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Stronger Than Me

By Aerial Kratos All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Horror

The Beginning

As I’m standing here staring into the mirror, I see a broken girl with a bitter existence. Glancing back down at the sink, I see a stream of blood swirling into the water, escaping into the black hole. And if someone sees it, no one will know where it’s from. My secret will still be mine. I caress the razor over my wrist one more time, a little deeper, to drown out whatever other worries that I may not have caught.

“One, two, three, four, five.”

“One, two, three, four.”

I count the lines on my wrist. I grab the bandana and wrap it tightly around my battle wounds. I scrub off the black river of eyeliner running down my face and straighten out my clothes. I take a deep breath as I walk downstairs. I shoot a glance at my mother. Blonde hair, innocent blue eyes, and aged ten years since my piece of shit father lost his job and took up alcoholism like it was going out of style. She used to be happy; she used to be beautiful. She used to notice when I was in pain and rush with a band aid and some Neosporin to fix me up. But not anymore. Things are different. I glance into the living room where I see a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle tipped over, staining the carpet. Beer cans are scattered across the table like a mosh pit at a Metallica concert. I look back at my mother, and she just shakes her head.

“Time for school, Gretchen.” She sighs.

I grab a Sunny D and a granola bar and head out the door to Jerry Wilson High. It’s a fabulous little place. We have your typical student body: the druggies, hipsters, gangsters, emo kids, cheerleaders, teachers who have sex with their 14 year old female and male students, and some high-tech water fountains- you know, the ones that try to save money and encourage you to reuse your plastic bottles? As I step onto the pavement leading me to the doors of Jerry Wilson High, I look around and make my way down the red carpet.

You see, I’m not exactly the girl next door. As much as I would like to call myself beautiful, I’m not. I am an ugly person both inside and out- dishwater blonde hair, grey eyes, freckles that spill over my nose and cheeks, a lanky body and President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. I won’t be caught dead in anything other than skinny jeans and a black t-shirt. Eighteen years old and I’ve never had a boyfriend- I’ve never even been kissed. I don’t really have any friends, except for my best friend, who is a busty, red-headed junkie who sleeps with every boy and their father for a sack. It’s not like I have many options so I’ll take what I can get, I suppose.

I go to my first class where the teacher is a bit loopy. There are only about nine kids in this class; all dumb kids who either come to class high, sleep, or just sit there looking dumbfounded. I think the teacher drinks about six pots of coffee in the morning. Either that or she just has ADHD- maybe Tourette’s; I don’t know. But this is the class I feel most comfortable in- no one to pick on me, no one to stare at my ugly face or to glance away like they don’t notice the dried blood on my hands. So I sit here and listen to her talk about being able to visualize what I’m drawing.

“Let the pencil blend with your paper,” she says, “Let it come naturally.”

My eyes dart from her to my wrists, thinking she might have noticed. I take a deep breath and put my pencil on the paper.

I get lost and draw a tree- not just any tree, but the Tree of Life. It was so beautiful; gnarly roots coming up from the dark crusted earth, twisting as if they were in pain. Dark and light patterns created the branches. They seemed like they were trying to reach for sunlight, like buried hands reaching for the sky. Cherry blossoms scattered along the branches spilling a shower of pink and red, when the petals fell from the tree. And for a moment, I feel like I am putting my heart and soul into this picture. The teacher stands behind me and stares for a moment in complete silence. For a second I feel her eyes burning into my wrists. Her x-ray vision can see underneath the bandanas, exposing my battle scars from this morning. Uncomfortable, I shift my body. She clears her throat as she tells me how beautiful my drawing is, exclaiming I have real talent. The bell rings. Thank goodness.

I walk into my second class of the day. I absolutely dread coming here. I inhale the stench of hatred as I walk through the door. With my head down, I glide to my seat like a ghostly presence, hoping no one will notice me. I sit down, reaching my sanctuary in the back of the room. Some boy walks by and pushes my books off of my desk. Asshole. I bend over to pick them up, and another boy yells: “You’re used to that position, aren’t you?”

I grab my stuff and walk out the door before I have to endure anymore. I run into the bathroom, throw my books down, and sit in a stall. And I start to cry- not just because of class; about everything. I’m tired of all of this and there’s only so much a person can take in one day. I’m just tired of life, tired of living, tired of forcing myself to take the next breath. It’s not easy at all, especially since I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, blended with low self-esteem. The medicine doesn’t help, so I stopped taking it. I have my own way of relieving myself.

