Sara abandoned her wine, carelessly plopping the glass on the sun-warmed deck, while she watched an unforgettable drama play out on the lake. One of the boats peeled from the others and turned towards the cove. As the driver trimmed the throttle and idled into the no-wake zone, Sara responded to an eerie sense calling her to the railing.
The ragged idling of the engine gave way to voices. The male’s forceful cadence was only occasional interrupted by a nervous giggle from the girl. They remained too far to make out distinct facial features, but Sara knew they were young, likely still in high school. Even the gap separating her from them could not disguise the young girl’s beauty, and despite that distance every detail of the young man appeared menacing as his shadow swallowed hers completely.
Like a threatening sky gives way to lightning his elevated tone and abusive words gained strength. One ugly and unnecessary blow laid the groundwork for his unconscionable desire. Each violating thrust of his pelvis caused more precious blood to trickle from the gash on her forehead. Her golden curls soon turned crimson, but locks can eventually be washed clean. Sara knew the staining of a soul was forever.
Several days passed but vivid details continued to torment. She had mulled them over a million times yet they remained intangible concepts, resistant to grasp and impervious to answers. Even something as innocuous as the wind had also sided with him. Without conscience it carried his victim’s cries of protest to the back of the inlet where they melted hopelessly into the dark woods of the shoreline.
Sara had remained at the railing, frozen like a statue in a painting; cold, lifeless, and fixed. As much as she wished, leaving the canvas was not an option. She simply couldn’t afford the energy to engage another beast. Although she had prayed for them, there were no columns of support flanking her side. The blade of her sword had become thick and her armor had worn thin.
Like the others, this sanctuary had become tainted; the home on the lake, the view, and the deck which rarely spoke, but listened so well. Tomorrow would be a packing day and she would move on once again, but for now Sara turned to the comfort of her wine glass. In the reflection of what remained she saw his face with startling clarity. As if tasting poison she jerked the glass from her lips and shuddered at the stare of his cold grey eyes. Eighteen years removed and she still felt the perpetrator hovering inches above her own broken and partially clothed body. In a dark alley between Brewster Ave and Main, a stranger had stolen all that was good and familiar and left in its place emptiness and despair.
As the sun sank low and the shadows grew long she glanced at the empty glass. In the wine cellar she brushed back the dust and allowed her hand to hover over one section then another. Sara recalled a time when she enjoyed wine and for a moment pretended it made a difference which bottle she selected. The racks contained bottles of the same shape, size, and color. Each a 1990 vintage; the year she disconnected with the hope of feeling nothing at all.