It was a hot day. Shelby disliked the heat. She disliked extreme cold, too. Shelby disliked anything that made her uncomfortable. The humid weather couldn’t spoil her mood, though; she was off from work, and planned to do some shopping. As a 37-year-old single woman who lived alone, she had the freedom to decorate her one bedroom apartment however she chose, and she kept it immaculate — there was no messy man or kids in her life to leave their wet towels on her bathroom floor, or spill crumbs on her (expensive) living room area rug. She never had to remind anyone to put the toilet seat down or to pick up their toys. She liked her life this way, her way. She was totally in control.
Shelby needed new dish towels, and she wanted a new pair of shoes. Unfortunately, her car was at an auto body shop, being repaired because some idiot 19-year-old boy ran a stop sign in her neighborhood and collided with her. She didn’t live within walking distance to the shops she preferred, so she called a cab company. She had used this company before and had no complaints. A couple of times she had drivers that were too chatty, and she couldn’t decide if it was because they were friendly or because they wanted a tip. This afternoon her driver was a white man in his 50s who would have been attractive if his nose weren’t so big. Shelby noticed these kinds of things because she was used to seeing her own near-perfect reflection in the mirror. Noticing these things sometimes caused her friends and co-workers to call her “picky” or even “superficial,” but Shelby didn’t think she was being either of those. She was just very aware of other people’s appearances.
“How are you today, miss?” the driver asked when she got into the back seat of the cab (she didn’t like sitting in the front, next to the drivers who were often sweaty and/or smelly).
“I’m fine, thank you,” she replied, adjusting her skirt over her knees. She told the driver (he said his name was Jim, after his father, but Shelby didn’t much care) where she was going, and after that they didn’t have anything to say to each other. She was wearing sunglasses; she liked to be able to observe without people knowing where her eyes were wandering. With her head turned toward the window as if she were watching the world pass by, she was actually looking into Jim’s rear view mirror, watching him glance at her every ten seconds or so. His expression was definitely…decisive, she thought. It was as if he were struggling with some mental question. Maybe he just has gas and is trying to hold it in to be polite, Shelby thought. Normally that thought would disgust her or maybe amuse her a bit, but she began to feel uncomfortable.
She was used to men glancing and even downright staring at her, because she was attractive. There was just something different in Jim’s expression. Shelby felt her stomach drop when she finally noticed she had no idea where they were going — she had been to these shops before, and this wasn’t the way to them. She began looking around, trying to figure out what road they were on. She was fairly new to this area, so there were back roads and various routes to familiar places that she just did not know yet. Perhaps Jim was taking a back road to avoid some afternoon weekend traffic. She opened her mouth to question him, and he held up a hand.
“I know what you’re thinking — that we’re lost. But nope! This way’s quicker!” Jim smiled, with almost sharp, stained teeth that looked like they belonged in the mouth of a wild animal. She had to believe him. He knew his way around this whole town; she did not. She didn’t return his smile, didn’t sit back in her seat, but kept her hands on the back of the passenger seat in front of her and looked forward through the windshield. In that position, she looked out her right window, noticed that there were less residences and buildings and that the area was becoming more and more deserted. And then pain attacked her head and face. Shelby let out a yelp of shock and fell into the backseat. Jim had thrown his fist back and hit her, but just his fist wouldn’t have caused that pain and all the blood that was now dripping down from her head, through her hair, onto her rose pink shirt. She was whimpering, beginning to cry, when she looked at her hands and saw how red they were.
“Alright sweetheart, shut the fuck up now,” Jim told her. Jim still had the wrench in his fist. When had he grabbed it? Where had it been? Shelby went to open her door to just jump out — people did it in movies all the time, and while she knew not to trust people’s actions in movies, jumping out of a moving car was preferable to bleeding, helpless, in the backseat of a stranger’s cab.
Of course, the door was locked. There were no houses or anything in sight now, just trees and the road they were on, which in about 300 feet turned into a dirt road, which lead even deeper into some more woods. Jim braked hard, and the car came to a stop. Shelby, since she hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, jerked forward into the back of the passenger seat, her face hitting it, and pain throbbing in her head and side of her face and jaw. She couldn’t comprehend what had happened, why, or where they were. In just those few thoughtful moments of hers, Jim had gotten out from behind the wheel and had opened her door. She scrambled back against the door opposite hers, kicking her legs out, wishing she had worn high heels that day instead of flats, wishing she could jam a heel into this psychopath’s eyeball. It was a very hot day. Sweat, along with blood, began to run into her eyes and blur her vision. Even though she was kicking, Jim grabbed hold of her left ankle and pulled hard. Her skirt started to slide up around her waist, and her legs were out of the car. Jim grabbed her other leg and dragged her out of the backseat. Her aching head thudded against first the seat, then the floor of the car, then she was on the hard, hot, dirty road. She was on her back, eyes squeezed shut tight against blood and sweat and the sun (where were her designer sunglasses? she couldn’t help but wonder). Jim straddled her, and she lifted her arms to protect her head and face, but it wasn’t enough. He pinned her arms above her head, and head-butted her into near unconsciousness.
