She is waiting in the hallway, clutching a piece of paper with a phone number and an address scrawled on it. Her bulging suitcase is next to her, dragged out from its hiding place under the bed.

The helpline woman had told her gently, twenty years is too long.

Will the refuge be full of women with bruised faces and broken limbs? Do the children wet their beds?

The taxi beeps its horn in the street and makes her start, accelerates the beat of her heart. She leaves, closing the door behind her and slipping her keys through the letterbox.