I remove the bandana and pick at the scabs from this morning, causing them to bleed. It stings a little; they are still fresh. A few tears drop from my face in harmony with the few drops of blood that hit the ground like bullets.

I sit in here for a while drowning myself in blood and tears, contemplating whether or not to just go home. I mean, what’s the use anyway? I have nothing to look forward to, and I’m failing all but one of my classes. I should just give up, because like my dad always says, “You’ll never amount to anything,” anyway. Like that fucking idiot has room to talk.

When the lunch bell finally rings, I go outside to have a cigarette. I skip lunch because I’m hoping someday someone will notice how skinny I am. I’m hoping I’ll be skinny enough to be pretty, pretty enough for someone to love me- to find someone who loves me, so I can love myself.

I take another drag as I look into the windows of the lunchroom. People are talking and laughing, enjoying themselves. I used to be one of those people at a table full of friends, smiling people all around me, never actually eating my food because I was too busy talking. I guess a lot has changed.

One more drag as I breathe in, the burning air circulating through my lungs, poisoning and breaking down what little breath of hope I have left.

I decide to walk home. I know my dad is probably already shit-faced. My mom is at work like she is the other six days of the week. She has two jobs and works seven days a week, nine hours a day to pay all the bills and to support my dad’s drinking habit.

On my way to home, I pass a house filled with yelling, sobs, and crying babies. I hear crashing glass, then the man comes charging outside, slamming the door in his wife’s face. He stands there, red-faced and breathing heavily. He grunts, walks down the stairs, and gets into his truck. Slamming on the steering wheel a few times, he starts it, and then rips out of his driveway. I wonder if he noticed me staring. I doubt he would even care anyway. My house is in sight, and both my mom’s and dad’s cars are gone. That’s surprising.

I walk inside to the overpowering stench of alcohol filling my nostrils. The house is a mess: dishes are piled up, food encrusted on the table, and unfolded clothes and blankets scattered on the couch. The dent of my dad’s body is still cemented into the piles. I walk over to the sink and start to do the dishes- one less thing my mom will have to do when she gets home. After 45 minutes of washing, drying, and putting away dishes, my dry, beat red hands pick up the laundry, and I proceed to fold until all the clothes and blankets are neatly placed in the basket. Next task: beer cans. I go to grab a garbage bag when I hear my dad’s car come screeching into the driveway. I pick up the pace because I know he’s completely wasted. I have a can in my hand when my dad comes stumbling through the front door. He gives me a dirty, half-hateful look as he teeter-totters up the stairs to the bathroom.

Picking up the beer cans, I can hear him throwing up. Jesus, it’s disgusting. The toilet flushes and the water turns on; he’s probably rinsing out his mouth. I move a little faster hoping if I sprint down the stairs to my room, I can lock the door before he notices I was even here. My dad doesn’t use nice words when he’s drunk, which buries my self esteem even deeper into the ground. I’m still not done as he comes stomping down the stairs and all of a sudden I feel a sharp pain in my side, then another in my head as I hit the ground. Heavy tears instantly fall as I yelp in pain. I wasn’t sure what had hit me until I look up and realize it was my dad. He has an evil look on his face, fists clenching as his eyes collide with mine. I’m not sure what to do because he’s completely wasted and I don’t know what his intentions are. I find out soon enough when he turns me onto my back and sits on my waist. I close my eyes, ready to endure his painful hits. But he doesn’t hit me. I feel a tugging on my shirt as he begins to pull it up. His cold, rugged hands on my bare stomach make goose bumps shoot down my entire body. I tried to push him off, but he pushes my hands down, as if to say “No.” My heart is about to beat out of my chest as my shirt is pulled past my bra strap.

Tears start running down my face, chills and goose bumps fill my entire body. I’m terrified to a point I have never felt before. When I open my eyes, my shirt is completely off. Then his hands travel to the button of my pants.

“Dad, stop,” I sob.

I push him with all my strength, but it still isn’t enough. He grabs my neck with both hands and slams my head against the hardwood floor until I feel dizzy. I lay there in pain as I feel tugging on my pants. My mind is still in a daze as I half-heartedly try to push his hands away again. He succeeds in unbuttoning and unzipping my pants.

