*Trigger Warning-Proceed With Caution*
I remember it being cold, freezing actually, I was bundled up in a cozy jacket trying to keep my warmth. Things were hectic back at home, so my decision to leave and take a walk seemed pretty good at the time.
It wasn't very late, 7 at the latest, but I remember it being very dark. It was the beginning of Winter so the sun set early.
I was walking in a parking lot of Big Lots, there were cars around, some people mingling at the few bars around. Wasn't very populated but wasn't deserted.
Big Lots wasn't a far walk from my home, but that day I felt really lazy. So I thought it'd be wise to try to find a short cut instead of walking all the way back home.
If I could go back in time I would tell my younger self to turn around and go the right way home, but I can't, and that fateful night, I didn't.
I peeped my head around the Food4Mart, a small convenient store connected to Big Lots, and noticed a small alleyway. I had never seen this alley before, probably because this square dancing place blocked it from view on the other side.
I remember my small, naive self walked right in the middle of the alley, thinking I was perfectly safe.
I was wrong
I began to hear footsteps behind me. Loud footsteps which crushed the dry leaves below. I turned quickly, trying to see what it was.
A man; white and tall. Muscular with an ugly face. Bloodshot Topaz eyes, a crooked grin. A bottle of alcohol in his right hand.
Immediately I looked down, not wanting to meet his gaze.
"Well look what we have here." He said, coming closer to me. I closed my eyes tightly and bit my lip. This isn't real, I told myself, this must be a dream. I stood there silently as he walked around me, eyeing me like a vulture.
"Now tell me, why on earth is a pretty girl like you doing here, this late at night?" He asked.
"It's only 7." I squeaked. I was terrified, cloning to my own arms. Pinching my olive skin trying to wake up from this dream, which was beginning to turn into a nightmare. The man got closer to me and grabbed a lock of my black hair. The hair cascaded down his hand as he eyed it. I made no sound, not a single peep.
"Oh your parents are going to miss you." The words echoed in my mind. Snap out of this! I yelled to myself. Go!<!--break-->
With that I ran as fast as I could out of that alley, but my 7th grade body was so match for his. I felt his hands jerk my waist and I let out a loud scream which was quickly muffled by his hand.
"Shush, shush" he mumbled in my ear. "You don't want anyone to spoil our fun, do you?"
The second he took his hand off my mouth I screamed again, but my voice was raspy and my lips were chapped. This time, the man slapped me, hard. And I fell to the ground without another word.
"See? We could've had so much fun. But now you've ruined it. Now only I get to have fun. And you get to lay here."
His hand ran over my body and I kept trying to jerk it away but I couldn't. He was too strong. Every time I screamed he would just cover mg mouth. Eventually he gave that up and stuffed a dirty plastic bag into my mouth.
I laid there on that wet cold alley floor and prayed for it to be over. I prayed to be returned home. I prayed to go back in time. God never answered my prayers and I began to loathe him as each second of this torture went by.
When the man was finished, he pulled my hair so I would look him in the eyes.
"If you tell anyone, I'll do this again. But next time you won't be returning home." He warned in a deep tone. I nodded quickly and watched as his silhouette faded in the darkness. I hugged my knees and cried. Tears dripped down my cheeks as I thought about what just happened.
I picked myself off the ground with wobbly legs and a shape resembling me left that alley that night. But I remained there, as that scared little girl who had done no wrong.
And that's what started it all.