He took another swig from his bottle of whiskey, finally finishing the bottle. I stared in distaste as he reached down to get another. One night, just one night, one night of him being sober, that’s all I ask... but it’s too much to ask. It’ll never happen and I knew it. I took a glance at the cell phone lying in my lap, if only I could message him without it lighting up and drawing attention…I just need to talk to him. He’ll make it better; he’ll make it tolerable again. Just a few messages…he won’t notice…
BABY HE’S ON THE SECOND BOTTLE. TONIGHT FEELS DIFFERENT.
Seconds ticked away, it felt like forever but his response was almost instantaneous... it wouldn’t surprise me to find out he hadn’t let his phone out of his sight since I left.
IT’LL BE OKAY LOVE. I’LL BE HERE FOR YOU ALL NIGHT. CALL ME IF YOU NEED ME.
“What the fuck did I tell you about this shit? Not when you’re with me.” He slurred in my general direction, he quickly ripped the phone out of my hands and pocketed it. My heart seemed to charge against my ribcage, it felt like a bird that desperately wanted out of its cage. The only thoughts surging through my mind at the time were, “No, you can’t take him away from me, not tonight.” He could do all of the horrible things to me that have become so common that it’s expected daily, but he cannot take him away. I won’t let him deny me access to my love tonight. My love is the only thing that makes this whole mess tolerable. I watched as he took another swig of that friggen whiskey and I did something that I haven’t done in a long time, I brought my fist back, and I smashed it into his jaw.
No one’s ever the same after working here for as long as I have, it changes you, it changes how you look at things, and how you look at people. Just as I went through the revolving doors to enter my work and clock in on the job, my partner, Rick, joined me at my side. Rick and I had been partners for a few years now, so we know each other fairly well, and I knew, just from how he looked at me, that today was going to be a rough one. As we both clocked in, we talked about the normal things, how his night was last night and how his girlfriend was doing. By the time that we got to our desks, there was already a file folder waiting. Suddenly, looking at that file folder, it came back. The feeling that I’ve been fighting for so long, that I thought was gone. The sudden heart stopping wrenching fear that something terrible was waiting right around the corner. It was the kind of feeling that used to stop me from doing some of the things I loved. The sudden feeling that something’s going to change, something big, and I was going to be powerless to stop it as it took away some of the things I loved most…No, I won’t let this take over my live again, so I smiled at Rick, pulled the file folder close and opened the first page.
I never believed it when people said that “time stood still” until this moment, it was like everything was happening at an extremely slow speed, but that didn’t last for very long. Within seconds that felt like minutes, I drew back my fist and I knew, tonight’s going to be one hell of a night. He from me, to the broken bottle of whiskey on the floor, then back to me, and I knew what he was going to do. I sprang up from the couch in which I had been sitting and booked it towards the bathroom. I knew it was silly to go in there, I couldn’t hold out long without some sort of food, but the bathroom is the only door with a lock and the only place he won’t be able to get in. He already knew where I was heading, so he tried to cut me off, but the benefit of being younger, smaller, lighter than him and sober came into play. We stood for a moment; I was trying to see how to get past him and what I’d do if he caught me. I’m not sure what he was doing, but he couldn’t even stand properly, he was leaning against the wall. As I was about to make my move past him, I looked in his eyes, and I knew tonight would be different.
“What the hell happened to this girl?” I asked Rick, even though I knew he wouldn’t have an answer, neither of us would until we gathered enough information. It had taken us roughly half an hour to go through the case file, it was just so empty. There was hardly any information on the poor girl other than what we could tell for ourselves. She was around 17 years old, 5.9’, black hair down to her shoulder blade, emerald green eye, tattoo on her back, and signs of self-harm. JANE DOE is what her file read, it’s what we called them all, the ones with no names. They found her body under a willow tree beside the local lake, they found her at 1am, and there had been an anonymous tip that said they’d find her there. When they got there, she was still alive, the bastard raped, beat, stabbed her 5 times in the chest and had her tongue cut out, and she was still alive. The coroner said that all of that happened over an hour before we got there, that meant that she laid there in agony for over an hour before we found her. This girl…she survived something that not a heck of a lot of other people could, she survived all of that until we got to the scene, where she died, they tried to resuscitate her but they couldn’t get to her fast enough. She survived long enough just to die…it was heart wrenching. I looked down at a picture of her face, and I thought to myself, this is why I deal with this job, I give people back their lives, I give them justice, and I give them peace.
