Running Away


He did stop drinking and we were back to normal for a couple months. One day he came home from work and told me that he found a digital camera in the parking lot at work. It was a very expensive looking camera and I didn't believe him but I didn't say anything. He told me to go and get dressed in my best dress so we could go out. When I was finished dressing he came into the bedroom and said we weren't going out. He told me to sit on the bed. He started taking pictures of me with the new camera. I didn't mind because he was smiling and paying attention to me again. I started to feel like a princess again. He told me to stand up and undress. I knew he wanted to take naked pictures of me and I didn't want to make him mad so I did. He was telling me how to pose and what to do with my hands. Finally he had me lie down on the bed. He told me to spread my legs and masturbate. I said I didn't want to. He got the same look on his face like he had when he was drinking and then started yelling at me. He called me names, all sorts of names, all the while taking pictures of me. I was naked and crying and he still took pictures. He took off his belt and said that if I didn't masturbate for him he would turn me over and beat my bottom. So I did. I masturbated but I couldn't finish. He got out that big black plastic penis that he bought and told me to use it. I was still crying but I did. He kept taking pictures. I wasn't able to finish with it either. He got even angrier. He started to hit my legs with the belt and calling me the dirtiest names I've ever heard. My legs hurt from the belt so I just acted like I was enjoying the dildo. He stopped hitting me but kept taking pictures. I didn't know what to do so I faked an orgasm. He was so aroused that he pulled his pants down and put his penis close to my face. He told me to suck on him so I did. He took a lot of pictures of me with him inside my mouth. He pulled out and got on top of me. He was very rough. After a few minutes he ejaculated inside me. He got up and took the camera and took some close up pictures of the stuff running out of me. When he was finished he said that if I didn't do this whenever he wanted he would print out the pictures and give them to all my friends and neighbors. I didn't want that so I posed for him and danced for him and stripped for him when he told me to. Sometimes he took pictures and sometimes he just watched. Afterwards, he took me wherever he wanted, sometimes in the mouth, sometimes in the front, and sometimes from behind. Each time was rough. I did what he wanted because I didn't want to be beaten again.

One day he came home and he was drunk but I couldn't smell any alcohol on him. I suspect he had been smoking something. He got his camera and demanded I strip for him, and I did. He told me to pull his pants down and suck him, and I did. When he told me to lick his behind I said no. That's when he hit me with the camera. Blood started running down into my eyes and I started to scream. I think one of our neighbors heard me scream because someone was knocking on the front door. He told me to get a towel and clean up my face. He answered the door and told whoever was there that I fell and hurt myself. He came into the kitchen and got a butcher knife from the drawer and told me that if I ever told anyone what he did he would cut me. I was so scared that I just cried and told him I wouldn't tell anyone. He went into the living room and passed out on the couch. He came home drunk like that a couple more times and threatened me with the knife and I did whatever he told me to do. I was so scared I didn't think about anything except what he said to do. I just didn't know what to do."

Jesus H Christ! I thought my life was a wreck. This little beauty has been abused, shit that's not the right word, she's been tortured by some drug crazed lunatic. I didn't know what to think. I was starting to shake I was so mad. I wanted to kill someone again. I looked at this frail flower and I felt tears start to well up in my eyes. I wanted to take her in my arms and tell her that everything will be all right. I wanted to hold her. I didn't know her well enough to do something like that. Instead I didn't say anything or move at all. I just shook all over.

"Leo? Are you all right? Please say something. Leo?"

After a moment I looked up into at her and said, "My God, that's awful! That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard. I can't imagine what you felt. I'm so sorry. Oh my God!"

She got up from her chair and came over to me and put her hand on my hand. Tenderly she pulled the tense hand from my chest and put it to her cheek. She smiled. My tension started to fade and my shaking subsided somewhat. She whispered in a soft voice "Thank you. You don't know how good that makes me feel."

We just remained holding hands for the longest time. "I think I'd better take what's left of the soup and go back to my cabin, "she said as she set my hand down on the arm rest. "I'll see you at breakfast."

