In the alley where Agnes faces a man as he reveals that he was recently released from prison, she is not without grace.
Yes – god, angels, guardians and all that are there. Of course they are.
But Agnes cannot hear them. She doesn’t even know how to ask them for help. She grew up asking for help by screaming in her head: SOMEBODY, ANYBODY HELP ME
And SOMEBODY, ANYBODY always answered.
Tonight, she is guided to use defense techniques that she learned growing up in a family whose members passed down shank-making skills like this was the bright purple legacy of royalty.
remember, always keep them talking
“No shit! What were you in for?”
Her hands don’t shake. She’s calm as a cardiologist giving bad news.
“Some bitch accused me of raping her when I was a juvie.”
Down the road, a drunkish couple in a one bedroom apartment is craving chips. But neither person wants to move. They are more tired than hungry.
keep talking. don’t do anything to startle him. he’s violent.
“That sounds awful.”
Agnes is starting to get scared now. Alone at night with a convicted fucking rapist. Out just that weekend. Probably hasn’t had sex in a while. He believes rape is sex, not violence. He sees her drunken yes to a one night stand with a stranger as final. He leaves no room for no.
She tries to keep him busy. She tells him that she has to sit down. He wants to make out. In the immediate now of her keeping him calm, knowing he does not see her as a human being, she thinks the best thing to do is kiss him. She will tell him no later.
When? She asks SOMEBODY, ANYBODY
just keep him talking.
The rapist tells her his apartment is through the alley right past the bench.
Shit. Fuck. I don’t want to go in there. But if I say no now, he’ll beat me unconscious and drag my body into the alley. How do I know this? How can I see this?
don’t be afraid.
go into the alley. it’s okay. keep him talking.
Shit. Fuck. Shit.
Her hands still don’t shake. Agnes can outsmart this guy with SOMEBODY, ANYBODY’s help.
He starts to push her up against the brick wall. He’s rough and she hasn’t even resisted yet. Her head slams against the brick. She tries to pull away. To touch her head. To check for blood.
He comes closer, sort of laughing, like oh shit, sorry.
Jesus, this guy is strong.
He’s drunk. He can’t stand now without wavering. He checks her head and pulls her close with his iron arms. He throws her in a dance turn so he can lean against the wall.
Agnes’s head slams against the concrete. Her vision blurs. Her phone falls and bounces across the ground.
“Oh fuck, god, not again.”
He looks terrified. From what Agnes can see. His hands are pressed against his face. His mouth is open.
She struggles to remain conscious. She feels sick. She looks up in time to see him pull his dick out of his pants.
He’s kneeling down now. To see if she is alive. His dick is hard.
This terrifies her. This makes it real. She’s in an alley after 3 am in a small town about to get raped. No God, no SOMEBODY, ANYBOY to hold her fucking hand, to pick her up in a car, to call the police.
There’s nothing left to do. She pisses her pants.
He doesn’t care. He starts to work her belt.
She wills herself to remain conscious. If she blacks out, she’s dead.
She tells him that she has to pee. She asks him for his help to get up. He pulls her up easily with his right arm.
Agnes searches for the exit without being obvious. Chooses a corner she thinks leaves the most room for escape. As she crouches, she asks SOMEBODY, ANYBODY for help.
just keep him talking. don’t let him get you back on the ground.
As she pisses in the corner of the alley, she asks him what it was like in jail. It’s a risk, but she trusts SOMEBODY, ANYBODY.
He changes. Almost like he’s back inside.
“It was shit.”
“What were the guards like?”
This catches him. Agnes starts to pull up her pants. She has her shattered phone in her pocket. Fuck her purse. The exit isn’t that far away.
Her questions have edged him back as she slides toward her left.
She talks, presses him. Almost as if she’s taking over the role of the guards. She moves her feet. She waits. She fucking waits to know what next.
Agnes is plagued by images of this man chasing her down as soon as she breaks into a run. Images of him grabbing her by the hair and pulling her down. But she has no choice. None.
She keeps herself steady by knocking him off his game.
SOMEBODY, ANYBODY knows the game. She follows to stay alive.
Heart pounding, head throbbing, legs shaking with an overdose of adrenaline, Agnes runs. She runs toward the exit. She runs down the alley.
She makes as much noise as her blocked throat will allow.
She tears out of the alley fully expecting to see an abandoned street.
There are two people standing there. Right there. Exactly where the alley meets the street. The female takes Agnes into her arms.
“Oh my God, are you okay?”
Even after what she had been through, she is afraid to say the word rape. Aside from grace, she had also been in that alley with the web of collusion that waits just beyond the arena to shame her down and lift a rapist up.
Agnes tells the girl that her purse was stolen. That there was a guy in the alley.
The male is not afraid to find the guy who stole her purse. He moves toward the alley.
“No, just help me get home.”
“Fuck that. We have to take you to the cops.”
Agnes is shaking now in the safety of the stranger’s arms. Absolutely willing to do whatever she’s told. She nods.
The girl walks down the street with her arm around Agnes’ shoulder.
“Hey, do you believe in God?”
She thinks this is the craziest question that can be asked at this moment. She shakes her head.
“Well, you should now. We weren’t going to come out tonight. It’s -” she checks her phone, “4:43. But we couldn’t sleep without food.”
That’s fucked up, Agnes thinks, but I doubt God had anything to do with it.