“John?” called Mrs. Framp. She was lounging on their ancient mattress struggling to wrap her arm with a thin band of rubber, straining to reach over her swollen belly.
“What!” he shouted from the bathroom where he was cutting himself various times shaving his stubbly cheeks and chin.
“I-I can't tie it.” she whined.
He slammed his razor onto the counter and stomped out of the bathroom.
He looked at her quizzically.
“I told you you were getting fat.” he snickered.
Her mouth gaped open and she dropped the band. She wanted to say it was his fault she was pregnant; that it was him who mounted her like a wild animal; he who violated his own wife in the most heinous way imaginable. But she couldn't. He would just beat her until she bled and stab her with a needle to help with her pain.
“Just help me, please.” she said quietly instead.
He walked over to the bed and plucked the little band out of her lap and gently wrapped it around her arm.
He smiled warmly at her and kissed her gently on her forehead.
“You want me to shoot it for you?” he asked.
She let her mouth curve into a small smile and said yes.
He opened a small drawer in their nightstand and pulled out a steel rectangular box. He opened it slowly letting the metal squeal as he lifted the lid and he picked out the fullest syringe in the box.
Mrs. Framp had developed her own addiction to the stranger the first time it met her blood. She couldn't help it, it had made her feel different, calm and energized- sexy and conservative- she didn't even care that a baby was growing inside of her. She was aware of the consequence of what she was doing and so she forced herself not to do it as often.
'Only four times a month' she promised herself. And that four grew to six, and then nine, and now she was having her eleventh toxin of the month. Her ninth month. Her final pregnancy month. She knew her baby may very well die during birth but that gave her very little disturbance. Her husband cared even less about his unborn child, even going as far as treating it like a nuisance. A pest. He wouldn't look her in the eye when he spoke to her, and he would only have her from the back. It was as if he was ashamed of her, she held less value as soon-to-be-mother. He never seemed to blame himself for her condition, only her. He blamed her as if she could have prevented it and forgotten what he did to her. Forget the way he looked at her, forget the way his eyes were full of hatred and lust and blood. She was never going to forget. Just like she was never going to let go of her baby if it lived through its birth, even if it became disabled. She would love her baby, and protect him from the stranger. And the stranger's victim.
She hissed after he stuck the needle into her arm. She felt the drug crawl through her veins, up her arm, and down her through her knees.
“Better?” he said as he tossed the needle aside. Mrs. Framp made a note to break him of that habit before the baby comes.
“Mmhmm.” she assured with a nod as she slipped into her high.
A loud 'Bang, Bang, Bang!' sounded at the door.
Mr. Framp sat up straight, closed the box and replaced it back in the nightstand.
“Shit! Tess, did you take it out of the house?” he hissed. She saw a shadow pass over him, like a shadow demon. “Did you take it outta the fucking house!”
“Nuh-uh.” was all she could force out. She didn't care about whether or not they were caught. She was under the best high of her life.
'You can go to hell for all I care' she thought. She dared not say it out loud, she knew he would beat her even with the cops at the door.
“Open up!”shouted the cop.
He started to bang on the door as if he meant to break it down.
'I hope he don't hurt himself' she thought with a giggle.
“What the hell are you laughing about?”he snapped keeping his voice as low as he could. “Get off your fat ass and see what he wants!”
He helped her sit up and turned her towards the edge of the bed by her feet so she could put her weight on them. She had become so fairly large her doctor (Ms Tyrene) ordered her to two months of bed rest. Which, in turn, had caused the blood to flow to her feet and cause very annoying swelling on her behalf.
When her feet met the floor she nearly fell because her feet were numb.
“Thank you, honey.” she said cheerfully with a dreamy pitch slipping through her lips like a sigh.
Once she felt the sharp pricks of feeling in her feet she stumbled around the bedroom then out the door towards the living room.
When she opened the door the officer was in a linebacker shoulder blow stance. The stance they use to knock a door of its hinges.
“Can I help you?” asked Mrs Framp leaning on the door frame with her hand to her belly.
The officer took the hint and checked his countenance. The woman looked as if she were about to burst and he did not want to excite her condition. “Mrs. Framp?”
