Prologue: Lost Girl Found

lee woodman 2012
Lee Woodman 2012

The seeming eyes of a gargoyle look out on the dark city streets as a figure skulks in the shadows perched in pocket of a building’s windowsill overlooking the moonlit City skyline. It may seem as shimmering and clear as crystal in the dead of this night as one looks to the sky for future promises…but below shows the cracks in its foundation and those who slip between. It is here that Brie’s sharp, crisp and cool eyes are fixed. A blue hazel glowing against the city’s darkness seeming to slice like a knife through the facade of its beauty to pierce into its very soul; in the all consuming darkness in which she sits it is the only desirable feature to be made out.

“So here I am…when all the bad shit seems to go down.” She thinks reflecting on where time and circumstance has found her.

Among the trashed and dirty pavement decorated with dirty alleyways with wired backing torn and thrashed, hijacked cars left to be compounded should the government ever find the time or resources to remember people still live here. Amid the broken, boarded up windows and wire clothes lines with rags strewn about in indifference and haste, sun bleached and weather worn. Sirens can be heard admits the symphony of babies crying and animals howling in displeasure and forsaken ache, but tonight it is a distant melody for the streets of this particular district prove to be quiet…too quiet for anything good to be happening.

“For some reason they think in the darkness they can hide because it has kept their secrets before. That they can get away with murder because in the past they have…but not anymore. History will not be doomed to repeat…not for me. So I’ll just sit and wait. For what? I don’t know, for when you start predicting evil you’ve become it. And I will not be haunted. So I just wait for it is enough to know it when it comes.” She relaxes into her dogmas reminder for she will not lose herself to obsessions lure. It is a promise that brings her out this and every night and part of that promise is not to live for them but in spite of them. Her eyes close their probing stare as she leans back meditatively disappearing into the tomb of her alcove. When a young woman appears, she could be any young woman enjoying a night out on the town, living for the night. Too bad it’s only one kind, we never think to consider the other things that go bump in nocturnal obscurity. Not until it is too late.

She struggles quietly as she is being drug behind a large, rough looking man who holds her by the wrist. Why the seeming passivity? She starts with trying to be jovial, keep calm, resist like he is still a man to be reasoned with, after all wouldn’t want to risk crushing the male ego, so she tries to make it his choice.

“Stop.” She says firmly but with a tinge of sweetness. Too bad he has already made his choice:

“Shut up!” He snaps over his shoulder with warning tone, fully committed to his role. She pulls against his force now, but it is useless she is frantic and small where he is calm and large. Again there is a hesitancy on her part one that doesn’t want to make too much noise, doesn’t want to draw too much unwanted attention. It’s hard to believe that the turn of a corner in a city can see you go from the hustle and bustle of good times to the dead-end seclusion of darker waters.

“Please, stop, I don’t want to do this.” She halts in her position, standing her ground against his movement. He whips around on her, jerking her a little more forward with his sudden stop. He is rough around the edges, with the kind of scruff on face that only makes him look dirtier then he already does. The muscular arms that extend from his ripped tank and leather vest say he’s a man that lifts weights but the hard roundness of gut proves he doesn’t really care he simply like the intimidation factor that the buff arms lend his tall, thick form. Still the girl stands her ground in not wanting to move as he looms over her with glaring eyes and let’s go of her wrist. For a moment she knows a bit of relief, but only a moment as he brings the back of his hand to her cheek. She lets out a short, surprised scream as she hits the pavement and he retakes control of her wrist, crueler this time as he bends over her his greasy scowl close to her face overwhelming her with the intense smell of liquor and cigarette smoke upon him.

“Oh you’ll want what I tell you to. Now, get up!”

The saddest sight is that the girl seems resigned to having no choice in the matter as he yanks her up to feet by the wrist, nearly wrenching it from socket as her skin scraps harshly against the pavement. She doesn’t dare bring more pain, or worse, by resisting. He doesn’t care though he is thoroughly unaffected by her plight, for he is a man on a mission with only one thing on his mind and just happy not to be bothered as he continues to drag her behind him towards their destination.

However this scene bears silent witness and as they move past the building in which she skulks, the white-hot blue eyes open, almost illuminating the darkness with their intensity as her lips curl into a grin as she whispers in affirmation of her patience:

“That’ll do.”

As the pair ventures deeper into the darkened pits of neighborhood she trails their every move, a living shadow.

