I have a growing paranoia. Ever since the incident, I’m terrified of losing anyone. My trick is to avoid getting attached and avoid the pain.
My day at work just seemed to grow worse, as heavy memories flooded my brain. That’s been happening a lot lately. I mindlessly scrubbed the table wiping away the evidence of spilled milk and crumbs. I crushed the napkin between my fingers and tossed it on top of the past day’s remains. I turned my head to the windows tinted with permanent dirt.
You had to squint to see out of them, and the best view you got was the run down apartments with ancient bricks and boarded windows across the street. Big Bertha stumbled out wiping her hands on her old fashioned waitress costume which was busting at the seams. Her permed red hair flowed wildly down her back. The fluorescent lights gleamed in my eyes as they blinked on and off. They were most likely older than me. The diner’s constant smell of grease was extra noticeable today; it was starting to make my stomach churn. Big Bertha’s thick raspy voice boomed through the silence as she pulled away from the counter.
“Well that’s it for today.” She clapped her plump hands together, and smiled meekly. She handed me my tips, a thin wad of dollar bills, and shooed me out. She probably needed a smoke.
I didn’t mind leaving out into the overhang of darkness. I enjoyed the dark. I enjoyed being alone. The company of me, myself and I. You could almost smell the winter in the air with every breath as it bit at my nose. I slid my money in my pocket. The air danced against my skin, sending chills down my spine. I wrapped my arms up to my chest. The bus stop tempted me and my walk slowed. But the last thing I really wanted was to be cramped with a bunch of fat strangers, and have to pay for it.
Goose bumps sprouted across my skin and I clutched my sweatshirt closer. The air seemed to be growing more frigid and the walk seemed to be taking an eternity. The thin pathway appeared in my vision. You couldn’t see much further than a few feet, which would just lead to a continuous stretch of darkness. Liam showed me that path, it was a shortcut to our neighborhood – well is. My steps seemed to pound against the ground in the bleak silence. The small houses now emptying out. Just me and the pavement painted in potholes. A wired fence closed me in. Gusts of my breath spiraled in a wispy smoke standing out in the black. I patted down my messy brunette curls that I could feel verging out of control.
Without Liam – my brother’s company, this path seemed endless. Everything seemed endless without Liam’s company lately. But I didn’t need anyone’s help. My parent’s recommended therapy due to my “behavior changes”. I was never the perkiest kid on the block. I was never a girly girl, and I never really went out of my way to meet people. It was me. I liked me. Sometimes. They said I had been getting worst. Avoiding people, and being more of a smartass than ever. What’s wrong with that?
The dark lightened, emptying out to my neighborhood. My heart fluttered pleased to know I was finally approaching home. Warmth and not that I’d admit it, safety.
Man, did I speak too soon.
Heavy footsteps seemed to echo out of nowhere. Turning to just see a blank path, and then BAM! Nails dug into my arm and I was pushed into the fence. The man towered over me, and I struggled limply in his grasp. It wasn’t worth the effort – I was merely 5’2.
“Don’t make a sound.” The man threatened, his face was pale. His breath was stale against my frozen face. His contrasting chocolate brown eyes pierced through me. I was pinned. “Your life is about to change.” His voice cracked, his wide peach lips tuckered into a twisted smile. With that he was shoving me, my body slamming to the ground. I wheezed out hot air into the cold night, as my lungs seemed to compress.
Clammy hands gripped my wrists. They were thick, and the finger tips were layered with rigid nails that punctured my skin. My body was being jostled around like a rag doll. The pain flared, spreading like a wild fire. I felt warm liquid pool across my back. I limply moved my legs as I put most of my effort to keeping my eyes open and my head from bashing against the pavement. I looked up to see the man’s back, tall and muscular with broad shoulders. His hair was deep brown, and remained perfect throughout the attack.
I could have screamed. But the way his eyes glinted when he talked to me. Like something flashed in them to make my heart stop and chill my whole body over and send me tingling in fear. My arms felt sore as they were yanked in the air. My back was going numb, a sensation of pure pain crippling it over. I pulled my head up, it seeming to be a horrifically hard task just to keep myself from passing out. I bit my chapped lips masked with lip balm and opened them leaving them hanging with no trace of sound. I couldn’t get my voice out as I kept picturing the man staring me down. The only sound was my thudding heart so loud and quick that it seemed as if it was trying to fling out of my body.
My eyesight was leaving me. The edges of my vision blurring, refocusing, and then blurring as my head smashed against the pavement. I couldn’t think. I struggled again only causing more pain to erupt, sending me spiraling into a daze of black. I could hear the man’s heavy footsteps – and then nothing. I was in an unconscious downfall.