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The Storm

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??Most storms don’t bother me anymore. I’ve learned to accept them as a part of life. I’ve discovered ways to practice self control: breathing exercises, counting to five, and the like. Every now and then, there’s one spectacular storm that will send me over the edge. The thunder will shake the earth, the lightning fill up the sky, the wind howl and rage. Just like that, I will be transported back in time.

??I can feel the water trickling down my skin. I can taste the metallic blood in my mouth. Densely through the rain I can faintly see the outline of a dumpster. The asphalt is cold and unyielding against my back. I remember hoping for death to bring me sweet relief. The thunder produces a particularly loud clap at this moment, and mere seconds later lightning pierces the sky. Even among this chaos, I can plainly hear his dark laughter.
??He’s directly above me, locking me down, and I’m powerless to stop him. The alley he dragged me into has no light, so I’m only able to see him when a flash of lightning occurs. But I don’t need the illumination. When his face presses against my own, I can feel his beard. It’s full and thick, unkempt. His breath reeks of a recent cigarette and alcohol. The rim of his baseball cap apparently inhibited him, as he had discarded it carelessly on the wet pavement. Once he was in a lit area, his hairy arms would show evidence of my feeble attempts at self defense. Scratches, scrapes, bite marks.
??I was later told I fought valiantly, but I don’t agree. All I felt was weakness. The sheer horror I experienced when he ripped my shirt off my body. The shame. The disgust. Was this somehow my fault? Did I commit some sin in a past life, and this was my punishment? Did I deserve this suffering? Oh, just let me die...
??I don’t know how much time had passed before I noticed a garbage bag lying next to the dumpster. Something was sticking out of it. I was determined to grab it, whatever it was, and beat my attacker with it. I stretched my arm out, trying not to draw attention to my movement. He seemed too occupied to notice. I could barely wrap my fingers around the object, a wine bottle it turns out. Just a little more...
??The glass shattered into jagged pieces as I slammed it on his head. He collapsed, completely taken by surprise. I rolled him off of me, with hurried and struggled heaves. And by God, I ran.

The lightning cracks; I’m brought back to reality. The storm is ending.



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