A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives.

Reflections – A Novella – Part 5

A continuation…

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

______________________________________

It struck me from behind with all the force of a freight train, distributing a jolt through my skull, and sending me reeling along the slick pavement.

I tried to retain my balance, tripped over my own feet and stumbled forward. Pain shot through my body as I went down, on hands and knees, to the pavement.

I started to stand and a second blow caught me hard between the shoulder blades. The air went out of me in a whoosh, and I bit my tongue.

Instinctively, I started to scramble forward on all fours; I needed to put some distance between me and my unseen assailant.

I felt fingers twine through my hair. I felt a new shock of pain shoot down through the muscles of my neck as my attacker used his grip on my locks to yank me around.

I flailed desperately.

A second hand closed around the back of my neck. I felt myself being pulled off the ground. I felt a blazing along my scalp as chunks of hair yanked free.

I might have screamed; I’m not certain.

He pulled me up simultaneously yanking me around, and shaking me like a rag doll.

He was grunting like a wild animal, almost growling.

I was kicking and thrashing, I was trying to claw at him with my fingernails.

This seemed to amuse him some.

He half shoved me, half threw me backwards and I hit the pavement hard, jarring my elbow in the process.

I scrambled back a few feet in a crab walk. He took a few easy steps until he stood directly over me.

Suddenly terrified that he would kick me in the stomach, I pulled my legs up and wrapped my arms around them, trying to turn myself into as small a target as possible.

He stood there, glowering at me under the flickering streetlamp. Anger, amusement and disgust seemed to warring for control over his facial features.

“Where the fuck have you been?” He demanded.

I blinked dumbly at him.

He was so much bigger then me; I didn’t stand a chance and he seemed to be all too aware of this.

Tan cargo pants, black muscle shirt embossed with some sort of Asian symbol. Tattoos strangled most of his left arm, disappeared under his shirt and re-emerged on the lower part of his neck. Just under his left eye was another tattoo… a tiny star… there was something so familiar about that star…

Ice blue eyes. His eyes…

And then I knew that I knew this man.

He’d been there at Claire’s cousin’s party. I remembered eyeing him for the first time. He’d been on the patio surrounded by a small group of people who seemed to hang on his every word.

I remembered… he’d been smoking a cigarette.

I remembered my breath catching in my lungs as I examined him.

I remembered Claire’s cousin leaning close to me as she whispered, “He’s too old for you.”

“Answer me you little bitch!” He ordered, baring his teeth at me in an expression that fell somewhere between a sneer and a grin.

His name was… Dean. Yes… yes I remembered that much.

I looked up at him, shaking like a leaf, my heart pounding so hard I could hear the panic of it in my ears. I stared up at this man and felt wave after wave of emotion pulse through me. Fear, lust, hatred… panic, desire and contempt.

The fear and panic made sense; he’d attacked me out of the blue and the look in his eyes suggested he was far from finished.

The hatred seemed logical enough as well… he was a part of the last memories I held claim to before slipping into a week long oblivion. Undoubtedly I hated him for whatever part he’d played in the horrors inflicted upon me in that time.

The desire, however, was baffling. Though he was gorgeous; albeit in a very dark and dangerous kind of way; how could I possibly be attracted to him given the circumstances? It didn’t make any sense. It was completely illogical.

He’d cocked his head and was looking at me with a new expression on his face. Curiosity seemed to blend with something like concern. The tension went out of his body and he took a few steps back.

I took the opportunity to scramble to my feet; he didn’t move to stop me. I stumbled back a few steps, dusted myself off, and absently started to scratch at the flesh on my arms again.

The attack had left my skull, scalp and shoulder blades throbbing, but these new pains were nothing compared to the cramps knotting up my guts.

With those intensely blue eyes, he peered right into me. It made me feel naked, and exposed, and dirty.

I felt a terrible crawling sensation under my skin. I scraped at the meat of my arm with new abandon.

He made to move towards me again.

I glared at him; my insolence stilling him in his tracks. “Laney? What the hell’s wrong with you?”

Ah, if only I could have answered that question. But as I stood there with every inch of my body aching and agonized; as I stood there listening to the panicked strumming of my heart; as I stood there replaying all the moments of that awful, confusing day; I grew ever more certain that he was the only one that could answer that question for me.

Anger bubbled ferociously in my depths. I was transformed by a rage unlike anything I had ever before come close to knowing.

I glared definitely at him. I bared my teeth. “Fuck you,” I spat. “What the fuck did you do to me?”

Any traces of hostility that had still been in his eyes and expression disappeared. His brow creased and he looked as though I had reached out and physically stuck him. He took a few uncertain steps backwards, further widening the space between us. I could see a vein in his neck begin to throb. I could see the corner of his mouth twitch ever so slightly.

He had the look of a trapped animal and I realized that I liked seeing him like this. It threw fuel on the flames of my rage, and it served to further boost my new found courage.

I took a deliberate step forward. “Answer me, you piece of shit,” I hissed. “What the fuck have you done to me?”

His eyes went wide making the blue of them seem more intense. “Laney,” he said. “I didn’t do anything to you. I was… I was so worried. You haven’t been home in days. You’re a mess… it’s not my fault.”

