Chapter IX - The DugoutA Chapter by Suze
WARNING: Traumatic scenes of sexual violence in this chapter.
October 1992 I hate to admit it, but I never even saw it coming. It was a clear, cold night - October 1,1992. I had been seeing Anthony for a while by then, sneaking out at night to kiss under the big tree in his backyard. The branches of the weeping willow made something like our own space outside the world, and when we sat there and held each other I felt as though I had escaped my life and was free to fly. Love and happiness made me careless, made me forget that things with teeth popped out at you when you let your guard down. The nights were made even more special in contrast to the days. I was taking a lot of crap off of guys at school lately, more than usual. Adam and Anthony had graduated the two years before, King and Nicole just that year. I was stuck in high school by myself. Things had been slowly escalating for a few weeks. It had gotten out that I was dating Anthony, and my status as a "n****r lover" was finally confirmed. At first it was just a couple of guys from the wrestling team catcalling me in the halls. Then someone spray painted "black w***e" on my locker. To be honest, I was kind of getting a secret thrill off of it. I felt like a freedom fighter or something, breaking the rules with my forbidden love. I had been on the outside my whole life, getting fucked with at school was nothing new. I just never thought that it would go too far, I thought that the fear the other guys had of my brothers would shelter me from the worst they could do. That night had been a rough one with my dad, who was already drinking when I got home from school at 3:00. He had called in sick from work to drink some more, and was in one of his darker moods. My brothers and I knew to stay out of the way by then, but the evening ended up with a big screaming match anyway. My father ended the argument, which had started over the whereabouts of the remote control, by throwing a lamp at my brother, Adam. Luckily he had no aim in his drunken state. I couldn't sleep, so around 12:30 I crawled out the window to go and see if Anthony was still up. We hadn't made plans to meet that night, though, and only his father's light was still on. I decided to go and bother King, who had been my first partner in sleepless nights. Sure enough his light was on and almost as soon as I called his name his head appeared out the window. "Hey, crazy, what the hell you doin' here?" "Come out and play!" I called up in a stage whisper. We walked down to the elementary school and got on the swings. At first we just swung idly, smoking my bowl and talking about nothing. Once the pot was gone, we started swinging in earnest. We pumped our legs to get as high as we could, daring each other to jump. "Chicken-s**t!" We hissed at each other. "P***y!" After that got old, we crossed the street to the high school. King had a half a joint, so we went to the baseball dugout to smoke again. We couldn't have been there very long when we heard voices. "Shh!" King shushed me in the middle of a stupid joke about nuns and elephant genitalia. "What?" "Voices, you hear that?" King was staring out into the darkness. "Uh-uh. You're just paranoid." "I know I heard something." I was just about to get up and go out to look around when a large shape blocked the opening to the dugout. "Well, who the f**k do we have here?" I knew that voice. It was the voice of almost every racial slur I had ever heard, the voice of doom to nerds and loners of our school. Josh Haberford. S**t. Josh came into the dugout and once he saw who we were he let out a loud bark of a laugh. "Hey guys, look at this! It's the lesbo b***h and her n****r, Mr. King of the F*****g World!" More laughter, and it sounded like more than three of them. King stood up and got in front of me, facing Josh and the others that were back in the dark. "What's up, n****r?" Josh spat. I saw King's back stiffen. "F**k off, man, let us out." King's voice had deepened, and I could tell by his stance that he was ready for the fight. Josh laughed, and I could smell the beer. I remember thinking that this wasn't good, that we had to get the hell out of there before anything really happened. And then it did. With no warning Josh threw a sudden and lucky punch at King, knocking him back into me so that we were both off balance. King righted himself in time to block Josh's next punch and return one of his own. He caught Josh square in the nose and I heard the crunch of cartilage and bone. Josh cried out like a wounded animal and fell into a crouch on the ground, hands cupped over his bleeding nose. "Let's go!" King grabbed my arm and started to haul me to my feet. If Josh had just stayed