April 6, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — by badluckfairy @ 09:53

Before her birth, Hope had been an innocent. Blissfully unaware of the tempestuous environment that awaited her outside her warm safe cocoon.
Her Mother wasn’t a religious woman, but she prayed everyday. She prayed that her baby would stay safe inside her womb for as long as possible. Not just for her unborn child’s safety. You see, her child’s Father had promised not to lay a finger on her whilst she was with child.
Callie knew he wasn’t right for her, knew it was only a matter of time before the blind rage he possessed raised it’s ugly head. It would push her back into the routine of fear and loathing that had calmed while she was carrying his child.
And what of the child? He had threatened to take the baby once it was born, to stop her from seeing her child, had threatened her life if she tried to stop him from doing it.
His idea of family life changed on a daily basis. One day he would smile as he spoke of taking their child to the park, pushing the chubby little baby on a swing as the 3 of them laughed together in the sunshine before sitting down to a picnic as the sun set.
The next day he would scream and cry, telling Callie she only had rights to the child whilst the umbilical cord still served it’s purpose.
The thought of his hands on her skin made her retch. She had to control herself with every essence of her being whenever he stroked her growing tummy and talked to the precious life it shielded from reality.
She hated him. She dreamt of concealing a knife under her nightgown before sliding into bed, waiting until his breathing had settled into a relaxed pattern. And then she would plunge it into his flesh as many times as her strength would allow.
But she had her baby to think of. What would become of her baby if the judge didn’t believe the torment she’d been subjected to? Would they allow her to have and raise her baby in prison? It was too big a risk to take.
So she had to bide her time. Wait until the moment was just right and then grasp at the best opportunity that came along.
She had a plan. She would allow him to be there for the birth of their child. And when he was asked by the midwife to leave and rest and allow his new family to rest, she would tell them.
She would seize all the strength she could muster and tell them what he had done, what he was capable of, what he had promised he would do.
But would they believe her now the bruises and scars had had time to heal? Had he realised this? Was this why he had promised to let her be?
Confusion overwhelmed her as she slumped into the corner of the kitchen cabinets dissolving into tears.
Was she ever going to see her chance to escape, was there someone out there who would listen let alone believe her?
A sharp kick beneath the left side of her ribcage brought her back from her moment of defeat. She stroked her bump lovingly before hauling herself back onto her feet and finishing cleaning the mud off of his fishing boots.


The hours he spent fishing were her only respite. He loved nothing more than to sit by a lake patiently for hours waiting to catch the poor unsuspecting prey of his.
Callie could never understand it, he was not a patient man, where did he find this inner peace? And why did he never share his moments of calmness with her?
Sure, he spoke of a happy family playing football in the park, walking the family dog together. But he always spoke so animatedly with a maniacal grin on his face, he scared her even when he spoke of the concept of happiness.
And his mood always changed so quickly, she never knew exactly what she would be faced with.

As the weeks until her due date rapidly turned into days, Callie began to fall apart.
At every possible moment she was engulfed by anxiety, paranoia and guilt.
Would she be able to keep up the charade between now and when her baby was born?
Would she be able to make the getaway she craved?
Would he see through her and know what she was planning?
Did she have the strength to go through with this?
And in years to come when her child asked about his or her father, would they understand why Callie felt she had had to do this?
After all the planning and hoping, was the right thing to do to stay?
She desperately wished there was someone, a friend she could talk to about it all.
But if there was, would they really turn round and say ‘Yes, deny your child it’s father’? No, of course they wouldn’t. She knew in her own mind that they would tell her that a child needs both parents.

There were times during those last few days where she shook the thoughts of guilt from her head.
Leaving was the only option.
How could she forgive herself if he turned on their child? Used an innocent baby, toddler, child or teenager against her to amplify the pain he’d already caused?
Thankfully she drew enough strength from these moments to pack another item in her hospital bag that she would need in the first few days away from him.
She’d packed a suitcase with clothes she’d bought from a charity shop and concealed it amongst the empty suitcases that hadn’t been used since their honeymoon.
It had been full for months and he’d not suspected a thing.
Callie had decided that once they were safe, she would tell the police about the suitcase and beg them to get it.
There were baby clothes in there too.
He had bought a whole new wardrobe of clothes for the baby. A beautiful crib stood in the corner of the bedroom. He’d promised to start on the nursery months ago.
She wanted nothing from him.
Looking at the second hand baby clothes, she could almost imagine the happy smiling babies who had worn them.
They were bought from a charity shop, so at least there must be some good in the parents who had donated them.
Callie wanted nothing more than for her baby to be safe and happy.

