A Monster Of The Night
This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I check my wristwatch for the umptieth time. It's been only a minute since I last checked it. I can't help it; I am exhausted and hungry. My shift is ending in precisely five minutes. I've had the longest four-hour shift ever. Being a lab assistant looks easy, but walking around sorting issues related to the computers can get draining. The evening shift is the worst because all students want a quiet place to work, so they all flock to the library. And Lady luck never favours me because this is the only shift I can take.
'Linds, wait for me. I'm just grabbing keys quickly.'
'Okay, you will get me outside.'
Oh gosh, I don't have the energy for him today. Don't get me wrong; I like Taynor. A lot but today, I don't want to be around him. Yes, go on, call me the brat already. This guy has been asking me out since I started working here. And that was six months ago. Come to think of it. His shifts are always the same as mine. He is abusing his role to push his narrative. In this case, I am the narrative. I am not sure what he is in rank, although I can attest to his big boss walk now and then.
He can often remind me how he and I are soul mates. I mean, that is a far cry if you ask me. Maybe not. The thing is, Taynor is stupidly beautiful, with his tall, lean body, big almond eyes, delicious pink lips, and dimples that adorn his cheeks as if he needed to be any more perfect than he is. His a smooth brother who walks around looking like he belongs on Billboards across CBD showcasing the latest underwear brand. Yes, Taynor is that yummy. He makes me laugh, and we click.
He ticks all the boxes, but he is too much of a ladies' man. Even with that, I still can't fault him in the affection department. He exceeds the basic standards by merit. The sweet 'good morning' texts, checking on me now and then and walking me to my dorm after shifts. I enjoy all that.
'Lindy Babe, when are you letting me sleep over?' He is here. I must have zoned out because I didn't see him coming.
'Aahh, how does never sound?'
'We would only sleep, baby girl. I promise to behave. Or should I say I promise I won't' bite too hard?'
'And your girlfriend?'
'Linds, you know my heart is yours. And you are mine. But honestly speaking, I don't mind if you take your time taking me.'
And then he winks and gives me his panty-dropping smile. Even his teeth are beautiful. I don't believe I am falling for his sweet tongue. I don't know how long I will be strong because the truth is this guy does it for me. He is it. I am just a bit shy; he does come on too strong. We have been doing these walks and talks for a while now. I love our chats; they are goofy and funny.
'You didn't have to walk me to the entrance Tay.'
'Just ticking off my spousal duties to end off the night. Besides, it's not safe for you to be out at night.'
'I'm on campus. I'm safe. Relax, Dad!'
'Like I said, duties and all.'
'Eish, that guy again.' I can't help the panic in my voice.
'That security on duty, he freaks me out. I always feel like he is staring at me.'
'He can't do anything to you. He is on guard at a ladies' dorm. He will be the first suspect if anything happens. Go on; I'll be waiting for your text to make sure you are safe. Night Lindy Babe'
The hug he gives me snatches my thoughts from the rabbit hole of fear I was slowly tumbling in. After this, I know my sweater will smell like him for a while. As I said, he does it for me. He is messing with my mind tonight, or should I say this morning, since it's a quarter past twelve. He is such a flirt. Who am I kidding? I love it when we go back and forth with the cute and nasty things.
I often get this feeling when someone is watching me, like heaviness on me. It slums on me like a sack of heavy rocks. Then comes the piercing eyes boring holes into your skin. They force me to respond to the ploughing gaze. All these and the sound of heavy breathing are enough to wrench me out of my slumbering sleep. At first, I didn't make it out, but my eyes finally refocused, taking stock of my surroundings in the darkness. The room is dark but illuminated by the moonlight, slithering past the tiny spaces where the curtains meet.
Then I see them, a set of piercing eyes shooting daggers right into my face. I try to jump up from the bed, but he is faster. Pushing me hard onto the bed and then stood there like a statue, gawking at me as if I belonged to him. Like he owned every inch of me.
