Back to Transition: Prose & Short-Stories table of contents

Your Last Run

Jo Crosier

When he sneers that itíll only hurt for a minute, you wonít hear him. You wonít be able to hear anything but the pounding of your heart. You certainly wonít hear the song still blaring out of the earbuds of your iPod lying discarded only inches away. When he pushes your soft body against the cold concrete, you wonít really feel it. You wonít be able to feel anything but the stifling heat of his body pressed against you. When he grabs the front of your jogging pants and yanks them down, you wonít feel the elastic bite against your hip bone or hear it as it snaps. You wonít feel anything except the feel of his rough knuckles against your skin. You wonít hear anything but his ragged breathing. But when he reaches between you again with the hand that isnít pinning your wrists to the concrete, the sound as he unzips his pants will be the loudest thing youíve ever heard in your life. It is that almost-ripping zipper sound that makes you think, finally, you should be thrashing. You should be bucking and wriggling from his hold, trying to get free. Your mouth isnít covered, you should be screaming. You should be doing something other than whimpering and closing your eyes. You should be doing anything but lying there like a passive, even welcoming partner and letting him touch you.

But instead, you close your eyes. You bite your lip to keep from screaming. Because you couldnít bear it if someone came to your rescue now. And instead of trying to cross your legs, to make this even a modicum more difficult, you open your legs and let his weight slide closer to you. You canít bear to fight, to prolong this horror. Because you know itís inevitable. Itís too late to stop it now. Heís going to get what he came for. Youíve closed your eyes, but you can still see him. His face is one youíll never scrub from your cortex. And you can feel him. His thick fingers tighten around your wrists, just as something else thick drives home. This you can feel. This burning, ripping, aching pain. This you can feel above all else. This is the only thing you feel, until all you can feel is the cold concrete below you.

You should get up. You should run the next half-mile to the park ranger station. But you donít. You lie there like a dead thing, until the shivers finally force your already bloodied hands to scrape again and again against the jagged concrete. You finally get up. You limp, not run, in the opposite direction of the station, toward your car. You fumble with key, trying to push the button to unlock the car and opening the door seem damn near impossible. Youíre finally in the car and you slam on the button for the automatic locks. You put your head down on the rim of the steering wheel and let the racking sobs consume you. When youíre finally under control, you drive back to your apartment.

You know you shouldnít go upstairs and take a shower. But itís the only idea consuming your thoughts. You fall up the stairs and slam the key into the lock. You shove the door open and slam it closed behind you, sliding the deadbolt home. You stumble into the bathroom, and let your tattered clothes slide to the floor. Your shivering makes it hard to open the showerís glass door. You finally step into the shower and turn the water on as hot as it will go. You feel blindly for the scouring loofah. You snatch it and rake it over your body until the water turns pink. They tell you not to take a shower, not to wash away the evidence. But thatís all you want to do. No one can ever know. No one ever will.



To contact Jo:
crosier03@cortland.edu