Chapter 2

I'd only dozed off for a moment, a short moment. But it was a painful mistake. I found myself in the video room again. Age 16, depressed, long dark hair, always wearing a jacket. And he, standing before me. The scene played out all the way through, except with a false ending… I woke screaming, or at least letting out a sharp cry.

"Kyle, what happened?!" Cara gasped, nearly turning the car into oncoming traffic. After David had sped off, Cara had returned. She'd been in the lounge room and had seen the whole thing unfold, so of course she was concerned. Curious, but moreso concerned. Once I explained, Cara had piled us both unto my car. We had gone to Ephraim's apartment, but he hadn't been there.

After a few moments, I shook my head. "Bad dream…" I stared out the window, soothed by the passing sights… Young children, unaffected by time and the cruelties of the world… Husbands and wives, couples, arms interlinked… Ephraim…

My eyes were playing tricks on me, though. We spent the day roaming Sunlight, but there had been no sign of any of them. And it was already late. So, instead of heading to the motel, I dropped off Cara. Then, with the last fumes of gas, I made my way to where Cara had placed David's apartment. Chris Barker was there.

"What do you want?" he sneered, looking me up and down.

"I'm here to see David. Is he here?"

"No, hasn't been here all day." His tone changed, suddenly, as if my knowing David had affected him somehow. "You're welcome to hang out in here until he gets back. Couch, TV, food… Otherwise, I'm heading out."

"You're leaving and you'd leave me here alone?" I inquired.

"Yeah, we've got a lot of shit in here, nothing worth anything. If it were, it'd have been pawned off long ago. You gonna wait inside or out?" he asked again.

"Inside…" I conceded. It was too cold to stay out in my car, especially with my lack of gas. How would I ever make it back to the motel? But Chris left, anyway, and I made myself comfortable on the couch. Before I knew it, I was up and cleaning. Two hours later, the living room and the kitchen were tolerable. It was 9 by now, and I was getting worried. If Chris returned, I'd do my best to make it back to the motel. No sense staying in a place with a guy, all by yourselves…

I was on the couch, unable to concentrate on any one thing. My mind fumbled with thoughts. Wondering where David was, if he'd found Ephraim, if I'd ever see him again…

"Shana."

My heart fell.

Turning to look beyond the couch, I spied Ephraim. My eyes widened horrifically, and his assumption was confirmed. "I knew it was you… I knew it from the moment I saw you… You look different, I gotta hand it to you. You look like a woman. Very sexy…"

My face burned. "Ephraim, don't you come any closer to me… What the hell are you doing here?" I barked, standing up swiftly.

"Oh, didn't you know? Chris and I are friends. Pals, buddies, chums… Have been. But, of course you remember that." he smirked. My mind flew back to David's party… "It's really sexy, the way you glare at me…" He made to walk towards me, and I stumbled back in my effort to back away, slamming my back against the wall. In an instant, he was towering over me, his hands pressed against the wall, leaving me with no real escape. "Get away from me, Ephraim…" I snarled viciously, to which he only smiled. "Oh yeah, Shana, you make me hot when you treat me like that."

He was going to say something else when I lifted my leg to strike him again, as I'd done the first time. But he managed to catch my leg and spun, leaving me off balance. I fell to the floor and he on top of me. My breath was gone. I tried to gasp and nothing came. His hands grasped me tightly, and he moaned with longing. I felt I would be sick again, tears rolling down my eyes. I tried to push him off but he was too strong, and my lack of oxygen clouded my mind and left me weak. I managed to bite his arm, which did nothing but anger him. He hit me in the face, a failed attempt to keep me quiet. My breath was returning, slowly, painfully, and I cried out over and over again for him to stop.

His hands went down my sides. I vomited.

"Oh, you like it, I can tell." he hissed. "Oh, Shana, I've wanted you for so long." My fingernails went at his eyes… but he caught my wrists and pinned me to the floor. "Since I first saw you… I was hoping you'd be more willing when it came to this, Shana… I know you want it… Just like in the video room…"

"Please, Ephraim, don't do this to me… Don't do this!" I begged, my throat threatening to erupt again. I could feel the sickening warmth on my right arm, and the weight in my hair.

"Oh, beg me more, Shana, beg me… Really get me on…"

I could feel the pressure against my lower torso as he laid on top of me. That horrible pressure, letting me know just how badly he wanted this. He was obsessive… I'd always known this… But not until that day had I realized the fullness of that.

When I'd begun to become too much of a problem, he hit me again. Even harder than before, and I felt my mind reel. My eyes couldn't focus, and I felt so much pain… Pain everywhere. He ripped my shirt completely off in his rabid attempt, and I screamed. My arms went to fight him again, but they wouldn't budge. Why wouldn't they move?! My wrists hurt… And it hit me. Ephraim had bound my wrists. The belt he wore was gone, and my stomach emptied itself again. He shook his head, "Too much more of that and I won't kiss you."

