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> The Escape Of Jane Beaty, a selection from my next book
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Elspeth 
Posted: 27-Oct-2003, 12:47 PM
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Jane cowered under the table, lips moving silently, forming the same words she whispered every time his rage overflowed like this.

Crash! Pieces of her mother?s soup tureen flew about the floor. Why tonight of all nights did the ale barrel have to be dry? Tonight when her husband had returned home limping, looking for oblivion from the pain, the inside of his massive thigh already bruising purple and blue from the kick of a great hulking draft horse. Why couldn?t it have been his head?

Covering her own head with her hands, Jane ducked farther under the table, her young, undernourished body pressed tightly against the wall, praying the shadows unexposed by the flickering firelight would keep her secret. Eyes screwed tightly shut, she repeated, as a mantra, the spell of protection that had kept her alive since her father had given his fifteen-year-old daughter in marriage to the village blacksmith in order to settle a gambling debt. Her mother, unable to protect her daughter any other way, had taken Jane on the eve of her wedding to the village witch. Along with the spell, the old crone had given as well some sage advice. Jack Beaty was known throughout the village as a mellow drunk ? if he had been drinking ale. Repeat the spell and keep plenty of ale on hand and the beatings should not be greater than she could bear. But under no circumstances should Jane have children. If a bairn were involved, the spell would lose all potency and she and her wean would be at the mercy of her husband?s great crashing fists. The ale and a few magic herbs had kept her safe from death, but not from the beatings. Her teeth no longer met when she closed her mouth because of the broken jaw he had given her the first year of their marriage and various rib, arm and leg bones ached whenever it rained from the times they had been cracked over the last three years.

Tentatively opening her eyes, Jane stifled a squeal of panic. Two great, coarse boots were before her, the toe of one stepping on her tattered skirt. Frozen, and unable to do anything but wait for her fate, Jane heard the lid of the teapot lifted and the few coins of her precious egg money being shaken onto the table.

Damn him! She had just saved enough for a ticket to Glasgow. And he would go to the Speckled Hen, drinking whisky instead of ale, until every shilling was spent. If she had to lose her money, Jane prayed he drank enough to come home and pass out, sleeping it off until morning. For if he didn?t?. Ale may make Jack mellow, but whisky made him a mean drunk, feared throughout three glens.

Finally, Jane heard the retreating tread of her husband?s heavy boots and the slam of the oaken door that caused the wall behind her to resonate her fear.

Crawling out on her hands and knees from under the table, Jane pulled herself up onto the upholstered chair before the fire and took inventory. Lifting her apron she dabbed at her lips, split open once more and already beginning to swell. Two of her front teeth felt loose again. One of these times they would be unable to stand the blow.

God, let him come home too drunk to kiss me she pleaded to that deity far beyond her ken.

Lifting the corner of her apron to her ear, Jane gingerly dabbed the blood away. This time he had hit the side of her head so hard, she had flown against the wall. Her ear was still ringing. It would be days until her hearing returned, if ever. Lifting her skirts she saw blood there as well, cut when her leg fell against the coalscuttle. All manageable, with a bit of cloth and plaster, but her fingers on her left hand would need more attention. Three had already swollen twice the size of normal and one stuck out unnaturally, twisted cruelly in her husband?s viselike grip. Luckily her hands had been wet from hanging the wash on the line and she had slipped free before he had broken any bones.

Rising unsteadily to her feet, Jane made her way across the village to her mother?s kitchen. There was time to get bandaged and still be home before Jack returned. For such a large man, the whisky made him drunk surprisingly fast.

When she arrived at the back door of her old home, her mother looked up from mending her little sister?s bodice.

?Lord child, nae agane. Tis twice this week.?

?The ale barrel was dry mama.?

Her father spoke up from the chimney corner where he placidly smoked upon his after dinner pipe.

?Lass, haven?t I told ye time an agane it be yer job tae leuk after yer man? As I heard, he took a powerful kick fra that devil of a brute auld McAllister keeps. And yer telling me he came home tae an empty ale barrel? What dae ye expect a man tae dae if his wumman willna see tae his needs??

Jane turned slowly and regarded her father, her mother shuddering at the depth of soul-burning hatred blazing from her daughter?s eyes.

?If I dinna hav tae give ye the last of ma ale this afternoon then perhaps Jack wouldna hav beat me agane.?

?Why dinna ye get it refilled, child?? her mother asked gently.

?Because mamma, dadie took the ale money I had on the mantle when I wasna leuking.?

?That?s what yer egg money be fir ma dochter. Ye had better lairn yer duty tae yer man or next time ye may nae be sae lucky.?

Ice cold eyes bored into those so like her own.

?Dinna ivver agane call me dochter. Ye who could sell his own flesh an bluid intae hell tae pay his debt. Ye be nae faither tae me.?