Tears are falling like a heavy rain in the early spring, my goose bumps like the Rocky Mountains protruding from my skin. The chills running down my back could wake the dead, and the pounding in my head and heart feel louder than a thousand drums. I feel my pants coming off, a sloppy, drunken tug pulls them from my thighs and slowly my security is drifting away. My jeans are around my ankles, holding them together like ropes.

I come to my senses, cloudy with a chance of more rain, as I feel his hands around my waist. My underwear are still on. I can feel the cold, hardwood floor against my bare skin. I slowly kick off my jeans and lay there for only one second, which seems like a lifetime as I feel his rugged hands grab my panty line. I use every bit of my strength to push him off me. My mind goes blank for a moment when I realize he has fallen over.

His drunken stupor and my resistance flares his anger. I crawl away, trying to find anything to hit him with incase he comes after me. My eyes are darting left and right- please, anything. I try to stand up but my legs give out from shaking so bad. I’m determined to get out of here. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I can hear my dad yelling at me, cursing. His words blending in with each other. Speaking some foreign language I can’t understand, he gets up pretty fast for being drunk, which fires up some unknown strength in me. I jump up and sprint for the front door, knowing I can make it. Apparently he is aware of my intentions because he runs directly to the door. I’m just a couple feet from my escape. I see white, then red. Then everything goes blank.

I wake up with 10,000 voices screaming in my head, sharp pains that make me dizzy. I throw up in my mouth a little, choking as it went back down my throat. I feel a horrible pain below my waist line, and with blurry vision, I see a large figure thrusting himself into my body. With every push, my heart empties a little more.

My senses are weak but I can see stubborn movement, hear the angry grunts, taste the vomit, smell the alcohol on his breath, and feel my innocence fading away into a deep, dark place where it will never be found again. As the pain becomes deeper and deeper, I translate the figure as my father. I’m crying once more with the pain my body is feeling from the tightness being forced to stretch; a young woman’s body subservient to a full grown man. I look at my father with pleading eyes. I yell for help and he smacks me across my face.

The stinging feels like a thousand needles against my fair skin. I don’t know what to do. My heart is pounding, body aching, skin stinging, and my soul is draining. I lay there helpless as my father rapes me. Silent tears fall to the floor, staining the caramel wood. Thrusting into my almost lifeless body, he somehow climaxes. He grunts and drops himself onto me. He looks away as he gets up, goes to the bathroom, and leaves me lying there, naked. I curl up in a fetal position and I cry until my body feels completely dehydrated. As I hear the toilet flush, my body surges with some unknown adrenaline. I jump up, grab my shirt and jeans, and run out the door. Disheveled and crying, I catch a few stares but that doesn’t faze me. A man yells for someone to call 9-1-1, but I keep running. I’m determined to get away.

Losing my breath, I run beside a bush and pull on my shirt with shaky hands. I put my hand between my legs and when I look down at my hand, I see a small amount of blood. My heart drops into my stomach, causing me to throw up all over the ground. My body trembling like a California earthquake, I slide into my jeans with extreme discomfort.

Without shoes, I begin to run. My bare feet are slapping against the pavement, eventually becoming numb with the rest of my body. I run and I run. And I run until I can’t run anymore. I bend over and start dry heaving. Anything that I had in my stomach before is already gone. Catching my breath, I look around and realize I don’t know where I am. Should I knock on someone’s door and ask them to call the police? Will they even believe me? What will my mom think? The entire neighborhood looks sketchy so I decide to keep walking until I find what looks to be an abandoned house. It looks haunted, and dangerous, but it’s better than being at home.

Home. Can I even call it that anymore? I wonder if my mom is off work yet, wondering where I am. I scope my environment and enter the house through a window in the back, cautiously making my way to what seems to be the living room. It contains an old floral love seat, a shelf with two missing boards, and some old tapes covered with dust. I brush any dust or dirt off the couch and lie down. This house is creepy. Every time the wind blows, the house creeks. Pictures rock back and forth and the screen door knocks against the frame. Even with my mind racing, my heart pounding, and my entire body in pain, I find a way to fall asleep.

I wake up to darkness and my breathing becomes heavier in this hot, stuffy room. My glossy eyes adjust to the black, and I sit up. I look around, almost forgetting where I am. What time is it? I stand up and I feel pains in my feet, calves, arms, and thighs from running so long; stomach because I am starving; and just below the waist, where I had been violated.

Remembering makes my head hurt, so I lie back down, trying not to think about my hunger. My mind goes blank as I drown out all my pain and as I close my eyes once more, I drift off into a deep sleep.