His oversized silhouette is fixed to the ground, towering over me, blocking the moonlight. His eyes drink up every exposed skin on my body. My life flashes before me like a trailer to a sad horror movie. The room is small and even smaller now, with a big intruder. Again I try to make it for the door, but I'm halted by his giant hand wrapped around my neck, squeezing hard. I stop because fighting him is pointless he is so much bigger than my 56kg. And those eyes. I have never seen such scary eyes before; they will, me to obey. So tense and fiercely dangerous. He releases his hold on me, and I stay frozen in shock. I can't see him clearly, but his spicey and masculine scent invade my nostrils mercilessly.
I can almost taste the fear I have. Thick and chunky making every breath I take rushed and unsteady. The eyes touch every inch of my body, sharp and painful, where they pass. When the man's hands contact my flesh, they are warm, huge, sweaty, and calloused. But they move ever so gently up my bare thighs—the irony of a gentle monster. I cursed myself for only wearing panties after my shower. I had never felt as naked as I felt when his hand moved up my thighs, stopping at my hips and repeating the motion three more times, up and down with his rough warm hands.
He pulls my legs apart in one swift movement, stretching me wide open, baring my delicate parts to him, and towering over me with a full view of my nakedness. I know there is no mistaking his intentions now. I remain still, fixed into a frozen stupor by those damned eyes. I can't control my body. I can't move nor talk. I stay frozen with my legs wide open hanging in the air with his palms glued to the back of my knees, holding them up. He lets go of one leg and fiddles with his pants. I couldn't bear it, and I closed my eyes. The only part of my body I could control. Then I felt his body flush on top of mine, nestling himself between my legs. His breath fanned my face, nicotine and cherries rushing through my nostrils, forcing me to inhale. He slaps my thigh three times until I open my eyes and stare at him. Then he pushed into my entrance hard and unapologetic, once, twice, thrice, and he was in. I close my eyes again. I cant see this. No, it's too much, again with the slaps once, twice, thrice, and then I open them.
He thrusts into my core with force and a beastly hunger. In and out, in and out, grunting like an angry bear. In and out, in and out, with every stroke, he goes deeper, shredding my soul each time. Drops of sweat fall on my face as he violates me.
I feel the tears finally spill out of my eyes, hot and salty like a fountain; they fall down the sides of my face forming dampness on the pillow. After what feels like an eternity of chunks of my soul being chipped off piece by piece, I hear him growl and scream simultaneously. Just like a wounded dog. It is carnal and beastly. As he reaches his peak, I let out a cry of pleasure. I close my eyes in shame, and then my mind goes blank. It's the cold from the absence of his body that I feel first. I keep my eyes shut the disgust I feel with myself weighs on me, heavier than the pain I feel. It leaves me paralyzed and angry with myself but mostly with my traitorous body. I lie still under the covers, even long after hearing the door shut. Shame and disgust engulf every inch of my body.
It must have been hours lying on that bed, confused, scared, and shameful. I heard my phone vibrate and beep somewhere on my study table; I didn't move. I remained still even when the bustling in the corridor erupted from students getting ready for the day. I didn't move an inch even when the cleaners broke out in a chorus of laughter just outside my door. I just lay there listening to my breathing and all the sounds around me, numb and completely blank.
'Lindz. Lindz, open the door. Lindeka, please open the door. I know you are in there. Another round of pounding on the door, and it creaks open.
'Did you go to class? I have been calling you the whole day. Lindz? Hey, hey, now what's wrong, baby?' The tears started slowly, and then like a gushing tap, they flooded my face blurring my vision. The soft sob finally ruptured out of me from the depths of my body, ripping what's left of my soul into shreds until it became a gut-wrenching wail. When my body finally relaxed and quieted down from my hysteria, I was in Taynor's arms with my head snuggled in his neck, drenched in my tears and mucus.
