Revenge (Part One: In The Realm of Loss & Uncertain Direction) (Excerpt)

      ONE 

 
She woke, drenched in sweat and shivering uncontrollably. Her breaths came in eager gasps, her lungs trying to suck in as much oxygen as they possibly could. Her nightgown was clinging to her skin, uncomfortable, sticky. She had dreamt of him again, his trespassing hands all over the fallow field of her body. He had sown his malevolent seeds many years before, when she was barely thirteen years old. The seeds had sprouted, and flourished, overgrowing most - if not everything that had once blossomed. And even though those vile vines of his had partly withered with time, there was little chance that anything would ever grow there again. He who had hindered the possibility of another ever coming along and planting something new. Her stepfather.
      Jennifer threw back the sweat soaked sheets and got out of bed, her legs feeling weak and disobedient. Luckily, Rachael, her roommate wasn’t in, she was most likely out somewhere drinking. She grabbed a towel from her wardrobe and then unlocked the door and made her way warily to the communal bathroom. She switched on the fluorescent light and walked over to the sink. She looked terrible. Her blonde hair was a mess, her blue eyes seemed dead. Her pale skin was blotched with red, like she had been crying in her sleep. She probably had, it wouldn’t have been the first time. She was an attractive girl; it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for the guys around campus to look twice when she walked past. Her beauty was useless though, she couldn’t handle close contact with the opposite sex, she had tried once or twice and the consequences were disastrous. How horrible was the thought that, that the only man who had ever had her, had been him. God, she had no idea why her mother had married the piece of shit. It wasn’t just her he had abused, but her Mom too. Jennifer knew he had beaten her on numerous occasions. She had heard it with her own ears – and seen the evidence with her own eyes, the swollen bruised-blue painted upon her mom’s face. She meekly pushed a shower cubicle door open and went in, locking it behind her. She pulled the gross-smelling nightgown up and over her head, struggling slightly as it clung to her body, not seeming to want to let go. She eventually managed to peel it from her pallid skin and stepped into the shower. She couldn’t help but notice how white her feet were, so pale they almost seemed to reflect the light from the faintly humming tube on the ceiling. She didn’t go out in the sun much, even though she lived in LA and she had heard it was what you were supposed to do. She had always been indoor person, even as a child back in Iowa. It hadn’t surprised Trudy - the one true friend she had back home in Mason, when she had told her that she was moving to Los Angeles to study creative writing at UCLA. She was the bookish type – even though she didn’t look it. Who knows, maybe if her early teenage years had been different, she might have gotten into the usual things pretty nubile blondes girls did, like being on the cheer squad and getting banged by guys on the wrestling team. Go Mohawks! She didn’t think so though, she had always felt a little different – a little bit of an outsider.
      Jennifer turned on the faucet and let the hot, hot water blast her skin - to the point that it almost hurt. She ran her hands through the knots in her hair, pulling them out as she did. Pain was good, it took ones mind off things. Things like that asshole John Gardener – the sower of the seeds of horror. She lathered shampoo in her hair, then rinsed and repeated with conditioner. While she let it do its thing, she exfoliated with the vanilla body wash she had picked up last time she had gotten groceries at Ralphs in the village. She was starting to feel a little better already, she would go back to her room, take a Ativan – or two, and go back to sleep, hopefully, this time, with no dreams. She turned off the shower and dried off half heartedly before wrapping the towel around herself. She picked up her nightgown and walked back to her room.