the picture

The Picture (a story)

They were such a perfect couple, or so the picture said. Well they had made a lot of effort to look perfect for it. Dressed up in their Sunday best. Clothes, freshly washed, the lady perfectly coiffed and made up as if an expert had done it.
The picture didn’t say anything but that they didn’t look AT each other, just toward that direction. They didn’t quite smile. Their eyes weren’t happy. But it’d take a lot of observation skills to see it.
Not like the MRI she had to have the last time she showed up at the ER. It showed exatly how many broken bones and torn ligaments she had. It told the doctors these injuries were fairly recent. Not back in her childhood, like he claimed when they separated the two of them and asked him for an explanation. Then he tried the explanation that she was a clutz. There was nothing he could do, shy of wrapping her in cotton batting. Or putting her in a bubble.
Nope, the doctors didn’t believe that either.
Partly because today’s injury involved the type of fracture no fall could ever provide. Do you remember the game as a kid when you give a friend a “snake bite”? Well he had done it so hard, her arm was broken. As skinny and malnourished as she was, it wouldn’t have taken much force. But he was lying and that is what had them looking at him harder and harder every lie he told.
So they called the police. She didn’t. She wouldn’t.
After the doctors had a chat with the police detectives, the cops came and had a serious chat with the couple. Separately again.
He started at the beginning again. Family issues when she was young had left her scarred. That wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the truth either. The detectives shook their heads. So he tried the she is a clutz thing again. The cops shook their heads. One of the cops offered to show him his theory and the doctors’ of how her arm got broken today. To use his arm as the example. He refused.
He was taken down to the police station for questioning and a formal investigation was begun.
Ok so her family was an issue, not denying that. But she had had an MRI when she was a young adult and there were no broken bones then. The cops looked for alt explanations of her injuries. Sports, risky behaviour. They even ordered blood work so they could see if she had a mineral or hormonal issue that left her with brittle bones. She did not. But she could use a good meal or two. The hospital made sure she got those meals and she ate with gusto. WAIT! She ate hospital food with gusto?? Hungry lady! She also didn’t throw it up afterwards. Now that can be a feat!
So they added possible charges to the file.
They asked the neighbours about her. She was quiet, shy, unhappy and hardly ever seen.
They checked if any noise complaints were made at their known addresses. Loud music mostly.
She had no job. Not after she got serious with him. Yet her school records showed her to be bright and capable of a career. Her last known job, the employer had a glowing report for them and he had been sad to see her go. He’d be happy to have her back, if she wanted to come back.
So the cops took the case to the crown attorney. And charges were forwarded to the judge. He accepted them. Nowhere in this was she given a chance to refuse or put them forward. It was all the professionals.
She kept saying he was her husband and he loved her. They didn’t believe her. Or him.
Finally, when the trial was underway, she understood that they might know something she didn’t.
What did they know? That love doesn’t try to starve you to death, repeatedly fracture your bones and isolate you.
So she made a date with him…
At his fave restaurant, where she had often sat with lime slices in her water and a herb salad while he ate steak and potatoes, she put poison in his butter when he wasn’t looking. She did feel a bit sad that the restaurant might have a hard time in the next few days, but she wanted a chance to leave town. Get away from him. Safely. Because someone had told her that she was in the most danger from him as she was leaving. Or after she left. From what he had done to her so far? Yeah, she wasn’t taking any chances.
As soon as he was in an ambulance, she grabbed the bag she had hidden outside, and his car keys and left town.
Never to look back.
Nobody was that interested in burying him or searching for her tbh. I mean, would you?
So he got a poor man’s disposition. A priest condemned his soul to hell and his ashes were never collected from the budget crematorium the hospital sent his body to.
She was free. He’d never hurt her again.

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