"You stay nice and quiet now, and I'll make you feel real nice."
I sat straight up in my bed, breathing hard, eyes wide open. It was just a dream. Just a nightmare. But that didn't really make that big of a difference to me. Because to me, it wasn’t “just a dream”. It was never “just a dream”. It actually happened. It happened and it’s real. People don’t seem to get that this problem is not going to disappear. How anybody expected that to happen is beyond me.
I lay back down and pulled my covers up to my chin. But I was still cold. This coldness had settled in my bones, and a few simple layers of blankets wouldn’t make any difference. I shuddered and turned to my side. Even if I wore sweaters and scarves and layers upon layers of clothes, I still felt naked. Closing my eyes, I tried to calm myself as the darkness closed around me. I would be okay, I thought to myself. He was gone. I would be okay. He couldn’t hurt me anymore.
“You stay nice and quiet now, and I’ll make you feel real nice.”
I rolled over onto my other side, pressing my hands to my head, trying to force the thoughts out of my head.
“Get out of my head. Get out of my head. Get out of my head,” I chanted to myself. I could almost feel the gun pressed against my hand. Rolling over onto my back, I could feel myself starting to sweat. Regardless, I still felt cold.
When he had finished, he left me laying there. Somehow I had seemed to block out what was happening, retreating somewhere in my mind where I could partially ignore what was happening. The rough wood pressed harshly into my back. My shoulder blades ached because of the position of my arms. I was sweating and shaking. My breaths were short and raspy. I kept trying to force my breaths to become even, but it was impossible. My stomach trembled.
Pulling my arms against the handcuffs, I ignored the pain. The handcuffs were rusty and old, cutting into my skin. I could feel the blood trickling down my arm and dripping onto the floor. I squirmed. A sudden nauseous feeling overtook my body. I twisted my body around to the side, ignoring the sharp edges of the handcuffs cutting into my bleeding flesh. I vomited onto the floor and started to choke. Gasping, I barely had time to breathe before another wave of nausea crashed over me and I vomited again.
Shivering, I rolled back over on my back.
I was on the ground of my room. I wasn’t there, in that house. I was safe. I was safe. But the images wouldn’t leave my head. They stayed with me. I wanted them out of my head. I wanted them out. Gripping the edge of my dresser, I slammed my head into the side of it. A sharp, sudden pain shot through my skull. I needed it to get out of my mind. I couldn’t stand it like this. It was haunting me. I couldn’t live like this.
“Looks like you got a little sick,” he said, chuckling. He was stupid and foolish to set the gun down. It was a couple of yards away from me. From the second it made contact with the floor, my eyes were glued to it. “I’ll make the sick go away,” he whispered roughly into my ear, “I’ll make it all better.”
“Get out!” I screamed. Tears blurred my vision as I pulled myself to a standing position. I needed it to get out. Stumbling across my room, I blindly groped for the doorknob. When I found it, I yanked my door open. Where were my parents? Where was my brother? Where was my family when I needed them? No where to be found. Shouldn’t they hear me screaming? Shouldn’t they hear me crying? Why was I so alone?
But I barely had any time to think about my family, because the images were burning alive inside my mind. I felt the sweat dripping down my face. Why was it so hot? I felt something rough scratching against my back. What was happening to me? What time was it? Was it night? Day? Where was everyone?
“I’ll make it all better.”
“Get out of my head! Get out!” I shrieked. Why was it so bright? Sunlight spilled in everywhere, evading my mind. I stumbled down the stairs and found the living room empty. Why was I alone? Where did everyone go?
“Liz?” the voice was coming from a far away place.
I whirled around and found Luke standing before me. He was looking at me like I was some crazed animal. Why was he looking at me like that? I wasn’t crazy! I took a step towards him, wanting him to comfort me. His eyes were wide with fear. Why was he afraid of me? What had I done?
“Luke, make it go away. Make it get out of my head. Make it go away,” I said, sinking down onto my knees.
“Do you want me to call Mom?” he asked, eyes still wide.
“No! I want it out of my head.”
But he didn’t comfort me. He looked scared out of his mind. He looked shocked.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call Mom or Dad?” he asked again.
“What is wrong with you? Can’t you see that they wouldn’t change anything? They won’t know what to do, either. No body knows what to do. I want it out, Luke. I want it out of my head.” Luke wavered in front of me. Things started becoming blurry. “Luke, please, help me…” I pleaded.
I felt his hand come down on my shoulder, attempting to comfort me. But the images kept coming.
“You stay nice and quiet now, and I’ll make you feel real nice.”
I pushed myself away from Luke and fell against the floor. “GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD. MAKE IT GO AWAY!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I couldn’t take this. I needed it out right now.
Luke stood in front of me, still as a stone.
I understood that it was hard for him. How was he supposed to know what to do? He wanted to help me; he really did, but just didn’t know how. I was his little sister; I knew it was hurting him to see me like this. But right now, it was too much. I needed help. And Luke couldn’t give it to me. So he was as good as gone.
I crawled across the floor to the coffee table. Grabbing it, I barely noticed that in the midst of my effort to stand, I had knocked a glass off onto the floor. I didn’t hear it shatter against the hardwood floor. I was so concentrated on getting up onto my feet, that I didn’t have ears for anything else. I suddenly felt strong arms around me, pulling me up. I struggled away from Luke and collapsed onto the couch.
I struggled against him for as long as I could, but he was much stronger than me. Also, I was handcuffed to a post, so there wasn’t much that I could do.
“Stop…moving,” he grunted, as he tried to settle my restless body.
“Get off me! Get off!” I screamed against the gag. My words came out as muffled screams, but I didn’t give up. My muscles were tired and I was sore. I felt raw and disgusting. But I wasn’t going to let it happen a second time. So, I brought my knee up quickly, making contact. He howled in pain and fell over on the floor. I thrashed my feet out, trying to kick him again. He rolled away from me, and lay onto the floor until he had recovered. When he had, he came back over to me. He quickly gripped both my ankles and bound them together. I kept resisting, but it was only a matter of time before he had his way with me.
I lay on the couch, rigid, with my eyes wide open. My breaths were short and forced. I didn’t blink. I didn’t move. I could distantly hear Luke trying to talk to me. I was lost, though.
So, with the very last of my energy, I weakly whispered, “Please, please get it out of my head.”
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