Once I’m far away in Dreamland, I’m in a taxi, the driver unknown. It’s pouring down rain, and I cannot see anything past the window. My eyes travel into the darkness.

I ask him where we are going. No reply. I ask again. Silence. I start to panic as the shadow driver stares forward, not being observant to his surroundings. There’s a tall, dark, rectangular shape ahead, and he drives the car into a small attached garage. He gets out and leaves me in the car, alone. I try to open the door, but it’s locked from the outside. I look around, but it is still pitch black, except for a small line of light on the bottom of what looks like a door. I try to kick the door open a few times until I become tired and weak. I lay there for a moment to regain my strength, and the light that was once a small crack pours into the room like golden liquid. I sit up to see what’s going on, and three dark figures emerge from the light and walk toward the car.

The door swings open and one man grabs my legs. He pulls me out of the car, and before my head hits the ground, another set of hands grab my shoulders. I struggle and kick my feet as their grip tightens. I’m screaming, I’m struggling, and I’m in fear for my life. We go from the dark garage to a bright office-looking room, then through a hallway, and then into a dark, moist room where, from a distance, I can hear faint cries.

Knowing my destiny awaits in that room, I struggle and kick some more, angering the two men. Once inside of the room, the men strip off my clothes and throw me into a cage. Wrapped only in my fear and anger, it takes me a moment to realize there are six other girls bare like me, also in cages. They all looked terrified as if they know what is coming to them. All of a sudden, I hear a loud, high-pitched scream coming from the room nearby. My heart rate sky rockets. I glance around with eyes filled with questions: “Why are we here? What’s going to happen to us?” And even though I’m making eye contact, they don’t seem to comprehend my questions. Looking at the shivering bodies around me, I realize the screaming has stopped.

“Is she dead?”

Thoughts racing through my mind harmonize with the heavy footsteps that seem to be coming toward me. I tighten up in fear, hoping I won’t be seen. Light pouring into the room, I shield my eyes and try to make out the dark, faceless figure coming toward me. He fiddles with the lock on my cage and opens the door. Grabbing me by my hair, I feel angered and try to pull away. His grip tightens, forcing me to cooperate.

Walking barefoot, trying not to get dragged, I look for any exits, or maybe even weapons. I need to get out. I try to ask what he wants from me. Instead, a small mouse-like squeal comes out. I hope he translates that into “Please let me go.”

We reach another room with a heavy metal door. He unlocks the door, and as it slowly creaks open, I glance in with fear and confusion. There’s a reclining chair, similar to a dentist’s chair. The mysterious man directs me toward the chair, and sits me down. He proceeds to tie me down; restraining me with wrist and ankle straps. He walks away from my pleading sobs.

I’m alone in the room. I have goose bumps all over my skin; not because I’m cold at all, but because I’m terrified of what might happen. I hear voices; very quietly at first, then louder as they seem to get closer. My heart drops until I hear them walk past and into the next room. False alarm. I try to keep quiet as I pull against the straps. They are on so tight, I can feel my circulation being cut off. My hands and feet start to tingle.

The door jolts open, forcing me to jump in the chair. Once again, the figure is dark, so I can’t see his face. I can tell he’s an older man. His pace is slow and his stature is bent. He’s pushing in a tray with the sharp silver gleaming in the small bit of light. The door closes and then it’s pitch black. A big, bright light turns on and blinds me for a few moments. My vision slowly comes back, but I’m still seeing spots. My stomach wrenches in anxiety as I wait to see what he’s going to do. He pulls out a very sharp scalpel and puts it against my face.I want to scream. I open my mouth, but nothing comes out.

Sliding the cold metal down my skin, he leaves a line of bumps and chills trailing across my cheek. He’s holding the scalpel against my neck. I close my eyes, tears falling, trying to escape my body in hopes that maybe they will survive without me. Eyes closed, fists clenched, heart pounding, forehead sweating. I get ready to endure the pain, and end my time. I open my eyes and look forward into the mirror across from me. I see his arm come flying down, luminous blade in hand. His aim is obvious. My screams and tears, all knotted together in my stomach, unable to escape. I feel the cold wind from his swinging arm and then…

BOOM!

A stray cat jumps on me, waking me from my nightmare. My head is soaked from sweating so bad and my body is shaking from the shock of it feeling so real. My heavy breathing slows as I pet this stupid stray cat. She starts purring, her orange fur vibrating beneath my fingertips. Until I look around once more, I realize not everything was a dream. I get up and walk around the house, the fur ball following me. I eventually find the bathroom upstairs. I go, but there’s no toilet paper. I sit there for a few minutes and let myself air dry.

