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Nightmare (work in progress)
Chapter 5

by BJ Niktabe (Age: 59)
copyright 09-05-2006

Age Rating: 18 +

As Tammy began to come out of her slumber, her eyes slowly opened. Well, the left one did. She could feel the swelling in the right one without even touching it. Her skin felt tight, stretched. At least the ice that she had applied to it before going to bed had prevented it from being worse. Thank goodness it was Saturday. She didn't work on Saturdays. She really needed today to have a heart to heart talk with Chad, before he started drinking. She looked at the clock on the nightstand. Seven o'clock meant that Chad was still sleeping it off.

She went out to the kitchen to start the coffee, avoiding the mirror hanging in the hallway. She didn't want to look at her face until the swelling went down a little.

After she got the coffee brewing, she decided to make a coffee cake to go with it. She did it almost on auto-pilot. Her mind was busy thinking of how she would approach Chad this morning. She had to be careful not to piss him off. She wished they could just go back to the way it was. They had still acted like newlyweds during their third year of marriage. It was paradise to her. She wanted that back so desperately. She had to convince him there was something wrong, but how. How could she do that without angering him?

The coffee cake was cooling, and she was sitting down with her cup of coffee when she heard Chad stirring. She immediately got up to pour him a cup of coffee and get a slice of cake for him. By the time he stumbled into the kitchen, she was already sitting back down.

"What happened to you?" he asked. "You fall out of bed or something? You should put some ice on that."

At first she just looked at him like he was joking, but that didn't last long. She should have known he wouldn't remember. He was in a raging drunk last night.

"I did," was all she said, head down. She just couldn't look him in the eye right now.

"From the shape of that bruise, it almost looks like a handprint. What did you fall on?" Chad was obviously concerned and reached out to gently touch Tammy's face. She cringed involuntarily as his hand neared her. He gave her a puzzled look. "Does it hurt that bad?"

Suddenly, Tammy burst into tears. This was not the way she wanted this morning to go, but she couldn't stop herself. When she pulled away from him like that, it made her realize how his hitting her had affected her emotionally. She didn't want to be afraid of his touch.

"Baby, don't cry. Why are you crying? Does it hurt really bad? Tell me what happened." Chad wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and touched his forehead to hers. He always hated to see her cry, especially since she hardly ever did. "It's okay, the bruise will fade."

"But I'm afraid the fear and the pain won't." She slowly brought her tears under control.

Chad looked at her, obviously puzzled. "Tell me what happened. You didn't fall, did you?" He picked up his cup and sipped the hot coffee.

"You really don't remember, do you?" She saw his head tilt to one side, but he didn't answer. "You came home drunk last night and hit me while I was sleeping."

"Come on, Tammy, why on Earth would I do that?" He struggled to remember last night, but only drew a blank. He couldn't remember anything at all about yesterday.

"Because I called your work to find out when you would be home for dinner and Janie told me they let you go. You thought I was checking up on you. I wasn't, honest, I just wanted to know when to have the lasagna done." Tammy started to cry again. It was making her swollen eye hurt when she absent-mindedly tried to wipe the tears away.

"Oh baby, I don't remember any of that. Heck, I don't remember anything at all about yesterday. What's wrong with me?" Chad put his hand over his eyes, trying to rub away all she was telling him. Had he really hit her? What could possibly make him do that? "Are you sure that's what happened, hon?"

"Chad, you've got to get help. You don't remember anything about yesterday. Well, what about the day before? Do you remember what happened then?" She waited for a reply, but when she got nothing from him, she reminded him. "You got fired, Chad. You got fired because you were hung over from the night before. You lost your job. And I don't know where you spent the day yesterday, but it was probably drinking, judging from your condition when you got home last night." She put her hand to her bruise, and couldn't hold back the tears.

"I'm so sorry, Tammy. I swear, I'll make it up to you. And I'll find another job real fast. Things'll get better, you'll see!" He didn't know if he was trying to convince her or himself, but he didn't want to see her like this again.

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        01-01-2007     Nancy Pawley        

I keep waiting for Tammy to really wake up, before she wakes up dead. Your story is one of those that's emotionally hard to read, but well worth the effort.

        10-23-2006     Deborah Thomas        

He's the only one that can stop it..

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