I’m trying to post smaller bits, so that folks can read them in short bursts. Let me know if it’s too much or too little. The previous parts are below. Once it’s complete, I will add it to The Juice and Other Stories, which will be released in paperback, with this and other bonus material.
She, (part 4)
Within five minutes, she was off the bus and walking along a darkened Silver Spring side street lined with closed retail space. Behind, pacing her, were the unmistakable sounds of four pairs of feet. The men, vultures no more, had become wolves, tracking their prey through the quiet urban jungle. She picked up the pace, surprisingly agile for a small woman in a long skirt, weaving her way along the pavement toward the safety of her home. Her instincts enjoined her to deviate from her homeward path, certain that the men were hoping to follow her there. There, in the cover of darkness, they hoped to break in, and rape, perhaps kill her. Perhaps it would be safer in a blind alley, away from uncaring neighbors. She could hide in the shadows until the chase was over. The men would resign their quest, and she would return to her empty home to sleep.
She turned on a familiar street, past a Caribbean restaurant with bug problems, darting into the rat-infested alley behind. She was running at that point, hoping to put distance between herself and the men. But they wanted her and would not give up their quarry readily. She could smell the hunger in their sweat. Panting, she leaned against the dirty brick of the old restaurant’s back wall, shielded from the streetlights. Sweating, finally, she wanted to tear the jacket from her, the skirt, her blouse, and flee, nude to the comfort of home.
But she knew she would never make it. She had waited too long.
“Gotcha!” It was Tony, his hair a plastered tangle of clammy locks. He had her arm. Bobbi pulled against him and was met by the back of his hand. She fell backward, stumbling noisily over a metal trashcan. Tony grabbed one ankle and jerked her toward him, ripping her jacket in the process. Perhaps encouraged by the glint of light on her alabaster shoulder, two others grabbed at her, one taking her arms and the other ripping her blouse from her in one violent tug. Tony pulled back his lips in a taut sneer and slapped Bobbi across the mouth.
She grunted and her eyes watered from the impact, her lower lip puffing and dripping blood into her mouth. The taste was sweet. It almost made her smile.