A tale about a girl who plans to break up with her boyfriend…but fears the consequences of his temper.
Written by Gregory Patrick Travers
He used to tell me that he’d die for me. And like the naïve freshman I was, I believed him. I thought we would be together forever. I mean, when we first started dating he wouldn’t go anywhere without me. Recently it seemed he wouldn’t let me go anywhere without him. I couldn’t even say hello to another guy without inciting some sort of heated argument. I couldn’t remember the last time we were just…happy. As the engine to Bobby’s Jetta puttered into silence, I reminded myself of this. I coached myself to stay strong and focused on what I had come there to do.
Bobby took the keys out of the ignition and turned on the radio. We relaxed and looked out across the endless night sky of Mary’s Bluff. I couldn’t tell you why I chose our old make-out spot to break up with him. Maybe I wanted it to end in the place it all began. So I could remind him of how it used to be. It didn’t help that the radio was playing our song. Ed Sheeran’s voice used to give me goosebumps when I was there in the Jetta with Bobby. Not anymore. I reached over and turn the dial on the stations.
Bobby was caught off guard. “I thought you loved that song?”
I shrugged. “It’s played out.”
He just nodded and went back to looking out onto the bluff. Shouldn’t that have hurt him? That I didn’t even want to listen to our song anymore? Well, it didn’t. We sat there in silence while the news played over his radio.
“The police are still on the hunt for what the papers have been calling, ‘The Rain City Rapist’. Last week marked a third victim in this string of assaults that have left the town’s residents afraid to leave their homes at night. The suspect is believed to be five foot ten inches and of a trim build. He is believed to be armed and dangerous. Do not approach if seen. Call police immediately.”
Bobby switched off the radio. “Enough of that shit…” he muttered.
The car was quiet now. A part of me wondered if Bobby might have been the rapist. The description they gave on the news fit him. And whenever people talked about it, he would change the subject right away. And there had been days where, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get a hold of him. I laughed off the thought for how crazy it sounded…but still. When Bobby went off the handle, he was a completely different person. It was scary.
“So, why are we here?” he asked. He leaned back against the driver side window, looking back at me.
My heart beat faster. “We need to talk, Bobby…”
He laughed. “We couldn’t do that at Brett’s house? Johnny and Brett are watching the game. We can still make it before half, if we leave now.”
I shook my head and looked down at my hands interlocked on my lap. “No…Bobby, I want to break up.”
I couldn’t bear to look back up at him, but in the corner of my eye, I could see him staring back at me. He chuckled softly. “Fuck off,” he said. “You’re losing it.”
“I’m serious,” I stated. I was firm in my tone. “I think we’ve run our course.”
He pushed off the window and sat upright in his seat, slouched over and staring at the steering wheel. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he said under his breath. My eyes drifted to his hands on his lap. They shook for only a moment before they clenched into fists.
I trembled. Why did you pick such an isolated spot for this? I yelled at myself in my head. There wasn’t anyone around for more than a hundred yards each way. And right in front of us was the edge of a rocky cliff, a hundred feet above the crashing shores of the Pacific Ocean.
“Is it another guy?” he asked. His voice had gotten louder, accusatory.
“No, Bobby. I…”
“Don’t lie to me!” he shouted. He punched the steering wheel and the whole car shook.
He punched the steering wheel again. This time the horn went off. “I swear to fucking god, Jenny! If it’s another guy, I’ll…”
I clicked open the passenger door and got out of the car. The chill of the night hit my skin and I shivered. I looked all around for someone I could flag down…but there was no one. That’s when Bobby got out of the car and started towards me.
“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” he shouted. The wind carried his voice off into the sky.
I stepped back toward the edge of the cliff. “Don’t hurt me, Bobby!” I screamed. “I’m sorry, okay? Just don’t hurt me!”
He stomped through the weeds and sand. I watched his fists, clenched and shaking. I stepped back again, but he grabbed me by the arm and squeezed. “Look at me,” he said. But I couldn’t. My eyes were shut and my head was turned away from him. He gave me a shake. “Look at me!” he yelled. I sobbed and turned my head slowly, peeking open one eye, then another. He stared back at me, breathing heavy through his nose. Then, slowly, like I was dumb, he said, “Get in the fucking car…now.”
Twenty minutes had passed on the dashboard clock while we sat inside his Jetta, both staring out our own individual windows. I was afraid to say anything out of fear he would explode and turn his fists on me. He never had hit me before. But he had definitely lost it a few times and that wasn’t something I wanted to happen out on this deserted bluff.
Finally, after muttering obscenities under his breath for almost a half-hour, he turned to me and said, “What is it then, Jen? Why don’t you want to be with me anymore?”
By this point, I couldn’t take it anymore and broke. A cool stream of tears ran down my cheeks as I whispered, “You’re not you anymore.”
