Back inside the gymnasium, Amber found me and asked where Adam had went. I told her he'd had to go home, and she gave me a sad frown, but then perked back up and asked me to share a dance with her. I laughed, and together, we hit the dance floor. She told me that Sam had had to use the restroom, and so it was pretty much just her out here right now.
After the song finished, however, I went back and sat down, where Lucy was waiting for me.
"So, where's this Adam kid? I want to meet him." She looked at me expectantly, and for a moment I'd almost forgotten the events of the last three months. She looked the same as she always did, except she was wearing a dress so short I was surprised it covered anything.
"He had to leave. He's got family issues right now," I replied curtly.
"You know, I don't understand why you've been so rude to me lately. We were best friends, and then that new kid came and ruined every thing. Now, I never even see you any more. What are you doing tonight after the dance, I was thinking we could go over to Anna's. She's throwing a party after this, and it's gonna be wicked. You should come with me," she said. She looked really psyched, and it amazed me how she could act like we were still best friends after all this time. It was like nothing had changed for her.
"Why? So I can get wasted? No thanks, I've been to Anna's parties before. Remember? We almost got busted this summer. No, I'm not going." Lucy flicked a blond strand of hair out of her eyes and looked at me, faking hurt.
"Nikki, I want to be your friend? Why won't you let me?"
"Because I've been your friend before, and it's among the worst experiences of my life. You're only around when it's convenient for yourself, Lucy, and I'm sick of that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have real friends I'd like to hang out with." I walked away from her and went back into the crowd to find Amber and Sam, to tell them I was going to go home early tonight.
"Oh, I almost forgot. I had to borrow your phone, because mine died. I hope you don't mind," Amber said. She handed my my phone, and I thanked her, stuffing it into my bra for now, as I had no pockets available.
"Are you good for cab fare?" Sam asked me. I nodded.
"Yeah, I've got thirty or so dollars in my purse. I'll see you guys around. Night," I turned and went back for the table. Lucy was no longer there, and neither was my purse. I cursed in my head, and finally shut down emotionally.
I went numb. I didn't care anymore. Lucy wanted to take my purse? Fine, let her. I can walk, it's not that far. Sam wants to date Amber? Fine, let him. I had Adam now, and as I thought about it, I really did like him.
I slipped on my coat, which was not stolen thankfully, and went outside. I was thankful that Amber had taken my phone out of my purse before hand. I would've been angry if that had been stolen, and I would've confronted Lucy, and maybe even punched her.
As I walked outside into the cold night, I thought about seeing Lucy's nose bandaged up after a good break. That would have devastated her, because if she was fond of anything, it was her face.
Despite the fact that it was almost midnight, Manhattan was still alive and active. The skyline was lit up, and it looked different from the street than it did from a second-floor, run-down apartment.
I was just a block or so away from my home when I heard deep laughter from behind me. Whoever it was hushed themselves though, and I could hear whispering. And then it was silent.
I refused to look behind me, because at this time of night, lots of people were out. I've walked home plenty of times at much later hours than this and was fine. It was probably just a group of kids hanging around and spray painting graffiti on store fronts and alleys. They did that, trying to be funny, thinking they could get away with it. Usually they did, but sometimes karma caught up with them.
I could see my building now, and I was passing the alley beside it. I pulled out my phone to call my mom and let her know I was on my way up, but someone tugged on my jacket and I dropped it, startled. I spun around to see a tall, lanky man with a scraggly beard and an orange cap on his head. He had a friend with him, and the man was like a tower, he was so tall. I couldn't see his face clearly, but I was sure he had glasses.
"Excuse me, miss, we're kind of lost. We were at this party, and we can't find our way back. Could you tell me how to get back?" He told me the address, and I shook my head.
"Sorry, I don't know where that's at. You should try taking a cab though," I suggested. He emptied his pockets to show me he had no money. "I'm sorry, it looks like you're S.O.L. I can't help you," I was ready to pick up my phone and go home, but the man wasn't going to let that happen.
"Oh. Well, could you walk with us a ways, maybe help us get back on track?"
I shook my head. "Sorry, I really have to be getting home. My mom will ground me if I'm not back by midnight," I lied.
The man with the beard laughed, and his massive friend joined in. "Did you hear that Jake? Cinderella, here, will turn into a pumpkin if she's not back by midnight." They laughed some more, and I was really scared now.
"Hey, look, though, she's got both her shoes. You should fix that, Don," his friend suggested. They laughed again. If I was Cinderella, this was a twisted version, and I didn't like it one bit. Disney did a much better job of telling it.
The one called Don grabbed me, and wrestled off my shoe. I kicked, and screamed, and punched him, but he seemed immune to it all. His friend sat back and laughed. A cab drove by and passed us. No one ever seemed willing to help me.
My shoe was off now, and Don pushed me towards Jake, who pushed me into the alley way. I was going to make a run for it, but Jake showed me a sharp knife, saying, "Now, Cinderella, you don't really want to do that, do you?"
"C'mon, Jake, don't scare her. It's not fun if she's scared," Don chastised lightly, grinning. He didn't seem to mind that I was already past the point of being so scared you couldn't even pee yourself.
"Please, just let me go home," I begged. They howled with delight.
The next few minute were a blur, but I was able to register that Don had stripped me of my jacket, and was trying to cut my dress open with his own knife. But he wasn't having much luck, because it was thick material.
I had tears streaming down my face, and I was begging, pleading, screaming--anything to be released. I couldn't count how many cabs had passed. Don hadn't done anything than slit the back of my dress open yet. He seemed to be prolonging the moment. Instead, he was kissing my neck and my chin, stroking my hair, and pushing it out of my face. I saw a man jogging by, and I screamed to get his attention.
"Help me, please!"
"Shut up, you..." He called me some nasty names, and dug his knife deep into my right side, just above my hip. This knife was a lot larger than Jake's pocket knife. I thought it might have been from a kitchen. The blade was more than six inches long, and three inches wide, and one edge was serrated. I screamed a horrific scream of the kind I've never uttered before. I couldn't catch my breath, the pain was unlike anything I've ever felt previously. Breaking my wrist in elementary, that was nothing right now.
"Hey, man! Leave the girl alone," the jogger yelled. He rolled up his sleeves and came at Don, who dodged. While they were engaged in a fight, I tried to make a run for it. But the tall man, Jake, caught me by my hair and yanked me back. I fell and slammed my head onto the pavement. From there, everything went black, and I was engulfed in black nothingness. There was no sound, no feeling, no light, nothing.
If this was what it was like to die, I didn't like it.