Challenge #01271-C176: Freedom Comes From Within

Today's challenge is to write in E-Prime - no use of "to be" or any conjugations or variations thereof in any language. -- Gallifreya

Shopping for Himself had become a challenge. He had a new diet for all the change he wanted to happen in his body. His lovely body. Carla could barely remember the time long gone when she loved the sight of it.

Her second trip to the shops contained the buying. The first had to contain the pricing. Exact change jingled in her pocket. Heaven forfend that she drop so much as one coin on her way from home to here. He would turn her purple from head to toe if she failed him.

A poster near the Gainz powder caught her attention. It held a list in black and white. A list of things that abusers did. A checklist of things that Himself did to her. And one little picture of a circle of words.

Himself would not stop. Himself would just keep going in the way he meant to continue. Loving him enough would have no effect, because Himself redefined the meaning of love whenever he pleased.

And he got angry when he said he sensed its lack.

And at the bottom of the poster, four words. Why do you stay?

Why did she stay? Himself would be angry, but when she thought about it, Himself had hardly ever achieved happiness. Himself had two states, angry and sorry.

She had fifty dollars and forty-five cents in her pockets. She could probably go far away from here and be safe from his wrath before he noticed. But he would no longer make her purple. And she would not find her life again.

Carla walked out of the shop, buying nothing. Her knees trembled as she stepped onto the bus and asked in a quavering voice, "How much to get to the furthest point from here?"

The driver looked her over. She saw the thin summer dress in the cold spring morning, and no jumper, sweater or hoodie. She saw the bare, blistered feet. She saw the hair worn long and unstyled. And she saw the faded bruises from the last time Himself got mad."

"For you, honey," she said, "The trip will cost nothing. You stay on. I'll get you safe."

The least logical thing about her ride, Carla found, happened in the tears that insisted on pouring out of her. She thought she had no tears left.

(Muse food remaining: 18. Submit a Prompt! Ask a question! Buy my stories! Or comment below!)