Another swift movement and my bra was gone. I was sobbing uncontrollably at this point. This had begun just like it had in the video room, just like it had in my room, all those years ago… Everything I was seeing in Ephraim, I'd seen in Lars. Everything Ephraim was doing, Lars had done. Except, this was much more violent than I was used to. I tasted the blood that fell from my nostrils and sputtered.

Those painfully rough hands squeezed my breasts until I felt he would tear them off. I screamed with every squeeze, with every grasp… Each time, he hit me. "Goddammit, shut up, bitch! If I knew you were gonna be this loud… You want me to do this to you unconsciously?" he hissed. I screamed again. I felt something tear on my breast, looked down to see he'd bitten me.

This sick game of foreplay lasted for what seemed a lifetime, but was probably only five minutes, maybe less. His hands went down to my jeans… And that's when I saw it.

Something glistened in the corner of my eye, and the atmosphere changed. Sobbing, I smiled. Ephraim smirked momentarily, his first thought that I had begun to enjoy this… But surely he sensed the atmosphere had changed… For when he turned up, I heard the loudest metal sound I'd ever heard, that crash against his head. Through my blood and tears, I spied David. In his arms, he held what looked like a shovel. Ephraim cursed, spitting blood randomly, which happened to be over me. David didn't bother to glance down at me, simply stormed over to the staggering Ephraim again.

"Goddamn Fucker!" he cried as the shovel crashed against the same side he'd hit seconds ago. His black hair began to shine under the dim light with the most blood I'd ever seen. He was thrown a few feet, crashing against the floor. David made to move towards him again, but I began to sob loudly. Ephraim wasn't moving… Deeming it temporarily safe to turn his attention away, David made his way to my side. There were hot tears in his eyes as his hands went to the belt that fastened me to the couch leg. Once I was released, he took off his loose coat and put it over me. Then, into those powerful arms I went again. If I ever thought I'd dehydrate, it was then. Every few minutes, David would check to see that Ephraim still laid where he was. Once satisfied that he was down for the count, David's attention turned to a phone.

He walked into the kitchen, grabbing the phone, then turned and came back to kneel by my side. He spoke, but I couldn't understand what he was saying, suddenly. My mind was still foggy, and I couldn't speak. I tried to speak and nothing but strained whimpers came out. And then I spied him. Ephraim, somehow, standing over the tower. David was turned away, didn't see or hear him… He glared at me, his whole left side covered in that dark red blood. He pointed his finger at me, shaking as he attempted to keep it straight. "I'm not done with you, Shana."

David jumped at the sound, turning as Ephraim stumbled out of the room. He handed the phone to me as he raced after him. The woman on the other side continued asking, "Hello? Hello, is anybody there? Hello?!"

I answered, finally, quiet. "I'm here…"

"Shana? Is this Shana?" she asked.

"Yes…"

"Okay, the paramedics are on the way. The police should be there within five minutes. Can you hold out until then, Shana?"

"I think so… I… I don't feel good. Eph… Ephraim, he tried…" She sensed the strain of my words and hushed me. Stayed on the phone with me until the paramedics finally arrived, two minutes later. And the police five minutes too late to catch Ephraim. He'd managed to speed away before David could catch him, and they put out the word to catch him. I didn't want to go to the hospital, but they made me stay at least a few hours, to monitor me. Procedure, they called it. I was questioned over and over again, Terri and Cara met me… We cried forever…

I finally told Terri just what Ephraim had attempted. And what he'd done that day, just so many hours ago. Instead of being destroyed, she was furious, vowing to castrate him slowly with a rusted scalpel.

Mom came as quickly as she could, bringing Jade with her. She hadn't quite grasped the idea that I wasn't very pretty looking, or else she would have left my baby sister at home. When she entered the room, her face fell. Jade began to cry loudly. I motioned for Mom to give her to me, and I held her close, gingerly due to the pain I felt… Mom held us both… I couldn't cry anymore, just basked in the comfort of her embrace. Nothing is quite as soothing and comforting as a mother's hug.

Later, David finally appeared. I hadn't seen him since the incident. He was cleaner looking now… I hadn't had a chance to shower, and I still looked a mess. His eyes betrayed his sorrow. I knew it killed him that Ephraim had attempted that in his own home… I knew he felt guilty. I attempted to stand, but my legs pained me and I fell back to the bed. He immediately rushed to my side, but something stopped him as he went to put his arms around me.

"I don't deserve to hold you… I don't deserve to comfort you, not after what I let happen…" he whispered.

I closed my eyes, and God if my eyes didn't still have a little water in them after all this… I reached out my bruised and battered arms, clung to David's neck… I feel I should have been shocked… I was comforting David. A different turn. Soon, he realized just how much the strain was on my body, as well as my mind, and he held me again. Never had I been so happy to be in a man's arms…

They never caught Ephraim.