The Dividing Line: Taboos & Temptations

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Chapter 3

After cutting away his clothes, Angel stopped and dropped everything. Even though she noticed the man had a slightly blue tint to his skin and bruises everywhere, the graphic tattoos that covered his body told her all she had previously feared.


Across the center of his chest was a tattoo of the Grim Reaper. It held a long scythe in its right hand and an hourglass in its left hand. It was standing on a mound of skulls. The tattoo stretched from his right side to his left side and then from his shoulder blades to his middle abdominal area.

A tattoo on his right side sent the sensation of terror down her spine. She saw what appeared to be a red and white flag embossed with an eagle clasping the symbol of the Swastika in its claws. On his right arm were black SS bolts with Brotherhood wrapped around the top and Forever wrapped round the bottom.

She moved around to look at his left side. On his left arm, she saw a tattoo of a noose with Death To All across the top and Jews, Niggers, & Queers at the bottom of the noose. His left side had daggers representing the symbol of the cross and the words Race War swirled around it.

“What heck will he do when he sees me. I am black?” She whispered in terror.

Angel was fortunate enough to have graduated from a good college. She worked in her previous job for six years and made a lot of money. She dealt with all kinds of bigots and racist assholes when they met her. There would always be that look upon first meeting that said, “Damn, she’s black or she’s fat.” No one could ever determine her ethnicity on paper or when they spoke with her on the phone.

Angel was a plump beautiful sister with shoulder length natural black hair. No matter what she did in life, she always excelled over her counterparts. At 5′, she always felt the need to beat everyone at everything. She never wanted to be identified by stupid dated statistics and preconceived notions. She never let people tell her what she could or couldn’t accomplish.

She never once felt intimidated. The racial antics of corporate America made her work harder to be the best. She had been exposed to the Jim Crow mentality of the South her whole life. Nothing she experienced in her 36 years frightened her as much as this man lying on her floor. People like him killed people like her for no other reason than the color of her skin.

The hate tattoos on his body made her question her decision to help him. She seriously thought about allowing him to die. How could she possibly save him?


She didn’t believe she could save this evil person. At the same time, she didn’t want to be guilty of allowing someone to die. She wasn’t sure if she could handle the idea of saving someone like him. All of these thoughts made her feel queasy. Sitting on the floor next to him, she had the biggest most unbelievable decision of her life. No one would fault her for allowing him to slowly drift away. She stopped for a moment to consider if he were even worth saving. She knew if the shoe was on the other foot, he would definitely have allowed her to die in the cold or he would’ve killed her himself.

Angel cried and prayed in that moment. She had no idea why God allowed this man to cross her path. The things she saw on his body were mortifying. The thought of what he represented and what he could do to her or may have done to someone else sat heavily on her chest.

She tried to decide what to do next as she prayed for help. In her prayers, she heard a still small voice saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That was the answer she needed. Nothing else need be said.

As lifeless as he appeared, she knew he could be a murderer. His fragile condition would mean nothing if he regained his strength. Both of his arms, his chest, his stomach, and parts of his legs were covered in racist tattoos. His thighs each had a broken heart with SS bolts driven through them. There was a cross on fire, words in a foreign language, thorns wrapped around a Celtic cross, and an iron cross littered his body.

Even though the tattoos were artistically done, someone who was very skilled crafted these messages of evil. Despite the evil symbols on his body, she was not capable of delivering a death sentence. No matter how unbelievable the view of his body was, she knew Almighty God would punish her if she walked away from this man in his hour of need. She could not allow him to die.

As Angel grabbed the supplies she needed to help him, she prayed that this decision would not come back to bite her later. Her faith would not allow her to pass judgement on him. Judgement belonged to God and God alone.

Shaken by the idea that he may have killed someone just because they were black, Angel kept her eyes on him at all times. She whispered prayers to reassure herself and take away the feeling of terror in the pit of her stomach. This man could harm her. She knew it was possible that he would harm her.

His body was dead weight as she struggled to flip him on his left side. Right before her eyes, appeared two large holes. That was it. There was no way for her to be sure, but the holes looked like he had been stabbed by a big knife. She finally found the problem. Blood slowly oozed out of the holes and Angel knew she had to stop the bleeding now. With absolutely no medical training, what was she going to do to stop the bleeding? Every Western Movie she ever watched as a girl came to mind. The only thing she could think to do was to cauterize the wounds.

Angel used the blanket and the sleeping bag to prop his right side up. The fire poker was standing by the fireplace. She poured alcohol on it to disinfect it and then set the piece of metal on the fire. She struggled to clean the site of the injury in the middle of his right shoulder by pouring alcohol on it. Even though he was weak, this action provoked a response. He violently jerked and mumbled.