Looking at the shower makes me notice how bad I smell and how disgusting my teeth feel for not being able to brush. My body odor, growling belly, nappy hair, clothes from yesterday, and un-brushed teeth make me feel even uglier than before. I stand, pull up my pants, and walk over to the mirror. Tear lines are stained down my face. Not recognizing the ugly girl staring at me, I decide to take my hatred out on her. I raise my arm and smash my fist into the mirror, causing it to shatter to the floor. I pick up a long, jagged piece with my bloody hand, catching my reflection once more. I remove the bandanas, and firmly slide the broken glass over my wrist. Seeing the crimson stream helps me breathe, relieving my pain. I massage the glass over again. This time much deeper, causing me to wince. My blood flow becomes much heavier, and I feel brand new as I watch it run. Wrapping it with the bandana again, I tie it extra tight so I can still feel it underneath the soft cotton.

The stairs sing their own version of “Do, Re, Mi” as I feel the creaks beneath my feet. Walking back into the living room, I lie down for a quick second, giving my stomach a chance to voice its hunger. A loud, painful rumble causes me to get up and walk out of the door. I’m not exactly sure where I’m going, but I follow my gut instinct to a small gas station. I walk in with my head down, and I can feel the clerks’ stares burning into my skin. I walk to the back where the food is located, looking out for any cameras. I just need something small for now; something to tame my roaring hunger. Not seeing a clerk walk past me, I try to stuff a small oatmeal cookie in my jeans. Thinking I got away with it, I start to walk to the door. Three steps from a perfect getaway, someone grabs my arm. I whip around and our eyes meet.

“Are you going to pay for that miss?” She asks, glancing down to the front of my pants. Busted.

I pull the cookie out of my pants, throw it to the ground, and run out the door. I keep running, hallucinating the sound of sirens in my mind, pushing me to pick up my pace. My stinging feet coincidentally bring me to a small grocery store. The sign on the door says, “No shirt, No shoes, No service!”

Hoping no one will notice my feet, I walk into the store as if I wasn’t just caught. I’m debating on what to get and how much. Considering this is only my second attempt to steal, I’m extremely nervous. I’m sure that makes me look so much more suspicious. I walk to the candy aisle, and with out looking around, I stick a Hershey’s bar in my back pocket. Pacing my way through the maze of aisles, I come across the snack aisle where chips, cookies, cakes, donuts, and sweet rolls make my tummy growl in approval. My mouth waters as I soak in my cravings. I decide to grab a couple of cookies and a bag of chips. Casually walking to the front of the store, I am once again three feet away from the door. I close my eyes and pause my heart for those five seconds it takes me to walk out of the door. In my mind, I’m waiting for someone to grab me. But it doesn’t happen.

I’m safe! I walk farther down the street before I take out my prizes. As I start to open this tasty looking oatmeal cookie, I see a cop car ahead. Thinking I’m busted, I ditch my prizes and run through a few yards, down an alley, and over a fence. Once again, I’m lost. But I stop. No running cops, no howling coming from the berry-colored lights, no police dogs getting ready to sniff out the stolen goods- nothing at all. I try to think of which way I came from, but nothing looks familiar. Son of a Bitch! My stomach yells in anger, saying “I hate you!” I can feel myself tearing up from stupidity. I had it right in my hands, and it’s gone! I yell as if no one can hear me. I can’t shake the frustration.

I think about how life used to be. I barely remember what it was like being happy. It’s been quite a while since Dad lost his job. Before then, we were normal. Mom worked part time at the local diner and took care of everything around the house: groceries, cleaning, cooking, Dad and I. On days she didn’t work, she’d go to yoga with her girlfriends. I’m pretty sure they sat around and drank wine and gossiped because not once did she come home sweaty and red-faced, just giggly and a bit tipsy- always with a smile on her face. Her laugh lines had just started to set in.

My dad was the CEO of the City Bank. He was very well known around town as the man who would give you the shirt off his back. Everyone liked my dad. We couldn’t go anywhere without someone stopping him to shake his hand, which always lead to a twenty minute conversation. We were the perfect family. Mom and Dad even considered having more children, even though they already had a teenager. After the company shut down, Dad was laid off with nowhere to go. He applied for hundreds of jobs, constantly being turned down due to the recession. Eventually he just gave up and gave in to the booze and started hanging out with Jack a little too often.

