Snatched and Scratched

Composed 10/14/13
Description: This is a piece I wrote a fair bit of several weeks ago and finished up last night. For some reason, when I’m walking back to my place of residence alone, I always have these kinds of morbid thoughts. This piece is also kind of ironic considering my last entry.

You don’t ever think about how you’ll react in that situation. I mean, that’s the point: it’s unexpected.

And you’re sweet, straight A-ed. You go to a Christian, liberal arts college for crying out loud. Making out with your first boyfriend sent you straight into guilt-ridden anxiety for an entire week.

Whew, okay, I guess THAT was an adrenaline rush. But it’s a suppressed rush, that kind of “down boy” adrenaline that our civilized society has taught us. You don’t embrace real, primal adrenaline any more – not like they did back when they were fighting off tigers.

Anyway, that’s all you know, so you think you can only go that far. It’s only in intense situations when you find out where your limits are.

I found out two years ago, October third.

You know, they told us during the apartment meeting to not walk alone. I knew what they were saying was valid, of course; it was nothing I hadn’t heard all my life. I watched the news. I knew people got picked up, abducted, hurt, molested, killed. But, it was also one of those pieces of advice you took with a grain of salt. I mean, always be with a partner when you’re walking back to the apartment? Really? First off, it’s just not practical. You and your friends have different schedules; sometimes you have to walk back alone. And, for real, the building was about a minute and a half from the thick of campus.

So I didn’t really worry. There was nothing TO worry about.

That was my unconscious mindset, anyway, as I strolled back to my apartment building after a late night of hanging out with friends.

My apartment was in a crammed little neighborhood just off campus. On my street in particular, cute, if quaint, little houses on tiny plots of grass were smashed side by side. Occasionally, a slender footpath to the front door or stubby driveway would stick out and spill onto the crumbling pavement of the street; though, most cars parked on said crumbling pavement. And, for some reason, there was only a sidewalk on one side of the street.

So naturally I was strolling along this one sidewalk – a straight shot to my apartment building. And naturally there were several cars parked alongside this sidewalk. All seemed quiet.

Right as I approached an old, black Mustang, the driver’s side door flung out directly in front of me. I stopped, startled, as a man stepped out. He was so close to me I had to step back to let him pass. He was dressed in a light gray graphic T-shirt, which was just barely showing through a beat up leather jacket. That stuck out to me, because he was so tall the best part of him I could see was his chest.

I looked up, but it was hard to distinguish his features under the shade of the trees lining the sidewalk. Then, all at once, I saw his teeth – too white, exposed in the universal grin of bad intentions.

“Hey,” he said, and his voice slithered out of his lips like smoke slips out of a cigarette. “You need a ride?”

My body was tense. “No. My apartment is right there.” My voice was approximately the temperature of dry ice.

“Nonsense. A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be out walking alone in the cold. Let me help you out.”

He put his hand around my upper arm. Hard.

I spoke through clenched teeth. “Let me go.”

He didn’t reply. Suddenly, both his hands were clenched painfully around my arms, and I was shoved against the car’s window.

All at once, I could see it perfectly. Me shoved into the backseat. Driving off into the distance. Gone forever.

A dam broke, and thousands of generations of built up survival instinct flooded my veins. The voices of my ancestors were clear, and I suddenly knew this man was my saber toothed tiger. Out of all the things I had ever learned, all I could remember was this: “If they catch you, fight as hard as you can.”

So I embraced my adrenaline.

How can I describe utter primal ferocity? It’s like doing a backflip for the first time; once you leave the ground, you suddenly have no perception of where you are, of what your body is doing. You relinquish all control to instinct.

I screamed from the top of my lungs. My throat burned like fire. I could BREATHE fire. My limbs flailed. My feet, my fists, my elbows – all made contact with hard surfaces. I felt my nails drag against skin. I heard grunts and shouts and screaming, but far away, like in a dream. I had no thoughts, just sensations. Of rapid heartbeats, of the heat of flesh, flashes of momentary pain. And that is honestly all I remember.

Whoever I had been before that moment was gone.

Hours, minutes, seconds passed. I don’t know. I stumbled back and looked at a man sprawled on the ground. He was crouched in a fetal position, grasping his lower torso, groaning, and bleeding heavily from his face.

Someone came and ran up to me, shouting. It was only then that I realized I was still screaming.


My escapades that night were the stuff of local legend. The news showed a man’s face. His eyes were black and swollen. His jaw and nose were completely warped. But most disturbingly were the dozens of vibrant claw marks slashed across his cheeks, his forehead, his eyes, his neck.

Sure. You ride rollercoasters. Sometimes you get upset. You know about adrenaline.

Except you really know nothing.


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