It's been a few days since my husband's untimely demise, the bruises on my face still fresh from where his father,
and three older brothers smacked me for "being so stupid" as to get lost in the woods that night.
I placated them, whimpered like a beaten dog and professed through clenched lips they couldn't see how much I had loved their son. I made my excuses.
I blamed the dark, the lack of moon, the stars, played the perfectly stupid wife until they figured I had been punished enough.
Thankfully I was pregnant so they didn't hit me too bad, since they didn't wanna lose their only grandchild. Course, it's all my fault the baby is a girl...
if I'd been a better wife, I'd be carrying a son like my husband wanted. I nodded, sniffled and hid my smile behind my handkerchief.
They're too arrogant and/or stupid to see I did this on purpose,
and the idea that ANY woman would do such a thing to avoid what in their eyes is a "perfect life" hasn't even crossed their tiny little minds.
I was told, yes TOLD, that in a month or two when the baby gets a little bigger that I'll be expected to come to the house and "make myself useful".
Basically I'm to move in, become the property of my in-laws and be a dutiful daughter-in-law by doing whatever they want me to do until I drop dead or the baby inside me is sold off,
then I'll be free to go.
I can already see in the dead eyes of my sisters-in-law that my husband was by far the lesser of two evils and I wouldn't do no more of that now that I was free.
I agreed, acting like I was grateful while at the same time laughing inside as they put my husband in the ground.
I could almost imagine Lucifer himself waiting at the bottom, pitchfork in hand, ready to tear my husband's soul to shreds just for fun. That thought comforted me as I went back home.
I waited till dark, till everyone was asleep and got into the truck.
His brothers would be coming in the morning to claim it since "ain't no good to no dumbass woman", so best leave before morning.
I'm nearly 500 miles away before I dare stop for anything. My body sore, I'm wondering if I'm far enough away avoid being seen, then remember I left a trap before I disappeared.
I dug up a woman whose husband really did kill her, poured kerosene all over her and that damned house and set everything ablaze.
Sure it would draw attention but there's no well, or any water nearby so that house will burn to ashes before anyone can get up there to see what's left.
With a little luck, the body will be too charred to tell it ain't me and everyone will just assume I killed myself over grief of my husband's death.
As I rub my belly, feeling my baby kicking for the first time today, I can't help but smile wondering what kind of girl I'll raise in this new world of mine.
My joy doesn't last long as I walk into the gas-station and see my face on the television.
THE FAMILY OF JOANNA COY IS SEARCHING FRANTICALLY FOR HER TODAY. HER HOUSE WAS SET ON FIRE THIS MORNING, BELIEVED TO BE DONE BY JOANNA HERSELF.
IF YOU SEE HER, PLEASE CALL THIS NUMBER 1-800-XXX-XXX. HER FAMILY HAS STATED SHE IS MENTALLY ILL, AND COULD POSSIBLY BE OFF HER MEDICATION.
SHE IS CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS AND HAS A HISTORY OF SELF-HARM IF CORNERED. SHE IS CAUCASIAN, 5'9" WITH A SUNFLOWER TATTOO ON HER SHOULDER.
SHE IS CURRENTLY 5 MONTHS PREGNANT AND HAS A HISTORY OF BIPOLAR DISORDER AND SCHIZOPHRENIC TENDENCIES. DO NOT CONFRONT HER IF YOU SEE HER.
HER FAMILY IS PLEADING WITH HER TO COME HOME IF NOT FOR HER SAKE, THAN FOR THAT OF HER BABY.
I know now it's only a matter of time before someone finds me. I didn't expect them to go to the police so quickly. Feeling my stomach twist, I pay for my gas and leave as quickly as I can.
The clerk isn't even looking at the television so he has no idea I'm being searched for.
With any luck, I can make it across state lines without any trouble and disappear into some unknown place until after my daughter is grown enough to know me.
As tears fall down my cheeks, I swear to myself this will be the last time those inbred yokels make me cry.
I'm not their punching bag anymore, and if it means I have to kill them too to protect my daughter, then I guess I better find a place with space to hide the bodies.