When she was gone I could only think of her and her awful, brutal husband. Finally I decided I needed to go to bed. It took a long time for me to get to sleep because of the images she put in my head. Now I had more awful images along with the ones of my wife and her lover. These were different though, these showed an innocent, young woman being tortured and all I want to do is come to her rescue. Slowly, a fitful sleep blacked out my thoughts.


Duke poured the coffee and observed "Looks like somebody had a rough night."

He's right. When I looked in the mirror this morning all I saw was bloodshot eyes and drooping shoulders. "Got any aspirin?"

"See what I can find."

I took a big gulp of the coffee and looked around the room. The two other lodgers are just finishing up their breakfast and I nodded a greeting to them. Anna was no where to be found. Duke returned with a bottle of aspirin and set it next to my coffee. "This high mountain air will fool you. It doesn't take long to get that headache because the oxygen is just a bit thinner up here. Take it easy for a couple days and let your system get used to it. Why don't you go out on the lake today? I'll get you one of the boats and you can see what kind of a fisherman you are."

"Good morning Duke," Anna kissed the old gentleman on the cheek making him blush. "Isn't it a beautiful morning?"

"Ask your friend here. He looks like the bear slept with him last night." Duke filled Anna's coffee cup.

She finally got a good look at me and said "Good God you look terrible. What happened?"

"Thin mountain air caught up with him," Duke replied. "He'll be fine in a couple days." He walked away back to the kitchen with the coffee pot.

"Are you going to be all right?" She asked.

"Yeah, as soon as the room stops pulsing I'll be fine. Duke suggested a day out on the lake. I may take him up on it. I haven't been fishing since I was a kid."

"Maybe you shouldn't go out alone. I don't know anything about fishing but I can at least keep you company."

"That might be nice. Got any sun block?"

"I'll see what Duke has."

We sat quietly and ate Duke's usual morning fare of eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice and coffee. I had a side order of aspirin.

"You seem happy this morning. Did the old preacher's advice work? Confession is good for the soul?"

"Maybe it did. I do feel a bit more relaxed. Maybe there is something in telling a friend your troubles. You are my friend aren't you? I did dump a lot of heavy stuff on you yesterday."

"Naw it's OK. I can handle it, being macho and all that. And yes, I'm your friend."

As we left the lodge after breakfast we heard Duke yell after us "I'll put one of the little boats in the water down at the dock. Take it out whenever you want."

"Thanks Duke."

Anna took my hand and we walked hand-in-hand back to our cabins.


Around ten o'clock I met Anna at the dock. She dressed in a white long sleeve man's shirt and her blue jeans. She was now wearing tennis shoes and a white baseball cap. Her hair was pulled back into the pony tail again. For a woman that dressed in everyday grungy clothes she sure looked beautiful. It may have had something to do with the big smile on her face as she saw me approach. I haven't had too many beautiful women smiling at me lately. "I found some sun block. Duke has a supply cabinet in the back room with everything. How are you feeling now?"

"Better. The headache is bearable. Maybe a day on the lake with you is just what I need." She smiled when I said 'with you'. She has such a pretty smile.

It took a few minutes to figure out how to get the motor started and get moving. We puttered around for a while and finally turned the motor off in a spot where we could see all sides of the lake at the same time. The mountains that surrounded us made our little boat seem so tiny and the lodge looked like a postage stamp from where we were. I looked around and saw that Duke had prepared everything for us, the poles were ready and there was a little box with some bait that looked like little dough balls. "Well, let's at least look like we know what we're doing," I said. I put a dough ball on one of the hooks and gave the rod to Anna and she dropped the line over the side. On the other pole I left the spoon that was already on it in place and put the line in the water. She watched me and copied what I did with the rod at the other end of the little boat. Tentatively she held the rod and reel and said "now what do I do?"

"Just wait," I said "and be patient."

We sat like that for a few minutes when Anna said to me "Leo, I didn't think about what I was doing yesterday when I told you my story, well actually, part of my story. I didn't tell you everything. You got all tense while listening and I think I may have added my problems to yours. I didn't think about that and I'm sorry. We don't have to talk about it anymore if it hurts you. But truthfully I feel somewhat better by telling you."

"And to be truthful to you Anna, I did dream about what you told me. I thought about how brutalized you were. I look at you now and can't imagine someone wanting to do that to you. You are so delicate and gentle and beautiful. How could someone try to destroy that? That's monstrous."

