Karen’s single bag had been checked in. Her purse had been searched, and she had been irradiated to ensure she wasn’t a bomb-laden jihadist. Now she waited for her flight to be called.

I’m finally going to do it, she thought. I’m finally getting away from him.

An airliner pulled up to the window, and the jet bridge met up with the cabin door.

Soon. Soon I’ll be on that plane and he won’t know where I am. He’ll try to track me down. If he finds me I’ll get hurt worse than ever. But he doesn’t know I’m going. He doesn’t know where I’m going. I’ve got it planned well.

The first passengers off the jet entered the waiting area and began scanning through the transparent walls for familiar faces.

Oh, God! No! Did I turn off the coffee pot? Karen clutched the armrests of her chair. He’ll try to find me anyway, but if the house burns down he’ll find me, he’ll kill me he’ll kill me he’ll kill me.

She stood too quickly and wobbled a little.

She passed through security. “You can’t come back in, ma’am,” the security man said, and Karen nodded absently.

She all but ran to the ticket counter to cash in her ticket and request her suitcase back. The agent at the desk knew Karen from her three previous attempts at travel. She regarded Karen curiously and called to check on the suitcase without needing to ask for a description.

After being reunited with her suitcase, Karen rushed outside and hailed a cab. She could just get home and unpacked before he got home from work; with luck, she could get dinner started.

Next time, she promised herself. Next time I’ll do it better. I’ll get away. Next time. I will.