He took a step towards me. I growled at him; I literally growled. He stopped in his tracks.

“Laney,” he pleaded. “Just let me take you home. Okay? Enough of this… you’re sick, ain’t ya? That’s all it is.”

I was. Whatever poison was working its way through my system felt like it was systematically attacking each of my internal organs before coming back around for another lap.

Tentatively, I nodded.

“Okay.” He said. “Okay.” He slowly closed some of the distance between us. He kept his hands out, palms forward in a display of submission. “Let’s get some medicine in ya, huh? Let’s go home?”

Salvation from this agony; home; yes, that is what I wanted more than anything in this world. I almost took a step towards him. It was the most ludicrous reaction imaginable, but I nearly did. I stopped myself at the last moment and stepped back instead of forward.

This man could not bring me home. Even if he could, I was apparently no longer welcomed there; at least for the time being. This man had hurt me; he was quite capable of doing it again.

I saw him again in my mind’s eye.

He’d been there at Claire’s cousin’s party. I remembered eyeing him for the first time. He’d been on the patio surrounded by a small group of people who seemed to hang on his every word.

I remembered… he’d been smoking a cigarette.

I remembered my breath catching in my lungs as I examined him.

I remembered Claire’s cousin leaning close to me as she whispered, “He’s too old for you.”

Just then he’d looked around, and our eyes locked. A slow, seductive smile curled his lips.

Yes, I thought, too old for me.

And then he was stepping around a patio chair, coming inside, his eyes unwilling to release my own.

I remembered… Clair giggled and elbowed me softly in the ribs.

I remembered… Amanda turned her back to him and mouthed the words oh my god.

Two feet away and closing the gap.

The bridge between past and present dissolved.

Without thinking I bolted forward, crashing into his right side, catching him off guard. He was at least twice my size, but I struck with the element of surprise and the shock of it caused him to stumble.

I took off running. I didn’t allow myself to look back.

It was full dark by then, and yet the street was still alive with activity. If anything, it had gotten busier.

Without point or plan or purpose, these damaged souls lurched on. I thought, the walking dead, for I was reminded of every zombie movie that I’d ever seen.

I ran passed them as though they did not exist; and to me, they barely did; just like everyone else in the city had done every day for years.

This was their life.

This was their place.

It was not mine and they did not matter.

I ran until the aching in my innards became too intense to further ignore. I darted around a corner and found myself in a dirty alley. There I was again amidst the trash, lost and alone, confused and sick and surrounded by filth.

Things have come full circle, I thought grimly.

The nausea I’d been fighting all day finally won over. I leaned against a dumpster and heaved until even the bile was depleted. Sweat poured down my forehead, tears seeped from my eyes. I was shaking all over and my throat was raw, but otherwise I did feel at least somewhat better.

I pushed away from the dumpster and smeared my greasy hands across an indifferent Betty Boop.

I walked to the mouth of the alley, careful to remain in shadows, and surveyed the street. I had no interest in a second confrontation with Dean.

He had seemed sincerely concerned, and he had offered to help me… but he’d also struck me twice; that I could remember, and possibly several other times that I could not. He’d also been at that party… he was the last thing I could remember before the mental blackout… and it seemed quite likely that he was somehow the key to this entire nightmare.

That was enough to convince me that whatever help he could have given me –whatever answers he might have supplied– would likely come at too high a price.

No, I decided, I don’t want anything to do with that man.

With what might have passed as a smile, I thought about the one, tiny silver lining in that suffocating abyss of a day; Katie. She would come and see me the following afternoon. Likely she’d bring news that my punishment was over; my lessons considered learned; and then mom or dad would pick us up and drive us home.

Okay, I told myself. I just have to make it through the night and everything will be fine.

From the shadows, I further inspected the street. Finally, satisfied that Dean had moved on, I scurried out of the dark and started up the street.

The burly man –Mort– had offered me kindness that day. I decided to seek him out in the bar where he’d promised to wait for me, and see if I could push my luck for just a little more good will.

The place was a dive, and the dive was loud. As I approached from the street I could already hear the blaring music and the mingling of voices. The din served to renew the pounding in my skull. The pounding brought back the wooziness.

I gritted my teeth and pressed on.

I was certain the beefy doorman would ID me, but he barely seemed to notice as I passed by.

I surveyed the bowels of the place, looking for Mort but there were so many people… so much noise… there was a coloured strobe light hanging from the ceiling, and the pulsating light amplified my discomfort and prodded my anxiety. I was glad to have purged the contents of my stomach in the alley, for surely had I not, I would have done so then.

I shook it off and moved deeper into the horde.

______________________________________

To be continued…

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6 responses

  1. You. Are. Good.

    April 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    • Angel O'Fire

      i 2nd that comment

      April 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

  2. Pingback: Reflections – A Novella – Part 6 « My Own Private Universe

  3. Pingback: Reflections – A Novella – Part 7 « My Own Private Universe

  4. Pingback: Reflections – A Novella – Part 8 « My Own Private Universe

  5. Okay. This is getting very very confusing now.

    April 23, 2012 at 5:32 am

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