CHAIN REACTION By Marion Twyman

There had been four letters over the past fortnight, and I was very frightened.
They were all the same – a typed address label on a plain envelope containing a short
typed message. “ You lied – Danny is Innocent” .
I had felt I had no option at the time, and my lie under oath put an innocent
man in prison for fifteen years. I have regretted it since, but what could I do about it
without being charged with perjury?

When we first married, Ed was the ideal husband, but he gradually changed.
He first hit me six months after our wedding. He was drunk, and he was so sorry the
next day, pleading for forgiveness and promising never to do it again. Some hopes. I
began lying about the bruises, saying I bumped into things, hoping people believed
me. When he began stopping me going out to meet my friends I lied about why I
couldn’t go. If he was invited it was a different matter, he was the life and soul of any
party, everyone liked him. Except me. When drunk he was an absolute beast, and I
was too scared of him to leave, besides which, I had nowhere to go. He controlled all
our money, I had to account for every penny I spent, and he constantly condemned me
for being wasteful. I didn’t think life could get any worse – until the accident, that is.
Danny, Ed’s business partner, said he had been with a married woman when someone
driving the firm’s transit had run down and killed three teenagers then fled, but the
woman didn’t come forward to support him, and he refused to name her. Under
threats that he would kill me if I refused, and promises of this being the watershed in
his life, aiter which he would be a changed man, I stood up in court and gave Ed a
false alibi. There were only two sets of fingerprints in the van, Danny‘s and Ed’s, so
as Ed was with me, and Danny had no concrete proof otherwise, the jury convicted
him.I was two months pregnant at the time of the accident, and Ed’s promises lasted three
Weeks before he came home drunk and beat me up so that I miscarried. Another lie,
telling the paramedics I had fallen downstairs to account for my bruises and a cracked
rib.

This all happened two years ago, and I’d been stricken with guilt ever since,
hating Ed for What he had made me do. He still hit me regularly, and I had spent many
sleepless nights trying to think of a way out of it for all of us. Now these letters had
started to arrive. Danny, Ed and I are the only people who know the truth, so who
could be sending them?

Afier yet another sleepless night, caused mainly by the pain in my leg
following another brutal kicking, I was limping so badly I rang in to work reporting
sick. Another lie. It Was Ed’s birthday, and as he left for Work, he said “I’ll have fillet
steak tonight.” – ‘I‘ not ‘we’.

I tore the envelope for his card, so I went into his office to see if I could fmd a
replacement. What a shock when I discovered a sheet of labels, quoting my name and
address ~ with four labels missing l It was him, Ed, the hateful, evil brute, who was
sending the letters, not satisfied with breaking my body and spirit, he was now
starting on my mind. Also in the drawer I found a letter from the Prudential regarding
a policy he had taken out on me three months ago for £50,000, including suicide
cover after two years. He was obviously planning to kill me and maybe make it look
like suicide so that he could claim the money. How low could he sink, What an
absolute mug I had been all these years, putting up with being his punchbag. As IWent back into the kitchen, I determined that he had hurt me for the last time. By
lunchtime I had fonnulated a plan which I was confident would work, and would get
Danny released. Of course I would be charged with perjury , but I would plead
mitigating circumstances.

When Ed came home he enjoyed his fillet steak dinner, and he was in a good
mood. He even thanked me for my cardl. He asked for a Bells whisky afterwards, but
I suggested as it was his birthday, he had the Wild Turkey bourbon instead which is
101% proof, against the 43% proof Bells, so would make him very drunk very
quickly. I pomed him a large measure, and topped it up four times, knowing that his
mood was becoming blacker the more he drank. I offered to go up and run his bath,
and as I passed his chair he lashed out and punched me hard in the ribs, winding me. I
sobbed as I went upstairs, but inside I knew the bruises would help me this time. I
tipped most of my expensive bath oil, which I knew he liked the smell of, into the
water and called him upstairs when the bath was ready. He staggered drunkenly up,
carrying the almost empty bottle and his glass. From our bedroom I heard him
blundering about, and the splashing as he got into the Water. I crept downstairs, took
my rubber gloves from the kitchen, then went to his office, Where I typed a quick
message on his computer, leaving it switched on. As I went back upstairs I heard the
sound of snoring coming from the bathroom and peeping round the door could see Ed
was asleep. The glass was in the water and the bottle on its side on the floor. He was
slumped down in the bath with his mouth open, the waterline just below his shoulders.
Standing at the end of the bath I took hold of his ankles and lifted his feet as high as I
could into the air. Due to the bath oil he slid down easily, but of course when his head
went under the water he woke up and started to struggle. He couldn’t get a gripthough, the bath was too slippery, and all my pent-up hatred gave me the strength I
needed to hold his feet up. He gradually stopped struggling and lay still. I counted to a
hundred before I let go, and I stood looking at him for another couple of minutes to
make sure there were no bubbles coming from his mouth, then I took off my wet
clothes, put on my dressing gown and went down to the kitchen, where I put the
rubber gloves back in the drawer and my clothes in the washing machine, then I
phoned for an ambulance, yelling hysterically that I had found my husband drowned
in the bath.

The paramedics and police spotted the message on the computer. It said “I
can’t live this lie any longer, Danny is innocent, I was driving the van. I forced
Angela with violence and threats to give me an alibi. Please be lenient with her.”

At the inquest, the conclusion was that Ed had drowned while under the
influence of drink, unable to save himself because of the slippery bath oil in the
water. It would have been accidental death if he hadn’t left the message but that
showed that he intended to do himself harm.

The message was also treated as proof that Danny was innocent, rather than
the police just taking my word for it, and I showed them my bruises, and told them
what my life was like. I was supported by hospital records and my workmates, who
had long ago worked out what was going on, but no one knew what to do about it.
The police even suggested he used my bath oil to spite me. When I was charged with
perjury, the judge took everything into account, and I received a suspended sentence,
as I had hoped I would.

When Danny was released from prison he was a changed man, naturally, and
although he understood my reasons, he wasn’t prepared to carry on our affair wherewe had left off, because I had betrayed him by swearing I was with Ed when in reality
I had been with him. He will never know about his child that I miscarried. I sold Ed’s
business and gave Danny half the proceeds, and yesterday he came to say goodbye as
he was leaving to settle in New Zealand. I wished him well and I truly meant it, there
would be no more lies, the chain was at last broken. After all, I have a wonderful new
life, it’s only right he should have one too, it’s just a pity they will be separate.

Advertisements

About highamwriters

A group of recreational creative writers and if you ask us nicely we will let you publish some of our work
This entry was posted in Marion Twyman. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s