?Child, child, dinna let it turn ye tae hate,? her mother implored. ?Noo, let me see tae that hand. An after I get it bandaged, I?ll come home with ye and bring oor second barrel sae ye need nae gae fir ane the morn.?

Jane sat on a stool before her mother and allowed her ministrations to sooth away the hurt.

?He broke yer tureen, mama.?

?He dinna! An that being the ane give tae me by ma grannie.?

?I?m sorry, mama.?

?Dinna fash yerself, child. Better a bowl than ma bairn.?

Jane knelt before her mother and allowed her gnarled and work hardened hands to sooth her tormented mind.

?Did ye hear the news Martha?? Jane?s father interjected from the chimney corner.

?Noo, where would I be hearing news spending day an night in this keitchin leuking after ye??

?Andrew Ferrier be leaving tonight. Word be, he?s gaeing tae America. All his plans brought him naught.?

?Ye mean tae tell me his wife finally consented tae gae with him??

?Nae, nae. His wumman took his sons back tae Glasgow and her faither. She said she was nae criminal an wouldna gae live with the red Indians like a savage.?

Andrew Ferrier.

Jane smiled at the name and then winced as her lips began to bleed again at the effort.

Andrew Ferrier.

The man Jane had dreamed of as a lass. Until he married that lowland carline. She may have been only ten, but Jane knew Ciorstag Stewart never loved Andrew. And she knew she could never love anyone else. Now Andrew was leaving tonight. Leaving for America? alone.

Rising, Jane looked with loving longing at her mother.

?I?m gaeing back noo mamma.?

?Jist wait a moment, child an I?ll gae with ye.?

?Nae, mama, ye jist rest.? Jane?s voice caught in her throat. ?I?ll come back fir the barrel the morn.?

Jane left her parent?s cottage quickly. Running as fast as her cut leg would allow, she dashed through the darkened streets to her home. Darting up to the loft were they slept, she grabbed the case from her pillow and frantically began stuffing in her few meager belongings.

Damn. Most of her things were still on the line. Shoving in her few hoarded coins and the china teapot Jack hadn?t yet broken in one of his rages, she cast a frantic look to the mantle. Jack had been gone over two hours. Would he be back soon? He never stayed long, preferring to get drunk quickly. Was she too late? It must be tonight. She must catch up to Andrew. He would help her escape.

As she stepped from the house, Jane felt great drops raining down upon her, soaking her through. Running to the line she grabbed her sodden things and shoved them into the bag. Turning to slip out by the back gate, she cried out in alarm, stopping in her tracks. A great bulk lay upon the ground before her.

Jack!

Jane?s heart stopped beating. She must not be stopped. Peering intently through the gloom, she saw his back rise and fall with his great breaths. He had consumed enough whisky. He was out cold and would be until morning. Breathing a sigh of relief she willed her trembling limbs forward.

The rain was coming down harder. Soon all the ditches would be filled as the water made its way to the burn below the village. She hoped the rain would not impede her progress.

The ditches!

Inching closer, Jane saw her husband had passed out on his way to the outhouse and was lying facedown in a small ditch that was already filling with water. The rivulets were eddying about his chin and the tip of his nose. In a few minutes he would be unable to breathe, drown like a rat in his own back garden.

Jane?s hand reached down to pull his face from the ditch, but as it hovered above his head, it stilled and then returned to her side. Staring at the man she had been forced to marry, the man who from their wedding night had beat her into submission, her faced hardened into cold and indurate relief.

Straightening, Jane gazed one last time upon her husband as the water began to cover his nose and mouth. Then she stepped resolutely around him and walked from the garden, quietly, but firmly latching the gate behind her.

Once free from the village, she began to run. She must find Andrew.


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Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
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Elspeth 
Posted: 27-Oct-2003, 12:58 PM
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When ever given the opportunity, I like to ask an artist the inspiration for their work. In case anyone is wondering about this story, I'd like to share mine with you.

I find writing to be incredibly cathartic, as I am sure many of you do as well. It is fascinating how often when writing a book things that happen in my life find their way into the story. And how much better I feel after writing it out in fictional form.

This story burned to be written last summer when I discovered an old friend was still being abused by her husband. I had thought she had found a reprieve, but unfortunately that was not the case.

As any one who has a friend in this situation knows, there is such an overwhelming feeling of impotence. Offers of shelter or money can only go so far if the one in the situation will not or cannot leave.

So, I found myself writing out my anger and my desire for justice.

I cannot judge my characters. I only record their actions. But I would be interested in whatever feedback this story inspires in others.

