The Terrorist

The Terrorist

A Story by Carol Cashes
"

The original domestic terrorist is the domestic abuser

"

THE TERRORIST

 

She gave up custody and ownership of everything, but won her peace.  Only she fully understood and knew this as an unequivocal victory and it forged in her a strength and resolve to never be at mercy or the victim of another human being.

 

The very last day of the war began with the recent addition of a ritualistic and sadistic reveille " a pitcher of cold water that had been carefully, and with much gleeful anticipation, chilled overnight and poured on her  head like sadist’s hellish alarm clock.   But in the way of many an oft-repeated gesture, its degree of impact had gradually waned.  The rage and the stomach churning dread felt frozen or maybe it had just simply washed away with each occurrence.  Now, it was no more than the unpleasant sensation of ice cold water.  She had recently given up replacing the wet bedding with dry; at first,  because experience had taught her that it would be dry by the time she returned in the evening; and on this day, she simply dismissed it from her mind, stumbling first to the bathroom, and then to the closet to dress.

 

Her best-fitting black jeans, a favorite black turtleneck sweater and her cowboy boots seem to be waiting for her, as if these objects had been cut and sewn for this day.  She was drawn to them and there was no consideration or perusal of clothing options she might have normally engaged in.  She had grown accustomed to curbing all desire for coffee or food until she was well on her way to work, and she finished dressing with no suggestion of haste, having learned through past experience that this would fuel her enemy’s suspicion of flight, and give rise to further cruel and imaginative indignities.  Keeping her mind and face completely blank, she appeared calm as she silently endured the verbal assaults, and pretended to busy herself with small, inconsequential domestic tasks.

 

This particular morning, however, a sense of unease worked past her carefully structured facade, manifesting as a metallic taste on her caffeine starved  tongue, and she suddenly became hyper-aware of her enemy’s every nuance and movement.  She waited for the moment when she instinctively knew she could make a swift and relatively uneventful exit before the small and petty escalated into the terrifying.   She had begun to sense an increasingly focused malevolence in the weeks prior, but today’s onslaught felt particularly sharp.   

 

 His daily onslaught of threats and insults was delivered from his throne, the large easy chair he slept, ate and, literally lived in since his release from the hospital.  She could readily believe that he had heart disease, for surely no one with a normal heart could even speak of the atrocities that he promised her daily because of her obvious failures that would “make him” follow through.  It was his own fear of his illness that had confined him to this chair from the moment of his return, and it served to fuel his hatred and much-repeated resolve to cause as much pain to her as possible before she would ultimately “force” him to kill her.

 

Sensing the moment had finally arrived when she could safely depart, and under his continual verbal barrage, she tried not to race down the front steps to the car.  Only after she had settled in behind the wheel and turned the ignition, did she realize that he had veered from the established routine, and had followed her to the bottom of the steps.  For one heart-pounding moment, she waited for him to descend upon the car, pull her from its relative safety, and bring the whole matter to its foregone conclusion.  She held her breath as she watched him become more agitated, pitching his voice louder, boldly declaring his hatred and malicious intentions to the neighboring homes.  With all her concentration focused on not appearing frightened, she willed herself to continue to gently rev the engine, and calmly, trembling slightly from her efforts to keep her face expressionless, she met his eyes and threats with her unwavering placid gaze.

 

After several deep breaths, and struggling to quell the overwhelming need to cast aside all caution, she shifted into Reverse and slowly backed down the driveway and into the mercifully empty street. She hesitated before shifting into Drive, and turned her head to look once more at her enemy.  Suddenly, at this moment, his reality loomed more terrifying than any nightmare and larger than any fear she had ever known and in the next blink of her eyes, that perfect nano-second of time, the last vestiges of compassion for his illness and all the tattered remains of sixteen years of love and marriage vows were completely removed from her heart, clean and swift as a surgeon’s scalpel.  Her earlier narrow escapes from his promised punishments raced through her mind, jumbling and overlapping each other in a swirl of memory, until, like a sudden clap of thunder, only one clear thought remained, one that rang with undeniable and unshakable resolve:

 

I am never coming back here”.

 

 

 

 

 


© 2017 Carol Cashes



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Reviews

This is amazing, I loved the way you described everything and all the words you used felt perfect. I felt suspense til the end and an increasing disdain for the Terrorist. Good riddance

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


oh man! i am exhausted from the fear and anxiety your protagonist has lived under ..whew! very uncomfortable to read and feel ..so good stuff says i! the abuse depicted is the real killing that proceeds any physical violence .. killing the Spirit of a person ... the constant chipping away of all self respect and value ..whew! your story brings it to light in a very emotive way .. and how i love your bold closing line ...yeah for her!!!
E.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Well done for writing this personal account. I think many people live in abusive relationships, but just do not know what to do about it. You took action which was very brave. I like the detail of the clothes which seemed 'to be waiting for her'. It is interesting how often, when making a decision, we take a cue from things around us.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Weeks Ago

I was fortunate that there were no children from this marriage and my son had already moved out. Th.. read more
Expertly portrayed.
Made us all live through the nearly incessant "terrorism."
A stunning narrative, C!


Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you for reading this...I wrote this about 10 years after the fact - I left in 1997. I know wh.. read more
the write of freedom and liberation of a woman escaping an abusive marriage and the roof of a violent husband
this was amazing and beautifully written !!!

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


What a powerful moment captured. I feel all of the pent up emotion and fear and rage. You hold it almost sweetly to the page a love of words and also a hatred of him and what he does to you. Very well done, thank you for sharing it.

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


Fantastic write of courage, perseverance and the final exit from hell.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Weeks Ago

I gained a sense of self that cannot be bought from any shrink at any price - I won. I proved to my.. read more
Like he was almost envious of her mobility and physical health, so he made up for it by mentally abusing this poor lady!

A well penned, poignant story, though the ending was positive, so glad she grasped the nettle and removed herself from such an inconsiderate and abusive tyrant!

Posted 1 Month Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Weeks Ago

This is a true accounting of the day I left my second husband. And while I left with nothing but a .. read more
Tom

2 Weeks Ago

You did and I'm sure your in a much better place now!
Sort of wishing she reversed over him.
Though sending him letters every week, asking how he's doing would suffice.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Weeks Ago

To say I survived intact was "revenge" enough for me...I never did go back, not even for my things. .. read more
Paul Bell

2 Weeks Ago

You go girl
saying that the abuse is bullshit and nasty and you don't have to put up with it

Posted 1 Month Ago



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Added on June 9, 2017
Last Updated on June 9, 2017
Tags: domestic abuse

Author

Carol Cashes
Carol Cashes

Biloxi, MS



About
I'm very cynical, jaded, just this side of bitter and the only reason I haven't crossed that line is a good man loves me. I am extremely empathetic, but seldom sympathetic. I can be a ferociously lo.. more..

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