A Piece of Her
| Although Autumn couldn't speak the words aloud, her mind wouldn't stop replaying the nightmarish movie over and over again, as if she couldn't remember. She had been doing well, and she was stable enough to go home. Jason had been remodeling his apartment to make it wheelchair accessible for Autumn, and she was pleasantly surprised when she saw her new digs. Then, last night...
Autumn was reading her Bible, when she heard a car in the driveway. She looked out to see her mother emerge. Before Autumn had time to react, Lynne had kicked open the door with so much force that it flew off its hinges and sailed into the kitchen. A blow to Autumn's head left her unconscious. Shen she regained consciousness, she realized she was gagged and tied securely to...what? No...she wouldn't think about it anymore! She was back at the hospital with her friends and family. She would leave the memories behind. All she had told her family was that she fell and hit her head. What would happen if she told them the truth?
"Autumn, what's wrong?" That was Jamison's voice combined with his gentle touch.
"Nothing! I'm too ashamed to talk about...oh, I just can't take it anymore!" she exploded.
"What is it? You don't have to be ashamed, no matter what happened." It was the compassion in Sariah's voice that made Autumn come undone.
"You know how...how I told you...about the...the..." she sobbed, and couldn't continue right away. Four concerned faces looked back at her. There were her best friend and dad, along with her two favorite nurses. Jamison still grasped one hand, and Abby, the nurse, took the other. Sariah rubbed her back and spoke soothingly to her, and Jason was a big question mark. The poor man just didn't know what to do. "I didn't really fall and hit my head on the linolium floor. That's not why I have the concussion. Mom came last night with some guy...maybe the one she's dating...I don't know. Anyway, they came in, and he hit me over the head with something, and I lost consciousness. When I was once again aware of my surroundings, I found that I was gagged and tied to a...a...bed frame!"
"What?" All four people exclaimed in unison.
"Where?" Jason asked.
"I'm really not sure. I had a massive headache, and it took me forever to figure out where I was, what was going on, and even who I was. I saw the door suddenly open, and the look in his eyes..." She shivered just thinking about it. She could no longer see and hear her friends surrounding her; they were blocked out by his look of triumph and evil laughter.
"What happened after the door opened?" Jason gently prodded.
"That man...the one who came into the the house and dragged me out...he stood over me, and...well, I couldn't call for help, and my struggles to get free were futile. I'm just to darn weak, and...he must have known! He...that man...he had his three hours of fun," she finished in a tremulous whisper.
"What? Are you saying--" Jason railed, but Sariah put a hand on his arm, as if to tell him to calm down.
"Get an exam going, call child protection services and crisis prevention, and get Lynne on the phone for the interrogation of her life!" Abby called out demands in an authoritative tone. Things began happening so fast, and Autumn was confused, disoriented. What were they going to think of her now? A piece of her had been taken as that man completely violated her. He knew what he was doing; he relished it; he was using her gift against her. Instead of seeing her femininity as a gift from God as she did before, she was now disgusted when she looked in the mirror. She felt so disgusting, dirty and ashamed. How could they all still see her as a person?
The fog began to clear, and she saw the same people, but they weren't looking worried now. What had she done? She should have just stayed silent. They didn't have to know. But now it was too late...Autumn shouldn't have said anything at all! It just added to the shame.
Jamison's hand tightened around hers, Jason still looked like he wanted to kill someone, and tears glistened in Sariah's eyes, but her expression spoke of confidence.
"I can't speak for the others," Sariah began, "but none of this changes the way I feel about you, Autumn. I love you, and nothing, absolutely nothing, can change that!" The three others echoed her sentiments as a doctor rushed in. Autumn was too tired to explain again, she didn't want an exam...she just wanted to sleep, to dream of something different, not her very real nightmare.
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