Zoë Secrets and Lies Final Short Story Published! 

“I am inhibited by a cry

Nightly it flaps out..”

 March 1983

 

Zoë couldn’t move. Her body was stuck between the toilet and bathtub. Her hair was filled with cat litter and shit. She tasted blood, and felt the trickling of it from her head and mouth. Her sight was being impaired, she couldn’t see out of her right eye and it was nearly closed. When she touched it, she knew it was beyond swollen. Her brain was clearly telling her body that pain was everywhere.

 She knew this was more than just a fall as it caused her to become disoriented in her surroundings. She was unable to move as tears and blood streamed down her face. Zoë tried manipulating her body as best as she could from around the toilet. She felt as if she lost her mind.

Looking up she noticed a towel rack, then a towel that looked like her towel. With her one good eye she looked around before trying to get up and spotted kittens huddled with their Mom. Aren’t those my kittens? she thought. She saw the wall paper she had hung last year, her makeup and perfume on the counter. She began screaming in pain and horror, wanting to feel her baby move inside her.

Minutes went by that felt like hours, but Zoë was finally able to get on her knees. With every move she made the pain grew more intense, but she had to find out the truth: why had this happened to her, and why in her home? She had no memory about the events. She hid a lot of nasty secrets to make her life seem ideal, pushing reality away and living in a fantasy world.

Right now that wasn’t a real thought entering her mind, just surviving and crawling to safety was on her mind.

Still on her knees, Zoë put her hand on the towel rack as firmly as she could. Pulling her body from the floor to the toilet, she began to notice her breathing was becoming heavy laden. Then as if her memory clicked she started to slowly become engaged in the present. Weeping, shaking, and screaming out loud she said “I remember, goddamn it! I remember! NO!”

Her weeping and shaking continued, and without any warning a sharp pain began in her lower belly, radiating down her legs making it harder and harder to move. The pain grew intense with everything she did to get out of the bathroom.

Nearly hysterical and beyond scared, Zoë placed her hand on her belly and saw spots of blood on the toilet. Now she had a choice: fight or flight. Slowly she got to her feet to try and walk out of the bathroom. With each step attempted the pain grew stronger and the blood looked worse, but she had no choice, she had to walk.

Eventually, she found herself near the doorway, not knowing what was on the other side. Scared, she peered around the corner. Seeing nothing in either direction, she felt it was safe to proceed. Moving her body slowly towards the bedroom, her only thought was that she had to call 911. She needed an ambulance and the police to find him.

Suddenly, a steel stool crashed violently into her head, then ripped into her left side, pounding her wounded body and knocking her to the hard tiled floor. Whimpering she heard herself whisper “Oh dear God. God save my baby…I will not die..today.”

Zoë amazingly woke up, she thought she was dead, she couldn’t speak, she only saw bright hazes and dim lights in front of her eyes. Her only thoughts were that this was the end, she would never see the baby she so desired. The mother that she had wanted to be, to touch the baby boy she knew was due soon. She had sat on his baby blue, hand-made rugs just to feel his presence. The cradle, the touch of his soft blankets he’ll never be wrapped in. The pictures in her mind of the family she would never have.

She had secrets that were hidden, and now she won’t be able to tell anyone the truth. The truth about her hidden past; the abuse she endured everyday, the beatings from a man she called her husband when HE was upset!

Zoë wasn’t dead. She was momentarily knocked out again, and this time she knew the truth.

She laid there shaking on the bathroom floor, waiting for the next thing that was going to happen; but this time she softly said, “I’m not going to wait, I have to live for myself and my baby, I can’t live in secrets and lies anymore!”

This time she was angry, no more tears. She looked at her side where the steel stool had hit her already beaten body. A crimson bruise spread all the way down to her thighs. She was in agony, but the bleeding had stopped, thank God. All she wanted now was to feel her baby moving, then Zoë would know if he was alive. She couldn’t wait any longer, she knew what she had thought earlier, “fight or flight,” and she was not fleeing!

There was no way to get up, but Zoë could crawl. She looked outside the bathroom door again. There he was, laid out in the hallway, drunk as usual. “He’ll probably cry when he sees me,” she thought, but this time was it, she wasn’t waiting for him to wake up or apologize.

She crawled, ever so quietly over his stinky, alcoholic, infested body. The smell from him made her sick. She knew this smell, she had experienced it many times in the past. It penetrated throughout the house and lingered in the air. She momentarily set her sights on him for a brief instant, but her only thoughts were disgust!

She had finally crawled over him, and now she could see the phone, and bedroom at the end of the hallway. “I’ve just got to get to the phone” she quietly said. Suddenly he started stirring, groaning like a sick dog. Zoë had to move quicker, now she had other things on her mind besides calling the cops, she’d be dead before they would arrive.

Somehow she had to get up, but the pain in her legs, and throughout her body was excruciating. She had to put that behind her; she saw the sofa table right in front of her and knew she had to pull herself up so she could walk. Grabbing the handle of the drawer with both of her hands, she pulled herself up as much as she could, feeling every part of her body crying out. It was as if her body was falling apart before her. Tears were rolling down her face. Her baby still hadn’t moved, but Zoë had to get to the bedroom, this was the only place where it could be.

Zoë stumbled into the bedroom listening to him moving, she couldn’t rest or stop. Hastily she reached under the mattress. With fear in her voice, she said “Where is it?!” She couldn’t stop searching. Her hand was trembling, searching with each feel of the mattress. Suddenly she found it.

In an instant he was behind her. She hadn’t paid attention to him and didn’t know he had managed to wake up and find her. “You fucking bitch,” he spat, still drunk. “This time you’re dead,” he said, stumbling with his fist ready to hit her again, but this time his fist was aiming at her belly.

In an instant Zoë jumped up and said out loud, “No! This time you’re dead, you piece of shit.”

She aimed the knife that she found, the knife she had always hidden for fear of her life, and thrust it into his stomach.

In that moment of time, the man she had called her husband, the man who had said years ago “For better or worse, through sickness or death,” looked at her in terror. “I didn’t mean it!” he cried out. He fell down with blood flowing out from his belly onto the thick shag carpet.

“You didn’t mean it, but I did!” She yelled at him. “No more secrets, no more lies! Through sickness or DEATH!” she spat out.

With that, Zoë stepped over his body and picked up the phone.

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