For Amber’s Sake

“Looks can be deceiving,” Amber snapped with tears in her eyes.

Regretfully, Karen remembered her friend’s vehement response after she had enviously stated, “Amber, you should be thankful to have so much, while other people struggle just to make ends meet!”

You are the one who should be thankful. I would give anything to enjoy the quiet, boring life you describe.” Amber continued bitterly, “You have no idea how I long to be rescued. Do you think my life is a fairy tale? How would you like to constantly worry about your appearance, fearing that if you don’t look your best, your “wonderful husband”, admired by everyone, may use that as an opportunity to beat you? How would you like to be told everyday that you’re stupid and worthless? Would you enjoy being raped by the one who just broke your arm, or beat you to a bloody pulp?”

“Amber, I had no idea — I — I’m sorry,” Karen stammered, as the horrible image of her friend’s “ideal marriage” sank in. “How can I help you?” she whispered to Amber as they wept together.

“Just pray for me,” Amber said hopelessly. “If I leave him, he’ll take my kids away. Either way, he’ll eventually kill me. And he has enough money to get away with it too. It’ll be another case like O.J. Simpson, where the abuser gets away with murder, and the victim’s reputation is dragged through the mud. Karen, the only way I’ll ever be free from Jared is when I go home to rest in my heavenly Father’s arms.”

“You could tell the authorities, like you told me,” Karen pleaded.

“It’ll just be my word against his. You know how everyone idolizes him, Karen. You even idolized him,” Amber stated flatly. Taking an envelope out of her handbag, she handed it to Karen. “Listen, I’ve kept an online diary of everything he’s done to me. I’ve also included medical documentation, and my username and password are in a safe deposit box. The key is in this envelope, along with the name and address of the bank, and you’re the only one authorized to open it, other than me. If I die suddenly, you’ll know Jared has murdered me. Promise me that you’ll open this box and take all of the information to the authorities, and fight to get my babies away from him. I want them to be raised in your house surrounded by your love of God and mankind,” Amber grabbed Karen’s hands, desperately squeezing them, as she trembled in fear for herself and her children. “Please!”

“Of course I’ll honor your wishes, Amber, but please, don’t talk like that. Please, go to the authorities for help before it’s too late.” Karen looked at Amber’s hands clutching hers, marveling at how pale she was. Amber was her best friend, yet she had never noticed her pallor before now. Why had she never picked up on the obvious signs of Amber’s abuse? Now it all made sense… the scarves and turtlenecks around her neck, and long sleeves covering her arms, even during the hottest times in the summer… the way she spooked so easily… And what about all of the “accidents” and “clumsiness” she had suffered from since she had married Jared?

Karen remembered how she had been awe-stricken by Jared, and God forgive her, how she had envied Amber for attracting this seemingly perfect man. What a kind of a friend had she been to Amber? Instead of noticing the telltale signs of abuse in her once vivacious friend, she had coveted Amber’s lifestyle. Instead of appreciating her own husband, who treated her like a queen, she had felt cheated because he couldn’t afford the luxuries Amber enjoyed.

Through the impending darkness of twilight, as she stood beneath the barren red oak tree overlooking her friend’s tombstone, Karen placed a single blood red rose in front of her marker. Then, for the umpteenth time, since her friend’s body had been discovered in her bedroom by her “grieving” husband, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Karen prayed, “Arise, O Lord, and show Yourself strong on Amber’s behalf! Her blood is crying out to You, Father, for vengeance. Please don’t allow her children to remain under Jared’s roof any longer, and grant Dan and me custody of them so that we can raise them up in the way they should go, according to Your will and Amber’s wishes! In Jesus’ name I pray.”

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

This post was written for SPEAKEASY #153 Challenge.

Here are the Challenge rules:

  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer. My post was 746 words.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line of your submission: Looks can be deceiving.
  • You must also include a reference to the media prompt (pictured at the top of the page).
  •  
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23 responses to “For Amber’s Sake

  1. Coming from someone who, unfortunately, grew up watching a very similar scene play out, this story was so well written. The victim is held captive by much more than a fist. Most people don’t understand that and you portrayed it very well. Ending is seems so simple to others, as it did to Amber’s friend, Karen. It never is. Thank you for letting your mind go to such a dark place and write a story that needed to be told. You got my vote!

    • Thanks Dawn. I was a victim of child abuse, therefore, I do understand the hidden dynamics that causes someone to remain in that situation. As one who has overcome so much pain by the grace of God, my desire is to help others understand so they can help, and to help the victims escape also. Thank you for reading and commenting, but most of all, thank you for understanding.

      God bless you,
      Cheryl

      • Unfortunately I do understand, as I said I watch DV happen in my household growing up and was also a victim of child abuse. I wholeheartedly understand your mission to unveil the reality of it and to help others along the way. It was my goal in starting a blog…to connect, and remains to be.

    • Yes, Christine, it’s incredibly sad to know that none of us really knows what goes on in one another’s lives. We only know what we see, and sometimes, even when the evidence is right there for us to see, it’s too awkward and uncomfortable to acknowledge it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It really blesses me to know what others are thinking.

      God bless you,
      Cheryl

    • Amen Michael. Whether he pays in this lifetime or the next, he and others like him will have to pay when they meet their Creator. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Blessings,
      Cheryl

  2. How heartbreaking! You told it so well. I sure hope she gets custody and her friend gets the justice she deserves.

  3. I wish our justice system protected the victims as much as they do the perpetrators of abuse, especially in cases of familial abuse. Part of me wanted her friend to take the information to the authorities as soon as Amber left her house … but I’m not convinced it would have made for a different ending in Amber’s case.

    • No, Mollie, I don’t believe it would have made any difference for her either, and I’m in total agreement that our justice system protects the criminals more than the victims. Domestic violence is a terrible thing that is overlooked in today’s society much as it has been throughout history. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      God bless you,
      Cheryl

  4. The silent suffering of domestic abuse. Very well captured, Cheryl. I like the way you worked in the tree towards the end. Somehow, the tree seems to be giving off a negative vibe. It was the same with me and a few others I have read so far on the grid. Hope her soul rests in peace and the husband gets wha’ts coming to him.

    • Thank you Shailajav. It does seem that many felt a negative vibe from the tree. Thanks for reading and commenting, because people’s comments are usually very helpful. I did read your story, (which was one of my favorites by the way), and I certainly did note that like me, you used the tree as a place of death. God bless you, and thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Cheryl

  5. What a heartbreaking story. In my gut I knew how it would end, but still, I’d hoped she’d find some way to survive. I’ve heard of cases where the victim leaves evidence… the problem is that it is only of use after the person dies. So sad.

    • It is very sad, and it says something about our way of justice. On the one hand, it is good that you’re innocent until proven guilty, but on the other hand, it seems that the criminal has all of the rights, while the victims have none. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      God bless you,
      Cheryl

    • Yes it does, Kathy, and it is so heartbreaking. As a former victim of child abuse, the truth is that any abuse is going too far. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Blessings,
      Cheryl

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