Photo by Eva Bronzini

David sat on his bed, lost in thought. His wife, Natalie, was downstairs, drinking and cursing at the TV. He knew that the alcohol was making her more aggressive, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He had promised her that he would stay with her to avoid losing everything, through thick and thin, and thick was all they had left.

He sat thinking about his life, how he had always been a weakling, afraid and helpless. He never fought back, never stood up for himself, but he never thought he would have to choose between his life and hers.

He knew it was only a matter of time before she killed him. She threatened him several times if he went to the police. So he stayed silent, looking at the box containing the gun she used to silence him. A constant reminder if he strayed away from her rules, he would be done.

Natalie had only recently been domineering, controlling, and violent. But she had never liked his family or friends and was always telling him what to do, where to go, and how to do it. It wasn’t until they lost their baby that she became so riddled with hate. She constant blamed him for their lost. Everything was his fault now. Despite it all, he loved with her, no matter how painful their relationship was. He couldn’t bear the thought of being without her.

But tonight, something inside him snapped. Natalie had invited a group of people she met at a bar to continue their drinking binge. Watching her drink and yell and belittle him in front of strangers was too much for him. He got up from the bed, walked down the stairs, and stood in front of her.

“Sarah, we need to talk,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm.

“What? Can’t you see I’m watching my show?” she snapped.

“I want to talk to you about us, about our relationship,” he said.

“What relationship? You’re useless, David. You can’t even stand up for yourself, now leave alone for me. You’re pathetic.” she chuckled while pouring herself another drink. However, this time, instead of backing down, David stood his ground. He snatched the glass from her hand, throwing it across the room.

“I’m not going to take it anymore, Natalie,” he said, his voice gaining strength. “I’m not going to allow you to continue treating me this way. Either we both change, or we have to go our separate ways.”

For a moment, Sarah was stunned. She had never heard him talk like this before. She looked at him, then burst into laughter. Looking between her guest she questioned how stupid he had to be to try to intimidate her. Natalie told them to leave so she could discuss her relationship in private. Once everyone was gone, she retreated upstairs, commanding him to follow her so they could talk. David’s heart began to race faster as the inevitable approached him.

“You think you can leave me? You’re nothing without me, David. You’ll crawl back to me in no time.” she said.

David shook his head. “No, Sarah. I won’t. I’d rather die than keep living like this. I can’t do it anymore.”

At that moment, Sarah lunged at him, punching him in the face with an astonishing force, then retrieved the gun from its box. David felt the pain and tasted the blood in his mouth. He fell down and looked up at her. Natalie stood over him pointing the gun at him. He knew that he couldn’t walk out of the house right now, and the only way to ensure his safety was to kill her before she killed him.

Natalie motioned with the gun for him to go downstairs. When they made it to the kitchen, Natalie poured herself another drink, taking a sip while eyeing him venomously. David knew he had to be smart about this. He spoke calmly as to deescalate the situation. When Natalie put the gun on the counter, he took the opportunity to get into defensive mode. He grabbed a knife behind him moving quickly pointing it at her neck, just barley piercing her skin. Natalie still continued to laugh and taunt him.

“Go ahead, David. I know you can’t do it,” she said.

David looked at her, the knife in his hand, his heart racing. He had to do it. He had to save himself.

But then he remembered the promise he had made to her at the beginning of their relationship. He had promised to stay with her no matter what, to never leave her. And as much as he wanted to break that promise and walk away, he knew he couldn’t do it.

He dropped the knife and fell to his knees, sobbing.

“Please, Natalie, please stop hurting me. I can’t take it anymore. I want to leave, but I can’t break my promise to you. Please let me go.” he begged.

Natalie looked down at him with disgust. “You’re weak, David. You were never strong enough to handle me.” she said. She grabbed the gun in an instant and just as she was about to pull the trigger, another gun appeared on her temple. It was one of the girls she had invited from the bar. The girl instructed Natalie to drop the gun and kick it across the room. Natalie did as she said and mocked the girl for coming to save him.

“I don’t know why you came back. He doesn’t deserve to be saved.” she hissed.

David knew he had found a way out of this situation. He couldn’t keep living like this. While the girl held Natalie hostage, David called the police. Once the officers detained her and everything was settled for the night, he took the chance to thank the woman for risking her life. He sat on the floor, the weight of his promise heavy on his shoulders. The woman knelt down next to him and sighed.

“Natalie was right, you are weak.” the woman pointed the gun at his face.

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