The moon is bright tonight, illuminating the ripples on the surface of the lake. The waves lap gently against the boat as the water settles. It was over pretty quickly really; he didn’t struggle or make much noise. It wasn’t my first time, after all.
I head back to the shore and prepare for the inevitable fuss. I splash water onto the blanket before wrapping it round my shoulders. I shake out my hair and concentrate for a moment until the tears start to pour down my face. I shiver.
Banging on the coastguard’s door, I start to breathe heavily, sobbing loudly now. I see it all as if in slow motion – the shouts of the coastguard, the crackle of the radio as he calls it in while grabbing his jacket. I’m thrust into the arms of his caring wife, who brings me a hot drink and warm, dry clothes. The living room flashes blue as the cars pull up outside; police, ambulance, police again. The house fills with noise as they rush to and fro. What did he try to do to me, what did I do to him, where exactly is he now? Am I all right? Everything will be okay now, you’re safe. We’ve got you.
I go through the motions, drink my tea, cry like the good girl I am. The men bustle about, eager to prove they’re not like him. They’re kind and gentle, not violent. Certainly not towards women. I catch myself as I feel the anger and disdain start to bubble up inside. Now is not the moment to laugh at their naivety, their self-belief, their arrogance. No. I’m the victim here. He’s the one that started it.
Hesitant at first, tissues in hand, I tell them how romantic he was to begin with, how kind, how caring, how fun. Then the tell-tale signs; the possessiveness, always demanding to know where I was and who I was with. Checking my messages when he thought I wasn’t looking. The weekend away, which wasn’t to show how much he loved me but to get me away from a neighbour he thought had got too friendly. I should have left. But he loved me. So I came on this trip, and everything was fine until he started to have a go at me in the boat. He said I liked the neighbour too. It got heated, it got physical. It was him or me. Over he went.
They tell me it’ll be okay, the paramedics will take me to hospital for some checks. There’ll be more questions. Fine, I say. They load me into the ambulance with encouraging smiles and nods of their gullible heads. I smile carefully through my tears, thanking them in a mousy voice. Only when they slam the doors and the paramedic next to me turns around to pick something up do I allow the mask to slip for a second. Pleasure courses through my veins, and I can’t help but grin.
This week’s prompt was ‘moon’. As always, you can check out Matt Gardner’s approach this week on his blog over at fuzzyfiction.com/stories/the-jade-rabbit.