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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 40: Hastings 147
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Previous chapter: Chapter 39: Beam 10
The hand over her mouth awakened her. She knew what it meant, but in a sense not what it meant--that is, people put a hand over your mouth when you’re asleep so you won’t scream or shout when you awaken, but they might be doing it because they want to help you and don’t want to get caught, or because they are about to harm you and don’t want you to scream for help.
She noticed that the arm attached to the hand was turned in such a way that the left hand over her face came from her right side, but twisted to have the thumb up alongside her nose. It would take very little motion for the owner of that hand to shut off her breathing entirely. It could have been accidental, but it was a very awkward twist of the arm, which suggested it was intentional.
She would have asked who it was or what he wanted (and somehow it felt like a man’s hand, large and powerful) but of course her mouth was covered. She shifted, trying to see something useful in the dark.
“Oh, good, you’re awake,” the voice said. It was that large assistant who often accompanied her to the bathroom. “This is so much more fun if you struggle.” She abruptly felt his other hand, finding its way between her thighs, and trying to move them apart.
You want a struggle, she thought; you are about to get more than you anticipated.
She took a deep breath, let it out, and took another.
“That’s right,” he said. “Relax and enjoy it.”
She was rather certain she was about to be raped, or at least inappropriately handled for someone’s sexual satisfaction. That was not going to happen. Thank God for Raiden, she thought, who insisted she learn to use her feet.
She brought her left leg up and across fast and hard, and connected with him somewhere between his elbow and his shoulder. He released what she took to be a curse, and also released her mouth, but she used her momentum to pull herself into a seated position facing him. Instinctively she raised her arms to block, and was rewarded as a swung arm collided with one. She brought both feet up sharply, the right one connecting in the darkness, and then rolled backwards off the bed behind her, landing on her feet.
He started to call her something, but she used the sound to target him, leapt into a flip over the bed and brought her feet down against him, knocking him down and across the room into the wall. She rolled out of the fall, but hit the wall herself. Knowing that she couldn’t give him a chance, she found her feet quickly. However, he was not moving.
She stood still for a moment listening. He groaned. Satisfied, she returned to her bed, raised the back, and sat.
In a moment the light turned on and several people rushed in.
“What happened?” said the young man who was her usual caregiver at night.
Not giving her assailant the chance to set the tone, she immediately but calmly answered, “He tried to rape me. He said he liked it when women fight back, so I did.”
The young man looked at the injured attacker. “Brack?” Lauren decided that must be his name.
“She’s delusional,” Brack said. “You know the doc said so. I just came in here to check on her, and she attacked me.”
“Interesting bedside manner you have,” Lauren said. “Put one hand firmly over my mouth, tell me that it’s more fun if I struggle, and I should relax and enjoy it, and then force my legs apart with your other hand.”
“What, you think that if I were attacking her she could have beaten me so?”
“I’ve fought worse than you,” she said.
“All right,” the caretaker said, “everyone out of the room. You, too, Brack. I’m going to have to call the doctor, let him know what happened; everyone will have to write up what they know and have it ready for him in the morning. And Brack?”
“Stay out of this room for the rest of the night.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #284: Versers React. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: