By Amber Mauldin
I know at any moment he’ll kill me. His scorching breath is on my neck; his odor imbedded in my nose. It’s only been minutes since he crawled off me, but the rape keeps replaying in my mind, torturing me over and over again.
My head is twisted in an impossible headlock and he’s holding me so tight I can barely breathe. I could probably see down my back if only my eyes would open, but they aren’t something I control anymore. Instinct has taken over, shielding me the only way it can- by keeping me from seeing what this man has done to my body, and no doubt what he intends to do next.
I tried to escape at first, I fought like hell, but he was too strong. As soon as he got his death grip on my head, he’d won the battle. When he growled, “One more move and I’ll break your neck.” I believed him.
There is a professional way about his strength. He knew exactly how to subdue me, and quickly, like he’d done this before. With just one hand on my head, he’s managed to lock me in place. My entire body is stiff, laid across the front seat and he’s driving with his other hand as if this were easy. Methodical, calculated, professional. Military crosses my mind.
He has had me in his clutches for at least an hour. Or maybe it has been ten minutes.
Time seems to stop right before you die.
Why am I still alive? He’s already raped me, what more- I stop myself. I won’t go there. I won’t think about how he plans to kill me. And besides, I refuse to die in whatever way he has chosen. I am certain I won’t live much longer, but there is one thing I can do, if escaping is out of the question. I am ready. I will not be going home to my family tonight, but I will send them my killer, my rapist, or rather his DNA buried beneath my fingernails when they find my dead body. I am prepared to strike at the first sign he is done with me. I know the moment I claw his face off he will end my life. So I wait, patiently, for him to try to kill me. I will put up one last fight; one he will not easily walk away from.
The car stops. This is the moment.
He lets go of my head and snarls, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.” Then he reaches across me and thrusts open the door.
I see my escape and move so quickly I topple out backwards onto the curb.
Daylight is almost gone, granting me just enough luminescent to see my surroundings. I’m stunned. I can’t believe he let me go. His eyes are on me as if he’s waiting to see what I’ll do.
Rocketing up, I bolt in the opposite direction like my feet are on fire. Not once do I look back. I have no idea if he’s driven off or if he’s pursuing me. All I know is this isn’t the movies and I’m not going to be that stupid girl who looks back and trips. I just run. I had ran cross country all summer to prepare for sophomore, varsity soccer. Running is one thing I do well. There is no way he’s catching me.
I don’t know if I’m bleeding or if bones are broken. Everything is numb. It’s probably for the best. I can’t even feel my feet hitting the sidewalk, but I see the world flying past me so I know my legs must be working.
There’s no telling where I am, I don’t recognize anything. The closest house is a small sky-blue ranch, with concrete steps. I barrel up the stairs like my life depends on it. I pound my fists into the door. “Please-,” I whisper, my eyes flooding. Seconds feel like hours. Why isn’t anyone opening the door?
Terrified to be still and so vulnerable, and needing to know where he is, I dare a glance. I just know he’s gotten out to chase me and I will have to abandon this attempt at a rescue and flee to the next house.