I threw myself to his left, mostly because he’s right handed but the broken whiskey bottle clutched in his right made me have a strong desire to avoid that side at all costs. As I threw myself past him, he attempted to cloths line me, I ducked and he lost his balance, teetering precariously and almost face planting. I sprinted the short distance to the door but he always had good aim and before I could get the door closed behind me I felt a searing pain in my left shoulder. I closed the door and fumbled with the lock, finally getting it right before I felt his weight crash into the frame. He knew his throw had hit its mark and I listened quietly as he slowly lowered himself against the door, he probably already opened another bottle of whiskey. As he sat there, he called out to me like he always does; he told me all the
things about myself that I already believed. He was trying to tear me down like last time, but it won’t work this time, this time I have him, this time Tyler won’t get what he wants. I ignored him for the most part, the words as familiar as a favorite song, the kind you could sing without even thinking about the lyrics. I moved to turn on the light and gasped a little as the pain engulfed me for a brief moment. He really did some damage this time….so I started gathering all of my hidden objects, which included a professional level first aid kit, tweezers and several towels for all of the blood that’s crawling down my side. He could hear me moving around inside and brought the insults up a notch, but it didn’t matter, I already told myself those things every day. As I bit down on a facecloth, I looked myself in the mirror, saw the…thing…. in the reflection and steeled myself for the gruesome task of removing the glass.
I looked down, the grass still had a reddish tint from her blood, it was actually quite peaceful here if you could ignore that a girl died in this very spot not that long ago. Everyone had already searched the area and what not, it was just me left. Looking down at that grass, I felt a sort of awe, this very spot, a teenager fought to stay alive, and she fought hard. She lay there, knowing she was going to die, and she didn’t give up, I doubt I could do that, I doubt many people could stay sane if they watched all the blood flow out of their body and into the earth, knowing no one would hear them if they screamed, that no matter what they did, they wouldn’t make it through the night. She was so strong, so beautiful, who would want to do that to her? When I first started this job, when I got a case like this, I always asked myself who could do this kind of thing to someone? Who could live with themselves afterward? Thanks to this job, and all that it included, I knew. These people, these monsters, they didn’t know it was wrong, and if they did, they didn’t care. Every child is scared of the monsters under their beds and in their closets, but it doesn’t last. It’s an experience to finally realize that there aren’t any monsters in hiding, that the monsters are inside of us, inside every single one of us. Children think that monsters jump out and scream “boo” or eat your toes in the middle of the night, but the real monsters, they’re the ones that hit their children, rape, beat and murder people. This time, there’s one specific monster I’m looking for, and this boy is going to lead me to him. I thought and pondered about the words on the locket, and as I rubbed my thumb across the engraving for what seemed like the hundredth time, the words echoed in my mind;
“Love is the most beautiful of dreams and the worst of nightmares”
I want to live those dreams with you, and hold you through the nightmares.
Forever yours, Seth
“Ridley you need to stop. Please babygirl, look at me, look me in the eye and tell me this is what you want, tell me you never want to see me again.” I looked at him, and what I saw there broke my heart, he
had no idea that I was staying for him and only him. I hated upsetting him like this, it was unfair. I knew I never wanted to leave him, that I wanted to see him every possible moment, but I also knew that he would be better without me. He’d be happy, he’d be less stressed and actually be able to sleep…I always hurt him, no matter what I did. You’d think I’d get the dosage right, being my 17th attempt and all, but I guess it’s just another thing I can’t do right. I knew he felt guilty, scared and hurt whenever I did this, but he didn’t understand. I’m trying to do what’s best for everyone, with me dead, they won’t have to worry, they won’t have to be sad, and I’ll get away from Reid, I’d get to see my mother again.. He’s the only good thing in my life and I tear him to pieces like he’s nothing. I looked into his blue eyes and I knew I’d have to change something; I’d have to do something different. I had to give him up, stop trying to do this, or finally get the dosage right.
