The Last Breath of a Survivor

She closed her swollen eyes
and lifted her hand to her bruised face.
A tear slowly rolled down her cheek.
It's happened to her every night now,
every night for months.
But tonight was the worst.
The pain was unbearable,
she felt as though she could die right then.
"Why?" she whispered.
She had to use extra strength
to get the words to speak
from her badly swollen lips.
She flinched at the pain.
"What did I do this time?"
"You just needed a reminder about who's in charge."
"You do this every night,"
she said.
"I don't need a reminder."
She surprised herself
with the nastiness in her voice.
Then she realized her mistake.
His rough hand came down on her face;
it sounded like someone just cracked a whip.
"Ow!"
she wanted to cry.
But she couldn't,
if she showed the pain he caused her,
he would hit her more,
hit her harder.
She held her lips closed
as tight as she could
to keep the words from escaping.
But no matter how hard she tried
to keep the tears in,
they always came.
They came now,
flowing freely down her face.
She wiped them away in a hurry.
She wanted to cry
without the fear of being hurt.
She wanted to be held in someone's arms,
someone who wouldn't do this to her.
But most of all,
she wanted to fight back.
She knew she would never win,
she was too weak,
and he fought for a living.
Through her tears,
she could see him staring at her,
and he looked
sad?
Yes,
he was sad.
He crouched down next to her,
she tried to crawl away.
"I'm sorry,"
he whispered,
grabbing her hand,
pulling her towards him.
"I hate doing this to you,
but you need it."
"I need it?"
she wanted to yell.
"I don't need it.
You need it.
You need to see how it feels."
But instead of speaking those risky words,
she just laid her head on his chest and sobbed.
She could never cry with him,
not without being hurt.
This time seemed different though.
He cradled her head
while her body
shook with sobs.
He seemed to know
that these were her final moments.
Her body couldn't handle any more pain;
it shut down.
Her sobs quieted,
her body stopped shaking.
She took her final breath
and her heart stopped.
Now she will have no more pain,
no more fear.
She will have nothing.





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