The clock read 4:47am. A flood light buzzed outside, muffled by a double pane window opened just a crack as the wind whistled faintly. A subtle warning as darkness filled the room, barring the dim light that spilled through blush tinted sheers. A gleam of soft cotton candy streaked across her face. An armoire, heavy and brooding, stood in the corner. The doors slightly ajar, drawers open but their contents empty. Hangers strewn across the floor; he took everything when he left. A crystal highball glass with a swallow of muted amber colored liquid settled inside, resting on the floor blanketed by wads of Kleenex. Her delicate fingers clutched an empty, dark green bottle.
The room was cold as a shadow danced across the vacant walls. The bed sat high off the ground as her body clung to the edge. Legs tangled in green sheets, twisted like vines on a tree but against the heavy headboard of reclaimed wood. Hair cascaded over her shoulder, despite the stiff breeze. The curtains billowed gently, changing the light of her glow between pink and gold. Although she is passed out and unaware of his return, goosebumps trickle up her arms the closer he gets to the room. A dark figure stands at the foot of the bed staring incessantly at her.
She awakens on her back, eyes heavy and vision obscured. She attempts to fix her gaze on the figure towering above her. He is a blurred shadow, dark and familiar. She is undressed from the waist down, black lace draped across the empty bottle previously clutched in her hand. Her thoughts are loud but cloudy as she tries to process the present moment. Her throat is dry, so she doesn’t scream but swallows the air. His body is heavy and long, with a shadow that makes him appear twice his size. Paralyzing fear strikes her because she isn’t sure how long he has been inside of her but judging by the rhythm of his breath, it has been some time. She looked over to the clock that now read 5:34am.
His pelvis pressed hard against hers, bone to bone, she winced while returning her attention to him with eyes welling up. He doesn’t speak but his eyes are ominous and calculated as he studies her. Tears run down her temples as he presses himself deeper and harder inside of her with each movement of her face. His brown skin wet and glistening in the dim light as he manages to thrust even harder.
“Why are you crying?” He speaks for the first time with a dour voice and smug face.
“I’m not.” She responds in a raspy tone.
He thrusts harder, placing all his weight over her while gripping the top of the headboard and increasing speed. His dripping sweat begins to merge with her tears as they both land on the pillow.
She grimaces with her pleas, “Stop! Stop! You’re hurting me.”
The knocking of the bed on the wall was so loud he couldn’t hear her but eventually he stopped, firmly placed his hands on the bed, and lowered himself down slowly. Never taking his eyes from hers, face to face, close enough to feel each other’s breath in rhythm. Without speaking he pushed himself off the bed, pulling out in one swift motion. A look of disgust and satisfaction on his lips, he turned and walked out of the room. She turned over on her side and watched the shadow of his naked body escape down the hall. Heavy footsteps echoed in his wake.
She laid there with drawn knees to chest, her hands between her thighs. Whimpering, the only sound coming from her fragile body curled up on the corner of the bed. Her body shook as her mind raced through a maze of clouded thoughts. The door slammed with the room shrouded in stillness. After a moment, she attempted to rise, dizzy and disoriented. She climbed off the bed and felt her way down the hall, heavy footsteps guiding her through the living room to the front door. She turned the lock, leaning her back against the door while holding her hands. A fleck of light caught her eye, as she bent down, almost stumbling, to pick up a set of keys cast on to the floor. Firmly pressing them into her palm, tears streamed down her face.
Slowly walking back into her room, she stumbled at each creak of the hardwood floors. Still undressed from the waist down, she pulls a pair of black cotton panties from her dresser drawer. Removed the grey sweat pants from their post on the back of her door, putting them on one after the other, black to grey. Stepping over the tissues and lace she crawls back into bed, clutching the keys to her breast. She shudders, turns over, and draws the covers over her head.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS/PITCHES:
The month of May covers Lupus Awareness. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that's rarely easy to diagnose, extremely challenging to treat and live with, and currently has no cure. We are encouraging people to gain a better understanding of this illness so we're accepting submissions/pitches from people who have it, and those who have family members/friends who've had it or currently living with it. True understanding opens the door for compassion and empathy and with any chronic illness, this is always necessary. This is what we hope to achieve with your stories.
May is also Mental Health Month. We already devote every Monday to mental health so of course we're going to acknowledge and highlight post for this throughout the month. As a country, we focus a lot on our physical appearance, leaving our mental health to fend for itself. However, there are some people who take it very seriously and maintain their mental health on a daily. We're interested in hearing what your support groups and selfcare look like, what your battles involve, and how we can all be more empathetic towards those living with mental illness.
Please send all pitches/submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 23, 2018.
We look forward to hearing from you!