- Caution: sexual violence.
HUNTER OR PREY?
Aching from her workout Sarah appreciated the relaxing properties of the spa. Located under glass she looked up at the blue sky dotted with white fluffy clouds. Resting her head back and closing her eyes, she let her arms dangle over the edge. Feeling incredibly relaxed, she drifted to the gentle sound of bubbles hitting the surface. The peace was broken by a familiar male voice.
“That looks painful.”
Sarah opened her eyes, blinking, she brought a hand up, shielding them from the sun.
“It’s nothing.” She said, remembering her bruising. “Car accident.” She added, and then immediately regretted her choice of words seeing it was Parish, from Northwick Park.
Embarrassed, Sarah grimaced at the thought of him having something on her, her mouth twisted up into a smile. Chances were, he would already know that she’d fell down the carpark stairs.
“Oh?” He laughed, a mocking type of forced laugh. Then, raising one eyebrow, continued with, “you still look hot, even after the boyfriend has had a go at you. ‘Made you say you’ve fallen down the steps eh? You’re very sexy. Beautiful even. Even without makeup.”
He stepped into the small spa tub, moving across the water until he was close to her. Sarah could see the sweat on his top lip. She stood up and pulled her towel up around her.
“Thanks, but that’s not true – I fell. Have a nice relax.”
Saying it with all the confidence that she could and avoiding eye contact, she stepped over him and out of the spa, “Goodbye!”
Truth was, she was rattled. ‘Ruined is more like it.’ She thought, feeling like an idiot for forgetting the brusing. She shuffled away in her oversized slippers towards the locker rooms, pulling the towel tight.
The layout new, she ended up back at the swimming pool. Realising her mistake, she turned around on herself and walked back. Coming past the spa she saw the embarrassingly, forward doctor had left. As Sarah turned into the locker room she gasped as a hand went over her mouth. She was pulled up and over on to her side and her knees pushed from under her.
The shock momentarily took her feet clean off the floor as they held her, up in the air, then with lightning speed pushed a hand between her legs. Sarah closed her legs and felt it pulling hard at the skin on her thighs, nails scraping her.
Biting down hard on the hand restraining her, she fell down hard, onto the wet tiled floor, banging her head. The small, sturdy man grabbed her under the chin and physically slid her across the room until she was sat slumped up against the white wall. As she tried to shout for help, he formed a fist and shoved into her mouth. Sarah saw her attacker.
It was Parish. He stared at her, watching her gag, his own mouth open. She clawed at his arms. He pushed his hand deep into the back of her throat until she started rolling her eyes to pass out. He thrust his other hand between her legs but she kicked him hard in the shin. He laughed, stopped, and holding out a hand for her to get up, said,
She took his hand and started easing herself off the floor. In one quick movement he twisted her arm up behind her back, took hold of her hair and cracked the back of her head against the wall. She slid down, losing consciousness.
She came around trying to catch her breath. His knuckles were back in her mouth. Unable to speak she sat on the cold, hard floor as he, standing up to check around no one else was present, bent down and sneered,
“Sluts need food.”
Roughly grabbing either side her head and standing over her he pushed his penis deep into the back of her throat. Her eyes met his as she went to bite, but he pushed all his weight against her until she was forced up against the coldness of the tiles, pulled at her hair and banging her head, hard against the wall.
“Bitch. I don’t want to feel no teeth. You’ll end up with concussion, cunt.”
Parish moved his penis moved in and out of her throat. Her gasping breaths through her nose and her nostrils flaring excited him.
Remembering his current Pornhub favorite he reached down and pinched her nose. Panic flashed across her face and he started collecting spit up in his mouth from the back of his throat.
Narrowing his black eyes, he released her nose, allowing her to breathe.
“Look at me.” He said before forcing her mouth wider, her jaw unable to close, taking deeper breaths now, she pleaded with petrified eyes, unable to speak but hearing noise come from her that neither recognized.
“You saying thank you? Fucking bitch. You fucking love it, don’t you? How many more black cocks could you fuck in your greedy holes huh?”
He imagined his friends, fucking her, filling her arse and cunt, slapping her breasts, while they pumped her full. They’d be all around her, pulling her hair and twisting her at her nipples. Perhaps they’d give her a little opiate assistance to help with her pain as they fucked her again and again. He was getting close.
“Fucking bitch. I’ll fuck you next time, damn.”
His speech was slurring with the weight of the spit collecting in his mouth. He cleared his throat and leaned forward until he was over the bridge of her nose. The sluts mouth was still full of his cock. His eyes focused on hers, a smile on his lips, as he used his tongue to push his spittal out over his full brown bottom lip.