down, I think it would have been over. If he had just let it go. "Don't let them leave!" Josh tried to yell, voice muffled. I heard more than saw the tussle. King pushed me back before they got to him, and then it was just a jumble of arms and legs and punches being thrown. "F**k him up!" Josh yelled. That's when it all gets a bit fuzzy. I know I managed to get one guy off of King by jumping on his back and going at his eyes with my fingers. I think I took a punch to the face, though, and the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground. I could see that they were holding King and taking turns punching him in the head, the gut, wherever they could get in a good one. Then there was someone on me, with beery breath and rough, bruising hands. I bucked and screamed, but whoever it was just laughed and shoved a jacketed arm across my face. The sounds of the beating whet on for a long time while I struggled to breath around the cloth that filled my mouth. I clawed and scratched until my hands were grabbed painfully and held above my head. I heard laughter, and fist hitting flesh. I was so intent on my struggle to get out from under the arms that pinned me down that at first I didn't notice the quiet. When the arm in my mouth suddenly was gone, I gasped for air and opened my eyes. I could only somewhat make out the figures standing around me. Even after all of that, I was still confused at first when someone pulled my shoes off. I actually wondered why they would steal my old Converse. But when Josh bent over me and grabbed a hold of the waist of my jeans, confusion turned to knowing. It was all so fast, but at the same time it went on forever. I remember being dragged by my feet to the wet grass, my head bouncing painfully on the ground. I remember the sound of my flannel shirt ripping, and the distant, panicky echoes of my own cries. Once I felt their cold, hard hands on the skin of my thighs and breasts, I tried harder to break free, bucking and pulling and trying to spit and bite. That's when they pried my legs apart, pulling them like a wishbone. I felt searing pain in my right hip, and what was fuzzy around the edges went completely dark. When I woke, Josh Haberford was on top of me and I could feel him groping around between my legs. I screamed when he entered me and screamed again when it took an extra push of brutal strength for him to get in all the way. The look of his face over mine became demonic, a leering open mouthed smile and only one pinprick of light showing in each pupil. I began to cry hysterically, and soon heard myself begging for him to stop. The pain was so great that as they took turns they would have to smack me awake occasionally, and each time I woke I begged more frantically for them to stop. When it was mercifully over, they stood above me in a circle, and I think they discussed if they would kill me or leave me there. Finally the discussion ended when Josh bent over me and grabbed my face the way my father did when he didn't like something I had said. His fingers dug into my cheeks and he looked into my eyes fiercely. “Listen here, b***h. You will not say one goddamn word about who did this, you f*****g c**t. If you do I will gut you like a f*****g animal and leave you to die. F*****g understand me? Huh, b***h?” I closed my eyes, having to swallow repeatedly before speaking. “Yes.” My simple acceptance of it, the wounded but grateful way that one word came out, was just about the end of me. I would hear myself whimpering it out again and again for the rest of my life with the memory of my most pathetic moment. I passed out to the sound of their laughter getting further away as they left. I woke up at dawn to the sound of a siren, far away but getting closer. My head was pounding, and I could barely open my eyes without pain. My legs were wet and cold, and I could feel grass beneath me. Suddenly everything came back to me in a flash and I tried to sit up. As soon as I did, though, the pain in my hip was so great that I had to turn my head to throw up. While I was wiping my mouth and waiting for the nausea to subside, two ambulances followed by a police car drove right out onto the ball field and headed straight for me. As soon as they pulled up it was as if everyone in the world was bending over me, yelling questions and firing orders. I closed my eyes and tried to put my hands over my ears, but someone was pulling at me and I think when they tried to lift me onto the gurney I passed out again.
© 2012 Suze
Coming Around Again
About~Hi, my name is Suze - thanks for stopping by!~ I am a fiction writer mostly but have found that I have a taste for essays lately as well. I'm here to seek the opinions of other writers on my work, .. more..