Walking to the nearest street, a dark car with all tinted windows pulls up next to me. It comes to a complete stop as if saying, "Get in, I dare you." I fix my eyes on the driver’s seat window, trying to roll it down with my mind. Slowly it rolls down, revealing a man with a scruffy face. He gives a toothy grin and bluntly asks, "Lookin’ to make some cash?" Instead of following my mind, which is screaming no in seven different languages, I follow my hungry gut which pulls me into the passenger seat.

He holds out his hand and says, "Hi, I'm Andy."

Something about his eyes made me uneasy, but I shook his hand anyway.

"Gretchen," I say.

"Gretchen? No shit! That's my dog's name!"

He belts out a hollow laugh.

"Lovely," I say, unimpressed.

"So what is a pretty gal like yew doin' walkin' 'round these here parts of town?"

I didn’t notice the accent until now.

"Nothing," I say, as I drop my chin to my chest, "Just going for a walk."

My stomach grumbles in an extra reply, telling him that I'm a liar.

"Sounds like yer hungry," he says.

"A little." I say shyly.

"Well, I can help yew out with that."

I wasn't exactly sure what he meant until I looked over and saw him eyeballing my chest. What the hell? My innocence has completely faded anyway. I'm starving with nowhere to go. I can't go home- I won't go “home.” Desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Ok," I say with a shaky voice.

He drives into a dark parking lot with about six or seven cars already parked there. Turning off the engine, he gives me a creepy grin. Following the grin was a statement I will never forget.

"Don't yew sit there and worry now baby girl."

He slaps a 50 dollar bill on the dash.

"Uncle Andy is known for payin' real good."

I turn my head as a small tear sneaks down my face. I hurry and wipe it away before he can see it. I'm looking out the window and I can hear the distinguished sound of a zipper. My heart rate skyrockets, and my hands start to shake. He pulls it out and for a second I look, never seeing one before. I quickly glance away, feeling ashamed. He tells me to show him what a young girl can do with her mouth.

"Yew needa put that pretty mouth of yers to good use."

Without a word, more or less a fucking soul, I bend over the seat and put my mouth around his erect penis. The salty, bitter taste forces my taste buds to reject themselves back into my tongue. I use a motion that I have heard people talk about before, not having a single clue what I am doing.

I'm not sure how long I'm supposed to do this, so I start using my tongue and he begins to make noises; very loud, obnoxious ones. He grabs my head and pushes it down, causing me to gag. I try to keep him satisfied, in fear of my life, so I continue caressing my tongue against him. His noises become deeper and louder, and his grip becomes tighter. I don’t know what is coming next. I hear a loud moan and my mouth fills with a disgusting taste. I don’t know what to do with it, so Andy kindly suggests that I swallow it. I gulp it down, feeling the lowest of lows. I need to scrub my body and mouth with bleach.

He starts pulling off my shirt, and my mind goes back to yesterday.

“Stop,” I tell him.

He gives me a disappointed look and tells me to get in the back seat. I do as he says, my body trembling uncontrollably. He gets in the back seat with me, sitting at my feet. He pulls off my jeans, and I actually let him.

"Scooch up," He says.

I'm sitting up in the backseat with my back against the door and my legs wide open. Andy then lays on his stomach, his face right in between my legs. With my legs shaking, hairs standing like the Eiffel Tower, he starts kissing my thighs. As his mouth travels farther up, I whisper, “No,” under my breath.

He goes down on me.

I feel disgustingly pitiful for myself. Somehow I enjoyed it so much, it made me sick. His tongue pressing firmly against my pulsating clitoris, I find myself losing control; noises and movements becoming involuntary. A soft moan comes from my lips, I reach a climax, and let go. He looks up, satisfied with himself, pulling my body under his. My mind is racing with millions of thoughts; unable to comprehend just one. I can feel his body pressing against mine, temperatures and sweat exchanging. I can feel him as he pushes into me. It hurts. Gently thrusting himself into me, I realize it's nothing like the aforementioned incident. I hate myself for letting go. For allowing someone to use my body as an elliptical, rather than treating it like the shrine it should be. But I still allow him to take advantage of me.

He doesn't last very long; about ten minutes, but those ten minutes replay the incident over and over again, 1,000 times in my head. Finishing up, he kisses my neck and sits up. I sit there in oblivion, confused on what to do next.

