Finally Free – Part 9 – The Finale (3 words – 2/14/16)

“Beth, your brother is here to see you.”

I could hear the voice gently letting me know that I had company. But I was too tired to even open my eyes.

They were talking, but I couldn’t make out much more than just the basics about me being shared. Words like “devastating wounds,” “stunning recovery so far,” “long way to go,” and “amazing will to live” were what I could decipher. Everything seemed mumbled and disjointed.

I heard a chair being moved closer to my bed then felt a man’s hand take mine in his.

The breath on my ear made my heart freeze. I just knew it was him. I struggled to open my eyes and did all that I could to move. His hand quickly covered my mouth and nose as he whispered in my ear, “I told you you’d never escape me.”

Tears streamed from my eyes. I was powerless to move. All I could do was watch as he took the syringe from his pocket and readied himself to inject something into my IV. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. This will be quick. Just a little potassium chloride.”

He bent to kiss my lips as he pushed the plunger on the syringe.

The pain was excruciating as if my heart dropped out of my chest.

Then I felt nothing.




 Write incorporating 3 words – more, stunning, drop

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?





Finally Free – Part 8 (3 words – 2/13/16)

Taking a deep breath I continued. “My dog, Angel, truly was just that. She did all she could to keep me safe from him. It broke my heart when I had to leave her behind. I was so afraid for her. That’s how he was able to get to me. He knew I’d want her back – specially since I hadn’t seen her in ages. He knew where I lived, so he showed up at my place saying that she had gotten hurt and he needed me to go with him to the vet. I knew I shouldn’t trust him. I absolutely knew better, but he had a whole act going on. He was crying, shaking, and couldn’t seem to keep his thoughts straight. All I can guess now is that he was nervous and was probably on some sort of drug.”

The nurse walked around the bed to check my IV and all of the machines I was hooked up to. I could hear from the monitor that my heart rate was way up. I closed my eyes for a moment trying to calm my thoughts and my body.

“When I got into the car, he leaned over as if to get something out of the glove compartment and stuck a needle in my thigh. I don’t really remember anything after that until I woke up tied to a table.”

I began to shake uncontrollably. The nurse ran out of the room and shouted something I couldn’t quite understand. The doctor moved to the head of my bed and busied himself with the machines and IVs. The police officer quickly stood and moved his chair out of the way as the nurse ran back in with a syringe and another IV bag.

“Take a deep breath, Beth. You’ll be okay.” The nurse used her most reassuring voice, but that sent me into an even worse panic. Gasping for breath, I welcomed the oxygen mask she quickly placed over my nose and mouth. “Don’t worry. We gave you something to sleep,” were the last words I heard her say.

to be continued…


Write incorporating 3 words – over, better, age

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?



Finally Free – Part 7 (3 words – 2/12/16)


The silence in the room was broken only by the sound of the machines beeping away. I looked from one face to the next waiting to see which of them would ask the first question.

The nurse had her head down and as best as I could tell, her eyes were closed and her brow furrowed.

The doctor just stared at me with concern. I could tell he was stunned and, if I wasn’t mistaken, angry.

The younger of the two policemen looked at the wall above my head. His face blank; his jaw clenched.

The older policeman sat in the center of the four and simply returned my glance with no emotion.

“Ms. Bayard, I can only imagine some of things you have endured. Can you please provide us with your ex-husband’s name and address?”

As I gave him all of my tormentor’s information without emotion, I watched as both police officers wrote quickly. As soon as all I answered all of the questions about him, the older policeman gave a nod to his partner who quickly left the room.

“Thank you. Are you feeling strong enough to continue?”

I nodded in response and looked from the nurse to the doctor to confirm that they’d allow me to continue. When they both returned my look with a slight shrug, I replied, “For now, yes.”

“Okay. Let’s start at the beginning. What kind of relationship did you have with him?”

I took a deep breath and began. “He was the most wonderful man when we met, but after we married it all changed. I didn’t notice the little things that he did to control me until it was too late. He began to prevent me from seeing friends. He’d listen in on telephone conversations. He just made it difficult for me to have a life outside of our relationship. He wasn’t abusive until the last year. When a black eye finally made people notice, I left. With only the clothes on my back. I even left my dog behind. The dog he had bought for me right after we got married. The dog was my protector, my best friend, and she definitely took the brunt of his sickness.”

to be continued…


 Write incorporating 3 words – center, gave, return

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?


