Wednesday 12 August 2009

OLIVIA - by Christopher Grant


Olivia had made enough excuses in the past for Alan's physical abuse.

He was under a lot of stress or she had done something or said something to set him off.

No more excuses.

She was pregnant, seven months along. The child, a girl, was Alan's. She knew he'd go ballistic when he found out she'd lied to him about the sex of the baby.

When Olivia had first told him she was pregnant, so long ago it seemed like another lifetime, Alan had been overjoyed. Olivia had just come back to him after she'd left him over his previous abuse. Her friends had told her that she was just asking for trouble, that he'd do it again and again until she died, unless she left him. Olivia told her friends that they didn't know what it was like to love someone so much that you can't imagine life without them.

They asked her what would happen if she had kids with Alan. Would she let him hit her in front of the kids? Would she let him hit the kids?

Olivia told them it wouldn't happen again. If she really thought that, they told her, she was beyond help.

Things were great, downright idyllic. Alan was looking forward to being a father.

Once reality started to set in, things started to slide, just like her friends said they would.

First, it was verbal abuse. Alan referred to Olivia as "a bitch" and "a stupid whore" no matter where they were. He told her that she was going to stay at home when the baby came and "do your duty" in front of total strangers. Alan wanted to get married, said that would make it official, that she'd have to do what he said then.

The mental abuse started up next.

Instead of simply calling Olivia "stupid", he made her look stupid in front of his friends, blamed her for anything that went wrong. He started to stay out late and told her that he "was allowed" or "entitled". She found lipstick on his collar. Just this morning, she'd found a pair of women's panties that weren't hers in his pants pocket.

It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Olivia had packed a bag even as she formulated a plan to confront Alan.

She could hear her friends now. "Just get out. Don't bother with his dumb ass. Get out now."

She couldn't just leave; Olivia needed closure.

Five-thirty that night, Alan came in the door, pocketed his keys and ran straight upstairs.

Olivia had seen this movie before. He goes upstairs, he gets what little cash he has, steals some of hers and then comes back down and out the door, to the club. Where he finds a hoochie and goes home with her, bringing her underwear home with him, like some sort of sex trophy, a red flag to wave in Olivia's face.

Only he didn't find her cash. Olivia had it in her bag.

"Where is it?" he hollered, coming down the stairs. "Where's your fucking cash, bitch?"

She didn't even get a chance to confront him. A fist to the face. Olivia fell back onto the couch, biting her tongue as she went down.

It was of no consequence to Alan, like he'd just stepped on an ant or something. That she was pregnant didn't matter, either. He left the living room, while Olivia wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and checked to make sure that was all the damage he had done.

She could hear him rummaging around in the fridge, looking for a beer. He must have found one, one of the last, because now he was looking for the bottle opener. Olivia heard the top give way, the small pssst of air escaping the bottle, free at last.

Alan started back into the living room.

Olivia had bought the gun a couple weeks back, for a moment such as the one she currently found herself in. She had never planned on shooting Alan. She just wanted to intimidate him, just wanted to give herself an exit. She raised the gun and trained it on him.

"Go ahead, bitch." Alan took another swig of the beer and smiled like he knew Olivia wouldn't shoot him.

Christopher Grant is the editor of A Twist Of Noir and a writer of crime fiction. You can find his stories at Powder Burn Flash, Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers and The Flash Fiction Offensive.


  1. bang. punks like him deserve the bullet. lots of good punch here chris.

  2. Woah, harrowing piece, powerful. Nice work Chris.

  3. Hi Chris, you got this bang on. When I was a cop, I came across so many women (and the occasional man) just like Olivia, and in the self-same postion, that I'm surprised there aren't more guns being purchased.

  4. Christopher, you could have very easily ended this with a cliche: the wife muttering something tough, while finishing off the old man. And why not? That's what most other writers would do.

    Thank you, for NOT doing that!

    The ending you chose, is not only better, but much more powerful.

  5. Hello Chris, liked the story and liked the ending, somethings don't have closure. Good strong feelings and well written.

  6. Great stuff Chris. I'm really enjoying all of your work that is appearing on the web.

  7. Such a familiar scenario, very well portrayed. Resisting what seemed like the inevitable ending made it much more powerful and thought-provoking. (Would make a fantastic discussion piece. What could/would/should/might happen next..?)

  8. Thanks to everyone that's read and enjoyed (I don't know if that's the right word with the topic of abuse being explored) the story.

    Mike, the truth is, it came very close to happening that way, as I've already told Lee Hughes.

    The first draft had most everything that's there in the final draft; it was just worded a bit different. The last three words of the story were He Was Wrong.

    I looked at it, read it, didn't really like the way that I had originally written it (especially didn't like those three words) and kind of used that draft as a guide, even as I rewrote every word.

    I knew it was a clunker of an ending, way too Hollywood. I ripped those three words out of the ending and it was much, much stronger.

    And the rest is history.

    Matt, I'm heartened that someone that has seen these kinds of cases up close thinks that I did such a good job with it.

    I've heard so many cases like Olivia's but never actually experienced that kind of situation, with myself or anyone in my family, thankfully.

    There was a former neighbor in that position and I watched it time and again where she kept bringing the bastard back, only to have the same thing happen again. And then, of course, he'd be back after the beating, only to beat her again. Rinse and repeat.

    I can't tell you how many times I or my family either called the police or let her into our house so the son of a bitch couldn't get at her.

    Kazzmoss, I agree with the sentiment that things don't always need closure. A situation such as Olivia's doesn't really have one, no matter what she does.

    Alan, glad to entertain.

    And Clare, thank you for the compliment and, yes, it would be a fantastic discussion piece.

  9. cold as ice, brother, and real. Most abused women wouldn't pull the trigger, but I like how you left the possibility of it happening open and out there. You're on fire, keeping them coming

  10. Fabulous; really gripping.

    Even though we'll never know, I hope she shot him where it hurts and let him suffer in agony for considerable time before finally squeezing the trigger once more.

    But that's just little 'ole me thinking out loud.