Connor Rushen is a current student at Full Sail University, studying Creative Writing. He lives in the small town of Salem, Missouri and has a full-time job at the local retail store. In his spare time, he goes cycling or stays indoors creating content, or just playing video games.
Crysta scratched her fingernail across the top of her drink and stared down into it. Michael, her husband, sat across from her with his hands resting behind his head.
“Did you have a good day at the fair, sweetie?” he asked.
“Y-yes, I did,” Crysta said. She swept a golden lock behind her ear. She flinched as her fingers grazed across the bruise on her cheek.
“You know, we ought to go again tomorrow, see that ocean view one last time.”
“Sure, honey, whatever you want,” Crysta said. She lifted her gin and tonic and took the last drink. She set it down softly, but enough to make Michael open his eyes and notice her empty drink.
“Another gin, Crysta?” he asked. Crysta simply nodded her head no. She didn’t make eye contact with him and continued to scratch at her glass. Her chewed nails barely connected with the rim, but it was enough to keep her distracted.
“This was a great vacation for only being married two years,” Michael said. He adjusted the bandaging around his right knuckles and settled back into his chair. A silence fell over the two.
Moments passed before Crysta heard Michael begin to snore. Looking up from the glass that had a tear-filled bottom, Crysta wiped her eyes and gave a soft sigh. Michaels snores could drown out artillery fire. Scooting her chair quietly back, Crysta stood and left the small outdoor eating area of their two-bed motel room. She dragged her suitcase up on top the bed, squishing the striped duvet down. As quietly as she could, she popped the laches of the suitcase. She pulled out a pair of khaki colored pants and a white top. They were the only clothes she was allowed to bring that wasn’t a dress. Crysta slipped out of her sunflower-colored dress and folded it back up neatly.
Before she was given the chance to change, two ice cold hands met her sides. Michaels warm, alcohol-soaked breath came across her left ear.
“And just where do we think you’re going, uh?” he asked. His grip tightened on her waist.
“I just wanted to take a quick trip to the shops,” Crysta said. Her hands shook, and goosebumps traveled up her skin.
“Now, now,” Michael started. He slurred every other word together, stumbling over his own vocabulary. “We can’t have you going out in this garbage.”
Crysta shivered. “Michael, please,”
His grip tightened even more. Crysta let out a small, pained cry.
“You aren’t leaving,” he said.
“Just let me go, Michael.”
Michael pushed Crysta forward. She screamed before she hit the ground. The carpet was mere padding underneath her. Crysta stayed for a moment, tears beginning to stream from her face.
“I told you, you aren’t leaving!” Michael said. He heaved a lowball glass across the room, shattering it against the wall. Glass pieces rained down on Crysta.
She sobbed and worked her way back to her knees. Glass cut her hands as she lifted her way up off the floor. Michael was rummaging through her suitcase. He lobbed a nightgown at her, hitting her square in the chest. Something hard and warm had come with it, leaving another mark on Crysta’s chest.
“Now get ready for bed.”
Crysta sobbed a bit as she rummaged around in the nightgown, looking for whatever had hit her so hard. Michael was no longer facing her. Instead, he had turned his back to lock the sliding doors that led outside.
Two clicks preceded him as he drew the curtains. Michael turned to investigate the noise when he saw Crysta stood upright. She stood there, half-naked, bleeding with tears smudging her mascara and a loaded snub-nosed revolver.
“Now, honey, we can,” the two gunshots cut Michael’s begging short. They ripped through his white buttoned shirt and through him, shattering the glass doors behind him. Crysta dropped the gun, her hand aching from the recoil.
“That was nothing like shooting at targets,” she said.
Two knocks then came at her door.
“Is, uh, everything okay in there?” the voice asked from the other side of the door.
“Oh, uh, yes. Everything is fine, my silly husband just had some trouble with the doors, that’s all,” Crysta replied.
“Should I get maintenance or something, ma’am?”
“No, no, he got it.”
“Oh, uh, okay. Have a great night, ma’am.”
“You the same, sir, thank you.”
Relieved, Crysta dressed. She hid the revolver back inside her suitcase, folded up in some hideous dresses. She turned around and looked herself over in the full-body mirror. Crysta wiped some of the smudged make-up off her face with her sleeve and straightened out her shirt. She touched the bruise on her cheek again, this time with a slight smile.
Crysta grabbed the suitcase from her bed and left the room, blowing one last kiss to her dead husband.