She was vaguely aware of the ground bouncing, the only colors under and around her being brown and yellow and green and black. Dirt trail and patches of sunlight and trees and weeds and their shadows. It would have been a nice place to walk, to picnic, to find solitude, if it weren’t so damn hot and if she weren’t being carried over some strange man’s shoulder, being carried to—where? Shelby opened her eyes wider, trying to focus, and she watched her blood drip, drip, drip, onto the ground from her head as she bounced along over Jim’s shoulder. He found a suitable spot, she guessed, because he half placed, half threw her on the ground, on the winding dirt trail that led to somewhere she didn’t even know.
And the next however many minutes, or hours, or even years it seemed like, were a complete nightmare. Not wanting her to fight back in the least, Jim punched her in the face, and maybe broke her nose this time. He lifted up her skirt — how convenient for him that she didn’t wear shorts today — and tore off her panties. She used the usual pleading words — no, stop, please stop, don’t — but he may as well have been deaf because he sure as hell didn’t stop. He unbuttoned his pants and took his dick out. He wasn’t wearing any underwear, maybe in preparation for this act. He chose her. She noticed he didn’t have an erection. In spite of her circumstances, she began to laugh at him. It was very weak laughter, but it was audible to Jim. He stood up, flaccid dick in his hand, and kicked her in the ribs. She stopped laughing. He kicked her again, and that seemed to do the trick. Cock hard, Jim raped Shelby. Gasping from pain and from having the breath literally kicked from her, she couldn’t fight back. He kissed her, licked her tongue and nibbled her neck. He ripped her shirt up and bit her nipples through her bra. He thrust in and out of her, and then he uttered a guttural moan. He came, Shelby thought. She felt horribly nauseous. She turned her head to the side as best she could and vomited onto the dirt trail.
Jim heaved a sigh, stood up, pulled his pants up. He stood over this bleeding, sweating, vomiting woman. When she stopped puking, he spoke. “Best I ever had,” he told her, grinning with his yellowed animal teeth. Then he walked away. She faintly heard a car start in the distance.
It was a very hot evening now. Shelby realized she wouldn’t be getting any new shoes today. Now she needed new clothes, too. She really wasn’t sure how long she had been lying on that dirt trail, but she had stopped bleeding. Her entire head throbbed. Her nose was sore to the touch. Her hair was crusty and slightly gooey with blood and dirt and some vomit. She gently rolled onto her side, put her hands on the ground, and tried to stand up. She winced and moaned because of the pain in her ribs. She laid back on the ground and counted out a full minute, then she tried to stand up again. She was successful this time. She looked through swollen eyes in the direction that they had come. She went the other way, deciding to leave her torn panties on the trail for some stranger to find and wonder about. Her purse was not with her, surely it was on the floor of Jim’s cab, unless he had tossed it somewhere, so she had no cell phone to call for help.
She walked slowly down the trail, and after about 10 minutes (it could’ve been five minutes, or 30 — she had no real sense of time), she saw something big and grey behind some trees not far up ahead. A house? She walked faster. As she got closer, she saw that, indeed, it was a house. Closer, and she heard voices. Male, she thought. She was almost grateful to Jim for leaving her somewhere where she could seek safety. Coming out of the woods now, off the trail, she entered onto the property. In a paved driveway, she saw two men talking. One appeared to be slightly younger than the other. A father and son, maybe, or brothers. She managed to yell, “Help!” and she was holding onto her side because it hurt so much from the walking. The men stopped mid-conversation and stared at her, then quickly rushed to her.
“I’m a paramedic!” the older man told her. “What happened to you? Wait, you don’t have to speak yet. Let’s get you inside.” She nodded her gratitude, and let them hold her arms and half carry her inside.
It was a nice house, and clean, so there might be women living here, she thought (she had never known a man to keep things tidy). They sat her on the couch, put a rolled up towel behind her head (they wanted to help, but they didn’t want their throw pillows getting bloody and dirty), and the younger one went into the kitchen to bring her water.
“I want to get you settled in, then I’ll call an ambulance,” the older man said.
“Thanks,” Shelby croaked out.
“Please don’t thank me, you obviously need help. Let me go get the first aid kit.” He started to go get the kit, then he turned around and said, “Hey — whatever happened to you, it’s over. You’re safe now.” He smiled, and his teeth were much nicer than Jim’s.
The younger man came back in with the glass of water. Shelby accepted it and drank it in just a few gulps. The younger man sat on a chair across from her while the other got the first aid kit. She wanted to ask for more water, but talking was such an effort. It hurt every inch of her to even breath. They both stayed silent. He was polite, at least, and didn’t stare at her or her injuries. The older man came back, and neither pestered her with questions. She was grateful for that. She would definitely need that ambulance, because now her vision was getting blurry. She felt a little bit nauseous again. She decided to lie down instead of sit, because she was also getting dizzy and she just wanted to close her eyes and try to relax.
Shelby’s vision was even more blurry. She felt like she might pass out. Before she did, she saw the older man smiling with his nice teeth, his fingers unbuttoning and then unzipping his pants.
“That’s right,” he told her. “Just lie down and relax.” He came towards her.
Shelby’s world went dark.