The Truth

By: Karin Tabke

hank you once again to my amazing village: Virna, Tina, Martha, Victoria. Couldn’t have done it without you! Hubby, you know I can’t do any of this without the great coffee you brew each morning and the support that goes with each cup.

I also want to thank my good friend Lawrence, who proudly served in the 82nd Airborne, not only for his continued service to our country but also for his willingness and patience (I know he was rolling his eyes and shaking his head with each series of questions and scenarios I threw at him) as he helped me breathe life into Simon’s military background.

atrina!” Simon called after her.

Tears blinded her as she rushed down Powell Street, bumping into shoulders and handbags. It was a Saturday night in union   Square, and the streets were jam-packed with locals and tourists alike.

The city she’d always loved suddenly seemed like a hellhole. Never before had Kat felt the urge to run as she much as she did now. From her home, her career, her life, a man … The man she’d wanted to trust above all others. The man she’d begun to trust. The man she’d been falling head over heels in love with.

Even after seeing the cell phone icon of a ball and chain and actually speaking to his wife—she still couldn’t believe it! Evan’s horrid accusations rang in her ears, only to be drowned out by her recent conversation with Simon. He’d warned her, hadn’t he? He’d said he was going to break her heart.

But not this way. She’d never thought it would be this way.

He was just another cheating rat bastard, shattering everything she had hoped and dreamed of.

“Katrina!” Simon shouted again, his voice closer now.

Katy picked up her pace, slammed into a man, and stumbled. Blindly, she turned up an alley, hoping Simon wouldn’t be able to see her detour through the thick throng of people along the crowded sidewalks.

As if she had jumped into a pool, the city sounds diffused into a disconcerting muteness. The sharp click of her heels on the alleyway echoed eerily around her. The sound of a cat screeching, a door slamming, and the distant thumping bass of rap music changed her mood from furious to cautious. She looked ahead and slowed her hasty steps until she came to a standstill. Three silhouettes exiting a building stopped when they noticed her.

Katy looked over her shoulder to the busy street behind her. If she kicked off her shoes and ran like hell she might make it. Heart thudding high in her throat, she turned back to the three men who were now less than a few feet away. Too late. The tallest of the three grinned maliciously, showing off long, crooked teeth as he circled behind her.

“Hey, mamacita,” the widest one standing in front of her crooned, grabbing his crotch and pumping his hips toward her. If her situation wasn’t so dire, she’d laugh at his crude peacocking. “Need a ride home?”

All three men laughed. Their intention was clear, but it was their audacious expectation that they could just take from her what they knew she would never give them, that infuriated her. Her anger spurred her resolve. They’d get a piece of her over her dead body! She gulped but straightened.

“No, thank you,” she said tightening her wrap around her like a shield and then proceeded to power walk past them. Just when she had the crazy notion they were going to let her pass without further incident, the one behind her grabbed her shoulder.

“Don’t touch me!” she commanded. She swung at him with her purse and turned out of his grasp, leaving him holding her wrap. But as she turned, she backed right into four groping hands.

“Leave me alone!” she insisted, bringing her heel down on one foot, then another. It gave her a brief sense of satisfaction to hear both of her assailants screech profanities in Spanish.

The man behind her lassoed her with her wrap, binding her arms to her side. Struggling, she began to panic. She was one woman with no fighting skills against three seasoned thugs. Katy screamed. In answer, a dirty, callused hand slammed across her mouth. He yanked her hard against his chest. Squeezing her eyes shut, Katy endured his pelvic grind against her bottom. Never had she felt more violated than she did at that moment. Or more helpless. And terrified.

“Shh, shh, mama, we gonna make you feel sooo good you’ll beg us for more,” her captor whispered against her ear.

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