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Chapter Excerpt

From my novel “NATALIE STONE Beyond Survival And Into The Light”: EXCERPT WITHIN CHAPTER 1: Natalie questioned by police:

With noticeably lowered indifference he lightly touches her arm and says, “A few questions, Natalie.”

Her lids part. She stares at him as if he is dangerous and says, “I can’t deal with this.” She is awake to him now and not liking it; sees he doesn’t understand that she

wants to scream, that she is thinking—do not cry—telling herself, perhaps irrationally, if you cry you won’t stop, you will come apart in pieces; and begins to shut down.

Maloney looks at Doctor Prajapati, who reminds him, “She was overwhelmed, was raped, detective. Think PTSD.”

He says, “Right…yeah…okay.” He takes two breaths before asking Natalie, “Where did this happen?”

She repeats, “I can’t deal with this.”

Maloney looks at Alice. Having seen his shift in attitude, that he is asking for help, she nods and leaves her chair. She puts her arm around Natalie’s rigid shoulders and tells her: “You can do this.”

A few moments pass before Natalie’s body softens, though she remains mute.

“You can, Natalie, you can do it.”

Natalie suddenly appearing restored to the present by Alice’s encouraging warmth, looks directly at Maloney while deciding: answer and they will go away, and it will go away; and so she says, “Okay…. What did you ask me?”

“I asked where it happened.”

“His fraternity, in his room.”

“Which is where?”

“Upstairs.”

“Uh-huh.

“Did he force you to go with him?”

“No.”

“Then why did you go there with him?”

Because she was woozy and stupid, she thinks. But she explains: “It was crowded and noisy downstairs. And he said his room was cozy and private, that we could talk and get to know each other better.” She does not tell Maloney that because her brain was awash with jungle juice, allowing the insanity of teenage recollections, she went there to make out; like she did with that boy in high school, blonde-haired Larry, when he had felt

her down there and she was so aroused and moistened and it was so sweet, and she wanted more of that, but only that, was not ready for more than that, if even that. Not yet, and not the way it was done to her, she being so terrified and barely able to breathe and so without power she might as well have been chained. But how to explain this to these hard-looking, disbelieving men?

Yet she shrugs Alice’s arm from her shoulders and tells them the simple truth, “I trusted him.”

As an alternative to screaming she almost laughs because how dumb can you be?

But of course she doesn’t laugh.

“Can you describe in detail what happened?” Maloney asks her.

Details? Re-live it again and again? She closes her eyes, clearly recalls walking the hallway to his room and catching sight of a girl in a pretty dress through a half-opened bathroom door, kneeling on the floor and vomiting into a toilet. ‘It’s okay,’ Scott reassured.

‘Just too much to drink.’ The girl casting a shadow across her path—yet she doesn’t turn back. For the rest she feels as if a part of her mind has endured a cataclysmic strike, leaving scratched-up remnants of words and images:

You told me we’d talk, I said, while he gently pulled me close and said you have nice breasts with his smiling face, and thank you I said as he was pushing me down and I

said, wait, talk a little, slow down, and he was too much weight so I said you’re too heavy, stop, but he was not listening and I cried, not this, can’t breathe, while his hand his finger, the pain, it hurt and I pleaded stop, can’t breathe, but he was deaf, was deaf, his hand for moments pressing my mouth, suffocating me until so buried I couldn’t move, looking at his dead eyes and hurting, trying to say, stop, to this deaf, dead to me face,

wanting to tell him this neve- ending torture must stop, please, ‘til he used me up, stopped poisoning the inside of me and air seeped in as the weight of him lifted and I

became unburied and said you were killing me to the accusing ugly face that said, look at the mess you made, while the puke and dots of blood were soaking in, and it became all my fault when he said you didn’t tell me you were a virgin and I told him you didn’t ask, while inside I was burning and outside I told him you raped me and his boiling face said clean yourself, you don’t fucking say that word to Karen, you bitch, I didn’t rape—don’t say that word….

“Can you tell us, Natalie?” Maloney prods her.

Eyes cast down while safely drifting from the atomizing details, she slowly shakes her head side to side and replies, “He raped me. I don’t want to feel like it’s still going on. He hurt me bad. That’s what happened.”

Gomez is nodding as he says with obvious sympathy, “Yeah…I can see that…. But we might need more details…later anyway.” Then he asks, “How did you get back to the dorm?

This is easy: “Scott waited in the room, I guess cleaning up. I went to the bathroom and washed my face, then went downstairs and slipped out of the building and walked home.”

Maloney, no longer the disbelieving cop, sighs and nods and unexpectedly says,

“Okay….

Continued in the Kindle or the Print Version, at Amazon.

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