It’s just another quiet summer afternoon in this small lakeside community, or it would be if it weren’t for the young couple fighting in City Hall Park.
The boy, scrawny and malnourished, wears a battered army jacket and a chip on his shoulder. The girl, in contrast, seems comparatively clean-cut, but her red-rimmed eyes betray the fact that she’s been crying; she is certainly on the point of tears when he finally loses patience and pushes her to the ground. Two largish young men who have been witnessing the spectacle decide it’s time to step in, and as they approach the scruffy little bully to teach him a lesson, they are startled by the sound of breaking glass: the girl, retrieving a soda bottle from a nearby trash receptacle, has smashed it on the adjacent railing and now stands between her abuser and his would-be assailants, literally quaking with fury. The men gape at her in disbelief before turning away, muttering. Ignoring them, the girl turns to face her husband, the remnants of the bottle falling unheeded from her fingers as she sees the cold contempt in his eyes.
Not two years ago, she had been a brilliant young graduate student, on the fast track to a PhD and a professorship. Now, she lives at the mercy of a narcissistic sadist some six years her junior, who married her off to this homeless drifter, as an object-lesson in obedience. Even with their Master half a continent away, she still obeys his commands, allowing this husband of hers free reign with her bank account, her body, and her spirit. I must be just about the worst fuckup that ever lived, she thinks bleakly.
She closes her eyes, bracing herself for another blow.
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