My Breath

A young girl takes an unfortunate exit from her mundane life.

Our trailer was one of many that lined the dead end roads that lead in and out of our park, the divisions of cookie-cutter mobile homes, green, pink, white, blue, but all the same and all equally devoid. Geometric lines of asphalt roads, gray-blue metal roofs, streetlights poking from tall wooden telephone poles and even the occasional patch of green grass were connected down the center making up a community of solitary souls I would have done anything to escape. 

At the top of the Malahat highway and three kilometers in, standing on our cedar planked deck, I had looked up to the sky to gage my chances of suckering a passing motorist into giving me a free ride down the mountain and into the city. My breath was visible and the erie black clouds that lingered this time of year were about to let loose a rain that would pretty much guaranteed my success. I never depended on the weather fully, which was why I had chosen a pair of cut off denim shorts and a stretched out hobo t-shirt, tied tightly around my narrow waist and left loose across my naked shoulders, sometimes I wore a flouncy tiered skirt that could easily be pulled up, tucked up under shirt into my bra, to shorten it’s length just in case I got desperate. Today I had stuffed my bra into my purse, ‘Just stacking the deck’ I told myself, but never a jacket I found that I got faster rides if they thought I was cold, rain was best.  

I walked a dirt trail that cut straight through the trees from our back yard to the highway and jumped over the trough that in the spring would be filled with the run off from waterfalls that flanked the highway.  I came out apparently from nowhere, walking along a piece of highway that for a long distance either stretched straight down or took a sharp curve around a rocky ledge, my position gave the impression I had been walking for hours. 

As my feet touched the rocky shoulder my thumb springing to action, my eyes like actresses filling with distress, the silver Ford Focus edged its way around the embankment, the drivers eyes catching mine as he passed his brake lights almost immediate jerking him onto the edge, the wind tousling my bangs.

His name was Eli, I would discover after thanking the handsome young man for the ride and buckling myself into this strangers car. Most of the people who picked me up were men, none of them this classically handsome or young, he was the type who could take your breath away.

“Where to?” Eli had asked, the glint of fire behind his ocean eyes sent a shiver through my spine.

“I am trying to get to Victoria.” I said pulling at my shirt to shift its nakedness.

“Right direction.” His said turning his head. 

He hadn’t said anything particularly strange or tried to buckle my belt, like many men had, but I got a suspicion that the safety of the shoulder was far behind us as the locks kicked in and he pulled out and into traffic.

The words we spoke were lined with intention, his questions about my history, my family, where I shopped for clothes; became pointed and told him I was alone, no one would be looking for me, I wanted him to look. My answers were courteous, a smile but guarded, my eyes were not flashing or gauging a possible escape, he was so different from the sameness I was accustom.

When his hand shifted in to fourth and onto my knee, I jerked it up, he struck me in the jaw pressing his forearm across my throat. My breath went hyper and my mind went black.

It was quick, within minutes of my youthful fingers latching the silver buckle, my murderer had turned down an old logging road south of the Cowichan Lake turn off and was on top of me, his hands ringing my neck, his eyes piercing into my own, his voice vacant. My lungs reached out for air, my throat filling, the purging staunched by his thin long fingers. When my body finally went limp he released me, resting his hands against the back of the seat, behind my head, the contents seeped from my mouth leaving a piece of me behind, a small stain on the center console.

Only feet from the highway I had walked a thousand times he left my fully intacked body. He did not rape me, he did not cut nor stab at the supple skin that trailed down my neck and into my nakedness, he took nothing of me. 

He took nothing but my breath.

The End

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