Finally Free – Part 6 (3 words – 2/11/16)

I closed my eyes tight and thought of nothing except the air coming into and going out of my lungs. This disassociation I had taught myself had helped me survive for those long, tortuous weeks. I knew it would help me get through these interviews. I continued to breathe slowly and deeply until my heart was calm and my muscles relaxed.

“Ms. Bayard? Are you okay?”

I felt the nurse’s cold hand gently grasp my wrist and I found myself smiling. A gentle touch was certainly an unexpected surprise. Slowly opening my eyes, my smile widened at the concern look on her face. “Yes, I am. Thank you. I just needed to take a breath.”

I looked over at the police officers, smiling slightly, I reassured them, “I will do my best to answer any questions you have today. I just can’t promise that I’ll be able to tell you much.”

“Thank you. We will try to start slowly. I’m afraid that our questions will, most likely, take several days. We will do our best to make this a comfortable discussion.”

“I understand.” I looked down and adjusted the thin hospital blanket to make sure I was covered. More to increase my sense of security than out of any thought of modesty.

“Thank you. These first few questions are about him. We need any information you can provide that would help us find him.” The lead policeman accepted a chair pushed through the doorway and seated himself an unimposing distance from my bed.

My eyes met his with a strength I hadn’t felt in years. “I can tell you whatever you want to know. I knew exactly who he is. I was married to him for 5 years.”


to be continued…


 Write incorporating 3 words – these, cover, make

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?

Finally Free – Part 5 (3 words – 2/10/16)

I wish I could say I slept well and deeply, but my dreams were nonstop and always disturbing. Yet, when I awoke, I couldn’t remember any specifics. But the feelings of being terrified, alone, and brutalized continued to stab the back of my consciousness.

I was alone in the room. For that I was beyond thankful. Judging by the soreness of my throat, I was sure that I had been screaming in my sleep. The red marks on my wrists showed me that they had restrained me at one point or another. I wasn’t surprised. After the time he kept me captive, screaming in my sleep and hospital wrist restraints were a walk in the park.

The machines beeping away by my head drew my attention. I looked back and noticed that they had removed one of my IV bags while I slept, but I still felt the chilly sensation of medication flowing into my veins.

I studied the room I was in and memorized every corner, every tile in the ceiling. I easily realized that I was high off the ground. Yet, the clouds were moving so slowly and I only saw a few airplanes. It was eerily peaceful outside which led me to thinking that it almost looked staged.

A sound drew my attention back to an odd diagonal wall next to my door that had a window in it. A curtain was closed so I could not look out, but I was sure that it opened directly into the nurses’ station.

As I was studying the window, the curtain moved slightly and a woman’s face peered in at me. Before the curtain closed again, my door opened and in walked in a doctor, a nurse and two policemen.

“Ma’am, we’d like to ask you a few questions.” The older of the two policemen met my eyes with an unwavering stare. “I promise we won’t take too long today. I’m sure you understand we need to speak with you.”

to be continued…


Write incorporating 3 words – thinking, direct, questions

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?

Finally Free – Part 4 (3 words – 2/9/16)

“Well hello, sleepy head.”

The cheerful voice was a shock to my system. So accustomed I had become to anger and hate-filled words. As I analyzed every inch of the nurse’s features, I felt tension leaving me.

“How long have I been here?”

“Just overnight so far.” She was busy checking my IV lines and writing down whatever she learned from my monitors. “A lot of people have been looking for you. We’re all so glad you are here.” She stopped momentarily and the pained look in her eyes was one I’m sure I’d become accustomed to eventually. Pity. Uncertainty.

Even I didn’t know everything I had endured. Often I passed out while he “experimented” on me. That’s what he called them – “experiments.”

“Sit still or I will make this hurt. This is critical information for my experiment.”

“Just a few more pokes and the experiment will be done for now.”

“I learned something interesting from you yesterday. I can’t wait until I can share my experimentation with my colleagues.”

“You have no idea how important you are to this experiment.”

What seemed like compliments as I endured torturous treatment were the only things I could hold on to. He knew exactly how to keep me alive and somewhat cooperative. The little tidbits implying that I meant something were clung to like life preservers.

“Honey, are you okay?”

I broke out of my thoughts and looked at her. She couldn’t hide her shock at my expression and quickly diverted her eyes to my IV lines again.

“I lost your attention for a moment there.” She met my eyes briefly as she gathered her papers and prepared to leave the room. “Can I get you anything?”

“No. Thank you. I just want to rest.”

