"You save yourself or you remain unsaved."
- Alice Sebold
T H E N
She hadn't bothered to turn on the lights.
Candy recoiled into herself, her hands latching around her legs to keep her body sheltered and protected as she sat on the cold ceramic floor of the shower. She hadn't noticed the way the water seemed to be pounding on her back, slowly transforming into cold marble like droplets. Her eyes were unfocused and drifting into her thoughts, completely detached from her physical body, like she wasn't even there.
The bruises were a multitude of hues, colors not usually found on someone's skin. Some were grayish purple splotches, roughly the size of her fist dented all over her body like craters on the moon. Deep finger nail scars plowed across her body, enflamed and stinging once the soothing water seeped on the surface of the wounds. Yet she felt nothing.
All she could see was him.
The images flashed before her eyes like a film. He was holding her, touching her, hurting her. Him smiling as he did it, him completely merciless. His image was transformed completely. He no longer looked like an average teenage boy but a monster. Maybe the monster that's been hiding underneath her bed for all these years. His dark, striking brown eyes bled into his sockets and his smile was more vicious than she remembered. He became a predator and somehow, in someway Candy ended up being his prey.
Her thoughts soon tangled, becoming perplexing even to herself to understand. Only thing fathomable was the clear voice screaming insider her mind, desperate for answers and fighting for sensibility.
Why me? Why me? Why me? Why me? Why me? Out of all people, why me?
Tears masked her vision, blurring her eyesight which brought the heavy weight of fear sinking into her chest. Why? She knew he was gone. She heard him leave, but it was the fear stimulating in the back of her mind that he hasn't really left. That somehow he's outside that bathroom door waiting. Or even worse, he's in the shadows of the dark bathroom and just the very thought of that brought back the memories of his touch. The sensation of burning still sizzling on the places where he touched her. She shuddered in disgust.
Stop! Stop! Please, stop!
Her desperate pleases replayed over, and over, and over again in her head. The sound of his laugh as he watched her beg, and plea for him to stop. How satisfying it must've been for him to hear the stubborn, spit-fire sob for him to stop. To succumb to a tormentor. Humiliation stung like a thin layer of skin, prickling her body as she shook back in forth. It was agonizing going through it, and it was utterly painful as it replayed in her mind. The desperation for it to just be over as he held her down and abused her like a Barbie doll bought for his amusement.
Who'd believe you?
Who's going to believe me?
The pale moonlight streamed into the bathroom, white light dancing across the white tile and streaks lining across the walls. The room was rocking side to side, flipping the world in a new perspective. She guessed that maybe that's how she's supposed to feel right now. The world changed, everything was different, wasn't it? It was all so heavy on her shoulders like the weight of her thoughts was sinking her into the ground, in another world she never asked to see. She had everything and now as she truly thought about what she had it was all material. It was all cloth that could be burned into the flames. Nothingness filled her body until she was lifeless. A feeling she's never felt before. Never has she felt the numbing pain stuck in her chest that seemed to flow through the veins of her body that made her so damn weak. She's never felt the blood inside her turn into stone. She's never felt so fucking insignificant.
I am nothing.
You are nothing.
I am nothing.
Maybe she should've seen this coming, maybe she should've expected this. People warned her about him. The way he got everything he wanted. The way he opened gifts, tearing through the wrapper with ferocity she never really experienced with him. Maybe she should've noticed the way he squeezed her hand when he held it. The way her fingers clamped together, because god forbid she went anywhere without him. That the very thought of someone assuming she wasn't his was unimaginable.
Her hands dug into her flesh, clinging onto her body as if someone was tugging her up. Forcing her to rise against her body. The water seemed to grow stronger behind her until the water dripping into her ears was the only muffled sound she could hear and eventually, the only thing she could feel.
I was raped.
You wanted it.
I was raped.
You asked for it.
I was raped.
You deserve it.
Did she deserve it? In a way, did she ask for it? She should've expected him to tug onto her shorts when she invited him to her house. She should've expected for him to offer her something illegal, and she should've expected him to bruise her lips when she didn't want to be abused. She should've expected for him to want something of her she wasn't ready to give.
It bubbled into her chest, the very experience of it raced through her triggering her entire body to explode in an uncontrollable amount of energy that caused her body to shake. With anger? With fear? She couldn't distinct the emotion she was filling. All of it was just too much.
Scream all night, baby. No one is going to hear you.
Candy could feel him mocking her, she could feel all of it just mocking her. She felt like God, whoever he was, was looking down at her smiling, giggling. Because how the fuck could a good God let this happen, right? A God who said he'd protect his children. How about Candy? Was she not his child? Was she not the girl who went on her knees every night to pray to a God she thought blessed her with a good life. Who knew that it was a trap. All of it was a trap. And Candy was too blinded by the name of love to even notice it.
Candy could feel it now. The anger. She could feel it boiling inside her body, releasing an amount of heat that could be compared to a fire.