The first thing I knew for certain when I woke up was that something hurt, that something hurt a lot. When my eyes cleared and I finally looked around, I realized that I was on the bathroom floor for some odd reason that I couldn’t recall. I moved my arm and froze part from the pain and part from the fact that it was soaked in blood.
“Little monster, little monster, do you remember when I got that bat for Christmas and you were a bad girl? I’ll let you in on a secret; I got another, only this time its metal. Do you want to come out and play?”
Reid. With those words echoing in my head, I remember what had happened, why I was here, and why I was covered in blood. I also remembered that Christmas with the bat, and I got goose bumps from my head to my toes.
Sitting on my sofa, I thought about the Jane Doe case, when they examined her body they found signs of self-harm and liver damage from failed over dose attempts. I remembered one of the first times we got a case and the victim was a self-harmer, we had a new coroner around then. When he found, and understood what the wounds were, he was disgusted and shocked. He looked over at Rick and me and said “Might as close the case, its meaningless to look for culprit now.” Outraged, I asked why. He replied with “it doesn’t matter, the freak probably killed herself.” To this day, Rick says that he’s never seen me that angry and upset, and to this day, I don’t regret what I did after that. I swung my fist into his face with all the strength I could manage considering the night I had, it had been a bad one, it had been filled with nightmares and flash backs, I had only slept for two hours. It was so easy to fool everyone and it still is, with the proper clothing and generously applied makeup, no one could tell a good night from a bad. The bad nights have gotten better as time as gone by, but I still wake up screaming, crying, shaking and distressed. The nightmares are always so vivid, I guess because they actually happened. That night, that one single night, it changed everything for me. Before that night happened, I was young, I was normal, and most of all, I was mostly happy. People always asked me why I liked my job so much, they just never know that I get satisfaction out of convicting other people’s rapists like I wish someone had convicted mine. Every time I had regrets about doing my job, I always had a flash back of that night, about how it changed me, and I got a renewed sense of purpose, I had the power to give people peace, to give them what I never had. I looked down at the phone in my hand, and as I started dialing the local
high schools number, I thought about that night and I steeled myself for a long night. As the receptionist answered the phone, I said, “Hello, this is detective Brass, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about a student.”
“I had such fun last time Little Monster; won’t you come out and play with me again?”
As he slurred his words, I remembered that Christmas so clearly it was like I was there again, like it was all happening again. My memory about my childhood was always fairly bad, but I guess you remember the nights that you were almost beaten to death. I think I was about 5 when it happened; Reid and I were opening presents from “Santa” that my aunt had dropped off earlier in the morning when we were sleeping. We were both done opening our presents and were playing with the meager amount of toys we got when I noticed a semi-hidden present behind the tree; it was so unlike the other presents that it drew my curiosity instantly. The present was wrapped in newspaper unlike the other brightly colored gift wrapped ones, and this one had a note posted to the top. I scooted over to where it was, Reid was too busy with a new toy truck to pay any notice until I started reading the note aloud;
To my children, I hope you enjoy it.
Reid looked at me but I was too busy hastily ripping off the newspaper to pay him much mind, hidden inside was a brand new wooden baseball bat that was longer than my arm and thicker than my wrist. In seconds Reid had snatched it from me, was admiring it and taking practice swings. Instantly I got jealous and asked for to test it out, when he resisted I read the note again and pointed out that our father had wanted us to share. Reid puzzled for a moment before looking at me and telling me that I could help him test it out, with I smile, I asked what he wanted me to do. He simply replied with “stand there”, and as an afterthought added “not to scream, we didn’t want to wake daddy did we?” As he lined up the swing, I was still processing his words, so it caught me off guard when his next swing was aimed at my head. His swing connected but it wasn’t that strong just yet, he wasn’t used to the size of the bat so it took him a few more swings to hit with all his strength, but he managed quite well. I remember that in between swings I managed to croak out “why are you doing this?” along with pleas of him to stop. When I got all of the words out, he stood back, about to swing, and snarled “because he gave it to his child, not to you.” At that moment, I couldn’t make sense of his words, the world was swirling around me and the colors were blending together to make a pretty picture. Everything was on fire, it hurt like nothing I had experienced before, and I went in and out of consciousness, racing from the darkness to a world of hurt and mocking words. “Do you like Daddy’s present? He sure knew what to get me.” I screamed and I cried until there was no air in my lungs nor tears in my body, the only thing I could make sense of was what he was saying, something about me being a disgrace and that dad should put me back where he found me. I still tried to fight, tried to get away, but part of me knew I couldn’t, that there was no way I could ever get away.
