But It Felt So Good…

As Marta O’Flaherty looked over the precipice, she realized what she’d done was wrong…

“Hey, Marta, you ready to go?” Shawn yelled hurriedly from the car.

Marta took one last look around the simple house she had called a home for 10 years and grabbed her small travel suitcase. She didn’t know why she was leaving with him. This man who was taking her away from all she knew. All she loved. Somehow, she knew she wouldn’t be gone long. Inside, she wished she would.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” Marta called back with a quiver in her voice, “Let’s get this show on the road.”

She meant that in more than one way. When Marta married Shawn ten years ago, she thought she had gotten to the finish line in this race called life and her grand prize was a wonderful, compassionate, loving, do-anything-for-you husband. As it turns out she was blinded by his sparkling azure eyes and charming smile.

The walls in their happy home started to crumble within days of returning from their honeymoon. She kept it inside, as most do, refusing to believe that this was happening to her. She used the acceptable excuses, which everyone knew were lies, but no one dared to question. No one ever does.

They were a hundred and fifty miles away before, anyone said anything. That’s three hours and a half a tank of gas without talking. “It’ll be better out here. You’ll see.” Shawn said as he reached to hold her hand.

Marta let out a quiet whimper as he gripped her wrist. It still stung from the night before. She had burned the dinner, because she was preoccupied with mending his work shirt, and he had used her arm as leverage to throw her into the wall.

They were heading to somewhere outside Grand Junction, Colorado. To the middle of nowhere. Eighteen more hours in this small, confined space. They would have to stop for gas soon. Maybe she would leave him then. She knew she wouldn’t, but it couldn’t hurt to think about it. As long as he didn’t find out.

The first stop they made was just outside Chicago. He wouldn’t stop in the city. It would be too easy for her to run and get on a bus or train. There were too many avenues for escape.

They stopped again at a nondescript gas station outside Oakley, Kansas. There was nothing but flat land as far as the eye can see, and hay bales moseyed across the fields on the side of the highway. He always picked places like this to stop when they took road trips. He must be able to read her mind. Maybe he was afraid to lose her, afraid he wouldn’t be able to find someone as weak as she was to push around.

Thirteen hours and forty-eight minutes into her death march, she started to formulate her plan. She didn’t want to move to Colorado. Her whole family was in Nashville. She had spent her whole life there and she didn’t want to leave. He was her only problem. If she could just get away from him, she could start a new life. She was only thirty years old, and she still had time.

They stopped again in Denver. He had to stretch his legs and “take a leak.” He always made her stand by the door and talk to him when he had to be somewhere he couldn’t keep an eye on her.

“How ‘bout I make us some coffee? It’s right here by the bathroom,” Please. She thought. Don’t you go ruining my plan.

“Sure. You know how I like mine,” He answered as he opened the bathroom door.

She quickly opened the vial she had hidden in her coat pocket. A little rat poison. Not enough to kill him, she just wanted to knock him out. She poured the coffee, making sure they had different looking cups —she didn’t want to mess this up. Now all she had to do was convince him to let her drive.

He came out of the bathroom, and they walked up the front counter and paid for the coffee. “I could drive for a while. Maybe let you stretch your legs out for a few hours?” She asked demurely. Please. She thought. Just this once let things go my way.

“Sure. I could use a little time to relax,” He shrugged his shoulders and handed her the keys.

Thank you. If he only knew what I was planning, he wouldn’t be making this so easy.

She got into the car and moved the seat up. Four more hours and this ten-year nightmare would be over.

It didn’t take long for the concoction to take effect, and Shawn was out for the duration of the drive to their new destination. Marta took a little detour and drove past Grand Junction, to Redlands, Colorado. To the Colorado National Monument.

She had seen pictures of the park when she looked up information on their new home. It had lots of cliffs.

She paid the park entrance fee and put the tag over the rear-view mirror. The road was curvy and snaked around the mountain. Large pillars extended from below, millions of years after the water that once flowed around them had chiseled them out. It is hard to imagine that this area was once covered in water, and now it is just a dry desert. But change happens and change is good. Sometimes it just takes a few years.

She stopped the car on the side of the winding road and rolled down the windows. She grabbed her purse and his wallet set them on the ground. Rolling up her sleeves, she reached inside the car, shifted it into drive, and pushed.

As Marta O’Flaherty looked over the precipice, she realized what she’d done was wrong…

…but it felt so good.

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