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It was hours afterward when finally she dragged her tattered body to it's feet and located her torn clothing, arranging it over her as best she could. She walked the nineteen blocks to the hospital and asked for a rape kit. She sat in a cold, plastic chair and answered all their questions. She tried her hardest to describe the man who had done this. Then, she waited. Three hours she waited for someone, anyone to come and get her, take her away from this pain. But no one came. She walked the twenty blocks home. Never once did she cry. Not a single tear leaked from her cold, emotionless eyes. Her body functioned, her brain functioned, her emotions had shut down. She should have felt abandoned when she opened her front door and entered a silent and dim house. But she didn't. She should have felt angry when she tried ten times to call her mother and received no answer. But she didn't. She felt nothing. The hospital issue clothes seemed scratchy and constricting and she tore them off. The mirrors of the shower steamed up and the scalding water turned the entire upstairs hall into a sauna. She should have felt the burn when she stepped under the hard jet-stream of water, but she didn't. She grabbed a towel and scrubbed. Hard. Her skin turned raw, red and blistered, a combination of the scorching water and the stinging stroke of the raspy cloth. It was only when the water turned to arctic cold that tears at last spilled from her eyes. They ran down her chin and slid down her neck, sliding all the way to the shower floor. They stung. Burned like acid through her. She hated the feeling of helplessness that trapped her. Wrapped around her like a snake and squeezed the life out of her. It turned her bright, full, loving heart into a dull, shrunken, black one. She heard the door open downstairs and fear consumed her. Shrinking down into a ball in the corner of the shower, she uttered not even a breath until she heard only her mother's voice, floating harshly up the stairs, demanding to know why mud had been tracked into her clean floor. A small cry of relief left her lips, and she watched the grimy water swirl down the drain a moment longer, then slowly, heart still pounding she stepped out of her shower prison and ignored her mother's angry shouts, curling up inside a pair of flannel pajamas and rolling herself into the smallest ball possible, burrowing deep into the safety of her down comforter.
"Sweetheart, please, your plane leaves in two hours, come out and shower." her mother called pleadingly, voice obscured by the door and the fact that her daughter had a blanket wrapped about her like a kacoon. Three days had passed and she hadn't showered once. She knew she smelled of fear, sweat that broke out every time a door opened or a floor board creaked. Her hair wasn't just greasy at the roots anymore, it was greasy all the way to the tips. She suspected she was leaving a greasy headprint on her pillow, but she just couldn't summon the will to get out of bed and do anything. So, for three days, she had been sitting in her bed, lights off, leaving only once to secure a supply of junk food, before returning to her burrow and her reruns of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. Her mother kept shouting from the other side of the her prison door and her impatient shouting was drowning out Maury's very sympathetic speech about overweight children and there struggle to be 'free'. Fumbling around for the remote, she pressed the volume button until the floorboards vibrated and her mother's incessant knocking was drowned out. Wriggling slightly deeper into her nest, eyes focussed on the 4 year old who weighed a hundred pounds, she managed to avoid leaving her room for another solid twenty minutes, but then her mother got someone to pick the lock and light flooded into the room, blinding her and causing her to howl in discomfort and pull the covers over her head. Her mother's voice, sounding remarkably like a crow's incessant cawing, came closer, until she was standing right beside the bed. Sighing in aggravation, she unrolled herself from her warm, comforting blanket nest and defeatedly stepped into the shower.

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