Thursday, January 16, 2014

November 1983 *From Reese & Stephanie's separate diary*

9/1/2002

She had walked less than a quarter mile before a truck pulled over ahead of her. Putting her head down she quickly approached the truck as if to walk past. There were three guys who looked to be in their late teens to early twenties in the cab. The one sitting by the passenger door rolled down the window.

“It’s really cold out. Would you like a ride?

Without looking up she replied, “No thanks.”

“Look, I know you’re cold. You’re shivering. Where you headed?”

She stopped walking and looked toward the truck. “Bull Run.”

The guy who had been speaking opened the door and got out. He stood next to the door as if inviting her in. “We’re harmless, really. You just looked cold and it’s really late.”

Stephanie walked over to the truck and climbed in.

As they pulled back onto the road, the driver turned up the heat. Stephanie was furious at not being able to stop the shivering. Leaning forward to put her hands near the vents, her sleeves pulled back just enough to show the blood still caked under the sleeves. She pulled her hands back, cursing under her breath.

The guy sitting by the passenger door had seen. “Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, fine, No problem.” she muttered.

They all exchanged looks over her head. “Are you sure you’re okay?” asked the driver, “You look hurt. You want to tell us what happened?”

She could feel them exchanging looks again. “Look, you can go ahead and drop me off here.”

“No. you say you’re okay, you’re okay. How about we stop and get a drink. You like Slurpees?”

They think I’m a damn kid!

“How about just a soda, If you don’t mind.” Okay, play up the sweet routine. Don’t be such a hardass.

They pulled into a 7-Eleven and parked. The driver got out and headed toward the store. Instead of going in, he picked up the pay phone and started dialing.

“What’s he doing?” she asked.

“Nothing. Don’t worry about it. He’s just letting his mom know we’ll be late.”

My ass. Inside, the panic kicked in full force. The shaking was finally beginning to settle and it was all Stephanie could do to keep the panic from starting it up again.

The driver got off the phone and headed into the store.

“Look, I’m not stupid. Who did he really call?”

The two guys in the van were clearly uncomfortable. She knew they were stalling her.

“Did he call the fucking police?”

“No. No. He was just calling his mom.”

They tried engaging her in small talk but she was busy keeping her eyes and ears peeled to the highway. She heard the sirens before they did.

“That’s it. Let me out of this truck!” She cursed and tried to shove her way to the door. They had put her in the seat between these two men as if she were a small child. One of the guys turned and put his hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay. We just want to make sure you’re alright. Someone hurt you.’

She jerked away from him. “Let me out of this truck now!” Still cursing, she tried to stand and get past the guy on her left and out the driver’s side door. They both tried to catch hold of her but she had started swinging wildly and trying to force her way out the door. The driver was just coming out of the store with a Big-Gulp in his hand. She flipped him off as she ran toward the back of the store.

“I am not going to the hospital!” She screamed over her shoulder.

There was no escape behind the store. Running up the hill toward a side street she could see the ambulance followed by a police car, heading toward the store. Without bothering to look, she ran across the highway. With any luck, she would be hit before anyone got to her. Inside the panic had taken complete control and the voices swirled in around Stephanie, nearly blinding her.

She started shouting curses and making threats. “Back the fuck off!”

She was in the parking lot of a furniture store when a police car pulled around the back corner, blocking her. She stopped and turned. The ambulance, another police car and the truck with the three-wannabe heroes were pulling in the front of the store. Clenching her fists, she readied herself for a fight.

“There is nothing wrong with me! I am not going to the hospital and you can’t force me. You are not taking me home!”

She stood screaming and cursing as paramedics and police officers began getting out of vehicles and walking toward her. With their hands held in front of them as if to reassure her they weren’t going to hurt her, they crowded closer, surrounding her.

“Nobody is going to hurt you.” Said one of the EMT’s as he inched forward.

“Making me go home IS hurting me, you asshole!”

There was nowhere to go. Crossing her arms over her chest, Stephanie backed into the side of the police car and tried to keep the fear inside from showing. She wanted to scream aloud at the trembling and tears she could feel creeping up on her but wasn’t giving anyone the satisfaction of knowing she could feel the fear. She had never acknowledged it before and was not about to start now.

Following orders from a police officer, she turned and placed her hands on the cruiser. The bag was taken from her shoulder and handed to a second officer who began searching through it. The first officer began asking questions.

“What’s your name? Who hurt you? Are you carrying?”

Looking over her right shoulder, Stephanie warned the officer to be careful checking her right back pocket. The blade was taken from a disposable razor and had been put in her pocket just before sneaking out the front door earlier that night.

She was searched, examined and when it was clear she was in no immediate danger, driven to the police station. It was to be the first of many such nights.