She moved through the darkened street like she was one of the long shadows that stretched from the hazy yellow glow that leaked from the occasional streetlights. Like oil through a funnel. Her mind was still fuzzy. All she could remember from the night before was an address and a face.
The previous day McAlister and Kethry were lounging in her studio apartment, located near campus, complaining about everything, per usual. South Bend was boring. Notre Dame was dull. All the cute guys went to Stanford. Every other girl not currently in the apartment was a bitch for one bullshit reason or another. She had had enough of it. She wasn’t’ above talking shit, and lord knows she hated South Bend, the entire state of Indiana as a matter of fact, but that night those two dumb skanks, whom she considered her best friends, were getting on her nerves.
“Get dressed, we’re going out,” she commanded. Kethry and MacCalister stood almost immediately. Queen bee had spoken, and while neither Kethry nor McAlister would admit to it, she was the top bitch in their group.
In the “Backer”, as it was called, the painted cinderblock walls were sparsely hung with University of Notre Dame paraphernalia. The drinks were cheap and strong and there was always an even mix between students and townies trying to look like students. Sure, you were as likely to pick up an STD as you were a decent guy, but it was a place to dance, and drink, and be young and pretty.
The problem with Kethry and McAlister was that they were lushes. They were lushes, but they were lightweights. McAlister, Ms. Tacky, practically chugged a 32 ounce Miller Light from a clear plastic cup, while Kethry consumed a long island ice tea that the not-so-cute bartender made extra strong for her, per usual. Within an hour of being there, they were both near falling over. They were stupid enough to dance on the legendary pole. Not a real stripper’s pole on a stage, but a steal pole that was used as structural support. By a certain hour of the night, not so genteel young women danced on that poll every weekend.
With Kethry and Mcslut occupied on the dance floor, she was left alone to watch the room and hope to find someone else she knew. She’d been texting with Wolf, real name Steve, trying to get him to come out, but he was at some party at Zahm Hall. Why he lived in a dorm was beyond her. It’s not like his parents didn’t have the money to rent a place for him. He drove a Lexus RC F that his parents bought him for his 20th birthday – but he chose to live on campus. He was super sexy, she thought, but pretty tame overall. A future project manager that had the nerve to ask people to call him Wolf.
She’d finally said fuck you to Steve, put her phone away, and looked up to see a Channing Tatum lookalike staring her down from across the bar. He moved, square shouldered and robot like, around from the other side of the bar and slowly looked her up and down.
“Andre,” he said extending his hand.
She looked down at his hand like it was Latin homework. Who the fuck shook hands?
He was a student, on the swim team, which explained his shoulders. She told him she was going to be a lawyer and if he tried any funny shit, she’d sue his ass. He made her laugh. She made him horny. She’d introduced him to McAlister and Kethry who were just sober enough to realize he was dreamy. Immediately the drunken, half-hidden, texts started arriving to her phone from the two of them.
IF you don’t fuck him I will.
And the like.
At some point Kethry and McAlister told her they were going to Corby’s, an Irish-in-name-only bar, because Kethry’s secret girl-crush Maddy was there with some people. She told them she’d head there later. She wanted to stay with Mr. Tatem.
Then her memory began to get splotchy.
She was in a car. She remembered trying to turn on the radio and whoever was driving, maybe Andre, kept turning it off. She caught the street sign Sample, and then the next thing she remembered, she was getting out of the car, being half carried and half pulled across the sidewalk. The last thing she remembered of that night was a house number, 2219.
She awoke on the floor of a bathroom. A bruise on the bend of her arm, between forearm and elbow, spoke of something she could only half-guess. Her mouth tasted salty and dry. And she hurt. She hurt all over. She hurt in places she should not have hurt. The bathroom door opened, she saw a barefoot with hairy toes, and then her memory failed again.
The next time she awoke, it was on the ground in an alley. She was in the same clothes she wore the night before, but was missing her shoes. She made her way to the street, and didn’t recognize anything. Her purse was gone, along with her cell. She made her way to a mechanic’s garage across the street and asked to use the phone. Kethry picked her up a short time later.
She knew what had happened to her. She didn’t remember it, but she knew. It was obvious.
She spent the next few weeks going through all the patterns. Anger. Police. School officials. Nothing came of any of it.
Friends said loud words of encouragement to her face, and then whispered words of blame behind their hands. In her a coldness spread, a calm commitment, a burning need. She was the knife’s edge.
So she moved in the night. She’d borrowed Wolf’s car. She’d done slow passes down streets around Sample Street until she found the right house number. She parked down the block and slid her way along the sidewalk, silent as a stilled heart.
Overgrown bushes flanked the steps leading to the front door. She slipped behind one. Pulsing music vibrated windows. She breathed in time with the beat. The music increased fivefold as the door opened. She willed herself invisible. As he passed the bush and walked down the walkway to the sidewalk, she did not recognize him. It was not Andre. The man got into an Audi parked at the curb and turned the ignition, but didn’t leave.
The music played on in the house, and she heard the indistinguishable words of a one-sided conversation. The music stopped, so did her breathing. Again the door opened. Andre walked from the house and got in the waiting Audi. It drove off.
Breaking in was easier than she had imagined it would be. The front window was unlocked and slid open easily. She was inside and exploring within thirty seconds of emerging from behind the bush. It was a mess. PBR cans, empty and half empty, the stale smell of cigarettes. She explored two bedrooms, a bathroom. Two men lived there. Andre and the other.
She found a photo in Andre’s bedroom of him with a smiling middle aged couple. His parents, she guessed. Did they know what their son did for fun? Did they raise him to be the man he was? Should she find them after she was done with him?
She emerged from the closet as he was getting out his clothes several hours later. She smiled. It was an easy thing. As easy as pulling a trigger. She was Shiva the Destroyer. Queen Bitch. She was Death in Juicy sweatpants.
By D.K. (Alone at Night)