'Do you want to talk about it?' I shook my head no
'Should I let you rest? I can come back later, or you can call me?' I shook my head again. He went quiet. We sat there saying nothing. I snuggled in his arms, almost cradled in his lap while sitting on my bed. I don't remember how we got to this position, but I appreciated it.
'I don't want to be in this room. Can we go?. Please.'
The last part was almost a whisper. I know he heard it because I spoke in his ear. My voice, a gentle croak, hung in the air, pained and pleading.
He got up and started throwing things in a bag he found in my small wardrobe. Then he passed me something to wear when I didn't move. He slowly helped me into my tights and an oversized t-shirt, he tucked my feet in sneakers, and then we walked out of my room. As soon as he locked the door, I felt a slight weight lift off my shoulders. Students are roaming the passage, going about their lives animatedly. They walk passed us, some with laundry baskets and others with laptop bags hung over their shoulders. I walk like a zombie leaning onto Taynor's guiding arm for dear life. Everything goes by in a blur of images I can't make sense decipher. The drive to his place, us arriving, just happened like a dream or almost like I was standing on the side watching.
'I think I got raped. I mean, yes, I was raped.'
'No, please don't try and hug me. I don't want to cry. Let me finish' my voice is shaky and low. It's taking everything in me to talk. I hate that I have to relive it, but I need to say it aloud. To make it alive because I know I didn't dream it happened. I need to lessen its power over me, even if it's a little bit.
'Okay. I'll be right here if you need me,' then he crouches to the kitchen floor opposite me, with his back to the cupboard, where mine is against the fridge. His voice is ever so gentle and endearing. Was he always this patient and gentle with me? If he only knew how much he saved me. I told him everything that had happened, from how I took a show and slept after we parted. He listened, nodded, and shut his eyes as I spoke. The next couple of hours were even worse than the violation itself. I had to be stripped naked, scrapped, and probed, only this time, I had an audience now. I had to answer questions, listen, follow instructions and relive every detail of the night that will forever haunt me. That night we got back to Taynor's place with a case number, a paper bag of prescription medicine for me, and a hollowness in my heart. I was broken and exhausted, body and soul.
'I'll run you a shower, come. And then you can have something to eat.' I walked with him to the bathroom and said nothing. What could I say that could make everything seem normal?
'Lindz baby, are you fine in there? The food is ready. I'll be in the lounge.' I've been sitting on this floor since he left me a while ago. I couldn't do anything, couldn't think. All I wanted was the coldness of the tiles beneath me and just being still.
'Lindz, baby? I'm coming in.' He just stood there looking at me, thinking about what to do before walking in.
'Come.' Taynor didn't say anything after that. We remained quiet, with the sound of the shower running through our shallow breaths. He helped me out of my clothes and carefully covered my head with a shower cap. I recognized the Donald Duck prints on it. He must have packed it too. He carefully guided me under the shower. When the first drops of the warm water fell on my body, I shivered.
'It's okay, baby. I got you.' And just like that, I fell apart. I cried softly into the spray of water. And when I felt Taynor's arms wrap around me. I clung to his t-shirt, clutching it with all my strength. He was still in his jeans and top. The safety I felt in his arms was all the push I needed to let myself fall apart. I cried fiercely, allowing my pain to flow out with each stream of tears that fell from my eyes. I wailed for the pain, the void, the violation I suffered but mostly the shame. I was angry with my body for reacting the way it did because I knew I did not enjoy anything from that night.
When the water started cooling down, Taynor slowly let go of me and used that time to gently rub the loafer all over my body, washing away all dirt that had coated my skin since the man destroyed my good thoughts. Every part of my body he passed over with the loafer was like he was removing traces of the man's hands on my body. And somehow, I appreciated Taynor's hands giving my body a new memory. And that night, as he snuggled next to me, I felt a little wave of hope wash over me.
'Are you ready for school?'
'Yes, I am. I missed it, hey. I can't believe I'm saying this. I'm a little sad that I am left behind by my classmates, though.'