For a moment, Angel rethought her strategy. She knew the hot metal would cause him terrible pain. Struggling with the idea of harming him was one thing, but the idea of him dying compelled her to keep going.

Grabbing the scorching hot poker, Angel allowed it to rest on his shoulder just long enough to singe the wound. The smell of burning flesh turned her stomach. A scream tore from deep inside him as tears streamed down his face. She jumped back and dropped the iron poker. Fear consumed her as she battled her emotions. She knew she needed to hurry. The sound of his voice scared and shocked her, but she was sure he was in a dangerous state.

After applying an antiseptic cream to the area and gauze, Angel repeated the same process on the back of his right thigh. This time, his response was slightly less audible. As she seared the wound, tears streamed down his face and yet he could barely utter a sound.

Watching his face contort in pain, Angel felt a sense of unbearable guilt. Tears forced themselves to the surface even though she tried with all her might to hold them back. She had no desire to hurt him. He was already suffering enough. Angel finished cleaning and covering his wounds. She quickly cleaned the back side of his body and the surface beneath him.

No matter how many bruises he had, her eyes witnessed more disturbing tattoos on the back of his body. His neck, back, arms, and legs were covered in hate. At this point, she could not focus on what she saw because he looked like he was nearing death’s door.

All his clothes were shredded except his coat, underwear, and shoes. She ran into the room and grabbed her biggest oversized joggers, thermal underwear and some thermal socks. There was no way she could leave any of his clothes on because everything was soaking wet and covered in blood.

Making sure he was clean and properly dressed was paramount. The icy weather, the severe beating, and his wounds had nearly taken his life. Those brutal acts helped her to overcome her aversion to removing his clothes. The severity of the situation helped her continue to focus on the task at hand.

Now that she had cared for his wounds, she needed to finish cleaning him and get him dressed. She removed his shoes and socks. Hesitantly, Angel looked at his black boxers. With gloved hands, she proceeded to remove them.

Once again, she turned him on his left side and slid the boxers off his right side. She cleaned his backside as she removed the boxers. Getting them down to his right thigh made it easy for her to pull the other side down without turning him. A towel was draped over his private parts as she bathed his body and cleaned the surface beneath him.

Angel was glad she started out by putting on gloves. She had no idea so much blood would be everywhere. His feet felt like ice through the gloves. She washed his legs and the rest of his lower body.

He was lying there completely naked. Finally, no blood was present on him or the floor. She replaced his socks with her warmest clean thermal socks. Then she pulled a pair of thermal bottoms and jogging pants on his lower body. She pulled a thermal shirt and an extra-large t-shirt on him at last.

Angel sat back and looked at him. He was clean and dry. Now she had to make sure he was warm.

Angel felt like she was experiencing Deja vu. Angel wasn't a doctor and she had never received any type of medical training. She knew the blood had to stop so she grabbed the iron poker and sat it in the fire. She washed his right shoulder off with alcohol. All the old western movies she watched as a child flooded her mind. How could she know if this would work or not? Angel took the red-hot poker and seared the hole on his shoulder. Her unwilling patient screamed and jerked away from her. He suddenly sat up an grabbed her. “You, crazy nigger bitch. What the fuck are you doing to me?” The stranger had an evil maniacal look in his eyes. She tried to flee but he was on her in a matter of seconds. No matter what she did or tried to say, his hands were wrapped around her throat and he was trying to choke the life out of her. Angel felt herself drifting away. She cried out and ...

Angel sat up on the couch. She placed her hand on her throat and looked around frantically to see if the man was up walking around in her house. Her eyes caught a glimpse of him lying on a pallet she’d made for him on the floor. He was lying there completely still. She hesitated to go near him. Even though she realized she had just been dreaming, her mind was still racing. The dream was far too vivid, and it seemed so real. She was still afraid of what he might do to her. Angel quietly walked over to him and kneeled to see if the man was still breathing.

The rise and fall of the sleeping bag was enough to confirm that he was still alive. She heard the slight sound of him snoring. That was all the confirmation she needed. He was alive.

In her nightmare, she had relived many of the events that occurred eight hours earlier. The clock displayed a time of 3:30 AM. All the aches and pains in her body made themselves noticeable when she confirmed all was well.

Her body was completely drained. Everything ached after wrestling with her unexpected guest. He was lying on the floor close enough to the fire to stay warm. Angel looked around the house again and realized that everything was just fine. She lay down on the couch and drifted off into a deep sleep.

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