The Saturday Shed: Handfasted

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Tales from the Saturday Shed: The prompt this week is PAYBACK.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!

“Martine, for the love of God.” His voice is soft, and she strains to hear him. “Please, take my hand.”

She shakes her head and stares at his other hand. The one clenching the railing, the one that clutched hers when he asked her to marry him.

“We don’t want a big wedding, do we, Marty?” Dean said as he slid an engagement ring on her finger. “We’ll go to a registry office.”

She hated that stupid, sterile ceremony.

“Marty, I’m begging you,” he pleads, the words almost blown away by the wind that tears at their clothes. He adjusts his grip and reaches for her.

Just like Daddy did before Mummy pulled her away.

“You’re not taking her, you bastard.” Spit flew from her mouth, hitting Daddy. He took out a handkerchief, but instead of wiping his face, he held it out.

“Don’t cry, Marty,” he said, but he was the one with tears in his eyes. “I’ll be back to see you soon.”

“Over my dead body,” her mother hissed, pushing him off the doorstep and slamming the door.

Marty never saw him again, but the next day she found the crumpled handkerchief lying on the path. Mummy snatched it from her and burnt it on the fire.

“Martine!” There is fear in Dean’s voice and on his face.

“I’m tired,” she tells him.

He shuffles forward and speaks to her as if she is hard of hearing. “We can talk about this later. Why don’t you step away from the edge?” He extends both hands to her.

She closes her eyes and remembers…

Mummy dragging her past the tumblers and fire-eaters. “For goodness’ sake, Martine, will you stop dawdling.”

The nurse whisking away her stillborn son before she had a chance to hold him. “I’ll just take this.”

Dean clasping her to him and sobbing, “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”

But it did.

Marty opens her eyes and for the first time in her life, she takes a hand rather than let a hand take her.

Dean’s face falls slack with relief. “Come on, let’s go home.” He pulls her towards him.

“No, I have a better idea.” She takes a firm grip.


“This!” she says, stepping backwards. As they tumble over the cliff, Marty lets go.


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