Leaving

Image: Car beside flooded creek with bridge under water. Text: The bridge was under. There was no way out.

Short story by Iris Carden

“Run,” the doctor had said while putting the cast on her arm. “This has been escalating for too long. It’s you now, but it will be the kids soon. Grab the kids. Grab all the cash you can get hold of, and run. Stop at the police station and give them the report I’m writing and they’ll take out a domestic violence order on your behalf. Then get out of town. Go, and don’t look back. Start a new life somewhere safe.”

Amanda had hugged the doctor then. Grateful this professional had advised her to do the thing she’d long known she should do, but had been too afraid. She’d taken the report, and done as instructed.

She’d run to another state, another city, to an old friend she hadn’t seen since her wedding. At Angela’s house she’d be safe, she thought. From there she’d started looking for a job and for a house to rent for herself and her children. Angela and her husband Luke had promised that she and the children could stay as long as they needed.

When the rain started, it hadn’t bothered her. After all, what was rain compared to what she’d been through?

The rain continued, heavy, constant, for day after day. The Bureau of Meteorology referred to it as a “rain bomb”. All around them floodwater rose. Angela and Luke’s house was on a hill, high out of flood area.

As the water rose, Luke went out to get groceries. This whole hill became an island in floods, Angela told Amanda. Once the little bridge over the creek went under, there was no getting out.

When Luke came back he had more than bags of shopping. He had bad news. “I saw Mark at the supermarket. I didn’t talk to him. I don’t know why he’s in town, or whether he’s here looking for you. The water is up almost to the bridge now. If you decide to run again, you need to go now.”

Amanda didn’t stop to think about it. She packed up the kids, and what little possessions they’d bought since moving there, took the car and went.

When she arrived at the creek it was too late.

The bridge was already underwater. There was no way out. Her only consolation was that there was also no way in. This time, she at least had a little time to plan her next move.


Information

In Australia, if you are dealing with domestic violence issues, you help is available at 1800RESPECT.

In Australia, on average, one woman a week is murdered by a current or former domestic partner. Source https://www.ourwatch.org.au/quick-facts/

If you want to know about the women who don’t manage to escape violent men, Counting Dead Women tells the stories of women who die by violence.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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