The newspaper says that that bastard is getting a promotion, that he’s climbing the corporate ladder straight to the top on the backs of those that have sweated, bled and cried for him. Nowhere does it say that behind his plastic smile lies a monster in wait to snatch up his next victim, to ruin someone else. There is no subtext, no malice hidden between the lines of the article and I can feel my blood boil as I crumple the side of the paper in my hand.
“Now do you want to tell me why you can’t leave this apartment?”
“You already fucking know, why do I have to say it?” I demanded of him. He sips at his wine before removing the newspaper from my hand. He clasps it with his own to still its shaking.
“Because if you don’t say it, it will consume you. It’s what’s keeping you prisoner in here, isn’t it?”
I could feel the dams breaking from the calmness of his voice, the way he massaged my fingers as he talked. Tears pooled in the corners of my eyes and I couldn’t force them back even though I tried. I lowered my face, letting my hair curtain around it to hide the tears from his searching gaze but I could still feel him get up from his chair and encircle me in his arms.
“It’s okay, I already know. I won’t judge you,” he whispered close to my ear. His fingers worked themselves through my hair and I couldn’t stop my mouth from saying the words that I wanted to keep secret from the world.
“He raped me.”
“Whispering it isn’t going to help you.”
“He raped me,” I said a little louder. He picked up the newspaper and held up the picture so I could see it.
“What did he do to you? What did the man in this picture do?”
“The man in that picture raped me!” I nearly screamed at the picture, unable to stop the torrents that streamed down my cheeks. He let go of my hand and I buried my face in them, I didn’t want him to see.