We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.” — Louise Erdrich, Tracks
Kate wrapped herself in her favorite yellow scarf and her long flowing black sweater. The late autumn air had taken on a sudden, even cruel chill; one that she was not quite ready to embrace. She stood outside on the back deck facing Madonna Peak. Already, the old girl seemed to be bracing herself for the coming onslaught and endless void of whiteness.
At this moment, Kate felt like that rugged bluff. Trodded upon, windswept, beset by boulders and littered with the detritus of too many lost souls. How many times had she and Sam gone to the well of their relationship only to find it dry once again? At first, he had taken to heading out on aimless drives in their jeep, sometimes returning hours or even days later. No explanations were ever given and Kate was afraid to ask questions.
Lately, he had taken up drinking again. Alcohol had never suited Sam. Sometimes he’d pass out cold on the couch but other times and more often than not now, he turned monstrously violent. Some furnishings and even some precious momentos were scattered and subsequently shattered throughout their cabin. Once sober, Sam had no memory of his dirty deeds. And he refused to go for help despite Kate’s tears and desperate pleading. When he started to lash out at her last winter, blackening her eye and breaking her arm ( she told the ER doctor that she took a short fall when ice climbing), she made plans to leave. But then Sam begged her forgiveness and promised to clean up his act.
And he did. For a season or two. But the destructive cycle resumed two days ago. He came swerving up the dirt driveway drunk and high off his ass, his face fuming, a savage mask hell-bent on reeking havoc. When Kate locked him out, he took his shot-gun out of the jeep and blew the door open. She hid in the bathroom while he tore the place apart. Kate tried running outside with just her clothes and the spare key for the jeep, but he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back inside.
And that’s when the worst happened. Unspeakable acts of debasing cruelty that left Kate numb and weak. She must have blacked out because when she woke up, he was gone.
Somehow she knew it wouldn’t be for long. With one last look at Madonna, she took a deep breath, walked back inside, reloaded the 12 gauge and waited for his return.
I didn’t mean for it to get this dark but that’s a free write for you!