Her forced smile made my fears tickle the back of my consciousness. “Okay. I gave you something to help you sleep, but if you need anything, just push the buzzer.”




(Write incorporating 3 words – all, so, feature)

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?



FINALLY FREE – Part 3 (3 WORDS – 2/8/16)

 I felt myself falling and jolted awake. My eyes snapped open and focused on the ceiling above me as I tried to catch my breath. The pain in my chest was not as bad as it had felt before, but I knew the sudden move hadn’t helped my healing.

The brightness of the room assured me that my rescue was not a dream. I was no longer a captive. No longer part of someone’s sickness. I could feel my heart slowing as I looked around the room. A hospital room. Clean. Bright. Safe.

I wondered how long I’d been here. At least the rapid beeping of one of the machines assured me that I was awake and my heart was working just fine. I knew all too well how much I needed to be here. I had no idea what my body looked like inside or out.

Taking a deep breath while trying not to expand my ribs too much, I closed my eyes to try to comprehend the series of events that had brought me here.



(Write incorporating 3 words – series, moves, need)

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?

Finally Free – Part 2 (3 words – 2/7/16)

A few familiar faces were in the crowd, but I couldn’t find the one I had prayed for, the one that filled my dreams.

I slowly let the voices around me seep into my consciousness. At first all I could distinguish was the urgency with which they spoke. I only cared that I was free, yet they had an endless amount of questions about the weeks I was missing.

“How were you taken?”

“What were you fed?”

“Were you beaten?”

“What did he tell you?”

“Did you think you could survive?”

The combination of the pain in my lungs, the cacophony of voices, and the crowd of people pressing in on me were simply too much. I felt a sharp pain in my chest and fell to the ground as the blackness swept over me.



(Write incorporating 3 words – expanded, move, new)

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?



Finally Free (3 words – 2/6/16)


I was overwhelmed with pain as my lungs expanded and filled with the fresh air. I had been breathing that stale, putrid air for far too long. I knew it would take time to clear my body and mind of all that I had endured. I had anticipated the process, but had never imagined the pain. Every move I made away from my prison brought more physical pain, but somehow provided strength.

I knew I was surrounded by people who were offering help and accolades for surviving the way I did. I knew this was a new start for me; a new beginning I wasn’t sure I’d be given. I needed time. I needed time to think, to heal, to process all that I had been through. The crowd of people was too much, so I blocked them out much as I had blocked out my environment for so long.

I focused on searching the crowd looking for the one face I had hoped would be there. The person I had dreamt about every night during my captivity. The one presence that always brought me a sense of peace.

I hoped he knew I was finally free.


(Write incorporating 3 words – expanded, move, new)

Cross posted on my author’s site – And Then What Happened?

The Ring

A cool breeze blew in from across the lake scattering the last pieces of the shredded letter across the table. Berating myself for not throwing everything away after my frustration last night, I began to gather the pieces. Crouching under the table to retrieve some of the pieces I found a ring sticking out from under the molding along the floor. Dust-covered and dull, I could still tell that the ring had been something special. Elegantly designed, the ring held an oval green stone in delicate filigree gold. Finding something like this after all of my years at the cottage was shocking. Grandma had always cleaned everything immaculately, I was stunned to think that maybe she had overlooked this piece of jewelry. Her life story had been no secret to me, but I’m sure I didn’t know everything. I sat back against the wall and studied the ring, wishing it could tell me its secrets. Just as I was crafting a beautiful story in my mind, I heard a knock at the door. Keeping a tight hold on the ring, I hid it in my palm feeling a surprising warmth radiating from it.

Looking through my front door window pane was the neighbor who was never at a loss for gossip. My hand reached to open the door, but my intuition told me that I should hide the ring from the neighbor’s prying eyes. Nestling the ring in the deepest pocket of jeans, I opened the door.

“Ophelia, so nice to see you. How are you today?” I asked pleasantly.

“Quite a beautiful day today, don’t you agree? Rayna, I stopped by to ask you a very important question.”

Sensing heat growing from the stone in my pocket, I was suddenly nervous.

“To be honest, I don’t have time to chat with you today. Unfortunately I was about to run out.”

“Very well, I won’t bother you, Rayna. When you have time, I’d like to talk to you about some photos of your grandmother that I recently found.”

X-rays could not have looked my thoroughly at my neighbor than I did at that moment. “Yes, I would enjoy seeing them sometime.”

Zipping past my door, Ophelia’s hand reached toward my leg, “I know you found it.”

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Writing Challenge: Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.