Elspeth
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Roisin-Teagan 
Posted: 30-Oct-2003, 03:32 PM
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Elspeth,

Your chapter on The Escape of Jane Beaty is very intense. The subject matter is still very relevant today and needs to be brought to the surface. I know there has been so many movie of the weeks and moives done on the subject of domestic violence, but still there are so many who remain trapped in a cycle of abuse. Women and men need to realize their own self-worth and self-respect, and then maybe they won't allow themselves to be controlled or abused. Thank you for submitting your piece---I really enjoyed it, but I'm so sorry the story hits so close to home. rolleyes.gif


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Roisin-Teagan

"There, in that hand, on that shoulder under that chin---all of its lightness delicately balanced and its strings skillfully bowed---it becomes a voice."---Rich Mullins

"At 18, if you have oversized aspirations, the whole world sees you as a dreamer. At 40, you get the reputation for being a visionary." ---Rich Mullins

"God gives the gifts where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them."---C.S. Lewis

Éire go Brách!
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Elspeth 
Posted: 30-Oct-2003, 07:15 PM
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Thanks Roisin,

Yes, I wish she could find a new life, but it seems to be beyond her to do so. So, all we writers can do is write about it. Give voice to things unspoken. For you are right, it is a social ill that thrives in the shadows. The more it is brought into the light, the more difficult it will be for it to continue.


Elspeth
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Annabelle 
Posted: 04-Nov-2003, 02:35 PM
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Oh E, I knew you were talented, but wow! Why hasen't this gone to a publisher?
You're good!
Annabelle


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 04-Nov-2003, 08:13 PM
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Definately an interesting read =) Rather a cold twist of fate that his drink was his undoing on the same night she was running out on him. Keep the pen moving =)


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Richard Bercot 
Posted: 04-Nov-2003, 10:23 PM
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So Elspeth, are you going to give more? thumbs_up.gif


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May your days be filled with Merriment and May you walk in Balance with Creator.

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Celeste of the Stars1 
Posted: 04-Nov-2003, 10:40 PM
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This is great! I myself have been in abusive relationships in the past. Reading this brought back some very bad memories, but unlike Jane I fought back. You said this is from your next book. Is you first one published? I would love to read it.
By the way no my hubby is not the abuser just incase anyone misunderstood. He's the one that helped me out, he's also still breathing. smile.gif
As my Grannie always said: "Never mess with a pissed of Scot"


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Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again
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*Celeste of the Stars*

"Always shoot for the moon that way if you miss you'll always land among the stars"

'An it harm non do what you will'
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Elspeth 
Posted: 06-Nov-2003, 01:09 AM
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Actually Richard, I need to go back and write what happens before and then I can continue.

And Celeste, thanks, but more importantly, I am so glad you are out of that situation.
I have written two books. The first I have deemed my learning experience and something very precious to me. The second I am now in the process of trying to get published. This one is sitting about, unwritten. Spending too much time on this site! Have to be more disciplined!

Aaediwen, I can't decide if the rascal should die, or live. Guilt will mess with Jane to some degree. Haven't yet figured out which way to go. Have to spend some time thinking......
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Angel Whitefang (Rider) 
Posted: 11-Nov-2003, 12:52 AM
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QUOTE
Aaediwen, I can't decide if the rascal should die, or live. Guilt will mess with Jane to some degree. Haven't yet figured out which way to go. Have to spend some time thinking......


E,
This is wonderful, my goodness it sucked me in right away, but I must say that
I doubt Guilt would come in to it much, for Jane that is, concerning what he has done to her. It is a fitting end for him.
I have enjoyed reading it. I hope more will follow soon

angel.gif
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oldraven 
Posted: 11-Nov-2003, 11:13 AM
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Wow. That's powerful stuff, Elspeth. All I really have to say is, he did get his comeupins.

That father should have beaten the life out of Jack long ago. But obviously he was a useless father from the get go.

Very unpleasant, but very well done. smile.gif


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Caw

"I am a Canadian by birth, but I am a Highlander by blood and feel under an obligation to do all I can for the sake of the Highlanders and their literature.... I have never yet spoken a word of English to any of my children. They can speak as much English as they like to others, but when they talk to me they have to talk in Gaelic."

-Alexander Maclean Sinclair of Goshen (protector of Gaelic Culture)

We need more Stan Rogers.

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Elspeth 
Posted: 11-Nov-2003, 11:28 AM
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Thank you Rider and oldraven,

Guilt will haunt poor Jane. The twist I haven't yet decided upon is whether or not her husband will actually die, or if her life in the New World will be tainted by guilt for a death that never happened. For the act of walking away is where she 'sinned' against mankind. (at least in her mind)

Oldraven, I am glad you commented upon Jane's father. To me, he was the first man to abuse her by selling her into the marriage to save himself. Then he continued the abuse, not only by not stopping him, but by blaming Jane for Jack's actions. Unfortunately, until all too recent history, this is how women could be treated.

Yep, get a little fired-up on the subject.

E
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Angel Whitefang (Rider) 
Posted: 13-Nov-2003, 01:56 AM
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Ahhhhh, point well made about the guilt. This should be interesting when you are finished. Can I expect to see more????
You really have me wanting to turn the page and keep going!!!!
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Angel Whitefang (Rider) 
Posted: 18-Nov-2003, 05:15 AM
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Hugs Thanksfor sharin!!
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