I knew I was awake. Something woke me from my dreamless sleeping tablet induced sleep. My mind wrestled with itself in a swath of suffocating cotton wool. I did not want to open my eyes. I wanted to stay safe in the darkness behind my eyelids.
A metallic odour of menace pervaded the air. My back hollowed as ice cold steel tendrils crawled over my body. My heart took off at neck breaking speed hammering vicious blows against its prison behind my ribs. An insidious iron band wound itself tighter, tighter and tighter around my chest. My pulse joined in the fray, beating a raucous tattoo on my eardrums. A silent iron fist snuck into my stomach and gripped my intestines, twisting it into a painful knot.
Breathless I started to turn over onto my back. My legs got stuck in the tangled bed sheets. Panic came and sat on my chest, weighing me down into the mattress. Paralyses snaked through my limbs. I heaved, dry swallowed against the slimy knot in my throat.
And then I smelled it. The familiar mixture of aftershave and alcohol my abusive ex-husband wore like a cloak. “It cannot be, it cannot be” my mind shrilled.
My eyes flew open of their own accord. A huge black shadow loomed over me. I recognised Mark, visible in the half light of the early morning peering through the crack in the curtains of the safe house.
I was too young to die…