Ravaged – from “Shadow in the Mirror”

This is an excerpt from a book I’m writing with Nancy Walker. You can see her website at www.NancyJeanWalker.net
On the ten-minute walk down Cherry Tree Farm Road toward Highway 35, wispy snowflakes glistened, luminous against the deep purple sky. I liked catching them on my tongue. It was fun, like licking a snow cone. But this wasn’t fun.

I was stranded.

Snow piled on the sidewalk, burying my feet. I slipped on icy patches and stretched over the drifts. The wind strengthened, my dampened eyelashes froze, making it difficult to see. I had purposely forgotten my hat and rubber boots that morning because I didn’t want to look dorky.

My frozen feet throbbed in my soaked loafers. If I took my shoes off for a moment that might relieve the pain. I leaned on a lamppost, slipped my right shoe from my foot, and shook it to warm it up?bad idea. Now my saturated shoe barely fit on my frostbitten foot.

A red Barracuda Fastback slowed down behind me. Rowdy, drunk boys spewed obscenities out of the windows. Fear crushed my lungs. Barely able to breath, I rummaged through my backpack for my asthma inhaler as I walked faster. The few homes spread out on the isolated road were dark.

Back amongst a few trees, a brightly lit porch light shone from a house. I ran to the door and knocked, certain I was safe now. A grandmotherly woman answered. Relieved, the words rushed out of mouth.

“Please, Ma’am, may I use your phone? I couldn’t find a ride home from school and have to call my mom.”

“I’m sorry, young lady, but we don’t allow strangers in our home.” She shut the door in my face.

I drummed on the door with both hands, crying, “Please, help me. I’m scared. I need my mom.”

The porch light went out.

And another domino fell.

I squatted behind a bush, shivering, sick to my stomach, and petrified, and watched out for that red Barracuda. I didn’t see it. I walked briskly towards the highway and a phone booth, about five minutes away. All of a sudden, the red Barracuda doubled back and was now beside me.

“Hey, baby, wanna ride?”

I stammered, “N-n-no thank you,” and ran as fast as I could through mounds of slushy snow to elude them. A teenaged boy jumped out of the car, chased me down, and grabbed me around my waist.

“Let me go!” I flailed my arms, kicked my feet, and screamed as loud as I could, to no avail.

Then I saw Joe’s face, the boy who groped me that day in the school hallway. He punched me, knocking the wind out of me and doubling me over. Another boy pulled me into the car and onto a blanket laid across the fold-down back seat.

A third boy drove while Joe tore at my dress and lifted it over my waist. He clasped my wrists, pinned me down, and pushed himself inside of me. “You’ll never say no to me again, bitch!”

I bucked and kicked his back with my heels. He slammed into me harder. The excruciating penetration ripped me apart.

I pinched my eyelids tightly and tried to flee him in my mind, to will myself away from the knifing pain, but I couldn’t escape the savagery of that moment. And Joe wouldn’t stop. Maybe if I’d let him have his way, it would it end quickly.

I went limp. That angered him. He got more violent and slapped me. “Say you love it, bitch!”

Time passed agonizingly slowly. I blanked out until I realized what he had done.

“Oh, God! Noooooo!”

He let out a grotesque, heavy sigh as he rolled off me.

“Now you’re a slut,” he murmured into my ear.

I choked on my tears. My God! I silently screamed, He and I go to school together. How could Joe do this to me?

I recognized the other two boys. They too were upperclassmen and popular football players from Mater Dei.

The car engine stopped. Woods surrounded us.

“It’s my turn now,” Vinnie said as he climbed on top of me.

“Please, no more,” I begged.

Too weak to fight him, I felt crushed under his weight too. The boys laughed as if this were all a joke. Vinnie cupped his hand over my mouth to muffle my screams. Then he started into the same kind of grunting, and I felt more vileness inside of me. It hurt the whole time.

Salty tears and my runny nose dripped into my mouth, congesting me. I coughed. Before I could catch my breath, Randy forced himself into me and panted like a wild dog. I couldn’t bear any more. My head was exploding with flickers of fiery light.

Then no one touched me. Lighting up cigarettes and popping open cans, they drank and carried on as if this were an ordinary night out for them. I lay in the back of that car, terrified, hoping they forgot about me. I think an hour or more had gone by. Maybe they’d take me home.

Oh, God, no, please not again! Vinnie opened the back door, pulled me out onto the frozen ground, and forced me to my knees. He twisted a clump of my hair. “Open your mouth, slut!”

My neck crackled as I tried to break loose of his grip. Vinnie showed no pity as he snapped my head back and raped my mouth. He squashed my face against his groin, cutting my breath off, and then another hideous howl. Then he viciously thrust me into a pile of snow.

They got in the car about to drive away.

“Wait!” I cried. “Please. Take me home.” Imagine begging my rapists to give me a ride. I was terrified to go with them yet more terrified to be left alone in the woods.

Joe scowled, but he let me into the back seat. Vinnie and Randy cackled, “Hey, Joe, you gonna finish off your bitch girlfriend?”

Only able to manage a faint whisper, I pleaded with him. “Please, Joe, please, no more.”

Joe had no soul. He squeezed my throat. “Shut up, slut, or you die!”

His crazed eyes bulged as he raped me a second time. I pled with God to kill me. Then Joe said, “We’re done with you, slut.” Then they drove toward my home.

Joe stopped the car, opened the door, and muttered, “Keep your mouth shut, or you’ll be sorry,” and pushed me onto the pavement.

The impact drew fresh blood dripped from my knee. My pretty dress, ruined, covered with blood stains and semen. I forgot my prized black leather jacket in the back seat of Vinnie’s car. I’d bought it with my own money. But my thoughts flew off into any direction away from this horrific night.

Tumbling backwards, I struggled to pick myself up. Frosty air bit my face. I had no sense of how long all it went on, but the hint of sun shining through the darkness told me I had been in their clutches all night long. Mom must be outraged with me.

I was on Lloyd Road, a few blocks from home, but it seemed like miles. Barely able to put one foot in front of the other, I stumbled through muddy snow, body and soul both numb, feeling nothing, no tears left.