"Did you just call me beautiful?"

"Uh, yes. You are beautiful. I look at you and see a very beautiful woman, hell, any man in his right mind would. But that's just the outside. I can only see a little of what's inside but what little I do see also looks beautiful too, and quite fragile."

"Thank you. I haven't been called beautiful in a long time."

"There are a lot of stupid people in this world."

"Thank you for not being one of them."

Anna's rod jerks downward suddenly. "What was that?"

"That's a nibble. Hold onto the rod but not too tightly. Wait and see what happens."

We sat quietly for a while staring at her rod. Nothing happened for a long time. "Relax. He's gone." I said.

Anna looked from the rod to Leo. "Can I tell you something?"

"Sure, anything."

"You make me feel like princess."

"You are a princess."

She smiled at me and said "Thank you."

We relaxed and looked around taking in the spectacular view of the mountains and the sky. After a while our eyes met. She smiled her wonderful smile at me. I smiled back and thought that the spectacular view just got a whole lot better. She scooted over to sit next to me and put her hand on my hand and her head on my shoulder. We sat like that for a long time just looking out over the lake.

Again Anna's rod jerked downward. "Hey, our friend's back," I said. I took her rod and put it into her hands. As soon as she gripped it the tip jerked downward violently. Then again. I said, "Hold on I think we're going to have a visitor. Pull up on the rod and reel it in a few feet."

The rod began to bend and pull and shake violently. "I don't know what to do. Help me Leo."

"Just hold on the rod tightly and put the back end in your hip. Take the other hand and start reeling it in, slowly." Tentatively she did as I said. The rod was bucking and pulling but she managed to keep hold of it as she reeled. Finally a big splash came a few feet away from the boat as the fish broke the water. "Holy, shit... keep reeling, just keep reeling! I'll get the net." I got the net and looked over the side into the water. As I dipped downward into the water I pulled out what every fisherman dreams of, a huge lake trout. "Ha, ha, look what you got. This bad boy is huge. He's a beauty." All Anna could do was stare, wide eyed. "I know what we're having for dinner tonight. You called your soup 'Heaven Provides' well honey, heaven just provided dinner." I took the line with the fish and moved everything over to the cooler and put our dinner inside. "Wait 'till Duke sees this. He'll keel over."

Anna was still in shock. Almost at once she jumped up and threw her arms around my neck and let out a scream of glee, rocking the boat as she did. "Whoa there, sit down. We don't want to go swimming just yet," and she let go and sat down looking a bit sheepish. "Sorry. It's just that I never caught a fish before."

"Well, let's see if he has any relatives down there." I put fresh bait on the hook and let it over the side.

I sat down beside her and put my arm around her shoulder. She gave me the biggest smile imaginable and put her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms around my chest. "Thank you," she said.

"For what?"

"For making me feel happy again. Thank you."

She held onto my chest for a long time. Everything was quiet and peaceful on the lake. It was so peaceful that I thought that I could hear her heartbeat. I turned my head and kissed the top of her head before putting my cheek down on her ebony hair. Both of us were at peace for the first time in a long while.


"Holy mother of God, where did you get that?" Duke bellowed as I pulled the fish out of the cooler. "I've been looking for him for years."

"Well, the little lady snagged him."

Anna said, "I had no idea what I was doing. Leo just coached me after he was hooked. Did I do OK?"

"Little lady, that's a record trout for this lake. I'll bet he weighs forty pounds or more. We've got to get the camera before we fillet him. You two are going on the bulletin board."

We all walk up to the lodge smiling and talking about the one that didn't get away. Anna got him. Duke went inside and got his camera and told her to pose on the porch with her prize and the lake in the background. We looked at each picture he took and smiled. "Yessirree, you two are going to be eating fine tonight. I'll take him and get him ready. You be here at six for dinner. My treat."

Anna and I walked back toward our cabins smiling and holding hands. All of our troubles were forgotten for the moment. A lake trout helped put our lives at ease. When we reached my cabin I turned Anna around and put my hands around her waist. We just stood that way for a while with the mountains providing the frame for the picture before I pulled her to me and slowly lowered my lips to hers.

