Alleys of New York

Today’s boot camp prompt is:

The Stranger 

You’re walking  home  from  work one  night  and taking  shortcuts  through  a  labyrinth  of dark city alleyways to meet someone on time. Suddenly, a stranger parts the shadows in front of you, comes close and asks you to hold out your palm.  You oblige.

Thoughts about these prompts: WTF? Why am I this just all trusting person who puts faith in others. Why am I eating mysterious cookies? Why am I following mysterious instructions that lead me until a cave? And now I’m accepting something from a stranger in an alley? These prompts presume I’m a trusting person… I’m not. Sorry, just needed to get that out there… On to writing!

I looked down at my watch for maybe the tenth time in the last two minutes. I was making decent time, but was still nervous about being late for this dinner. I had only fifteen minutes to get to the home. Taking a cab on a Friday night at 5:00 would take too long, but now I was wondering if walking was a mistake too. I had to make it from Lower Manhattan to my apartment in Midtown by 6:00 and then back out to meet my mom for her birthday dinner by 6:30.

I had been held late at work. I was almost to the midway point and it was already 5:41. I had been trying to make it there with some time to spare to freshen up. As I tried to muscle through the bodies on the sidewalk, I decided this was going to take too long. I turned down an alley. I knew this city as well as I knew my mom’s face. I had grown up here and, although I had been yelled at many times for it, I tended to wander as a child. Much more so as a teen. 

I weaved through the different alleys, working my way home bit by bit. I looked down at my watch again, 5:47. I should be able to make it home in less than thirteen minutes. I looked back up to find a man standing about twenty feet in front of me. The sun was fading fast and the alley was not well lit. He wore a hoodie that kept his face in shadow and stood with his hands clasped behind his back. I stopped walking. He stepped closer. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as my stomach tightened and twisted.

“Hold out your hand.” He said. His voice was soft. So soft I barely heard what he said.

“Look, I don’t want any trouble. If you want my wallet, here it is.” I held it out to him but he shook his head.

“Hold out your hand.” He said again. I started to take a step back but he shook his head and stepped closer.

“Please. I’m on my way to take my mom out to dinner for her birthday. I don’t have anything of value, but the items in my wallet.” He took one more step putting less than two feet between us. My heart beat hard in my chest and I was finding it hard to breathe. Why wouldn’t he just take my things?

“Hold out your hand.” I decided if this would help get it done and over with, I’d do it. I slowly, reluctantly stretched my hand out. In a flash he had a cuff locked around my wrist.

“What-” He whirled my body around and my purse went flying. As he grabbed my other arm I lost grip on my phone and it too fell to the ground. Before I fully knew what was happening, he had my arms handcuffed behind my back and was dragging me back toward the dumster he had stepped out from behind. I tried to yell, but as soon as the first sound came out fuzz filled my mouth. His gloved hand squeezed tight. It was massive, almost covering my entire face. I couldn’t breathe now. His hand was covering my nose as well. 

I started panicing. I squirmed and kicked. I even tried headbutting him, but didn’t know how to do it and missed. Once behind the dumpster, he turned me around and punched me hard in the face. I blacked out. When I woke back up, my arms were in immense pain and my wrist were burning. I was laying on my back which meant I was laying on my handcuffed wrists.

He was on top of me. I could feel the cool air on my bare legs. My left eye felt hot and swollen. My head was pounding and seemed to be thumping with every stroke. I looked him in the eyes hoping to make him feel guilty, but that seemed to please him more. The hood had fallen off and I could see a wide smile start to spread across his lips and he made a gasping noise as he finished.

I felt dirty and ashamed even though I had done nothing wrong. I wanted to disappear and never be seen by the world again. I wasn’t a virgin, but this made me feel like I was now worthless and that no man, even my current boyfriend, would ever want me now that I was spoiled. I didn’t think I would ever want any man again either. Aren’t they all like this dog in some way? Would anyone understand that I hadn’t even been able to say no? Wasn’t that the thing? You had to say no for it to be considered rape? Would this make sense to anyone else? Would anyone believe me?

He sat back on his legs and buttoned his pants. Silent tears were sliding down my cheeks and making my ears itch. My arms had gone numb. My insides felt raw, burned. I pulled my knees together, trying to hide the mess below. He took a deep breath.

“Thank you.” He said in the quiet voice. He stood, not attempting to cover me. I thought he might just leave me there, but he was somewhat merciful. He pulled a gun from his jacket pocket and my world went black.


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