Blackness; there was just…nothing. No feelings, no thinking, just nothing, like when you were deep asleep. Then suddenly everything hurt and it was all fire, I tried opening my eyes, but only one would open…what was I doing on the floor? It felt like my head was stuffed with cotton, it was so hard to think, I tried to remember what I was doing before I fell asleep, why everything hurt. It was so hard; the only thing I could remember was something to do with newspaper and Reid. Oh god it hurt to think, to remember, it was so much easier to just float where nothing hurt. My eye felt like it was one massive bruise and it hurt so much to keep it open, I felt like everything in my body was telling me to go back to sleep, that everything would be okay in the morning, that I just needed rest. I was going to give in, let it take me again, when I saw the door to the kitchen open and light filled the room, I was in the living room it seemed. It was my aunt who had opened the door, she was saying something, her lips were moving but no sound was coming out, how silly of her. No one was going to hear her unless she spoke up I though with a groggy mind, I could barely focus on anything but as her eyes finally reached where I lay I watched as those pretty eyes of hers filled with unspeakable fear and alarm. Everything was so blurry, I was so tired, I looked at her and suddenly wanted her to sing me back to sleep like she used to when I was younger. I’d never seen her look like that before, she was so scared that I instantly stopped letting the darkness come back, I needed to know what was happening to her, I needed to help her. She rushed to my side and cradled my head in her lap, she was so gentle, or maybe it was because the darkness was coming back, but it didn’t hurt anymore, I was just left with a bone deep weariness. With tears streaming down her face, she scavenged around in her purse looking for something, and even though she was having issues finding it, her eyes never left me. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she found what she was looking for, it was her red cellphone, and frantically she whipped it open and started dialing numbers. Everything felt so heavy and nice, her hand in my hair felt like home and I allowed myself to stray, to enter into the darkness once more. As the darkness came like a wave up my body, I felt like I was floating, the only thing keeping me there was that hand in my hair, I knew I would be letting the person that belonged to that hand down if I floated away, I knew they wanted me to stay, but the darkness was so enchanting that I couldn’t resist. As my mind slowly faded and I felt nothing, the last words I heard were;
Help me, there’s blood everywhere, please, I don’t know what to do.
That was twelve years ago, with a wooden baseball bat…his swing has gotten much better over the years, so with that night still clear as day in my mind, I let the familiar darkness overwhelm me once more, just like that night, but this time, the last words I heard were;
Little Monster, won’t you come out to play? I’ve got so many toys out here for us to play with, just don’t go spilling my drink again and I swear I’ll be nice.”
