It was snowing; leaves fell in light, precious circles, turning slowly through the air. She had forgotten to put on her gloves. She brought her hands up to try and protect her face but it was useless. He brushed them aside as if they were nothing more than a trouble. He pulled her hair, twisting her head around so that she was forced to look up at him. His pale blue eyes glared over her face without expression. Nothing. she could feel herself telling something.... a word or two, a reply... perhaps even in her own language, she could not tell. He took no notice. He slapped her heavily; almost joking and then he drew back his hand, correcting his aim. There was a moment’s pause and then the weight of his fist made contact with her cheek. She felt the hit of her own Jaw and then the sickening rush of inky black pain. She saw stars. Her mouth was filled with blood. A second pause, another painful wait, and then another punch, and another and another. Her mouth felt big and warm. Suddenly there was ice on her tooth. It took her a pause to work out that the cold, sandy stuff in her mouth was stuck, mixed with ice. She was on the floor. She was lying with her face down, brought there by the hit of the blow. He was big, almost her size, and when he got her roughly to her feet again, she was very light as snow.
“Stupid." The word whispered outwards, stuck between his lips and teeth. “You stupid girl". He said it again and again, marking it with a blow, sometimes a slap. She could see his boots.... clean black boots. She caught a look of her own face reflected in the shine. She felt the steel cap prod her face below he kicked her, hard and fast. The poker- hot stab of pain went all the way up to the roots of her hair. He looked down, his face very near to hers, as he pulled her coat from her shoulders and made it to one side. She was already cold - colder than she could ever have dreamt but there was a chill on her bare skin that had nothing to do with the wind. He grabbed the material of her skirt, tearing it as he pulled it off her hips.
“No.... Please No".
“Shut Up." The exchange lasted less than a second. Another hit to the side of her face and then he was on top of her, cleaning her with his bulk and weight. He wrapped one tick, meaty hand around her neck and pushed her knees apart. She had never felt anything like it. He was cutting her into two. The pain was more. She could feel herself sliding in and out of consciousness as his hand closed around her throat, choking her, cutting off her breath. The sound that came out of his throat seemed to have come from something else.... an animal, perhaps. Human beings didn’t make that sort of sound, she thought wildly to herself as she struggled desperately underneath him. Who could do this? No human being, surely. No one. Not even him.
She had been with him before- not like this, not out here in the open with the snow all around them and him tearing the clothes off her, choking her, but she had known that first and only time that he was capable of anything. That was why she refused to go with him.
“Let one of the other girls takes him," She whispered to Jane.
“I don’t want to. I am scared of him." Jane Nodded; she was a good worker, a good earner... she rarely made a fuss. If she really did not want to go with him, she wouldn’t be made to. It was one of the unspoken rules at Judy’s which was why she would be staying there. It was safer there than somewhere else. Jane had offered him someone else but he had turned and walked out instead. They had all breathed a sigh of relief as they watched him go. They were a strange bunch, those British soldiers, even though bars like Judy have dependent on them. No trouble, for the most part, but every once in a while an off one would come along with an anger that was so raw and desperate and unknowable buried inside them that no number of visits could release it. Those were the ones to look out for.
Terrible things could happen; the girls sensed it somehow as if they were smart, they walked away, and turned the job down. Jane knew it; she made sure the bookers knew it too. If a girl felt the fear- it came of like a sweat- then she would not be made to go back. But he had come after her anyway. That was the other thing she had seen in him that time. He was not the sort to take “No" for an answer. She should have known that.
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