She recognizes the surrounding. Only a couple of times had she been here with Styne. Styne…?
She feels like she’s drowning as the cold water rushes over her, plastering the unflatteringly shapeless hospital robe to her gaunt frame. The water shocks her senses to the sound of a wailing baby. Her baby. She struggles to her side, cursing to hell the pain from the stitches the surgeon had had to put on her after the C-section.
Cold terror sweeps through her as she sees the baby in Styne’s arms. He doesn’t cut the figure of a father holding an infant. “I have a baby, a son,” he says solemnly.
Horror and maternal instinct force her out of the bed. She lunges toward him, reaching for the baby. “Give him to me.”
“He’s mine too.” It is a declaration. “Same as you are my woman.”
She covers her ears in denial. “No, I am not your woman, Styne. Give him to me.” As she reaches for the baby, he backhands her across the mouth, knocking her to the floor. She scrambles to her feet, tasting blood in her mouth. For now not even the pain from the stitches can deter her. She has too much at risk to fear. “Hitting me is not going to change my mind, Styne,” she challenges him, a mistake. “I’m not your woman, not anymore.”
She notices the change in him, sees the red come into his eyes, sees the pupils darken with mysterious violence. For an instant she regrets annoying him and begins summoning the courage to attempt an apology. His fist in her middle knocks the wind out of her lungs. She feels like her insides are about to go apart; pain rips into her soul as she goes down to her knees, clutching her belly.
When he punches her a second time he knocks her to the floor. She feels blood run into her head and out of her nose. She feels death, still as he whips out his pocketknife. Is he going to slash my skin life before? She doesn’t think much until the knife snips the hospital robe clean off her. Oh, God, save my baby, she implores, unable to utter a word. She’s too exhausted to scream as Styne invades her body.
“Say it,” he commands her menacingly, slapping her again and again. “You are mine, you’ll always be mine. Say it, you bitch.”
With him sex is incomplete without violence. She stills herself against his strength, not giving the satisfaction of even a groan of pain. She can’t even manage that.
Styne gets off her, miffed more than ever now at her at her lack of feeling. A consoling smile steals across Nari’s bloody face, only moment before he runs into the wall. She collapses in a heap. The smile is still on her lips as Styne’s booted foot comes down on her neck.
Somewhere in the space above and behind her, she hears the wail of the baby, her baby. She can’t move a limb, can’t do anything to rise and reach out to her baby. She tries to speak. Blood comes pouring out of her mouth and nostrils.
Her last thought is: God, save my baby.