Chapter Sixteen - Free Christian E-Novel


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Chapter 16

It seemed awfully foggy, the young girl thought, as she walked along the isolated path leading home. She didn't like walking home this late by herself, but she had been talking with a friend after basketball practice, and didn't reaize how late it was getting. But, it wasn't dark, yet. She knew Mom would be worried about her, but everything would be OK when she explained. Isn't that Jerry just ahead, standing almost in the bushes along the path? What is he doing here, she wondered? Jerry was a real creep from her school, and he was always being rude, or popping up with off-color comments'. Joanie always felt uncomfortable around him, and tried to avoid him when at all possible. But it looked impossible today!

She glared at him as she neared his still form, not speaking, not smiling. She definitely did not want to encourage a conversation with him! Then, as she walked just about even with him, she shifted her eyes to look straight at the path ahead of her. Just as she passed him, though, deciding he wouldn't bother her today, she felt him grab her arm from behind and twist it behind her back! Joanie cried out in pain, and tried to break his hold on her, but to no avail. She tried kicking behind her, but was unable to connect with his flesh. When she tried to turn, the pain from her twisted arm seared through her joints, warning to avoid such movements.

In her fury and panic, she screamed out, "What are you doing? You're hurting me! Quit that!" Tears of helplessness began to roll down her cheeks, as he held her tightly from behind.

"You're a real snob, aren't you? Think you're too good for old Jerry, do ya? Well, I'll bring you down a notch or two," he said hatefully, his breath hot on her shoulder and neck, and coming rapidly.

Almost dragging her, he pulled her from the path into the brush, and threw her down hard into the weeds of the little clearing.

Quickly, she sprang up, aware of the freedom of movement again, but just as quickly, felt herself being shoved back down! The hate and fury began to turn to fear, as she saw a new look in his eyes.

He threw himself down on her. Her screams and strength seemed far from her, as he viciously attacked her. What was actually minutes, seemed like hours. Then, just as quickly, he was gone, his last searing words ringing in her ears, "You rat on me, and 1*11 kill you!"

Painfully, she rose from the ground, feeling as if her whole body was bruised, and aching all over, but the pain in her heart was even worse! The humiliation, the violation, the terror, caused the tears, and loud sobbing to become uncontrollable! How could this have happened? What had she done to deserve something like this? She questioned herself in panic, as she tried to cover her near naked body with the ripped shorts and top.

Where was her bag with her school clothes? On the trail, probably, she decided in alarm as she tried to gain control of her panic. What would she tell Mom? What could she tell her, but the truth? How else would she be able to explain the ripped basketball practice outfit? How could she have let this happen to her? Why couldn't she stop him?

In the fog, suddenly, she saw herself in the hospital, holding her own precious baby girl in her arms for the first, and last time.

So much had happened since that fateful evening of the rape. Jerry had been convicted of the rape and sent away to a juvenile detention center, and she alone, except for her Mom, had to deal with the terror, guilt, and unwanted pregnancy. And now, this little baby was to be given up for adoption. As her Mom had said many times, a fourteen-year-old girl just couldn't handle all the responsibilities of bringing up a child, and of course, the financial burden would be unbearable. But, to let go of this precious little bundle was almost more than she could bear, and she was crying out with the pain of separation, already.

Then the scene switched, in her mind, to the highway. She was within fifty miles of her destination, and very tired from traveling. There had been very little traffic since turning on this highway, but she had noticed for the last few miles, a car behind her, and now, he was blinding her with his bright lights shining in her rear view mirror.

She glanced back frequently, noting the car weaving in the road, speeding up and getting closer, then backing off, still all over the road.

Deciding that the driver must be drunk, she sped up to get away from this unpredictable vehicle. But, as she sped up, so did the vehicle behind her, almost as if she had challenged him. Surely it was a him!

The road stretched out in front of her, somewhat undulating with the occassional hills, frequent small bridges, and culverts. The threat of being overtaken, as if it were a game, invaded her weary consciousness, striking again the chord of terror, and helplessness. What could she do? If she slowed down, would he also slow down, or would he pass her, perhaps wrecking? The car was weaving all over the road, as if being jerked from side to side.

How fast would she have to go to get away from him, she wondered, looking at the speedometer. It was already on eighty- five mph. What if she just stopped, off the shoulder of the road, and let them around? Was there a danger of him stopping, if she should stop?

The car was now almost on her bumper, the lights glaring, blinding her as she, without making a conscious decision, moved onto the shoulder of the road, slowing automatically to let the other car around.

Then the feeling of floating in air, bouncing painfully, the sound of metal crushing, glass splintering, and something wet and sticky running over her in the darkness, consumed her thoughts. She heard someone in the background screaming, screaming.. . Maria, the nurse on duty, rushed into the room where the frightened scream continued, not even realizing it was Jane Doe's room, for a minute.

But there she was, the previous 'sleeping beauty', as Denise had called her sympathetically, her hands drawn up in fists, clutching her chest, eyes closed, screaming as if her life depended on it.

Pushing the emergency call button, the nurse attempted to quiet the patient, speaking in soft, reassuring tones, grasping her hands, carefully guarding the I.V. site. Almost immediately, other nurses were present in the room, and the doctor on duty following only slightly behind. When soft tones and touch were unable to quieten the frightened patient, the doctor ordered a quick acting, but mild tranquilizer, which Maria administered quickly and efficiently, as two other nurses held the patient, and continued to speak softly to her.

Within minutes, the screaming ebbed, and as the nurses continued ministering to the fragile-looking young woman, she slowly began to relax her tense muscles. She opened her eyes, just barely at first, and fearfully asked, with a soft voice, "Where am I?"

"You're in a hospital near where you were found in a wrecked car. You've been here for some time, now. Are you hurting anywhere?" Maria asked gently.

"No," the lady answered, "I'm just weak, very weak." Then noticing her leg in a cast, and traction, asked, "What's wrong with my leg?"

"You have a fracture, but it's healing nicely. It won't be long until the traction setup will be removed. We've been worried about you, you've been unconscious for so long. We didn't even know who you were, there wasn't any I.D. found. Do you remember your name?"

"Joan--Joan Weston. A lot of people call me Joanie," she answered hesitantly, as the memories began once more to flood her mind.

"Are you getting sleepy, Joanie?" Maria asked, as she noted the patient's eyelids getting heavy.

"I think maybe I should rest a little while," Joanie answered, her speech becoming slightly sluggish.

After orienting her drowsy patient to the call light system, Maria left the room, and headed straight for the phone at the nurse's station, to spread the good news.

"Does anyone know how to get in touch with Denise Whitaker, the volunteer? I know she would want to know what's happened." After a few minutes discussion, someone found the phone number for Denise's grandparents. Maria dialed the number, waited as it rang, then heard the pleasant voice of Denise's grandmother answer.

"Hello, this is Maria Marshall. Is this where Denise Whitaker is staying?"

"Why, yes, it is. I'm her grandmother."

"Well, I'm a nurse out at the hospital, and a friend of Denise's. Is she available? I would sure like to share some good news with her."

"Oh, I'm sorry. She's gone off today with her boyfriend for a picnic in the pasture, and I don't really expect her back before dark, but I'll tell her you called." Nana said sweetly.

"Would you just tell her that Jane Doe has regained consciousness, and it looks like she's gonna be fine?"

"Well, praise the Lord! I will surely tell her." Nana exclaimed. "She'll be so excited to hear that! We've been praying for her. Thank you so much for calling.

Rose Petals