And then it happened.
Her waters broke.
They say only 1% of babies are born on their due date. Callie’s wanted to try and be in that 1%.
She didn’t want him near her, but she didn’t have a choice.
It was 3am, so of course he was at her side sleeping peacefully.
He phoned the hospital and they told him to bring his wife straight up.
She felt safe as they walked into the maternity wing.
The midwife hooked her up to a foetal heartbeat monitor to see what was happening and whether contractions had started.
Then they were left for a while.
Callie looked at him. He looked tired and vexed. It had been taking him longer than normal to fall asleep lately. This meant that she had slept less than usual, always waiting for him to be in a deep sleep before she relaxed.
He didn’t even look at her.
She felt herself relax into the bed and allow herself to close her eyes and imagine what the future might hold.

She awoke sometime later when a hand was placed on her shoulder.
There were no contractions yet, labour hadn’t started.
Callie’s whole body tensed up as she waited for what would come next- she could go home and wait.
But as it was 5am and her husband was sleeping so soundly, she could stay.
The morning shift would put her back on the monitor and perhaps send her home later.
She relaxed back into the bed, at least she had a few more hours for things to hopefully start.

She drifted in and out of a restless sleep, waking from time to time in a silent and still panic.
When you exist in such a volatile place, your whole body and reactions adapt.
They were awoken shortly after 8am by a kindly midwife ready with a foetal monitor.
After what seemed like forever trying to find a good trace of the baby’s hearbeat, the midwife called for a colleague to come and assist.
Before she knew what was happening, a doctor was asking Callie to sign a consent form.
It was explained that her baby was in distress, there was no other option. She needed a caesarean.
Callie signed the form and was wheeled to the doors of the operating theatre.
They told him to comfort his wife, to tell her he loved her, that everything was going to be ok.
He simply leaned in so he could whisper in her ear.
He told her that he knew about the suitcase. That he knew what she thought she was going to do. That it wouldn’t happen. That she wouldn’t do it.
Then he kissed her on the nose, turned and walked away towards the relatives room.
Once in theatre, Callie begged to stay awake during the procedure.
She was quickly told there was no time.
And then she began to descend into a warm, dark sleep.
She tried to fight it but it was no good.

She almost fooled herself into thinking her own Mother was there when she heard the voice say her name.
Her Mother was the only one who had ever refused to call her Callie. After all, why christen your own child Caroline and then call her something else?
The darkness faded into fuzzy light as she stirred, slowly opening her eyes in confusion.
She was told that everything was fine, her baby was fine.
After asking where the baby was, she was told that her husband had taken it to the relative’s room.
Peter’s parents had arrived shortly after she was taken into theatre.
Callie felt cheated. He had taken her baby to see his parents before she had had chance herself to even look at her own child.
She started to sob quietly as the midwife said she would go and ask Peter to bring the baby to the room for her.
With that there was a knock on the door.
Steven appeared with a beautiful bunch of flowers. He looked as awkward as he always did, he never quite met her eye whenever they were near each other.
He congratulated Callie on the safe arrival of her darling baby girl.
Callie had a daughter.
No, Callie has a daughter.
Steven walked over to the bed, placed the flowers on the side table and sat down next to her.
He took her left hand in his whilst he studied the pattern on the standard cellular blanket.
For the first time ever he lifted his head and met her gaze.
He told her that he was sorry.
That he felt helpless. If he’d ever tried to help her, Yvonne would never forgive him.
He wanted to help so much, but how could he betray his own son? Deny him the right to his own child. And to rob his own wife of her first grandchild, the chance of more grandchildren?
Callie remained silent.
Steven couldn’t understand why Peter was the way he was. He was never mistreated as a child. Quite the opposite, being an only child he was doted on and lacked nothing he ever needed or desired.
He was sure Peter would change now. How could that beautiful baby not make him change? Things would be different, better.
And then he awkwardly kissed Callie on the forehead, got up from where he perched and left the room.

