I went a month before my nightmares started up again. thirty days of undisturbed sleep where I talked myself into believing the change of scenery had “cured” me.
That’s what I wanted to believe at least, that the fresh air had somehow pushed back the darkness and bad dreams that had filled life for the last two years. I’d gotten comfortable fast and so I wasn’t prepared for the force with which my dream surfaced.
I slipped into an easy sleep that night, lulled by the supposed peace into lowering my guard. What started as calm comfort quickly changed into the raw terror or my suppressed memories.
Back again, huddled in that forgotten alley near the coffee shop I always frequent. I could feel the wet grit beneath my cheek again, my body pressed into the wall by his weight behind me.
“Please, let me go.” My voice seemed to echo off the cold brick walls, bouncing back to me with a hollow sound. “Please.”
“Ssh.” A hand closed over my throat, squeezing in warning before stroking my hair. The tenderness sickened me like always, stealing my love for closeness away with that single touch.
In the past, the sensations always blurred together, the moment moving too fast to be anything other than a frantic pressure in my dreams. This time everything was a little too vivid for comfort. The sharp scent of his cologne underlined by the rot of garbage, the feel of his lean body pressed into my back, the distinct smell of menthol on his breath as it fanned across my cheek. The most real being the hot press of his cock to my lower back. My clothing seemed to melt away to nothing and I relived in excruciating detail the invading stretch of him as he entered me. Even in my dream, I willed my body to submit. I prayed for moisture to come and ease his passage and my pain as he whispered endearments in my ear.
“Oh, Katie, don’t you know I love you? Don’t you know I’ll be back for you soon, pet?” His words slid over me like ice, freezing the blood in my veins.
Love me? Who rapes someone they claim to love?
He punctuated each word with a thrust so brutal I thought he’d tear me apart. I wanted him to. If he ripped me apart from top to bottom, I wouldn’t feel like this any more. I wouldn’t be scared, I wouldn’t walk around filled with darkness, and I wouldn’t hurt because I’d be nothing.
It was my own loud cry of pain that jarred me from the nightmare. I stared sightless around my dark room, dripping with sweat and trembling so hard the headboard clanked against the wall.
The terror hadn’t been this thick since that first week following my assault. Every time I closed my eyes I was in a nightmare of epic proportions, but eventually it abated enough that I only had them once or twice a week and never enough to send me into a true spin. This was as fresh as if he attacked me yesterday. Maybe the recent rape/murder had triggered it? Something had sent me spiraling tonight.
My heart refused to slow even as I realized no threat existed in my room. I knew I was slipping into an attack from the way my vision seemed to waver and my breath rushed from my lungs. It froze me, the fear and helplessness. I was locked in the grip of my mind until it chose to release me.
I’d never felt so alone and my sobs were full of heavy brokenness. He’d won again. Wherever he was, that bastard had won tonight’s battle for my mind. Damn him to hell and myself with him.