Forever Yours

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Chapter 15

Brandon watched a man in a black leather jacket, brown trousers and brown shoes open the red Fiat Mutipla that had been parked outside his place for some time now. Brandon had seen the man get out of his car and go into the alley - probably for a piss - a while ago when he'd arrived home. So he was surprised but mostly suspicious when he saw the man just coming out of the alley.
Brandon opened the lid of the bin, threw in the black plastics and let it slam shut. He watched the man drive away and looked at its ugly posterior and squinted at the number plate. He shook his head, dismissing his suspicions and started climbing up the stairs to his house. He stopped abruptly, his attention caught by something in the alley.
He turned and walked quickly into the alley; he didn't want his mom to worry. He walked tentatively, unsure of what he was looking for. There was a huge rubbish trunk in the alley, and near it he saw some clothes laying around. Probably clothes dumped by some people who didn't want them, he thought. He stopped again as he heard sniffling, and a little beyond the trunk he saw the silhouette of a girl, sitting on the ground naked and hugging her knees. Her face was buried inbetween her knees and Brandon didn't need anyone to tell him what had happened. He also didn't need to be a genius to know that the man in the Fiat was the one who had raped her.
He walked slowly, holding out his hand to show he meant no harm. "Hey", he called out softly. The girl looked up, fear evident in her eyes and shrank back, as if trying to disappear into the wall. "Don't be scared. I wanna help you, okay? Come with me into my place and my mom will help you."
The girl looked at him fearfully but didn't move. Brandon cursed silently and stood up slowly so as not to startle her.
"I'll be back okay? Don't move, I'm going to get help." He walked quickly out of the alley, ran up the stairs and burst into the house.
"Brandon! What's going on?" His mom shouted from the kitchen. Brandon walked into the kitchen quickly and told his mother about the girl in the alley. His mom's face drained of colour and she whispered, "What kind of monster does that?" Her face turned calm and she started giving Brandon some orders. "Brandon, bring a pair of your sweatpants and a sweater. My clothes will not fit her. Get my phone and the car keys too."
She removed her apron, turned off the stove and went out of the house. She ran into the alley, and found the girl right where Brandon had seen her. Her hair was unruly, parts of her body bruised, and the most obvious was that she was naked and a pool of blood surrounded her.
Brandon's mother felt herself fill with disgust and anger but she calmed herself and introduced herself to the girl. "I'm Miriam. My son told me you might need some help." At that moment, Brandon showed up with the clothes. "This is my son Brandon. We're here to help you. We need to get you to the hospital and the police, to report the man who did this to you."
The girl looked up and when she saw Brandon, she scooted away. Miriam noticed and she reassured Rilah, "Don't worry, he'll go. No need to be afraid." She turned to her son, "Go start the car, dear." She took the clothes and after a last look at Rilah, Brandon went away.
"What's your name dear?" The girl didn't answer; she just stared at her. Miriam's attempts at any other conversation failed. After much coaxing, Miriam managed to convince the girl to let her help her into Brandon's clothes. The sweater was a little too big but the sweatpants sat snuggly on her hips. Miriam picked up the deserted clothes - to present as evidence to the police - and coaxed the girl into the car. She sat with her in the backseat as Brandon drove to the nearest police station.

* * *

After enduring interrogation, giving of statements, handing over her clothes, description of the perpetrator and filling of forms, Rilah was driven to the hospital. They were closely followed by an officer who would talk to the doctors about collection of a semen sample. Brandon had also pitched in; describing the man in the leather jacket and giving them the number plate. The police said it would be much quicker catching the criminal and justice would be served.
Rilah painstakingly went through the process of semen extraction, doing her best not to give in and run away. When the doctor was done, she let Rilah get dressed and led her into her office. Rilah's eyes swept across the room in rapid motions, taking in everything but not lingering. She felt jumpy and paranoid, like a person with ADHD. She noted the young doctor; Dr Shebil, a slight female with red hair and red-rimmed glasses. She had a gentle smile and vibrant blue eyes.
"You're very brave, you know", the doctor said as she sat across Rilah. "Not many people report rape. They choose to remain victims but what you did, it makes you a survivor."
Dr Shebil watched Rilah fold her arms over her knees - a defensive gesture, she noted. She also noticed how Rilah's eyes didn't stay on one object - anxiety, suspicion, distrust. She could understand. She reached into her drawer and pulled out two packets of pills.
"These are post-exposure prophylactics. PEP." She held up a bottle of pills. "Your HIV test is negative but we don't know what disease that man may have been carrying. These will prevent HIV and any STIs. You must take them for twenty eight days."
She looked at Rilah again who, although she showed active eye movement, looked like she was far away.
"Rilah, are you listening?" Rilah looked at her for a little more than a minute before scanning the room again. "Listen, you don't want to be taking treatment for the rest of your life, or be a stigma target when you have symptoms of STIs. This will help prevent that. Do you hear me?" Rilah nodded absently and Dr Shebil continued to give her instructions.
"This is Levonelle, commonly known as the morning after pill. It will prevent pregnancy. You just take it now and you're done. It's about 87% or more effective, so there's a slim chance that you will get pregnant." She paused to make sure Rilah was listening.
"The side effects include headaches, nausea. It can make your next period come earlier, later, make it more painful or more heavy. But the effects don't last long."
She handed Rilah the pill and gave her a glass of water. "Of course, the best way to know it worked is when you get your period. If you vomit within two hours, it will need to be readministered, okay? You can come in the morning if that happens." She smiled gently and watched Rilah swallow the pill. She handed her the PEP and a business card.
"That's a therapist. She's good, and she might help you for free. Your parents should contact her." Rilah nodded, tucking the card into the pocket of the sweatpants, having no plans to use it. "You can now use the shower, you must be impatient to change into something fresh." Rilah shook her head and the doctor walked her out and left her in the care of Miriam and Brandon.
She filled out some more papers, putting in a wrong address and phone numbers as she had at the police station. She didn't want the Daniels to find out she had lost her virginity; Florence would kill her.
She directed Miriam and Brandon to her house in a low voice but made them stop a few metres from the Cunning's home. Florence would be suspicious of a car dropping her off and she wasn't ready to face her. Also, Miriam refused to leave before she was safe inside. Miriam got out and led her up to the house. Rilah knocked on the door and they waited. They heard faint murmurs of a man's voice, "Who could it be this late?"
The door was opened by Sylvia, who looked concerned and bewildered by Rilah and the stranger's appearance at such a late hour. "Rilah, what's going on?" One look at Sylvia's worried face sent Rilah into tears and Sylvia immediately pulled her into a tight hug. Rilah stiffened at first and wriggled weakly, trying to fight her off.
Sylvia, sensing her best friend's fear, rubbed slow circles in her back, murmured reassurances until she calmed down, and then led her slowly into the house. "My mom will be with you now. Thank you." She told the stranger, who nodded.
Mrs Cunning gave her daughter a questioning glance and looked at Rilah sympathetically before going to the door. Sylvia heard the woman introduce herself before she explained what brought her here. Sylvia froze in her tracks as she heard the reason, uttered low and sadly, and she heard her mother gasp in shock.
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