The hand materialized out of the darkness as if floating…connected to nothing. It clamped down over her lips, the sound of her scream engulfed between the crevasses of his fingerprints. The taste of pennies filled her mouth. She reached behind her head, flailing her arms trying to escape his grasp. The hand shoved her down on the concrete and the sound of her head cracking sliced through the air. She saw his face, distorted in the blackness of the night, the shadows of the moon creating a monster.
Monsters petrified her when she was young. Especially the one that lived under her bed. Each night she would wake up with that urgent feeling in her bladder. One time, after being awakened again, she formed a plan. She curled up in the corner of the bed (a waterbed she was forced to sleep in after her sister got seasick too many times) gathering her courage to execute her strategy. She couldn’t just step off the bed and walk out, the monster would grab her feet and pull her into his world called the “Twisty, Turvy Black Pole.” It was the opposite of the North Pole where Santa lived and she would have to eat brussel sprouts and liver everyday and a monster called “Banana” would torture her in his dungeon of bats.
Taking a deep breath she sunk down on her stomach and slithered across the waterbed with a painstaking slowness. The idea was to crawl up on the wooden frame of the bed, jump as far as she could and race to the door before Banana could reach his claw out and steal her. As she reached the end of the bed she examined the wooden shell, running her fingers along the scratch she made with the sharp edge of her legos. She had been trying to write her name but her mom caught her before she could finish. She carefully put one foot up…then the other. She teetered precariously on the edge, knees bent, curled in a half standing, fetal position eyeing the open door to her bedroom, feeling her escape. She took a deep breath and jumped as far as she could. But it wasn’t far enough as she landed in the middle of the room flat on her face.
She jumped up as if the carpet had bit her and ran sobbing from the bedroom down the hallway until she reached her parents bedroom. She flung open the door hurled herself into her mother’s arms screaming, “Banana got me! Banana got me!”
Banana came for me again tonight, she thought. She got away that time but he came back for her. He clumsily grabbed at the fabric of her dress trying to shove it past her hips. She waved her hands trying to hit him, her cracked skull stopping her from having any strength greater than that of a fly. He swatted her away and slapped her across her face, the mascara tears fusing together, creating a black pool.
The monster shoved her head into the ground, grinding her left cheek into the loose gravel. She gazed at the concrete, watching her blood seep into the cracks. A single ant crawled out of it’s hole, disturbed by the sticky liquid invading his residence. The sound of cotton ripping pierced the night, popping it like a balloon. Cold air fluttered through her tiny hairs as Banana tossed aside the panties. She wondered why the blood filling the ants home seemed to be congealing at record speeds. But time had slowed down. She counted each eyelash, one by one, as she struggled to keep them from falling.
He pushed her legs apart with his knees. She heard the distinct sound of a belt buckle being undone…the zipper of his jeans. Her strength returned with vigor as she propelled her body against his. Her hand reached up to his eye. She clawed at it feeling the skin break underneath her fingernails. The slippery warmness of his blood trickled down her hand, dripping onto the cement, mixing with her own…rain when it reaches the ocean. Banana screamed in agony and reeled backwards. She turned on her stomach, crawling across the parking lot with only the light coming from the crescent sliver of the moon to guide her.
She kissed her first boy under a moon like that. His name was Peter. Almond Eyes Peter. It was her nickname for him, a moniker she made up one night when she had too many sips of peach Schnapps. Peter blackmailed his older brother into buying the sugar-laced hooch for them after it was discovered he had secretly dropped out of college. She and Peter had been friends for years before he asked her to be his girlfriend the night they both got wasted in his parents backyard.
When she said yes he invited her to go for a ride. They hopped into Peter’s cherry convertible, top down, she on his lap, and flew down the street with a sense of naive freedom reserved only for the youth. Peter drove her to a deserted public park in the middle of suburbia, a town filled with synthetic lawns, cookie-cutter houses and white picket fences. He screeched to a halt under a pepper tree and the wind caused a kernel to fall onto her lap. She dared him to eat it and giggled at the sour face he made when he chewed the bitter seed.
Peter grabbed her hand and lead her to the entrance of the park. It’s wrought iron gate was chained, which, to the two teenagers the excitement of nonconformity only invited them to climb over. She ripped her shirt on the way down, a stolen treasure from her older sister’s closet. Panic settled in as the thought, “She’s going to murder me!” flashed through her mind. It was a designer brand, a birthday gift from their uncle, the only rich relative from either side of the family.
The torn shirt slipped from her mind when Peter’s voice penetrated her thoughts and she turned to trot after him. She was so in love even before that night when he asked her to be his. Whenever she thought of him her body felt a tingling that started in her toes and traveled up her body until it reached her face, turning her cheeks a deep pink. She would close her eyes, willing the embarrassing flush to go away.
When she caught up to Peter he was lying on the grass, wet with the nighttime dew. He pulled her down next to him and showed her how to find the Big and Little Dippers. She pointed to three bright stars, and asked him what constellation they were. Ignoring her question Peter leaned in and kissed her mouth.
The tingles that usually started in her toes were now on her lips. He parted them with his tongue so gently she thought she was imagining it. It wasn’t until years later, after she had kissed many more boys that she realized that Peter was far more advanced for his age than he had let on. His tongue pushed past her front teeth and began to swirl with her own. The tingling started to travel down to her breasts and then lower… She gasped and turned away from the kiss, the feeling too intense for her fifteen year old body. She stared into his eyes a bit bewildered. She wanted more but it felt so forbidden, so wrong, so magical. As if reading her thoughts he lowered himself onto her again and made her tingle with an intensity she didn’t want to end… She never did find out what those three stars were called.
She was staring at the same three stars now, their brightness much more lackluster than on her night with Peter. The monster had caught up to her and dragged her back to his hiding place in the darkness. Hitting her, opening more wounds, calling her names. Cunt. Bitch. Slut. He entered her, ripping apart her insides. She opened her mouth to scream but her vocal cords betrayed her. Pain surged through her every nerve, burning her from the inside out.
Memories streaked through her mind like bolts of lightning. The presents Santa Claus left under the tree. Her mom and dad swinging her back and forth as her hands held tight, engulfed by their adult ones. Exploring the forest with her sister, each one taking turns throwing pine cones at each other. Playing the lead in her high school play. Peter… The happy recollections, milliseconds of white bursts passing through her mind were being erased with each violent thrust.
The sudden grunting and panting let her know that he had finished. He collapsed on top of her, his sweat coalescing with her own. The air was thick and she could feel his semen dripping from her most private of parts, blending with their blood, making a sickening cocktail. He left her suddenly. One final kick to seal the deal. She could hear his footsteps as he ran through the parking lot and down the alley. Curling into a ball, a piece of flesh, hovering somewhere between life and death, she watched the ant try desperately to crawl back into his home.