Just Call Me Helen - Completed
Author: CassidyandAnna

Chapter 10
Weakness Cannot Define Me

When I finally make it home around five in the morning, I am bawling like a child. I still have my doubts that Roy isn’t involved in any this considering the fact he is still missing, and I know for sure that my husband bought the lethal drug that killed Borislov. The selfish side of my brain whispers that possibly Roy killed Maggie and was in cahoots with Richard all this time, distracting me at the party so Borislov could be poisoned. If any of that is true, then everyone in my life has been a lie. I am going to be completely alone by the end of this.
    I calm my sobs into sniffles by the time I reach the front door of my house, but Richard, to my dismay, is home. “Why were you out of the house when I specifically told you not to leave?”
    “I didn’t—” I cut myself off because I don’t know how to answer him. A whimper bubbles up into my throat and I stave it away, shaking my head. “The girls asked me to go somewhere.”
    “And you were out all night?” Richard asks, standing up from the chair he has been sitting in by the door.
    “Yes,” I say meekly.
    “You ignorant little wretch. What did I tell you?”
    Well, I want to say, you certainly didn’t tell me that you bought the drugs that killed Borislov. “You told me to stay in the house,” I say obediently.
    “And did you? No!” When he smacks me, I don’t even have time to recover because he hits me again, and then grabs my hair and throws me onto the front room stairs. I land with a splintering thud and immediately flip over to scurry up to the second floor. He is dangerous, and not even just because he is going beat the hell out of me, but because he could potentially kill me like he did to Borislov.
    Richard follows after, of course, but I quickly make it to the sitting room and shut the door, locking it behind me. It’s the only room in the house with a lock— the reason I am always in here. Usually it deters Richard, but this time he is so livid that I hear three strikes against the wood before it swings open off the hinges against the force of his boot. And in that instant Richard seems so terrifying and so merciless I wonder how I never realized exactly what he is capable of before.
    “You worthless whore!” he shouts, smacking me violently across the face. I fall back into the bookshelves along the sidewall. A few shake off of the shelves and drop to the floor around me. “I give you everything, and this is how you repay me! You ungrateful, undeserving slut!”
    This time he does something he has never done before— he wraps his left hand around my throat, covering my mouth with his right. “You’re going to regret disobeying me.”
    Panic sets in. I don’t even think about that fact that Roy could still be a suspect— I have always thought that Richard is right handed, or at least in writing. But in violence, he must be left handed. When he is choking people, he must be left handed. Like with Maggie, like with me.
    I scream around his hand, reach out and rake my nails down the side of his face in some vain hope of escape. It works for only a moment, before Richard senses the blood I have drawn from him and reels his left arm back, striking out and punching me in the face. The impact is so hard that my nose breaks— I don’t even realize at first. I fall to the floor after flying back and hitting the bookcase once more. Novels tumble atop me and I lay there, achingly stunned. Not for long though before Richard violently kicks me in the ribs.
    He moves to do it again, and a million excuses as to why he should stop fly through my mind. Finally I settle on screaming, “Richard! Stop! I’m— I’m with child!” around the blood from my broken nose that is pooling in my mouth.
    Instantly, Richard stops. I sputter against the floor as he backs away from me, his hands in the air. “I’m carrying your baby,” I repeat, just to let it sink in even if it is a complete lie.
    Richard sighs agitatedly and grabs the throw blanket from off one of the reading chairs in the corner of the room, wiping my blood from his hands with it. “Well, then maybe you should start taking better care of yourself, Helen.” He throws the blanket at me and leaves. I don’t even bother to move until I hear the front door slam shut from below.
    Groaning, I struggle into an upright position, then quickly fall back to the floor because my aching limbs cannot support me. The tears come quickly afterwards, snot mixing with the blood in my nose. It stings. Groggily, I start trying to move on hand and knee across the floor, shoving books aside as I go.
    My hand catches on something metal.
    I stop and pick up the object, suppressing the sobs as I realize it’s a handgun. I have never touched one before in my life. My vision blurs and I drop it, quickly pushing books around until I find one opened and hollow. Inside is a stash of bags filled with substances I never would have thought to be in my house.
    There is a syringe with clear liquid in it, and many small bags filled with white powder and crystals. They’re drugs. There are so many drugs, and I don’t even want to be touching them. I rifle through the hollowed-out book anyways, finding a vial of green powder. Rat poison. There is a paper for delivery to Rosenberg’s shipping warehouse.
    It feels as if I’m going to vomit. I knew that Richard did this, but to have real, physical evidence makes me sick. This is the man I married, and if my partner had anything to do with this, then what kind of person am I for trusting such vile men? There is not one good man near me. I cannot even call myself, call Henry, a good man. I like to hide away and bend to the whims of everyone else.
    I am not strong— but I could be.
    With all the strength I have, I pick myself off of the floor and stumble over to the desk near the window. I can see my reflection in the panes as I pick up a pair of scissors. My reflection looks like a woman— a fragile, weak woman. There’s blood all over my face, staining the top of my dress. I do not want to look like this, all tear-swollen and defenseless. I do not want to look like Henry either, hiding under my make-up and persona because I am afraid of a world that wouldn’t understand.
    In one swift movement, I cut all of my hair off beneath the bun on top my head. It falls in shaggy scrambles around me.
    I am not a woman anymore. I am a human being. I look like neither a man nor a woman. Society cannot define me— weakness cannot define me. I am myself, and that is it.
    With a newfound surge of will-power, I grab the handgun from the floor. I’m going to stop this.

 

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