|Posted on July 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM|
How often are we the first ones to belittle our own selves? Shelley has been assaulted along the path of a nature trail and is trying to get back to her car.
As she walked, paranoia took over. She could swear he watched her, waited for her, behind every tree and shrub. Of course, she thought, he’d be long gone by now, wouldn't he? The trek to the clearing seemed to take an eternity. She’d thought she’d feel calmer once she'd made it out of the woods, but terror overtook her at the brink of a field of empty picnic tables.
She stared at her car, now the only one in the parking lot, which was on the other side of the picnic area, another eternity away. Was he watching? She stood motionless, minutes ticking by, watching from her place of cover, wishing she could just wiggle her nose and transport herself. No use wishing. Somehow she found the courage and dashed across the clearing, fumbled with the key, opened the door, climbed in and slammed the door behind her.
Once locked inside the relative safety of her little car, Shelley tilted the rearview mirror down and stared. The tear-streaked face of a stranger stared back. Images of what had just transpired flashed through her mind and with those images came nausea and despair and a terrible feeling of helplessness. She touched her face and the hysteria bubbled up. She wanted to scream and cry and– and– what? Hurt him back? Yeah, she did. She wanted to hurt him. She wanted to make him feel what she felt. The indignity, the shame, all topped with the most debilitating fear she’d ever felt in her life. Utter devastation.
How could she have let this happen? How does a man think he can assault a woman in broad daylight and get away with it? Well, of course he thought he could– he just did. She hadn't even tried to fight, had she? Not really. She'd made it easy for him. That man was walking around at this very minute, a greasy smirk on his face, smiling and speaking to his friends or family as if nothing had happened. As if he hadn’t just destroyed her world. The thought forced the scream from her lungs. Shouting, she pounded the steering wheel, finally giving vent to all the turmoil she felt.
The van pulling up beside her, teenagers spilling out, music blaring, brought her to her senses. School was out. She had to get going. Taking slow, deep, breaths to calm herself, she quieted, glancing back up at the mirror as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Get a grip,” she whispered to herself. “Come on now, get a grip, you wimp.” Sniffing, she turned the ignition and started home.
|Posted on July 26, 2016 at 3:35 PM|
I want to keep up my blog. Seriously, I do. But there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. Then... I read a "blog" about using what you've already written several ways. For example, write your speech, use part of it as a video and also in your blog. I've struggled a bit, even with that, so I was thinking of material I already had, and of course, my books came to mind. So, this will be an experiment of sorts. Let me see what happens if I post parts of my books, not very long parts at all, as a blog post. Should I post them randomly, or in order, as a book? I'm not sure, but maybe someone will have an opinion. So then, what follows is the opening scene in Dandelions Never Die. It was a gruesome time for our Shelley and unfortunately, a time too many women know all too well.
Shelley struggled desperately against the large hand braced against her chest, pressing her down into the soft bed of pine straw. She whimpered as she strove to free herself from his grasp. Even though she fought with every ounce of strength in her body, it seemed he held her down effortlessly. How could he be that strong? Or maybe it was how could she be so weak?
“Oh yeah, that's it. Fight me, baby.”
His words brought her efforts to an immediate halt. Resisting was futile. Tears welled in her eyes as she accepted her fate. It was really going to happen. This wasn’t some news story on TV. It’s really happening and it’s happening to her, here, now, in the bright sunlight.
No one would’ve held this man suspect. He wore expensively tailored slacks and shirt, a businessman by all appearances, who'd struck up a friendly conversation with her as she'd walked in the middle of the afternoon. She hadn't questioned it. Several regulars walked the peaceful paths of the nature preserve during their lunch hour to breathe fresh air and grab some exercise. “A nice walk after lunch before returning to the drudgery of the office.” That's what he'd said. She'd smiled at him, commented on the beautiful weather.
“What? That's it?” he asked, derision in his voice. “That’s all the fight you got? That's because you want it. Secretly, you know you do. All women do. I know your secrets. How does that make you feel? Huh?”
Her entire body trembling with fear, she looked up into his glazed eyes, hoping to see a shred of compassion. “Please– please don't do this,” she begged. “Please don't.” Her voice whined, as if that of a child's and she hated it. She hated him. Mostly though, she hated herself for being weak, for sounding so pitiful and for begging.
Shelley frantically tried to think, searching her mind for some small bit of information she may have picked up on TV or in a magazine about self-defense. But nothing came. Should she fight or be passive? Which one would preserve her life? My life! For the first time the thought crossed her dazed mind that she might not live through this. Oh God, is this guy crazy enough to kill me? What can I do? She had no time to decide.
His hands tore at her shirt and she did nothing. He ripped away at her shorts and she did nothing. Groped her bared skin, and still, she did nothing. And for many minutes, after he left her in a heap on the bed of pine straw, she did nothing.
Slowly, her mind began functioning again, her first cognizant thought being that she was indeed, still alive. The second was of her kids. The two youngest were in after school care and would be okay until she arrived, but her eldest would be home from school soon and wondering where she was.
Brain numb and hands shaking, she struggled to her feet and began gathering the remnants of her clothing– and her mind. She dressed, holding her shirt closed in her fist and began the frightful walk back to civilization along the path of the nature trail she’d taken. A trail that should’ve been safe in the middle of the day. A trail to which the local school brought children on field trips. A trail she’d once loved to walk and breathe in the rich aroma of earth and trees and flowers. Now, a trail where a complete stranger had assaulted a woman in broad daylight. Her stomach turned. Assaulted in a public park in broad daylight. There was shame in that and she felt it deep within her soul.