Encounter

      Once again, the same pervert followed me in
the darkest streets; he had never managed to
catch me yet. When I run out of breath and the
split second before he lays a hand on me, I usually
trip and hit my head on a curb or crash into a
traffic light pole on the street corner and wake up
in cold sweat.

The minute I fall asleep, I have to run for my life. I’
m living a rerun episode of the same nightmare
over and again. Last time as I was escaping from
this maniac, I thought, “I can’t run forever,
especially in my sleep.  The main purpose of sleep
is to rest, not to run!   A rapist or a murderer he
might be, I’ll face him.” Then I stumbled and fell. As
soon as I woke, I rushed to my brother’s bedroom
and grabbed the baseball bat from under his bed
and the pepper spray from my purse and anxiously
closed my eyes hoping to face him again.

I buried the spray in my blouse pocket and hid the
bat on the next street corner behind the
newsstand counter where I had planned to make a
right turn during the next chase.

      Sure enough he was waiting for my arrival
exactly where I expected. I paused to give him a
chance to recognize his victim and to start his
routine. He noticed my presence but made no
move. Now that I was ready, he had cold feet. But I
was determined to put an end to this charade.

He had his hands in his pockets whispering words I
could not hear. Since he was reluctant to agonize
me tonight, I took the first step toward my night
stalker.

“So, your next move you fucking bastard?  I don’t
interest you anymore?” I shouted fearlessly.

      His lack of response worried me. He either
knew what I was up to or had lost interest in
tormenting an easy target like me.

      “What the hell are you waiting for? Don’t
chicken out! Not tonight,” I taunted him.

He was anxiously trying to tell my something
without uttering a word. I walked a few steps closer
not to listen to what he was saying but to tempt him
to attack. As I reached my predator, he took his
hand out of his pocket and the switchblade
clutched in his fist flickered.

      I rushed toward the street corner where I had
my weapon stashed and he ran after me like never
before.  He was about ten yards behind me when I
made the turn and swiftly grabbed the baseball
bat, suddenly stopped, turned back and faced him.
He was now within my striking distance still flinging
his hands in the air.

Before he got a chance to make a move, I struck
him in his kneecap causing him to slouch to reach
his shattered knee, and to give me another
opportunity to take a swing and smash his face.
After the second blow he collapsed at my feet
squealing like a wounded animal loud enough to
wake me up and ruin the experience, but he didn’
t.  For a moment, I decided to wake up and leave
this agonizing nightmare behind me but the terror
of the previous episodes trembled my entire being
and convinced me otherwise. So I walked back to
him and viciously crushed the same fingers
clamping tightly on his injured knee.

      His suffering was bound to turn into
vengeance and I could feel his haunting return to
my nightmares forever. So I sat down next to my
predator and carefully opened his squinted eyes
moistened with tears, trying to understand his
perverse pleasure in tormenting an innocent girl.
The deeper I probed, the darker my nightmare
became. He seemed like a helpless child taking
refuge in his mother’s lap and I was reflecting his
bizarre mélange of wickedness and vulnerability on
the tarnished mirror of my soul. He had become
my defenseless victim and I have turned into his
ruthless torturer and both morphed into a single
being.

      Desperately I waited for him to say something,
tell me anything, anything at all to set me free from
this everlasting labyrinth of perdition. I shook his
head violently and threatened him with a harsher
punishment for his lack of cooperation but the
more I persisted, the less cooperation I received.
So I forced his mouth open only to see he had no
tongue to speak.  

      I felt sorry for him for being the victim in the
haunting nightmare he had created for me and
hated him even more for the same reason. So I
forced his eyes wide open and gave him two full
blasts of pepper spray, one in each eye. Seeing
him suffer gave me a pleasure beyond my
imagination and a pain beyond my threshold of
tolerance. As much as I was tempted to stab him in
the chest with his knife, I refrained to do so.

      I deserted my battered victim in the hazy
streets of reverie and woke in sweat; and when I
did, I found myself in an emergency room. A doctor
with the help of two nurses was tending to my
broken knee and casting my shattered fingers.  I
barely opened my burning eyes and noticed my
sobbing mother listening to a police officer telling
her how they heard me screaming in the darkness
and found me bleeding in the street corner.