eyes pleadingly; heavy tears slid down her cheeks and onto his fingers.
His dark eyes were still filled with anger. She could see he was still in his uniform. That must be how he got a key. Strange thoughts filled her mind as she began to lose consciousness. Before the darkness completely swarmed her, his fingers released her nose. She could at least breathe. Tears were so thick in her eyes she couldn’t see him clearly, but felt him shove her down on the bed.
She knew what he was going to do. When he was in a fury, he liked to force sex if he wasn’t beating her. Sometimes the acts coincided. She thought it made him feel powerful somehow. He used to apologize afterwards, say he would never do it again, but they both now knew it would and he didn’t even attempt to lie.
On the bed, his body covered hers. His legs kept hers bound together and his hand remained over her mouth. He’d never done this outside of their home and she hoped if she screamed loudly enough through his hand he might stop, but he didn’t. He forced down her jeans with one hand even as she cried and pleaded. She had scratched and hit his face with her free hands, but he quickly put an end to that. He grabbed her hands and held them together. He slipped his hand from her mouth and she looked up in stunned silence before he forced her arm into her mouth, effectively gagging her while taking care of her hands.
He roughly pulled down her pants and then forced her legs apart with his knees. Cara continued struggling, but nothing she did stopped him. She eventually shut down and didn’t even feel when he eventually dragged her out the door and to his car.