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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
Newly married Jane was in need of help.

Submitted: January 09, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 09, 2017



The first time Barney walloped Jane was when he came home from the pub and his dinner had dried in the oven! She will recall the date forever! The third of March nineteen fifty two. They had only been married for three weeks and already the gloss had gone out of life for Jane. In those early days she was the envy of all the girls because she had scored Barney! He was the burliest of the boys at school, a rebel the girls all wanted to tame. The second night Jane and he went out together, he raped her, saying that if she wanted to be his girl, she just had to suck it up and do anything he wanted. He wasn’t about to be tamed.

Jane’s mother didn’t really say anything about the pregnancy, just that it would be expected they arrange a quick wedding - that was the thinking of the day. It was the same way Jane had come into the world, her father, Joel had absconded she was still at primary school, never to be seen by her again! Barney’s father on the other hand had slapped him on the back and congratulated him for being a fertile stud! He reckoned it was the girl’s problem, no need for a bloody wedding! But Barney’s mother, keen on the prospect of a grandchild, said she would withdraw conjugal rights if the wedding didn’t happen. She received a fat lip for her stance, but the wedding went ahead.

There was enough money from wedding gift sale to pay for three months’ rent on the little two-roomed flat, but when that ran out, the plan was to move in with Jane’s mother. After that first walloping, it didn’t take much for Barney to lose his temper, but he became cunning, never hitting Jane in the face or where bruises could be noticed. She was protective of her baby, but Barney came to resent her swollen tummy, he wasn’t getting his share of satisfaction. Jane got no sympathy from her mum, who told her simply that she must lie in the bed she had made for herself!

Barney arrived home in a temper because his bicycle had a puncture and he had to walk home, so he took it out on Jane, knocking her down with an open palm!  While she was down he kicked her in the stomach making her black out for a time! In bed that night, she felt no movement, so after Barney had gone to work, she went to see the doctor, who confirmed it was ok, he could hear a heartbeat. His advice was that she should rest. Jane didn’t notice the doctor passing a note to his receptionist - she told Jane that there was no payment required and added that she should go to see Madame Le Cren, and gave her a card with the address. Everyone knew Madame Le Cren, she was the owner of the textile factory.

Madame Le Cren carried a secret. Her late husband, Franko, was the founder of the textile factory but five years ago, he had slipped and drowned in a vat of fabric dye! The secret was that there was more to it! Madame Le Cren had administered a decoction of Datura and while Franco was in a fit of delirium, she and Ernest, their butler, had tossed him into the vat. So he had drowned alright, just not the way the police had presumed! Ernest had always been totally loyal to Madame Le Cren.

She was at her desk working when Ernest showed Jane in and the first thing she did was to take the card from her saying in her slight French accent that possession of it might get her into trouble. Jane looked at her quizzically, not quite understanding. Madame Le Cren said nothing but rolled up her sleeve to reveal scars, and she pulled her blouse up to reveal scars on her stomach.

‘Cigarette burns.’ She said simply, ‘My husband was violent also!’

Jane looked blankly for a time, and then lightly fingered the scars on Madame Le Cren’s stomach, still she said nothing.

‘Welcome to Black and Blue,’ Madame Le Cren spoke in her soft sultry voice, ‘there are many members to our small organisation, but we never meet formally, we keep a low public profile. Women who have been battered are free to come here at any time to talk with me. I have two secret rooms within the factory that are safe houses, Ernest and I hide women who feel their life is in danger. In worst cases, I have two houses in the south of France where we can send women to start a new life, but that is for extreme cases. Do you understand what I am saying my dear?’

‘Yes.’ Replied Jane, but she wasn’t too sure.

‘We function as a support group, for battered women. One of our members will visit women who have been beaten. The authorities, you know, do nothing to help us, battered women are alone in this world! It is helpful to them if someone visits them who has experienced to same thing, nobody should be left to suffer alone. We help women who need medical treatment as you know.’

‘How does that work?’ Jane was wondering where she could hide the money a sober and guilty Barney had given her.

‘Never you mind about, Jane.’ Replied Madame Le Cren, not wanting to divulge she siphoned money from the factory profits, ‘The less you know about that side of things the better. Are you prepared to visit other victims? To share your experience? To administer hugs?’

‘Yes. Until my young’un arrives.’ Jane’s mind was still awhirl!

‘Good.’ smiled Madame Le Cren. ‘Now, let us take tea and can tell me all about your husband.’

Jane blurted out about the violence that she had suffered and Madame Le Cren listened, allowing Jane to use her own words. She felt much better talking about the pain and receiving empathy.

‘Jane,’ said Madame Le Cren seriously, ‘this will not change anything for you, be clear about that!  Except you will have someone to share your pain. But if your life is in danger, we will spirit you away. Do you understand me?’

‘Yes,’ replied Jane, ‘I do.’

‘I have a folio-book here.’ Madame continued, ‘Whenever you have been beaten, if you wish, only if you wish, you can write the details in it. This not only helps you come to terms with what has happened to you, but also, should anything serious happen to you, then we have valuable evidence. But please, write it down on your next visit Jane, nobody stays here longer than one hour, eyes watch and mouths gossip!’

Jane still battered from time to time, became a counsellor to number of women and her baby boy was born healthy. Two years later Barney was killed in a work-related accident and it was then that Jane exacted her revenge. When his ashes were returned to her, without ceremony she flushed them down the toilet!

© Copyright 2018 moa rider. All rights reserved.

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