"Leo, I can't." She pulled back, looked down at the ground and started shaking in my arms. "I... I... Oh, God, I'm sorry. I can't."

"Hey calm down, calm down... what's wrong?" I lifted her chin up to look into her eyes.

"I'm sorry. I just flashed back to before and got scared. He hurt me. I guess he hurt me a lot more than I knew. I know you wouldn't but it's just..."

"Shhhhhh, I understand. I shouldn't have pushed you."

"No, it's not you, it's me. When you kissed me your touch brought back the awful memories of Logan hitting me and having rough sex. The touch of your lips just triggered it. I'm so sorry."

"That's OK. I'll be here when you're ready. I'm not going to do anything to hurt you, you know that."

"I know. Please just hold me."

We stood embracing for an eternity. Her shaking subsided after a while. She felt calm and I could feel her breathing more slowly against my chest. She seemed so frail in my arms, so delicate and small. I will hold her forever if necessary, until her last demon was gone.

The sound of a bird chirping close by breaks the silence of the woods. We turned to look but it had gone. When we turned back I saw her beautiful dark eyes smile at me. Then her lips move into smile to match.

"Thank you." Those were the most beautiful words I've heard all day.

Ever so slowly Anna moved to close the distance between our faces. Her eyes looked into mine as she slowly moved her lips to gently touch mine. It was almost not a touch it felt so gentle before she pulled back and smiled even wider. Time seemed to stand still as she looked into my eyes and smiled. Again she moved to kiss me but this time the touch was more purposeful. We kissed tenderly and quietly. When we separated we both smiled and looked in each other's eyes. I said "there's nothing in the world like a first kiss. Nothing will ever be more tender or more full of expectation. Everybody experiences a few in their lifetime. Nothing gets better than this... except the second kiss." I moved again to kiss her lips. Our kiss was longer and deeper this time. If our minds weren't so focused on our kiss then we would have felt our hearts beating together.


Tap, tap, tap. "Hello? Anyone home?" I asked.

"Hello yourself. Come on in, I'm almost ready." Anna's voice came from behind the bathroom door.

"And you talk about men and their cliché habits. Do what you have to do, I'll wait. After all, who am I to complain?"

I walked into the little cabin and stood there as Anna finished her face in the bathroom. I watched her finish her makeup and just smiled. "You are beautiful," I said. She is beautiful. She was wearing a pretty yellow print top that hugged her body in all the right places; not too tight, just right. And the color made her face light up. The jeans have been replaced with a black skirt that stopped just at the knees with sandals on the feet below. Her hair was in a pony tail again but this time it came from the side if the head, not the back. She turned to me and held out her hands. "Now, I'm beautiful. Let's go eat, I'm starved."

"Not just yet. Not until I've messed up some of that makeup." I lean to kiss her but she pulls away saying "no, no! Not now. Later. First we eat." She grabbed my hand and led me out of the cabin and down the hill.

As we walked to the lodge Anna said, "You look nice. Who would have thought to bring a blazer to a fishing lodge?" She took my hand and kissed it before intertwining her fingers with mine as we walked.

"Right this way to your table." Duke did an exaggerated bow as we entered the dining room. "Your meal awaits." I pulled her chair out and Anna sat. Duke draped a white cloth napkin over her lap and then put one on mine. He went into the kitchen leaving us alone in the room. We sat quietly looking into each others eyes.

Anna broke the silence and said, "I love Duke. He's such a gentleman. I'll bet when he was younger he was quite a lady's man. His wife must have been so happy." Duke returned with two plates of trout and vegetables. He said, "My wife was the reason I lived. After I met her I never looked at another woman again. She was my first and only love. We were together for thirty years: Thirty glorious years. Her ashes are up on the hill just past your cabins behind that little park bench." He set the plates in front of us and said "Bon appetite," and turned to leave us alone to enjoy the meal, and each other.

The meal goes all too quickly. At the end Duke brings out a pear half drizzled with chocolate sauce. "Just leave everything right here when you're done. I'll see to it tomorrow. Right now I'm going up to bed. Good night you two." After the simple dessert, we sat holding hands and looking into each other's eyes.

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