5 Minutes can feel like a lifetime when you’re waiting for that one moment that will remain a memory for life.
When he finally came to the room holding the baby, Callie smiled just at the sight of the pink blanket.
He smiled in return, but as quickly as that smile had appeared, it changed into a sneer.
He walked towards the bed as Callie almost burst with anticipation.
He got hold of the hospital crib and wheeled it to the furthest corner of the room. He very gently placed the baby into the crib, kissed her sweet face and then turned to meet her Mother’s pleading eyes.
He reminded her that she wasn’t going to go through with her plan. Where would she go? Who would support her? Who would want to support her?
He went to carry on but was interrupted by a midwife who had come in to check on Mother and baby.
Jude looked puzzled at the fact that the crib wasn’t next to the bed. She wheeled it back over and asked the new Mum if she wanted help feeding her baby.
Callie nodded.
Peter was asked to leave as visiting time had finished, and his wife and daughter needed to rest.
He left without speaking.


Jude asked Callie why the crib had been so far from the bed.
What could she say? That he’d wanted to punish her, to assert his dominance over her?
She couldn’t look Jude in the eye and answer, so she acted as if she hadn’t heard the question.
Jude commented on how beautiful the baby was, how tiny her hands were, and how she never ceased to be amazed at the little people she delivered and cared for every day.
With the baby feeding happily, Jude passed the crib tag to Callie to see the details of her daughter. And then she left.
‘Baby girl of Caroline Wilson, born 08:47, weight 6lb 5oz, length 49cm’

Callie looked down at her baby. A mass of black hair covered her little head, her fingers entwined in the strings of Callie’s night dress. Her eyes closed as she peacefully fed.
Callie leant down to kiss her, drinking in her newborn’s soft hair and skin.
A jolt of warmth and protection shuddered through her body.
She reached for the button that would call Jude back into the room. She would tell Jude why the crib had been so far away, why she didn’t want to go home. He’d told her not to, but he didn’t have a hold on her right now.
She was about to press it, but tears started rolling down her face.
They had stopped before Jude had come back to put the baby in the crib so that her Mother could rest while she slept.
The button was placed in Callie’s hand and Jude told her that if there was anything she needed, or if the baby woke, all she had to do was press it.
Before sleep washed over her once more, Callie had decided she wouldn’t do anything. After all, it wasn’t even as if she could get out of bed right now, let alone stand up to the one fear the loomed over her.

What she didn’t know was that Jude had been listening at the door before Peter had left.
She had heard what he had said to his wife.
His words had sent a chill of remembrance through her bones.
John used to speak to her in exactly the same way. She wondered if Caroline was in the same situation she had been in when Helen had been born.
All those years had passed, but still she froze on the spot as she heard Peter’s words and tone.
She needed to discuss this with a colleague, get another opinion.
She went to the nurses station, she knew she had to treat the situation as if she were walking on egg shells.

It was hours after Jude’s shift ended before she got home that night.
She had spoken at length to her colleague, and then to her superior.
Jude had never kept John’s torment of her a secret. If anything, it seemed to help others, knowing what she had been through.
They saw Jude’s strength, and it gave them hope and strength through their own tough times in life. Helen was such a strong woman, Jude was so proud.
Jude was the kind of woman who was like a second Mum to so many of the younger colleagues she worked side by side with.
She’d known from the moment she emerged from the hole that John seemed to push her in that she had to make some good come from this.
She needed to help others.

She’d gone back into the room alone at first.
She asked Callie if she had thought of a name for her daughter.
Callie had no way of knowing what the next question would be. Had no way of preparing for hearing the words that would follow.
How did she know?


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for sharing! I kept wanting to shout just tell someone as I read this. It was nice to read the background on Caroline now having already read your flash fiction entry. She is a victim but still so strong in character that I like her and feel sorry for her. I as the reader want her to get away from her husband for herself and for her child. This is very much the way friends and relatives feel when they know a loved one is in a domestic violence situation. They know but it feels like there is nothing they can do. You have really captured that emotion.

    Comment by usaukwoods — April 6, 2011 @ 21:00 |Reply

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