After getting off the phone with the school, I was just finishing the report when Rick came over and sat on the couch next to me. He looked deep into my eyes with that stare of his, the one that always got the person he was looking at talking, most of the times about something they don’t even want to be talking
about. I steeled myself for another hard time; it was always hard turning away from him, hiding these things from him. It was his fault mostly; he was just so…trustable and understanding. It killed me a bit every time I had to lie to him and tell him there was nothing wrong, that everything was fine and not to worry. “What’s bothering you?” he asked, I did one of those sighs that wasn’t really a sigh because it was way too quiet to be one. I was a bit taken aback that he even noticed, it wasn’t like I was outright upset, but I guess he always had a way of finding out what mood I was in, even if I was trying my hardest to mask it. Trying to delay answering for as long as possible, I began asking questions that didn’t really answer his question. “What do you mean?” I said, voice shaking a minuscule amount. His eyes started to search mine and I knew I was going to have more difficulty avoiding his next question…”Before you got on the phone with the school, you zoned out a bit, which isn’t all that unusual, but you looked extremely sad and I want to know why.” Flustered, I felt the blood rise to my cheeks; I was unused to having him pay that close attention to me. His eyes probed mine, looking for an unspoken answer to his question. I sighed, resigned to the fact that I was going to have to tell him something at the very least; I doubted he would let it go this time. “I was thinking about that time that I drilled the coroner’s assistant that one time...” Being vague wasn’t really going to help, but I was used to it, all the times that I avoided everyone’s questions and such. His eyes shone with recognition and his lips parted slightly, and I braced myself for the further questions. “You got a few good punches in before I could drag you off of him, you reminded me of a mother bear and the poor guy just made your cub cry.” His voice was serious and that just made me giggle all the more; me a bear, a mother bear at that? No way. “So tell me, what did that guy do to deserve you mauling him?” I sighed again, this time louder, and the internal battle started again, to tell him or to not tell him. I had been debating on whether or not to tell him for so long, and I just couldn’t come up with a decision. He was so trusting, but I knew he’d try to do the right thing, and that he’d never look at me the same. I was terrified that the tolerating look in his eyes would vanish forever if he actually knew what had happened to me and what I had done to myself. I had never really told anyone other than Liz, and I didn’t really have a choice; I had to tell her when she was the one that picked me up after he was done with me in a back alley. She was the one that drove my hyperventilating ass home, and calmed me down enough for me to tell her what happened. Looking back at it now, I shouldn’t have called her; I should have calmed down on my own and walked to a safer place; what if he was still there? I have no idea what I would have down if he had done to Liz what he had done to me. I probably would have fought him with all my might, even if I was battered, bleeding, in shock and hurting everywhere. I wasn’t the kind of person that could stand by and watch someone else get hurt. That’s what started it all, me being a good person and protective of strangers. He had a teenager under him when I walked past the alley on the way to work; I heard her screaming and yelling before I actually saw them. She was dressed in casual wear; jeans and a printed t-shirt and he was dressed all in black. I knew what I was looking at even before I got a job as a detective; it wasn’t hard to know he was going to rape and possibly kill her. This was before I had any training other than a few boxing lessons, I wasn’t yet a detective; that job I was walking to was as an sports team coach, I coached basketball for the most part, at a local high school. Before I could think anything through, I was running through the alley to get to them and on the way I picked up a rock the size of my fist. Before I could reach them, I overhanded it at the man’s head, unfortunately he had heard me coming and had twisted so the rock only got him in the right shoulder, but the blow was hard enough that he was pushed back and off the girl. As the man twisted off the girl, she reached out toward me; I skidded to a stop, grabbed her arm and pulled her
after me. The man had hurt her leg somehow, at the time I couldn’t figure out what he had done but as it turned out that when he was on top of her, his knee had been so forcefully pressed against her thigh that he had damaged the muscle and bruised the bone. As I pulled her with me, I saw out of the corner of my eye the man start to get to his feet and my heart nearly stopped, we were still fairly far from the mouth of the alley. The girl was so small compared to me that without hesitation I pulled her into my arms and pushed myself as fast as I could go, we neared the mouth of the alley just as another man in black came in from the street. I tried to swerve around him, but he lounged for us, nearly knocking the girl out of my arms. Everything was happening so fast that it was seconds after his lounge that the first man caught up to us. I knew instantaneously that the two men were working together, and I kicked the second man in the shin so he would release his grip on me and I practically threw the girl to the mouth of the alley. Surprisingly enough the girl didn’t fall, she landed on her feet, and as the two men tried to grab her once more, I tackled both of them and screamed at the girl to run. Her wild eyes locked onto mine for a split second before she took off down the street. I looked away from Rick as I remembered how the hands felt as they dragged me further down that alley. I gulped and looked back at him, trying to ignore the goose bumps that had arisen all up and down my arms and the back of my neck. Maybe he would understand, or maybe he would look at me with disgust. Either way I knew, I was going to have to tell him sometime, it was too hard not to while working with him, while being this close to him all the time. So I studied him for a moment longer and scavenged around my head for a place to begin that wouldn’t get him to hate me right away.