He puts on his pants and glances at me, beckoning for me to do the same. I transfer myself to the front seat and slip back into my clothes. He gets out of the car, slips on the rest of his clothes, then gets back in. He starts up the engine and I slouch in my seat. My hands rest between my legs as a sense of tardy security.

I feel sorry for myself when he says, "Here take it, you've earned it."

I don't feel the slightest bit of achievement. I've place myself deeper into the ground to a place where there's no possibility of uprooting myself out of it. He asks me if I need a place to stay, and my immediate response is "No."

He seems stunned by my reply, but asks me where I would like to be dropped off. I point down to the end of the street. He drops me off at the corner under a street light. I get out of the car and a "Thank You" is forced through my teeth. In my mind I'm thanking him over and over again: thank you for giving me money for food; thank you for offering me a place to stay; thank you for violating me after I've already been hurt; thank you for helping me finally make my decision.

Closing the door, I walk under the light. Standing for a moment, I look around, deciding where the hell I should go. What should I do? I start walking to nowhere in particular. Walking with my head down and my stare blank, I finally notice there are no more lights. I hear hollers and people hooting, which snaps me back into reality. My rate increases, both heart and feet. I come across a bench. It's late, and my mind, body, and soul are all weak. Everything I have ever cared about has faded away, my worries are no longer existent. I lie down, struggling to get comfortable. I think about my mom, wondering if she’s worried about me. Does she know what Dad did to me? Does he even remember? Has she called the police to let them know her baby girl is missing, cold and alone, sleeping on the streets? Does she even miss me? My mind is racing with a million questions and although I'm in a foreign neighborhood, I fall into a deep sleep instantly.

My dreams are indescribable. I see my mother. I see her happy, with a child in her arms. She's standing in a bright, yellow kitchen with apple curtains and the coffee pot on, filling the house with a caramel bean aroma. A man walks in and she embraces him. He loves her. She loves him. I don't recognize the man as my father. She's finally happy. But I'm nowhere in sight. Do I exist? Will she be happier without me? How would her life be, if I were never conceived?

Either I was never born, or she doesn't realize that I am gone, and has already moved on. My heart sinks as the vision of my mother fades away. The transition from dreaming to being awake seems almost impalpable; questions that had arisen earlier, still in my mind.

I sit here and think about how I can make her life easier. I could run away, far away. Get a new identity, and start my own life. The only thing wrong with that idea is that I have no transportation to get far away; no money to buy food, clothes, housing, or a car, and last, I barely have the will to live. I barely have the will to live. I barely have the will to live.

This phrase repeats until another idea comes to mind. I've thought about it before. From school, to my dad, being a burden on my mother, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem; all of which help me come up with a quick solution: Ending my life. Cheating by pressing the easy button; by pulling the trigger. I never knew how to do it before, or where I would get the gun from, which prolonged my decision, stalling my easy way out. Maybe I could get ahold of a bottle of pills or something if I can’t find a gun.

************

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Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.

Dave Allen: Well-rounded. well-detailed story. Bull's done a thorough job developing her characters. An intriguing read!

Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

Kayla Wentz: This book had me hooked from the beginning! I kept coming back for more. It only took me a day to read! I couldn't put it down! Absolutely A-Mazing! This book keep the story going and there's never a dull moment!

Noelle Anselmo: Jesus H Christ! When I saw this was a genderbent I though it was just gonna be the two main characters, but I was so wrong and I LOVED IT! I had no clue where you were going with it, and I was waiting for the make up, was dreading the possibility of not making up, and just how you had the story u...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Ashley Stryker: So I'm writing this review, keeping in mind that this is a work in progress and it's part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so my "deeper" critiques will be saved until it's all finished up.+ Chapter One: A stewardess would not talk to anyone quite like that, particularly a clear minor...

: I took 1 day to finish this book and it was amazing! I hate it when some writers write typical melo-romance, i need something fresh and new, and saw this book. I was so amaze when i read and walah it was fantastic. Keep producing a good novel xx

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Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Liz Aguilar, author of To Have And to Hold a fast-paced, gripping, adrenaline rush from start to finish, one of perhaps the finest pieces of writing I've ever read, in particular because of its' telenovela-like feel, May she continually find success as an author. Bravo my dear, bravo!

rajastreet: I enjoyed this piece! I loved the treatment of time and the premise! Some of the wording seemed a little out of place, but easily overlooked for a good a plot.

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