He nodded and took a couple of steps back and held his left wrist with his right hand. He was not a handsome man but he seemed like the type of man that has a wife and a couple of children running around. His skin was a nice tanned brown and his mustache-goatee combination made him look all the more mature and young at the same time, and his physique was not bad either from what she saw: nicely shaped arms-not too big but not too small- and he held himself straight up so his chest was raised in a “manly man's” way. And she caught a small tattoo that looked to be a woman's name inside a thinly inked heart on his left bicep.
He cleared his throat.
“I'm sorry to bother you ma'am,” said the officer. “but I received a notice from a garbage man by the name of Terry Luis; says hes been stuck on several occasions with needles sticking out of YOUR trash bags. Now he didn't say anything about any ill affects so it might be nothing but a needleLIKE object. But since it has happened various times and reported only on your property I have been issued a warrant entitling me to search your house for drugs.”
Mrs. Framp kept her face sedated, struggling to hide the high she was still lingering on.
“Needles you say?” was all she could think to say.
“Yes ma'am. Now please step aside.” he said gently shoving past her into the living room. He started his search in the kitchen and another officer she hadn't seen started in the living room.
“Sir, you've made a mistake.” said Mrs Framp. “There aren't any drugs in this house. For God's sake I have a baby on the way! Why would we keep needles!”
The officer paused for second to ponder her statement, he shrugged it off and continued his search.
Her heart started to race.
'Where is John?' she thought her palms sweaty; her forehead moistening just the same.
“Can I help you, officers?” said Mr Framp who was standing in the doorway to their bedroom. His eyes lingered on her for a moment, a flash of anger directed only at her, and he nodded ever so slightly as if to say “I hid the stuff.” which she was doubting the moment she saw him. Those policemen were taking their time in the kitchen and Lord knew they would be just as meticulous and as careful in the bedroom. She couldn't help the panic that started to rise in her chest. She wanted to scream. Tell them everything: the rape, the abuse, the drugs, the enmity! But she held fast to her revelation knowing that it would only get her and her baby killed if he wasn't convicted. She kept her mouth shut as the men searched the rest of their home, stopping in certain places to sniff the walls like dogs or knock wood with their ears against solidity of it listening for an echo. This disturbed Mr. Framp; he started twitching and rubbing his hands together.
'Surly he didn't hide it in the walls...' Mrs. Framp thought. She started to feel dizzy and guilty and nauseous all at once. She went to sit in her husband's La-Z-Boy to stop the dizziness.
But the officer stopped her.
“I'm sorry ma'am but we need that chair untouched until we've thoroughly searched this area.” He said.
She groaned a weak protest and stood by the front door.
She was surprised they were searching her home so carefully. The neighborhood they lived in was not a bad one, deaths there were usually of naturally causes (or OD depending on the person) or sickness. They made her nervous with their searching and sniffling and knocking. She was afraid some might fall out of the wall or drop from the ceiling and smack them on their heads.
And then they would probably be charged with assaulting an officer.
“Gentlemen, I'm not sure why you're searching my house but this seems a bit over the top!” said Mr. Framp.
The officer two stopped and eyed her husband suspiciously.
“We received a report stating that needles were pricking a local garbage man's hands on various occasions while picking up on your property.” said the suspicious officer.
“Needles? What needles! It could be glass for all you know!” her husband was starting to lose his temper, his face was getting red and his eyes were just the same. His skin was glistening with beads of sweat. She had to assure herself that it was very hot and that sweating could not be used as a withdrawal sign.
“Sir, calm down. We are just taking necessary precautions to keep you and this neighborhood safe.” said the first officer. She saw the fight her husband was putting up just to stay calm. He was losing.
“Shut the fuck up, Tess!” he barked at her. She flinched and snapped her mouth shut willing a tear not to slide down her cheek.
The officer noticed her flinch and her welling eyes, feeling a more than a little for pity for her,and shot her husband a dangerous glare.
“I think you should watch your language around the lady, SIR.” warned the suspicious cop taking a few intimidating steps towards her husband.