Scream, baby. Do it. No one is going to hear you.
They'll never believe you.
Her face scrunched, her burning blue eyes finally narrowing in on a certain part of the floor. She mattered, didn't she? She was human, too, wasn't she? It wasn't just about him. It can't just be about him. People are more aware of the rape-culture, weren't they?
He can't tell her what do to do anymore. He never should have been able to tell her what to do.
You know you wanted this. Don't pretend.
Candy heard the front door open. Mom and Dad were out of town. It must be Timothy, her brother, sneaking back into the house.
If you say anything, you're dead, baby-girl.
Her teeth clenched, her ice black hair clinging onto her face, blocking her line of sight. Darkness invaded her eyes. Images of him guiding her to the bathroom, turning on the shower and placing her inside flashed before her eyes. And how she cooperated. Listened to every word he told her.
You won't win.
A knock from one of the doors from Timothy's side. The bathroom connected to both Timothy and Candy's room. "Candy?" He said with confusion. "Jesus, it's like four o'clock in the morning and you're taking a shower? Hurry up, I gotta take a piss."
What on earth would you even say, baby?
She slowly pushed the hair from her face, water trickling down the angles of her face, slipping inside her parted lips.
That you were raped by your boyfriend?
"Yo," Timothy knocked again. "Listen I've seen your tits before anyway, so I'm coming in because I have to pee. Don't throw anything at me, please. I'm unarmed and a little tipsy."
She opened her mouth, her voice stuck in her throat.
He can't do this to me.
After all he's done he can't take my voice away from me, too.
She was brought back to a time when she was in junior high and she had spotted someone beating up a sixth grader. She was threatened that day, Gregory Allon pushing her to a wall and told her if she uttered a single word to the administration she'd regret it. Candy remembered distinctly that she looked into his big ugly eyes and said, "Bite me."
Does this mean she doesn't have the willpower to speak out for herself? Out of all people?
Timothy opened the door. "Okay, I'm not looking." He said, one hand covering his eyes. "I'm not looking, I'm not looking. For fucks sake, why are the lights turned off---shit--" Timothy bumped into the edge of the think. "That fucking hurt."
She watched the shadow of her brother make his way towards the toilet. Timothy's shadow reminded her of his shadow. Nearly the same weight, the same height, the same body type. They were almost the same. Except, she knew her brother would never rape a girl. She knew it with her life.
You don't stand a chance against me.
"Timmy." Her voice was hoarse, barely audible.
Her brother, suddenly very alarmed dropped his hand from his face. The two were closer than most siblings. Always by each other's side, always covering for each other. Her mother and father could never break them when it came to ratting each other out. She felt for him when things didn't go his way, she always knew what he was feeling. And usually he did, too.
He knew something was wrong.
"Tootsie?" He asked, the old nickname for her sparking tears again. Back when she was innocent, back in a time when she wasn't raped by someone she thought she could trust with her life. Apparently, she trusted the wrong man. "Tootsie, what's wrong?"
I was raped.
He slowly walked over the shower, and pulled the curtains to the side. It was too dark to see much, but he saw the lining of her small frame on the floor of the shower. The moonlight showing streaks of her glittering pale skin. He sank to his knees, turning off the cold water as he did. "Candy...is everything alright?"
Even through the shadows, she could see how much she resembles him. She could see the same blue eyes she has, the structure of his full lips and prominent cheekbones that she was also blessed with. The golden twins, they were known as. The awestruck siblings that brought stares from all over the town. They were the perfect family, the family who could do no wrong.
This would do more damage than good, wouldn't it?
Their name would be painted an ugly color. Forever known as the girl who got raped by Zachary Philip, the golden boy.
Timothy pushed her hair over her shoulders, and that's when he saw it. It was dark, and difficult to see but thanks to the silver moon, the faint bruises were visible. "What the fuck?" He grazed his fingers over her ribcage, not even caring in the slightest that she was naked. "Candy what's going on?"
Once it started, it didn't stop. A sob broke from her throat and suddenly she was pushed into her brother's chest, his hands engulfing around her. She sobbed into his chest unceasingly. He held her in silence, holding her still as she clung to the fabric of his shirt. A tiny lapse allowed her to pull awake, eyelashes blinking away the tears from her vision and through hiccups, she gathered all the strength she had left in her to howl three words. "I was raped." Then broke down into a pit of tears again. The images were faster in her eyes, accumulating in her mind the more she attempted to push them away. Him throwing her on the bed, him restraining her hands, her too weak to stop him. "I was raped." She said again, this time over, and over, and over again over her sobs. The pain came in waves, minutes of heartfelt sobs apart by the intakes of breaths she was forced to take. And in all of this, Timothy said nothing. She didn't expect him to reassure her, that everything was going to okay. Because they both knew, this was definitely not going to be okay.
It never will be okay.