Just then I could hear footsteps stomping heavily towards the driver side door. I let out a sweeping breath of relief. Someone had heard him yelling. Someone had come to save me…
Bobby’s door swung open and an arm, wearing black gloves and a black long sleeve shirt, reached into the car and grabbed Bobby by the shirt, dragging him out of the car and onto the dirt road. Bobby was stunned at first, then started to scramble to his feet. That’s when the stranger pulled out something shiny from his waistband and clubbed Bobby across the face with it. I heard a heavy clunk and Bobby dropped back to the floor like a ragdoll. A heavy worry fell over me that this stranger may not have been the hero I thought him to be.
I wiped the tears from my eyes so I could see. The figure in black approached the car; Bobby lay on the ground behind him. I could hear a tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “Get up, Bobby! Get up!” The roof of the Jetta gave a low thump as the man in black smacked his hand down and leaned over, looking into the car, at me. It was the first time I got a good look at him. I gasped at the sight of the wool ski-mask pulled over his face. His blue eyes watched me from inside the mask while I sat frozen in my seat, huddled against the passenger door. The voice inside my head said, “Run. Run now.”
Once again, I clicked open my door and ran out into the night. I made a break towards Main Street in the distance. I could see a red pick-up truck about to make a turn on the road into town. I screamed for help while I waved my hands in the air frantically. But the truck drove off up the road and out of sight. That’s when I felt the cheap fibers of his dollar store gloves cover my mouth, while his other arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me tight against his body. My feet kicked wildly as I tried to break free of his grasp…but his hold on me was too strong.
“Shut the fuck up,” he growled. “I have a gun.”
He threw me down on the ground beside the car and pulled out a chrome revolver from his waistband. Then he got on top of me and pressed the nose of the gun hard against my forehead. I closed my eyes and cried while his free hand ran back and forth on my chest, pressing and squeezing. I could hear heavy pants from under his ski mask. His hand ran down my stomach and grabbed at my crotch, rubbing against my zipper. The pants got quicker. Then, I heard, “Hey, fuck-face!”
My eyes flicked open, seeing Bobby standing over my attacker, his shirt stained with dirt and blood. With a kick to the jaw from Bobby’s boots, the attacker rolled off me and the revolver dropped out of his hands, just under the fender of Bobby’s Jetta. Bobby dropped to his knees and started throwing down fists to the attacker’s face. Then Bobby screamed out in agony and jumped to his feet, holding his side. “You fuck!” he screamed. “You stabbed me!”
The attacker remained silent and scrambled to his feet. I saw the switch-blade gripped tight in his hand. Bobby let go of his side and I watched the bloodstain bloom under his shirt. He looked at me for just a moment before his attention went back to the attacker, who had made his way to the front of the car and was bending over to pick up the revolver. Just as his glove wrapped around the gun’s handle, Bobby lifted his leg and threw a hard kick into the attacker’s backside. The hit sent the attacker face first into the dirt like a baseball player sliding into home plate.
That’s right, I thought. No one messes with my boyfriend.
That’s when the attacker flipped over on his back and pointed the gun at Bobby. A flash of light and a deafening bang followed. Bobby stumbled back, gripping his stomach. The attacker shot again. Another flash and bang followed. Bobby dropped to the ground hard; a plume of dirt rising up from under him.
I saw the switchblade lying in the dirt, reflecting the shine of the moonlight above us. As the attacker got back to his feet, I scrambled to mine and darted to the knife on the ground. As soon as it was in my hand, I leapt onto the attackers back and wrapped my legs tight around his torso. I hammered the blade into his neck, over and over. I closed my eyes and didn’t stop for one single second. The attacker fell to his knees. Then into the dirt. I kept stabbing. I didn’t stop until he was no longer moving. And even then, I jabbed the blade into him some more, just to be sure. When he had been motionless for some time, I sighed heavily and got to my feet. The night was quiet once again. I could hear the crickets chirp. My breath steamed slowly up to the starry sky. I looked down at my crimson stained arm, holding the switchblade tight. My palm opened and the knife dropped into a patch of weeds beside my sneakers.
I ran to Bobby and knelt down beside him. He was losing a lot of blood and the color had drained from his face. I squeezed his hand and told him that everything was going to be okay. And then, just before he died, he told me that he loved me. I sat there with him in the dirt until the police arrived.
As I sat in the back of the ambulance with a blanket wrapped around me, I was approached by one of the officers on the scene. “You holding up okay?” she asked.
“We’re going to get you to the hospital and get you cleaned up. Just sit tight.”
I nodded, my eyes looking down at my lap. Then she asked if Bobby had been my boyfriend. I told her he had.
“He must have really loved you,” she said. “Most guys might have just run.”
I looked up at her and wiped the tears from my face. “Not Bobby,” I said. “Bobby was a good guy.”