The Return

She scanned the page again, but the words were the same. Sweat slickened her hands as she crumbled the note, smearing the ink in the process. The words “to be released” stained her palm. Chewing on her lip, she tried to clear her thoughts. Panic would only slow her down. She needed to act…To go. To do something, anything, but not let the fear consume her.

Rising from her chair, she rushed to her bedroom and pulled the duffel bag from the top of her closet. Shirts, socks, underwear, shorts. No, pants instead. Where she was going would be too cold for shorts. Each tick of the grandfather clock drew it closer. The steady rhythm like a gavel pounding on her back.

Where were her boots? They weren’t on the shoe rack so they must be at the front door. As she rounded the corner of the hallway, she froze. The door was wide open. It was too late. He were here. Everything stopped, the world went silent.

Floorboards creaked from behind her and she turned to face what she could not escape. Standing behind her, with a smile that could through metal, was the one person she had been avoiding for months.

“Hello, sweetheart. Did you miss me?” His voice, deceptively sweet, could not hide the anger in his creased brow. Staring down at her as if she were no more than a pesky insect, her ex-husband grabbed ahold of her wrist. “We have much to discuss.”

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