Monday, June 9, 2008

Crossroads (8)

Alyssa must have taken a wrong turn.

Was she on the street she thought she was on? Where had the graffiti gone? And something she couldn't place...it was dark already?

Everything she noticed was somehow confusing and wrong, and it happened suddenly. The only thing she could think to do was to...stop?

Should she run? It all seemed overbearing, the pressures that assailed her and pushed her from all directions. Had that woman done something? But no, she hadn't even touched Alyssa...

Woozy, that was it, all of it, shaken up. Like a time when she'd had too much soda and gone on the ride anyway it was all unpleasant but not even suffering--too ambiguous to be any one such thing.

Shit, watch where you're walking.

Hey, hey! Hang on, you've got that. It's mine! Who said that?

The voices? Why were there so many voices and where were their faces? So hazy, what is happening to me? Alyssa...yes that's me, what do you want? The name, I don't need the name, it is all useless and meaningless, this is not you, your name.

Help!

Should she cry out? Running. She had to, but so hard, arms hanging, legs dragging emptily like inert, weightless but couldn't move--because no traction? Goddess, the dark! It was...where was she, the street had gone. What the hell?

Suddenly a face: jumping out at her it smiled and her blurred vision cleared for a minute, this face was welcoming, inviting, a solid ground in a shifting sea of startling visions and her voice calmed and soothed. Nothing could be more inviting.

Yes, this is the way to safety child.

No! A voice somewhere called out, even the woman's serene face was a moment startled. Where was it? Distant and distorted, it was trying to ripple the placid calm of this tiny pond in the frightening garden that the world had become.

Alyssa, wake yourself up! Some shred of will clawed for her attention. Look away!

She took notice--both of she, the woman and Alyssa. And something of the woman's features changed, as if a mask...the mask had failed and now frustration cracked it up into pieces. Anger showed beneath but the will was not enough to fight the hunger, the desire.

Hesitance on Alyssa's part destroyed the control and the face mutedly shrieked: YOU BELONG TO ME. It was mere fact, not hostile, but asserting a right.

The right of a predator: Alyssa had already wandered far and wonder now turning away fluttered behind her the owl to her mouse; phantom, specter emerging from darkness ghostly, pale face gave way to talons showing, reaching, soon tearing.

RUN!

Obeying, she ran, she did the impossible. Surely the woman could not follow? Wasn't this the footpath of her college? Yes! Keep your mind on it, watch your feet, keep moving! And somewhere, rage sounded like an alarm into the dark sky.

Soon shouting, a male scream, a scream and then running, footfalls hitting and shaking a ground like jello, were they the man who screamed's or were they mine, Alyssa, you've got to keep focussed on running!

The path branched. She never knew what to do here, just go!

Inside she screamed at herself, but the screaming was emerging and the rage was rising, nausea subsided and the sky relighted. A rhyme in her mind and then things improved.

A smile found her face to replace the default scowl; vision clearer, the sky was never dark; it was morning and hope rose from the east. Dim in the fog, Alyssa saw where she was, saw a man running from behind her--run!

He must want a chase, had he followed from the bad part of town? Odd how that was so near the school. But no time for distractions!

Campus police. Best place to go; he wouldn't know what hit him if the cops saw her being chased by this maniac.

Feet and flight took over despite Alyssa's out-of-shape-ness. It wasn't far, she knew, and she could afford a sprint. Even if she doubled over puked and died from the effort.

Rounding a building corner running through two joggers, "wait!" cried the maniac. Wait! For her assailant!

"Help!" Alyssa screamed at the hapless idiots who weren't helping her--not even noticing! Good Samaritan laws would be a good idea for these bastards.

And pass just a few more buildings, just a bit more screaming for help, and some cop would be her hero--she'd never hoped to run into a cop as she now did.

It was not to be: rough patch of asphalt broken by roots and one caught her foot--as she fell to skinning knees, she thought the tree had done it on purpose.

Smack. Shit. It was over.

"Let me help you up."

Must have been young, a student--a hand lifted her, hers dusted herself off.

"Someone is after me!"

"I know" said the maniac.

Fuck. It was over. Struggle! Escape! She squirmed but he firmed, kept her from going. Knee to the crotch and he jumped, must have dodged.

"Relax, aight?"

Not trusting him, she stopped and relaxed, not seeing why until she saw the sorrow in his eyes--and no malice.

"Let me go."

"Don't run. We gotta talk about what just happened."

"You mean the part where you chased me like a psycho for goddess-knows-why?!"

"No, that ain't it. I just saved your ass."