Twenty-year-old Lori Campton was tired, beyond exhausted. She gave a yawn as she thought about how long of a day she’d had. Her day at the bakery had started at four-thirty that morning, and now it was eight pm.
“Going to work at four-thirty in the morning is for the birds,” she grumbled to herself as she walked toward home. “I know it’s a job, but still!”
Pulling her raincoat, which she was thankful she’d thought to grab that morning since it was now raining, tighter around her she squinted into the distance. Only one more block until she would reach her shabby apartment.
It was pitch black outside, and she stumbled a bit on the uneven walkway. How she hated her limp which made walking a straight line when she was tired almost impossible. But she did the best she could as she tried to move a bit faster wanting to get home quickly.
That’s when it happened.
A flash of blinding lights had her head coming up. A blinding pain, and hearing herself scream. Then there was nothing as her world went completely black.
“Doctor, I think she’s coming around,” a woman said.
Lori let her eyes flutter open and groaned at the bright lights. “Wha…? Where am I?
“You’re in the hospital, dear. Can you tell me your name?” The woman spoke again to ask.
Lori looked over to see a kind looking nurse, with white hair, smiling gently at her.
“Um… Lori… something.” She frowned trying to remember her name. Trying to remember made her head pound like someone was using a jackhammer on it.
“It’s alright, dear, it will come back,” the nurse told her gently.
“Why am I here?”
“What is the last thing you remember?”
At the sound of another voice, this time a man’s, Lori brought her head around. He was tall and dark-skinned with a military short haircut and glasses perched on the end of his nose. She knew he was the doctor because he had a white coat on with a stethoscope around his neck.
“I-I went to work that morning. Then, after work, I started to make my way home, but I tripped on the uneven sidewalk. There were…bright lights, rain, nothing,” she whispered.
The doctor shook his head sadly. “You were hit by a car. They hit a puddle going too fast which caused them to hydroplane. By the time they saw you, there was no way to keep from hitting you. You’ve been in a light coma for two weeks. Your body has done a lot of healing but you still have a long way to go. Is there someone we can call?”
Lorie shook her head as she bit her lip. “I-I don’t think so, I think I live alone.” She paused, closing her eyes, and thinking. “Yeah, I do. I live alone. I remember now. I was an orphan, aged out of the system when I turned eighteen three years ago.”
She opened her eyes and saw the doctor looking as if he were about to speak. He glanced over at the nurse though and shut his mouth. Lori had to wonder what he had been about to say.
“Get some rest, dear,” the nurse said as she and the doctor exited the room.
A week later the hospital had to release Lori because she had no way to pay her bill.
When she tried to get into her apartment, she found the landlord had rented it out already. Next, she went by the bakery where she’d been working only to find out they had already hired someone to replace her. Apparently being a no-show for three weeks didn’t send up red flags to find out what happened to your employee. No, you just hire another warm body and continue business as usual.
Walking a block to the park, she sat down on a bench and cried. I have no home. I have no job. I have nothing but the clothes on my back and twenty dollars in my pocket. What am I going to do?
Six months later Lori was barely surviving and still living on the street.
She had tried her best to get a job in the beginning, but nobody wanted to hire a crippled, homeless woman wearing a cast and thrift store clothes. So, after the first couple of weeks, she had stopped trying, completely without hope.
Lori had always had a crooked leg, her foster parents said that was probably why her parents had dumped her on the orphanage doorsteps. Yes, that’s right, she had been in the system since she was a child. The only reason her last set of fosters took her in and kept her was for the money. Her foster mom loved to brag about how they received extra for taking on the cripple girl.
Quickly shaking the horrible memories from her mind, she made her way through the shadows, trying to remain unnoticed by anyone who might be out. She had just finished digging through the garbage can behind one of the fast-food restaurants and was making her way through the park. Her leg seemed to be hurting worse than usual and she hoped she could make it to a bench before it gave out on her.
Yelling from the shadows to the left of her had her pausing. Even knowing she shouldn’t, it was dangerous, she let her curiosity get the best of her and walked around the corner of the building. That’s when she saw two men in black hoodies arguing over something in a bag.
That could only mean one thing, they were either high or drunk on whatever it was. It also meant they were trouble for her if they saw her.
So, she started to turn, hoping she could sneak off the way she had come. Luck wasn’t on her side as her bad leg gave way and she hit the ground letting out a low scream. This brought the two men her way and they were on her before she could even get to her knees.
“Well, well, a dirty little street whore,” the first one snickered. Then he grabbed her hair and pulled her up.
This caused her to let out another soft scream as pain moved through not only her scalp but her twisted leg.
“A lame one at that,” the second one said.
“Eh, who cares. I bet what’s between those legs still works alright,” the first one mentioned with another snicker.
“How about we see. I’ll hold her while you get her pants off.”
Hoping, foolishly, that she could get away, Lori turned to try and run only to have one of them grab hold of her hair again. She screamed as he yanked on it and they laughed.
“Oh, no, little street whore, not so fast,” One muttered as he pulled her arms tight behind her.
Then, the second one pulled out a knife and started to cut her shirt open.
“No, please, let me go!” Lori cried out as she struggled hard to get loose.
They laughed when the blade slipped cutting a big gash in her stomach. The pain was more than she’d ever felt, and she let out a scream.
“See that’s what happens when you squirm. Don’t worry though, we’ll let you go, after we have some fun with you,” the one with the knife said.
Lori began twisting and turning, trying to get away. She didn’t care anymore that she was cut and bleeding. She knew she'd rather be dead than to be raped. Suddenly, she heard voices. They sounded distant, but it gave her hope and she once more screamed, as loud as she could. Maybe whoever it was would hear her and come help.
“Shut Up!” The man with the knife hissed.
Lori ignored him and continued to scream.
“I said shut up!”
Suddenly his hands were wrapped around her throat and he began to choke her.
Lori struggled and fought, clawing at his hands but he held on. Tighter and tighter until she had no strength, or air, to fight anymore. She fell limp in his arms.
“Come on man, I think you killed her! Drag her into the bushes, quickly because someone heard her and there’re coming!” The second one yelled in a whisper.
Then everything went black.