What have you been doin', huh? Smack, dope, boy, coke?” The officer wasn't loud but he hissed every word out in a way that would make a grown man nervous. Or frightened.
But of course her husband was on a short-tempered withdrawal and did not take the hint.
“You stay the fuck outta this!” he said pointing a sharp finger at the suspicious officer.
The first officer had Mrs. Framp by the door blocking her protectively from the developing scene.
'Don't do it John' she pleaded in thought hoping that her husband would receive her telepathic warning. She shifting short glances between the three testosterone filled men. All, seemingly, preparing for world war three.
Her husband looked wild eyed and crazy; ready to pounce on the cop any second. The second officer look as if he wanted to beat her husband with his nightstick and shoot out his kneecaps; his eyes slit into a hostile glare. And his posture showed that he was all too prepared for impending attacks. She could see that first officer didn't move in to interfere. Instead, he took a few steps back, closer to Mrs. Framp.
'What do you think is going to happen?' she silently asked the protective cop.
“Watch your tone.” warned the suspicious officer. “Or I'll watch it for you.”
Mrs. Framp couldn't help but stifle a giggle. She thought the threat was wanting in seriousness. But she had to give him credit for trying; his countenance was somewhat menacing.
“Ha! What are you gonna do? Shoot me in the foot?” her husband said with a snicker.
“I just might...”
The officer pulled out his gun, turned off the safety, and aimed at her husband.
“Dex!” shouted the protective cop. “Enough! You know better.”
“This guy's asking for it!” the officer shouted back.
“Put it down!”
“Just fucking SHOOT Me!” screamed Mr. Framp. The smile had been wiped from Mrs. Framp's face as it now held the expression of sheer fear. Her heart was beating too fast and she was sweating too much even for 95 degrees. Her throat was constricting making it harder to breathe and her legs were weak at the knees.
“Shut up!” shouted the angry man. His eyes were ablaze with a tired fire and he was sweating just as much as she was. The protective officer pulled out his own gun and shot a single bullet towards the ceiling making Mrs. Framp jump at the loud 'BANG!'.
“Quiet!” he ordered in a somewhat pious tone. “Sir, you're going to have to come with us right now.”
“I don't HAVE to do anything.” he said in a hostile tone. He started to take a few steps towards the suspicious officer. An ominous smile stretched across his face.
“Don't move!” ordered the officer. “Or I WILL open fire.”
The protective cop glanced at Mrs. Framp; his loaded gun still aimed at the ceiling. When he saw the look on the woman's face he looked down at her swollen bare feet where she stood in a little puddle of liquid.
Mrs. Framp let out shriek and covered her mouth to hush herself. Her husband was on the floor in pool of his own blood.
“W-what did you do!” she cried. Her stomach was in knots and she felt an ache in her abdomen.
The suspicious officer looked only slightly guilty; not nearly as guilty as she felt he should be.
“Hes not dead, ma'am.” he assured her. Holding his hands up in surrender.
“He looks dead you asshole!” she bellowed. Holding her stomach as it continued to knot.
“We need to get you to a hospital.” said the protective cop. “Both of you.”
He looked at his partner with a stern glare.
“You and me are gonna have a talk later.” he said. The guilty officer switched the safety back on and replaced the gun in its holster.
Mrs. Framp let out a long loud screech and doubled over with pain she never knew existed.
“Shit!” hissed the protective cop. “Dex, stay here and call an ambulance for him.” He said “Him” as if he were talking about an smelly injured rat and not a drug addicted human being. “I'm taking Mrs. Framp to the hospital. Make sure you stop the bleeding. I'm not covering your ass if he dies tonight.”
The guilty officer nodded in compliance as he pulled out his cell-phone to dial nine-one-one.
“Come with me, Mrs.” said the protective cop in a gentle pitch. He took her elbow lightly in his hand and led her to his cruiser. “Everything's going to be fine.”
She felt that his words were more for his own reassurance than for hers. When they stopped at the cruiser he opened the back door for her and motioned for her to get in.
“What is your name?” she asked out of curiosity as she stared at the bars that separate the cop from his prisoners.
“Oh.” was all she was able to reply in dreamily manner before she fainted.
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