I knew from the start that he would be the death of me. But even knowing it then, I did nothing.
I stood back and let things happen as they did. Did nothing, said nothing, played dumb, up to the very end.
I could have stopped it, could have used my brains, my gut feeling, my instinct for survival and ran away from it all.
I could have done something to stop this deadly chain of events, but I did nothing. Like a bewitched animal, I stood by and watched.
And so, now, as I crouch behind the bedroom door, frightened and shivering, from fear, from despair, intently listening to his footsteps, each sound becoming more and more like a death knell, I try to review the events that led to this fateful night and silently curse my stupidity.
How could I have ended up like this? How could a fairy tale turn into a nightmare? Why did I not listen to the warnings of that small voice within me?
“Jennina…Jennninaaa!” I heard his singsong voice calling to me, his footsteps intentionally loud and heavy on the stairs. He was letting me know that he knew where I was hiding. It was part of his MO, playing with my fear, building it up until I crumbled beneath its weight. I heard his soft laughter. The most sinister sound I’ve ever heard. It sent chills down my spine and turned my legs into jelly.
“Jennina…come out, come out, wherever you are..Jenniiinaaa!” he chuckled.
I clutched the oversized umbrella closer to me. It’s a pathetic weapon, I know, but it was the only one I could find that could pass off as a means of defense. But at least it had a heavy, iron handle that could cause a concussion and a pointed tip that could poke an eye out.
I would’ve chosen one of my sharpened steel knives in the kitchen but I was trapped on the second floor. I was hurriedly packing the last of my meager possessions when I heard him bursting through the front door below just a few minutes ago.
I knew I should’ve prepared for the worst, should’ve hidden knives and scissors, tranquilizer darts, Mace, baseball bats or anything that could help debilitate him, in every corner of the house, in places that I could easily access without his knowing.
But the optimist in me never prepared for disaster. The optimist in me always thought that everything would be resolved, that things would eventually turn out for the better. Hah! If this is better, I dread thinking of the worst.
Then, all of a sudden everything went silent. I could no longer hear him.
And with Jasper, silence was always a danger sign.
I crouched down to peek through the small space between the door and the floor. I almost shrieked when I was greeted by the diabolical grin pasted on his handsome face, which as it turned out, was also pressed down on the carpeted floor of the hallway.
“Gotcha!” he said, quickly jumping back to his feet. And with the force of a speeding train he crashed through the door just as I was hurriedly scampering towards the other side of the bed, the oversized umbrella hoisted over my head like a javelin.
Even from where I stood I could feel the heat of his anger. That crazed wrath brought about by his tortured mind. He stood there, still as a panther eyeing his prey. I could see his jaw tightening and the muscles on his biceps throbbing with pent-up rage, his fingers clenching and unclenching at his sides, as if relishing the soon to be gained pleasure of squeezing the life out of my scrawny, little neck.
“Hello, Sweetheart. Missed me?” he drawled, his soft voice belying the violence that I knew was simmering just beneath his smooth, placid surface.
I looked up to his eyes and knew that this man was no longer the husband that I once loved. He had already crossed over the edge of sanity, over the edge of human reasoning. Gone was the gentle husband, the passionate lover that I had worshipped for almost two years. In his place stood the creature that had been tormenting me these past few months.
Finally, I understood. There is no going back. He is beyond salvation and we cannot get out of this together.
Not alive, anyway. One of us has to die.
And I’m afraid that the odds are so much against me.