Chapter One: The Great Escape

The phone rang.

Emma froze. She knew she had to answer it or he would be stopping by the house to check up on her. Kyle was in the living room, moving furniture out of the house. The last thing she needed was Keith hearing a male voice in the house. She rushed to the bedroom to try to muffle the sound.

“Hello?” Breathlessly Emma answered.

“Why are you out of breath?” The familiar accusing tone replied.

“Oh Charlie got outside and I had to try to chase him down and get him inside again.” Charlie was their very adventurous cat that loved exploring the neighborhood.

“Uh huh. Ok. Well I was just checking in.” It didn’t sound like Keith believed her. She kept her fingers crossed.

“Yeah, I am fine. Just doing some cleaning up.” More like clearing out, however Keith wasn’t expecting that to happen until next weekend.

“I am about done.” Kyle’s muffled voice came through the bedroom door. Emma held her breath, hoping Keith did not just here that.

“Alright. I will see you after work. Make sure that the laundry is finished before I get home. I need my gym clothes.”

“Yeah, ok. I will have everything taken care of.” Trying to end the conversation without Keith noticing, Emma was staying short and to the point.

“Bye.” Click. Keith was gone. Emma let out her breath and grabbed the last of the suitcases from the bedroom and met Kyle in the living room.

“All set?” Kyle looked at her curiously. He had quickly moved what furniture would fit in his trailer and loaded the last of the boxes in the back of her car. Charlie was meowing in protest in his carrier. All  that was left was to leave the key and the debit card.

“Yeah. I am ready.” Emma’s heart was about to beat out of her chest. She left the last of the household stuff on the kitchen table, grabbed the carrier and walked out the door with less than $300 in her purse.

Keith had practically wiped out the bank account when he found out she was planning to leave him. Despite what their marriage counselor and pastor had told them, he was determined to make it difficult for her to go. What he wasn’t counting on was friends and family helping her move out a week earlier to keep him from interfering.

Kyle let the cop stationed at the end of the street know they were leaving and thanked him for watching over. Keith liked to pop up at the house during the day to make sure no one was there with her.

Emma took one last look at the house. They had only lived there for a few years but it was still hard to walk away from everyone. She had gotten involved with some great ladies at her church and made some very close friends. If it wasn’t for Kyle and Katie, she would not have the courage or the means to leave.

“Well, let’s go grab Katie. She will drive your car. We will take the interstate out of town, so we don’t risk being seen driving. Let your dad know we will see him in about 3 hours.” Kyle checked the tie down straps on the trailer and the hitch before climbing in his truck.

Emma put Charlie in the back seat and started up her little SUV. Thankfully Katie’s house was just a few blocks over, so they should be able to get her and escape before Keith decided to have lunch at home that day.

This is was not what Emma had envisioned for her life when she first met Keith. Only a few years older than her, Emma had been captivated by his charm and ability to hold a room. He was confident and secure, and knew what he wanted from life. He was well-thought of in the church, and was editor of the town newspaper. No one would believe he was an abusive, narcissistic drunk. Even the pastor had a hard time believing that Emma had grounds to leave him. Only a handful of people who knew what she was living with at home and willing to help save her from it. Katie and Angie were the only two from her church women’s group that really knew the truth and helped her gather her courage to get out.

Emma didn’t have a job. Keith liked her home, managing the house, having dinner waiting for him when he got home, even though most nights he either came home late or was so drunk he wasn’t going to eat anyways. She was to check in every time she left the house and as soon as she got home. He needed to know her every step and where every dollar went. He controlled every aspect of their relationship and her life. Her only escape was church, and that was only because he didn’t feel threatened there. Sadly, church was the one place she couldn’t turn to. They had shown her that.

Katie and Kyle were going to get her as far as Colorado Springs. Her dad would meet them there, transfer her stuff to a different trailer and take her back home to Fort Collins. The stuff would go into storage until Emma could get a job and back on her feet as a single woman. The greatest challenge was that his family lived in Fort Collins as well. Finding peace to start over; and let’s face it, get Keith to give her a divorce was going to drain every last bit of energy she had left. Once he found out she had left, he was going to be livid. She didn’t trust his passive aggressive mother or drunk siblings any more than she did him.  

She was tired of being the victim. She was ready to have her own life away from chaos and controlling men. What Emma didn’t realize was as long as Keith was breathing, she would never know peace and he would always be looking over her shoulder.






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