20 juin 2015

Chapter 5

            Something’s caught in my throat… And the earth is moving, rocking left to right, left to right… AAARGH!!! Fuck, fuck, fuck!!! Searing, ruthless razor blades are cutting into my flesh, my face, my ribs, my chest. In a heartbeat I go from total oblivion to a shocking threshold of heart wrenching agony. With every earth movement, the bar is raised, and I feel more than ready and willing to just disappear, to be swallowed whole by the Nothing; to just DIE, whatever it takes to stop this. Please, please, kill me!!!

Then my brain suddenly notes that the Face of my Terror might still be around. I open my eyes as widely as I can, with heartbeats threatening to push a hole through my ribcage, only to feel that even more pain is blocking my vision, and through what I think are tiny slits, I see a grey, metallic ceiling. The earth shakes again, and I close my eyes before screaming from deep within. But something’s caught in my throat… 

Two dark faces seem to be hovering over me, but I can’t see their features. Pure, distilled horror drips through my veins, and I hysterically try to hit one of them with the hand I can still move. But two palms hold it down, rendering it, and me, powerless.

“C’est bien pour ça qu’on attache les victimes d’agression[1],” one of them whispers.

[1] “That’s exactly why we tie down assault victims.”

 …Victim? ...The tone is too professional, and I just about realize that maybe they won’t hurt me, before the earth shakes again. I feel a spear cutting through my very hipbone, and moan loudly. My vision gets all blurred, and one of them hurries to wipe my eyelids with some sort of cloth. Did he just help me?... Confusion washes over me; where am I? With every blow of excruciating pain, I keep getting flashes of kicks, of metallic impact; flashes that make me scream louder and louder, though it all comes out as a ripping, muffled roar.  

One of the two silhouettes speaks to me in polite French, calls me Madame, and explains to me that I’ve been assaulted, and that I have fractures so I’ll need to keep as still and calm as possible. It makes me want to hit him even more. He also asks me if I directed the pepper spray at my attacker, or more at myself.

It suddenly dawns on me; that’s why my dad’s name came to mind. He had given me that pepper spray bottle. That’s what I found under my ribs. It must have fallen from the bag. That’s what I squeezed at the Face, and that’s why He coughed and cussed. I must have known that as I was pointing the spray bottle at Him, though I’m having trouble remembering it accurately now. But why the question of whether I had pointed it at myself?... Oh… my skin. I must have been in contact with trailing spray, or maybe the wind had blown some of it my way. I must be reacting badly to it, which could explain the eyes, and possibly the throat.

I try to cough by the two palms hold me down again. No, Madame, you have been intubated, don’t fight it, he warns. I shut my eyes, too exhausted by the effort, but the darkness scares me. I re-open them, and stare at one of the silhouettes, still unable to make out its features. It’ll be okay soon, he promises. But the earth keeps moving, and my inner scream grows louder and louder, to the point of filling my ears and mind, leaving no room for any other sounds I might possibly utter.  

The movement stops, and my brain registers, less cloudily now, that we must be near a hospital. I hear vehicle doors opening, and see a chink of the dark night sky, the same sky under which He did this to me. It’s enough to push me over the edge, and the hysterics take over. It doesn’t help that I feel the stretcher wheels slamming against the concrete, with resounding vibrations throughout my body. I shriek, not knowing whether the sound is coming out, or if it’s just in my head. This is too much. My God, make me numb, make me numb, make me numb… 

The next few days are a blur. Talks of open fractures, of hairline-fractured hipbone, of internal bleeding, of acute reaction to pepper spray, of facial skin burns and swelling… I can hear them all – feel them all – but the screaming in my ears is much, much louder.  MRI’s, horrible rape kit tests, bandages, anesthesia for bone resetting, anesthesia for sutures, needles, drips, casts, leg tied up to the bottom of the hospital bed to stabilize the hip… Nothing is strong enough to cover the continuous wail in my head. Not even my mother, who gets there first, and sobs mostly about all the swelling and bandages on my face; or Ginny, who seems positively suicidal; or hours later, Erik… Erik!! He left everything and took the train over. His presence would have been more soothing if he didn’t look like a puce-coloured battering ram, with no neck. I have never seen him like this. He would hardly look me in the face.

Mother repeatedly asks me a dozen questions, with an exceedingly soft voice, as if that would soothe me. But I just look at her through the slits I have for eyes, and keep staring at her, mentally hoping she would shut up. The shrieking in my head is already loud enough. 

At one point she begs me to speak, while both Erik and Ginny hold their breath and look at me.  

I’m a bit surprised by this, despite the numbness. It’s as if I had intentionally chosen and decided to be silent. I hadn’t. If I spoke now, I wouldn’t hear my own words from all the inner screaming, and it wouldn’t make me feel better to “share, describe, or express” anything. And what irritates me most of all is that circus-attraction feeling, when everyone’s waiting for you to do something that would bring them relief, while all you can think of is how you’d like to curl up and die.

            By the end of the fourth day, Erik marches into the room with company: two French detectives he used to work with; the best, he says. He presents them to me in the strangest of tones; one of seriousness and detachment, as if I were someone who has just filed a complaint at the precinct. And when he looks at me, it’s like he doesn’t really see me. He then exits the room, and leaves me with the detectives. Their brows are noticeably furrowed, as if to show they’re fully aware of the gravity of the situation. They tell me their version of events, including the fact that slipping my phone into my sleeve was a good idea, since it allowed them to quickly identify me and call my next of kin. They start asking me basic questions, and I just give them an exhausted, powerless stare, hoping they would just leave me alone. And when they don’t, I slowly look away, after seeing them throw glances at each other, confused by my silence.  

            And yet, Erik doesn’t give up. He brings forth more investigators, both police and private, over the few following days, whereas mother invites psychologists and, to my nightmarish surprise, friends and cousins, “for support”. They all gape and smile, offering me their sympathy and support. In the meantime, Ginny stands in a corner, all pale-looking and wide-eyed, staring creepily still at one chosen point. 

            The only time she manages to be alone with me, she sits next to the bed and finally looks up. I see her deep-rooted guilt and grief, and wonder if I really do blame her… Well, of course I do. But then, I blame the entire human race and nature, so it’s “nothing personal”…  And I appreciate the fact that of everyone who has been here, she stayed silent. We just look at each other, and it’s the most I’ve allowed myself to communicate with anyone so far. 

But our small reunion is interrupted by Erik, marching in, as usual. He surely has some new detective to present to me, in case I’d find one I’m comfortable enough to speak with. I roll my eyes but no one can see it because of the swelling. Even he looks surprised that Ginny has left her corner. He looks at her inquisitively, and she slowly shakes her head. No, dad, I can’t speak yet. Leave me the hell alone! He hesitates for a second, then decides to go forward with his new idea.

“Lily, I’ve brought you a new friend of mine. He’s the best in his field.”
But of course he is!
“He’s the best in Europe actually. And he’s not even in the police force.”
He’s right, it does make for a refreshing change.
“If you let him, he’ll help you form a facial composite of the fucker who did this.”

His new friend peeks his head through the door, and I do a double take. The second my eyes reach a full focus on his face, my heart explodes then comes to a shocked, gut-wrenching still.

My Green-Eyes!


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