I decided to have a go at one of the old Trifecta Challenges, this time using ‘path’ as a prompt. The given definition was ‘a course or route. A way of life, conduct, or thought’.
Sally flinched as his fist made contact with her face. She felt another tooth crack, and could taste the blood from her bleeding lip. She heard the front door slam, shaking the rest of the house. She finally allowed herself to breathe.
What should she do next? Little Tommy was sleeping in his moses basket in the corner – how he’d managed to sleep through the row, Sally didn’t know. He gurgled in his sleep as she picked him up. Is this the life she wanted, being knocked about every time her boyfriend had a drink? Being left with no money to buy the baby anything nice because the fruit machines and the greyhounds were more important? Constantly living in fear of closing time?
Sally looked at the time on the microwave clock. It was the only thing he’d bought her to cook anything with. Last orders was hours away yet. She was safe for now. Leaving him would mean a new life for her and Tommy, no more broken teeth, and maybe one day a new boyfriend – a kind one, someone with an actual job.
But what would happen when he came in from the pub to find the house empty? Sally shuddered to think. He’d find her somehow. She cuddled Tommy closer and thought about what to do. She honestly didn’t know which path to choose.
Twenty-five years later…
Tommy was flicking through the channels trying to find the football scores. He was waiting for Jennie to bring the tea in – chicken and chips, his favourite. She brought it in from the kitchen slowly, and handed him the plate without looking at him. There was a slightly unpleasant smell lingering in the air. The food was burnt.
Jennie cowered in the corner as the fist made contact with her face. Tommy felt better now he’d hit her. That was what you did to women wasn’t it? It was all he’d ever known. He hadn’t had a choice.