She stood staring up into the night sky.
As if every memory she had could be erased.
If she stared long and hard enough.
Maybe the intensity of the moonlight could burn them away.
And she’d be cleansed….baptized by the light.
But one thought pressed its way to the front of her eyes.
And it was insistent and loud and as close to death as she had come.
The thought was on repeat and she had no clue how to turn it off.
“How did I get here?”
It ran on continuous loop.
Taunting her and reminding her that nothing could wash it away.
And it mocked her because it knew.
As well as she did, exactly how she ended up in this place.
She always waited for her boyfriend to get out of 6th period.
That is when she didn’t have to work.
One of the benefits of being a senior was that if you had paid your dues you could end your day early.
And she had paid her dues, AP classes and good grades to boot, all 4 years of her high school career.
But instead of going home and hanging out, she waited for him on her free days.
Waited in the quad area.
Not bothering anyone and definitely not making any trouble.
The narcs were okay with that.
Especially that one.
The one who that always made it a point to chit chat with her while she waited.
The one that her boyfriend eyed suspiciously when he walked out of his last class.
But she didn’t mind that.
I mean her boyfriend was on the protective side.
Didn’t much care for her talking to anyone.
Especially anyone of the male variety.
Besides the narc was old enough to be her father.
Even had a daughter only slightly younger than her, who went to school not far from here.
He was nice, in the way that grownups are nice to kids.
They talked on those days spent waiting in the quad.
Talked about school, sports and college plans.
And one day he mentioned that his daughter was participating in a basketball tournament.
Suggested off-handedly that he wouldn’t mind taking her so she could meet his daughter.
That he thought she might be a good influence on his kid.
Someone her age who actually was going away to college and seemed to have a good head on her shoulders.
And because he had always been nice.
She agreed with barely a second thought.
He pulled up and she hopped in.
Asked if her parents knew where she was going?
Yes and No.
She knew there was no way they would agree to her going anywhere with a grown man.
Even if he was a narc.
So she told them she was going to a tournament with friends.
He seemed relieved.
They drove away into the darkening day.
And then he mentioned that he needed to stop somewhere first.
Just a quick stop.
She noticed that the place they stopped looked sort of like a motel.
But people seemed to be living there like it was an apartment building.
He said he didn’t feel comfortable leaving her in the car.
So she followed him up to a room.
He said he’d just be a minute and that she could sit on the bed.
Her brain was eerily quiet.
No thoughts, but it felt as if something were behind her eyes straining to get out.
Some thought was attempting to make its way through the silence that had settled in her mind.
Into the bathroom he went and out he came.
No shirt, no pants, just boxers.
And that’s when that rat behind her eyes escaped.
One big rat that screamed….
But it was too late.
He was on her and he was strong.
Like nothing she had ever felt.
And being the tomboy that she was, she’d wrestled with many a boy in her day.
But this was no boy.
No, he was a man and he meant to have exactly what he had been planning since the first day he saw her in the quad.
He pinned her and her hands to the sides of her body with the weight of his own.
And with one hand covering her mouth, he pried down her pants.
She felt like she was in a dream.
Walking through something thick and sticky.
And the harder she struggled the more entangled she became.
Then he was inside of her.
Like fire she burned from the inside out.
As if someone had taken a fiery stake and stabbed her clean through.
The pain was soul destroying.
Her heart split and rendered up its ghost.
And then black, night sky and stars.
She had stood staring up at that night sky for so long that one of her neighbors came to see if she was okay.
When she didn’t respond he called her boyfriend.
Not her parents for some strange reason.
And he came and took her inside.
No words spoken….he could see that she was gone.
And she never came back.
Never told him what happened.
Never spoke about it with anyone.
Just kept staring up at night skies hoping that one day the light would guide her back.
But it never did lead her back….
Only illuminated a little of what she might have been.
And all that was stolen.