“Please!” The girl pleads sensing the looming presence of their destination. He is amused feeling more confident with each step deeper into his territory. “Don’t worry baby, we’re almost there.” He laughs to himself. “A real super eight.”

They pass a dark alley little knowing that from the shroud of its shadows she watches and as they begin to cross the street so too does she. In lithe speed she charges across and into opposite crack between buildings, not slowing her momentum for a moment she jumps upon the wall of the enclosing building to propel herself to the opposites fire escape. She climbs coming to the top of building where once more she runs the roofs length coming to its edge without stopping she leaps like a fawn in this unique forest of infrastructure landing upon a lower building’s roof on palms and toes, low with its siding she spider crawls along on her belly, across to peer, yet undetected, over its edge seeing the pair having just appeared in the alley below and impending capstone of his evening.

“I don’t want to do this.” More and more the girl is getting anxious and losing faith as tears begin to pour down her reddened cheek. He whirls around with a threatening hand raised and expression that says don’t make me hit you again.

Brie’s jaw hardens as she shakes head.

“That’ll do.” She says through gritted teeth for she has him where she wants him. She rises to her feet looking down to see a flagpole jutting out from the side of the building; she nods with a shrug of convincing knowing it will be her best bet…at not dying at least, at best…well…

She charges forward and leaps off of the buildings edge falling hard she catches the flagpole with a jerk to her body, but she makes no sound.

“Oh yeah,” The man says pulling the girl into him as he backs further into ally. “You’re gonna have lots of fun…”

Just above she swings to and fro on the pole building her momentum. As he pulls the girl into a forced, wet and messy kiss. Brie’s eyes sharpen their glare.

“That’ll do.”

She releases her grip of pole on upward swing flying forward as he pushes the girl against wall unable to wait any longer to get her where he was taking her but before he can turn against her Brie’s landing comes on his back, her feet together kicking him forward and down into the pavement as she lands over him crouched with a hand against the back of his neck, her right foot and left knee to his wrists so he can’t move. Her first priority is the girl, so as he tries to remain conscious, she whips head over shoulder her light brown hair a mess from the night’s activities falls over the right side of her face blurring her features from the struck and paralyzed girl she confronts.

But Brie is not some cold or unfeeling hero of the night or righteous rebel fighting for a cause. She is a woman, kind, calm and reassuring in her manner and ease, strong and unapologetic, she wears no need for explanation for she simply is who she is and does what she does.

“It’s okay,” She says any vengeful or lackadaisical tone lost in her narration as she digs through the man’s pocket with skilled hand. She pulls out a wad of money and holds it out to the girl who looks at her in such shaken disbelief. Brie smiles to confirm the truth she knows the girl is too afraid to speak:

“You’re okay.”

The tension releases from the girl’s shoulder as some relief washes over her, but Brie knows the reality of what almost transpired can still be a fall out. The girl needs to be safe, warm…home. Brie shakes the money. The girl nods with understanding but she is still in shock, still so disoriented from what has transpired so instead she focuses in on Brie her fear melting into a hesitant curiosity as she contemplates this figure. Brie nods her safe consent, like trying to get an injured animal to come out of its dark hiding place, she eases the money into the girl’s hand.

“Go home.” Brie states firmly indicating with head a straight path for the girl to take and all at once the girl wraps hand around the money, turns and runs out from the alley to safety leaving them alone: the Shadow and the Man.

She turns her attention back to the would-be rapist.

“Now, I may have asked you to come up and see me sometime, but I figured why not just come down and see you?”

She lifts his head up by the neck only to drop it back into the concrete as she stands kicking him around and on to back as she pressing the sole of her boot into the side of his face shaking the hair loose from her face exposing in the light of the dim street lamp the entire right side of her face completely marred and marked with dozens of overlapping, interweaving, engraved scars, from her forehead to her chin, a road-map of hate, of the past, her past; defined and forever…

“What is it Fitzgerald called them…Careless people?” She wonders, semi amused by his surprise that this night should leave him here…at her mercy. She doesn’t care that her vulnerability is on display, she pays no mind or concern, for in many ways her scars seem disconnected from her person as she wears them with the same confidence of her demeanor…without apology.

From under her boot his eyes grow wide as he takes her in for what she is. For what others would make and deem the monstrous.

“In his eyes is reflected the carelessness of so many, but I don’t mind it, I’ve never minded for it proves as a reminder to them all who set eyes upon me: we will not be silenced or forgotten so easily.”

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