The best way to deal with an abuser is to give to him what he dishes out - in spades.
Azzy gently touched her shoulder. She didn't think Sebastiao had dislocated it. It was just a quick whip around the room and she fell into the wall. He was just trying to get her attention. She'd knocked the pictures down, pictures of their marriage. He stomped on her hand when she tried to pick them up. Her hand was swollen too. She thought she got most of the glass out of it. She shouldn't have let the pictures fall.
She knew that he didn't like to reheat food, and it was her fault that she was late because of Fatima's dance class. She should have told the teacher she didn't have time, she needed to get home now. And when she saw Sebastiao's car in the driveway, that meant he was home first. Dinner wasn't on the table. That was her fault.
She thought she'd been doing so well. He'd only backhanded her once in a month. That was good. And sex was more like rape these days, because she needed to be punished. He's right, she did need to. She did so many things wrong, it was a wonder he still stayed with her. He had such patience.
It was near midnight. But she hurt so much. She didn't want to go into bed with that man, but she had to. He was her husband. It's where she belonged. If she slept on the couch, he'd beat her in the morning.
An AOL message popped up. It ended up in her contacts immediately. "Elsie: Are you there?"
Azzy blinked. She leaned forward and typed:
ADEMED: Im here. Elsie?
Elsie: I want to talk to you. Can I come see you?
ADEMED: Where are you?
Elsie: I can be where you're sitting in ten seconds.
The screen went black for a moment, and then bright white or blue lightning arced out from it, hitting the floor at the side. It was a blob at first, a very bright light that hurt her eyes, and then it was dim. Azzy opened her eyes to see Elsie, white-haired Elsie, standing at the side of the computer.
She was naked.
Azzy bit back a scream. Then she calmed. "Elsie?"
"You're--how did you--what did--"
"What happened to your hand?" Elsie leaned down and gingerly picked up Azzy's right hand. It was swollen, starting to go black and blue. "He didn't..."
"It was my fault."
Elsie looked up at Azzy. "Azzy. It's always been your fault. Even when you were going out, it was your fault."
"It is. I can't do anything right, even with daddy. Sebastiao just let me know, like dad used to."
"Dad never broke bones!"
"Azzy," came Sebastiao's voice. "Shut the fuck up, I'm tryin' to sleep."
Elsie's hands balled into fists as she glared at the hallway leading to the source of the voice. She could have looked more fierce - if she wasn't naked. Then she looked at Azzy. "Let me take you to the hospital."
"No! There won't be anyone to take care of the kids in the morning. I have to be here."
"You should get that x-rayed."
"No! Sebastiao doesn't want me to go to doctors. He says I use them too much. I make his insurance go--"
"If he didn't beat the shit out of you, you wouldn't have this problem!"
"What did I fuckin' say!"
Azzy stared at Elsie, her eyes wide. Not caring of her nudity, Elsie stepped around her. Azzy heard him stomp her way, muttering in Portuguese. As soon as he turned the corner, he came face to face with Elsie.
He looked her up and down, and a leering grin spread across his face. "Well, if I would have known--"
Elsie punched him, electricity and power behind it. He staggered back, holding his jaw. He glared at her. "You CUNT."
He went at her, but Elsie side-stepped him. Again, she punched him, but this time sent all electricity through him. He fell to the floor and flopped like a fish.
"Let's go!" Elsie yelled, grabbing a hold of Azzy's shoulder. Azzy screamed in pain. She heard the kids yelling. Elsie realized then that she was naked. Sebastiao had stopped flopping, but was now twitching.
"I can't go anywhere, can't you see?!" Azzy screamed at Elsie. "He'll never let me keep the kids. He'll hit me if I go. He'll hit you when he finds you!"
"Does he beat the kids?" Elsie glared at Azzy.
The kids came out and one screamed, "What did you do to my daddy!"
"Elsie! It's my fault, it's all my fault, I'm stupid, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm a worthless mother and a horrible wife--"
Elsie slapped Azzy.
Elsie glared, "Go. To. The. Hospital."
Azzy looked defiantly at Elsie. "No. I deserve this."
Elsie threw her arms up in frustration. "FUCK this." She went over to Sebastiao and put a hand on his chest. He again started to jerk, and the kids started screaming. "Touch her, and I swear to God, I won't be the worst that you meet up with."
She let him go. His hair was up on end, and he fell, twitching. Elsie looked at Azzy. "If he lays a hand on you, Azzy..."
"It'll be my fault." Azzy turned from her and looked at the kids.
Elsie let out a growl of frustration, then touched the screen. In another flash of light, she was gone.
Azzy led the kids back into their rooms, then went to her cell phone. She called in sick for the next day. She didn't think that after Sebastiao got through with her, she'd be in any condition to go to work, having "fallen" many times during the night.