She had scrubbed at the stain on the carpet for so long that her knuckles were raw. She hadn’t even noticed that she was actually scrubbing the carpet with her outer knuckles instead of the rag that they held. She realized that she had tears dripping down her face, or was it sweat?
The stain represented a bittersweet moment in her life: both an ending and a beginning. She hadn’t planned on what happened, but she had fantasized about it too many times to count.
She could smell the cloying scent of clean, the bleach, mixed with the coppery scent of pennies, the stain.
She wasn’t cleaning the stain. In fact, she was making it worse. She didn’t feel the pain of the bleach leeching into her body through her raw knuckles, but she knew that it had. Her blood was mixing in with the stain that had already been on the floor.
She stood up too quickly and felt dizzy. She needed a break.
It was then that she realized that the stain wasn’t just on the floor she had been scrubbing. The stain was on the ceiling, the walls, in her hair, on her clothes. She ran to the mirror in the bathroom, stepping over but not even noticing Joe and the knife sticking out of his chest still. She looked in the mirror and saw the dried reddish, brown stain was on her face too.
She stepped on top of Joe’s stomach this time, and heard a squishy sound as more of the stain seeped out from around the knife. Did he moan quietly in pain or was that the voice of the devil inside of her head, laughing?
She knelt down at the stain once again, and began to scrub. She scrubbed as if she could scrub the memory from her mind. She tried to scrub away the abuse, the words Joe said that would never leave her mind, the tears…the endless tears and bruises and broken bones. She scrubbed away at the stain searching for her broken soul.
She could just get up and walk out. She could run away and never look back. They wouldn’t find her; she’d hide in Canada or Mexico or maybe in plain sight.
But she knew she wouldn’t leave until the stains were all gone. Nobody had ever been able to say that she didn’t keep an immaculately clean house.
I wrote this for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #5: Write a blog post inspired by the word: stain.