Eliza woke up screaming. All her dreams were the same since that night. But it was OK he wasn’t here now. She listened to the hammering rain against the window and slowly took deep breaths. In and out. In and out.
The scent of the rain filled her bedroom through her small open window and she took one more deep breath to clear her raw and musty early morning lungs. She looked at her phone, it was 6am, but her bed was so warm and it was so comforting when you were nicely wrapped up and could hear the foul weather outside. She spent at least ten minutes trying to think up ways to get out of work.
“Can’t call in sick, did that last week… Can’t tell them my car broke down coz I just has the MOT done and they all know…Would they believe me if I said I had a family member had died….again? Dear God, what am I thinking?”
Shocked at just how desperate she was becoming she picked herself up out of bed and dragged herself straight into the shower. The morning ritual which had at one time she had taken such pride in had in the last few months fallen by the wayside. She used to spend at least an hour fixing her hair making sure that every strand was poker straight, then making sure that her ridiculously expensive make-up matched her equally costly outfit, which she had carefully laid out the night before. But it all seemed too much of a nuisance now.
The truth was that ever since the day it happened she didn’t seem to bother with herself at all. All she wanted to do was to stay in bed.
She had gone down to spend the weekend with Lucy in Plymouth and Lucy had made all these new outrageous friends at her new job in a model agency.
There was a group of about eight of them, girls and boys that went out that Friday night, first dinner, then cocktails and then prowling the streets for the closest club, not wanting to spend precious drink money on a taxi. To Eliza it was just like any other Friday night and after they had succeeded in dancing to songs they didn’t recognise whole swaggering around like giraffes on acid, they decided to call it a night.
Eliza had gone back to Lucy’s and it a moment of drunken hospitality Lucy had invited the entire group back to stay at her flat. Since it was literally just across the road everyone accepted and Lucy spent the next hour throwing pillows and blankets at people and yelling at them to sleep on the floor. She remembered one of them, Rob lying on the floor and trying to hug Mel and Mel pushing him away and laughing.
Eliza got the spare room naturally as Lucy’s longest friend and while the other’s fought over the sofa and the floor, she quietly shut the door and crept into bed.
The next thing that happened will be forever etched into her deepest and darkest memories. She was flung into consciousness with Rob sitting on top of her, covering her mouth and was moving his hand up her leg. The sheer shock made shake violently and she shot up with such force that he momentarily loosened his grip. Eliza screamed and kicked, so that eventually he fell off the bed.
Lucy rushed into the room and yelled out in horror to find Rob lying on the floor completely naked from the waist down and Eliza lying on the bed crying. She screamed at Rob to get out and he very calmly got dressed, apologised and went.
Eliza had been confused about what to do. Rob hadn’t raped her but she still felt violated. Lucy, trying to be helpful, advised her that maybe things like these were best left and she could put the whole thing down just to a nasty experience. She was awfully sorry and that she didn’t even work with Rob, he was just invited along by one of the other girls.
Eliza left Plymouth the next morning feeling completely numb. She was supposed to stay until Sunday but couldn’t bear it. She couldn’t stand the room or the place, everything about the town reminded her of the night before and him being there. She had to leave.
Back in London, even though it was the height of summer, things felt cold and dark. She kept asking herself questions about the night. Why had he chosen her? Why do it then? Who in their right mind could even thing to do such a terrible thing? He might do it to somebody else?
And since then she had been asking herself the same questions. She didn’t tell anyone about the assault, in hoping that if no one around her knew then maybe it had never happened. But this didn’t happen. She became introverted, in her own world. She didn’t feel like going out anymore. She didn’t feel like doing her hair anymore. Anything said by men at work was met with snappy, cold responses and whenever she could get away with it she would stay in the one place she felt safe. Her bed
Today she made the usual twenty minute journey to work, listened to the radio and parked in the same spot in the same street she had for the past two years. Because she worked in the middle of a town, she had to park in a back street that was a good ten minute walk away but she reasoned that this was better than paying £5 a day to park somewhere only a few minutes closer.
Along the route to work, she passed a park. Well it was not really a park, more like a patch of green with a few trees in it but today it looked like some of the trees were being disturbed.
Eliza thought at first it must be the wind, but it was continuous and in the same direction and then she heard a small whimper.
Instinct overtook her and she ran across the green, desperate to try and help. She pushed her way in the small grove and saw a young boy, couldn’t have been older then 18 trying to hold a girl of what looked to be a similar age against a tree. He had his hand over her mouth like how Rob had to Eliza.
Eliza’s mind left her and pure unnatural rage took over. The boy released the girl at the first sign of being disturbed but then Eliza chased after him. She screamed as she ran and when she had finally caught up with him she grabbed him with such terrible force he instantly hit the ground. She then kicked him, first in the groin to immobilise him and then took off her shoes and starting beating him in the face until she couldn’t see it for the blood.
When she realised the boy wasn’t fighting back anymore she felt her senses return and the horror creep in. What had she done? Where was the girl? Turning back she saw the girl had gone. Disappeared. Off to pretend the whole thing never happened.
Eliza ran, back to the car and then back to her flat. So that she could get into bed and pretend that none of this had ever happened.