The following 2,800 word short story placed as a "short-listed" finalist in the Writer's Village International Short Story Contest, Summer 2014. 
The story is an excerpt (revised to fit contest guidelines) from Dragonflies, a full-length work-in-progress and deals with the harrowing cycle of abuse, duplicity and possessiveness abused women often find impossible to break free of, as in the case of Alexandra (Zan) one of the three main female characters in Dragonflies:

Vicious Circles:
A short puff of breath chuffed from her lungs. She drew in another and held it. Still, the bed sheet trembled like the flutter of leaves on a quaking aspen against