Tag Archives: Word of the Day

How Long Will He Stay to Protect Me from Harm?

We sit quietly together on the back porch in matching white wooden rocking chairs. My knees are pulled into my chest, my hands cupping a warm mug of coffee as they pull my shins closer. The air is cool, barely 60 degrees this morning.

I rock slowly, lost in thought, the sound of my chair the only competition with the birds and the river. So much has changed. He has been here one week today and I feel a sense of camaraderie just sitting with him. I feel safe for the first time in weeks, but it’s more than that. In so many ways he’s become a true friend.

I rest my head on my thighs, glancing surreptitiously at him. Using my long brown hair to conceal my eyes, I watch him sitting as still as a statue.

Most would see a strong, ruggedly handsome 40-something man with close-cropped grey hair, his lean muscles rippling under his white t-shirt, his square jaw shadowed with stubble. The dark circles under his eyes are the only indication that anything is amiss.

I see more. I see a man who has given his life to protect others. I see a man who has sacrificed his dreams so that others can follow theirs. I long to reach out, to ease his tension somehow, but I hold back afraid to reciprocate the comfort he has given me.

He is always on alert and this morning is no exception. Although he appears relaxed I know he is ready to spring into action at any moment.

How much longer will it be until our plan works and we can be done hiding? How long is he willing to stay locked away here with me? In other circumstances this would be an ideal location for a relaxing vacation, but instead this cabin has become our prison. I fear he’ll lose patience and leave. There’s nothing keeping him here.

His chair creaks as he stands. Without a word he starts his rounds, checking for trouble at the front of the cabin. I close my eyes, listening to his footsteps as they follow the wrap-around porch to the side of the house.

I can barely hear him anymore when suddenly there’s a loud crack and then screaming as if someone were in agony. My heart stops. It’s time. He’s here.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Camaraderie and is part of something longer I am working on.

I Desperately Call for Help, But Is It Too Late?

Jeff listens intently to my story, the occasional grunt of acknowledgement the only indication he was still on the line. When I finish there’s complete silence, nothing but the hum of the static through the connection. I wait, not sure what to expect.

He speaks slowly, clearly weighing each word carefully. “Is this a hoax?” he asks. “Surely you don’t think he’s hunting you down, do you? That just seems….extreme.”

I don’t know how to convince him this is real. The fear that quivers in my voice is real. The quaking in my legs as I stand in the parking lot of a small convenience store is real. The rolling in my stomach as panic threatens to set in is real. There is nothing more real than this.

“Jeff, I wouldn’t be calling you if I didn’t need help. Please, I need you to find someone. Don’t you have a buddy who was into Black Ops?”

After some back and forth about why the police won’t step in, he finally relents. Jeff is a good guy. This situation is just a little hard for him to comprehend. He promises to get back to me soon and then hangs up.

Checking my watch I see that it’s now 12:36. I pray he doesn’t take too long.

Needing to wait somewhere with cell service, I head into the store. There’s a lunch counter toward the back on the right hand side so I head that direction. There are a total of 12 stools at the old fashioned diner-style counter, two of which are occupied by men who look like locals. I choose a seat as far from them as possible and grab a menu that’s propped between the napkin holder and the ketchup bottle.

The sticky laminate protects a one page list of questionable food options. When a sweaty, balding man with a stained apron protecting his round beer belly comes over I order a burger with fries and a Diet Coke. This seems like the safest alternative given the dubious culinary skills of the cook/waiter in this backwoods establishment.

I also ask for a pen and paper. In my heart I’m a writer and it occurs to me that I will feel better if I start journaling the thoughts that overrun my mind these days. As I begin to write on the page ripped from a spiral notebook, I become totally engrossed, losing myself in something other than worry for the first time in weeks.

Words flow from me effortlessly, my hand gliding over the sheet with the grace of a ballerina. I pour every ounce of my emotions out through my fingers. The feeling is cathartic and the tension in my shoulders begins to ease slightly.

When the phone rings I grab it, eager to see what Jeff has found out. Glancing at the caller ID from habit, I find that it’s an unknown number. It’s not Jeff after all. Pausing briefly I debate whether to answer it.

I know I need to. It could be Jeff’s friend calling me directly. I can’t risk not answering, yet somewhere deep inside I know who it is. And terror grips me once again.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Hoax and is part of something longer I am working on.

Why Do I Hesitate When I know I Should Escape?

A word slips through my mind. It’s a word my French grandmother used when she was torn in a decision. She used to tell me that often there was a moiety when making a choice; even when one option is clearly better than the other, sometimes there is one piece of the less favorable alternative that is smaller but confusing the situation nonetheless…

How could I still feel torn by leaving?

Yes, physically I have responded to him like nothing I’d experienced before. In that regard I suppose it makes sense. But is there more?

As I shove clothes into my backpack I know I shouldn’t be taking the time to consider all of this, but my mind won’t stop. I don’t have long before he’ll be back. My escape needs all my attention. Doubting my decision now could be disastrous.

Yet my hand pauses with my shorts in its grip, hovering over the opening to my bag.

For a time he seemed to honestly love me. Actually, he often treated me like a princess, catering to my every need. The tenderness in his touch, the gentle brush of his lips…how could these not be signs of true affection?

I shake my head trying to bring myself back to reality. It wasn’t love. Someone who loves you doesn’t manipulate you, doesn’t control you. It took me a long time to see what he was doing, being blinded by his charm. But looking back his domination over me was absolute. He has barely left my side in almost three months.

Sure, it sounds sweet, sounds like he’s completely devoted…but a healthy relationship doesn’t exclude everyone else. Were this truly love I would still be permitted to spend time with my friends, to do the things I like to do without him.

Let’s face it; this goes far beyond “unhealthy.” Why am I thinking about this as if the issues were somehow normal? He has done everything he can to keep me here with him; well, everything short of tying me to the bed which is why I need to leave while I am able.

Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome? I do feel for him in a way. He has such a sad lost look when I talk about doing something without him. I do understand his pain, his fear that I might leave and not come back. Isn’t that what I’m about to do?

Suddenly the front door slams and my heart stops. I’m too late. I’ve missed my opportunity and I might never have another one.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Moiety and is part of something longer I am working on.