'Ahh, don't worry. Besides, there are perks to this. You will ace all the work since you know everything covered in semester one.
'Haha, you are crazy. But right. I never thought of that.'
'Eish, we forgot to leave the lights on. Lindz, baby, wait here while I quickly turn the lights on.'
'Nope, no way. I won't stay here alone. I'm coming with you.'
It's been six months since that dreadful night. Six months of living with the fear of dark spaces, six months of being struck with a thunder of panic every time a man comes close to me. I don't know what he looks like, which heightens my paranoia because I take a second glance when men are around me in case I have to relay the details later. Those eyes haunted me for so long. They were taunting me into panic attacks whenever I closed my eyes. Maybe if I knew how my assaulter looked, I would focus the hatred towards a particular type of male species. But now, I shudder every time I'm around men.
'Lindz, Baby? Hey, where were you just now?' I must have zoned out again.
'Nowhere, just tired and hungry.'
'Come on, let me feed you so you can feed me. I've been starving.' That panty-dropping smile again. I did say he would consume me at some point, right?
'Mmhh, you are so nasty. I'll change into pj's while you warm the pizza.'
'But you love it, don't you?' All I do is smile. What answer can one give when they are irrevocably smitten.
'Have you called your mom?'
'Not yet. I will call tomorrow, though.'
'Baby, you know where I stand, right?' He doesn't wait for an answer. He was not expecting it either. He was reminding me that he wanted me to stay with him—my mom, I sigh. I need to call her. She doesn't know about the rape. She would have just worried. I stayed the first month with Taynor after it happened. I couldn't bear going back to the place that broke me into shambles. So I stayed with Taynor for a month. I couldn't go back to a place that scared me. I will never know who the man was. The security guard that frightened me was at work the following, and even if I wanted to accuse him, I couldn't. Then I woke up one day and felt a yearning to be home. And so I left. I told my mom I was robbed at gunpoint on my way back to school from town. I told her how freaked out I was and needed to be home. She must have seen the mess that I was because she held back on the lectures and let me stay home. She booked me for therapy sessions. And I stayed home helping with my brothers and being emersed in the love and belonging I felt around my family.
My mom is a single parent. My dad bailed on her and got married. Then she met my stepdad. He is excellent and doesn't treat me differently from my brothers – his two kids with his mom. He gives me princess treatment, but he is strict as well. Libo 1a and Bongani 14. They are a headache, and I couldn't burden my mom with my problems. I think I felt guilty for coming that night for a long time. The violation is what put me off from intimacy. I felt like I enjoyed what happened to me. Which is twisted because I was violated, hurt and abused. A cruel act happened to me, and I didn't understand why I reacted that way. I felt disgusted with myself for so long.
Dr Linette explained that it was just my body reacting that way. And that it was not unheard of. Her choice of words was everything because saying it's normal would be a terrible thing to say. But it happened, and it happened t me, and I couldn't change that. All I could do was move from it, learn to live, be brave, and smile again.
'Thank you, Tay. Thank you for being you' I am snuggled up to his side while watching a Bridgeton on Netflix. He turns to look at me and pulls me onto him, so I am straddling him. He brings me close to his face and looks at me with those dreamy eyes. They are a mixture of green and grey, depending on how the light shines on them.
'Anything for my person. I told you, Lindz baby, I am in it for the long run. I love you, all of you and I have my flaws, baby but don't ever doubt how I feel about you.'
'Yes, I know. You have more than showed me.'
'Hey, hey, no waterworks. I want you to smile today. Come on, no pouting.' He wipes my tears and plants soft kisses first on my eyes, cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose before lingering on my lips. He is waiting for a go-ahead, checking if I am okay to continue. He is so sweet. I kiss him opening the door for him to continue.
'Ahh, I've been starving. Come on' He carries me to the room. I am broken, I am scorned, but I am loved, and I am living.