It crept and oozed slowly onto Sarah’s face. She closed her eyes, feeling it moving down along her nose. Gagging, she felt it slide into her nostrils, her ears and slip into her mouth.
She was retching hard. He put his knees against the wall forcing his cock further down her throat. Reaching down, feeling the bulge of himself in her neck he released his sperm into her throat. He spat on her again and slapping her hard across the face, he pulled himself away from her.
Looking at his naked hairy back as he walked away, Sarah wiped her face free of his spittle, and using the wall for support, shakily stood up from the floor. She shouted after him,
“Is that all you got, arsehole?”
Parish turned to watch Sarah walking fast towards him. He noticed her drop slightly, not skipping a step, to pick up a bright red fire extinguisher from the wall before she swung it, menacingly, inches from his face.
“Well?” She said, as she lifted the cannister.
“What?” He said, bringing his hands up to protect his puzzled face.
“It’s not what. It’s pardon.” She said, swinging it down heavily into his naked groin. It hit him directly, crushing his penis and balls. She quickly found and pushed a towel in his mouth to stifle his screaming.
Falling backwards onto the slotted benches frantically trying to protect his penis, he pleaded to her, in petrified muffled cries.
“No, no… I’m sorry, please.. don’t!”
Sarah wasn’t listening, talking over him with her own questions,
“Well, have you? Have you got anything else for me?”
Without giving him time to reply, she swung the cannister up towards his face. Using all her strength she brought it down, heavily, breaking his nose and front teeth.
Parish’s eyes fluttered, blood soaked and changed the towel from white to red. She wiped his face as he lost consciousness and then the cannister before putting it back on the wall. She turned Parish over on his front, her feet slipping on the bloody floor with the weight and effort. Blood spilled from his face onto the white tiles in a red waterfall.
She emptied his bag and threw it under the bench, lining it up under his face. The blood dripped steadily into it, a thick font of crimson life. She wiped the floor with his clothes and towel and put them in the bag.
He lay limp and lifeless as she placed a complimentary towel over him, lifting it at his buttocks and rested a baseball hat, taken from the pegs, on his head. Looking back at the body, trying to imagine someone else walking in, Sarah nodded, satisfied there was nothing to see.
Feeling remarkably calm, she got dressed, pulling her socks on over her bloodied feet, washed her face, threw water over her hair and left the building by the swimming pool entrance. In one of the most surreal moments in her life she stood, standing in line, and waited at the bus stop.
Sarah listened out for signs of someone discovering a dead body but heard none. Seven anxious minutes later, the sound of the diesel engine declared the bus coming up the hill. Pacing the pavement as it turned around past the Leisure Centre before travelling back to the stop she glanced back towards the centre. Everything quiet, she boarded the bus with the other waiting passengers.
A young mother struggled to get her pram up the bus steps, without thinking Sarah reached out and helped. Regretfully pushing her hands deep back down into her pockets after noticing her bloodied nails.
Anxiously she nodded in reply to the woman’s thanks and stared out the window hoping the other woman, and the two small children, had been too busy to notice that she had a mans blood on her hands.
They were pulling out from the fourth stop when an ambulance hurtled past in the opposite direction. The passengers turned to look in the direction of the sirens and flashing lights before looking at each other and settling down with their journey.
In shock, when arriving home, Sarah bathed in pine detergent, the smell permeating the flat, knowing it would make her feel cleaner. She scrubbed the blood from between her toes and her nails. She poured a large glass of port and rolled a joint before opening her laptop.
Feeling calmer as the alcohol and cannabis raced through her body, she logged into Ground Rush and killed dragons. Hours later, and with her back cramped she stood and stretched. Turning on the radio. she listened out for news of Parish’s assault or death but there was nothing.
Online she ordered sexual health tests and early evening crawled into bed. The next morning the radio reporter stated two men had been arrested in relation to a man being assaulted at a local swimming pool. They were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
The next day social media was full of the story. The victim, a young doctor, had been injured with broken teeth, nose and a fractured cheek bone. A Gastroenterologist, Dr Parish Patel(23), from Northwick Park Hospital, says he remembers being woken by someone stroking his bottom and asking him how he was. A fight had then started between the two men.
Injuries to Dr Patel’s face originally led the police to arrest both, eventually releasing them without charge the same day when the ‘victim’ decided not to press charges.
Sarah spent days cleaning her mouth out, even using bleach. Achieving only to make her mouth burn before soothing it with cold milk directly from the fridge. Still, she couldn’t rid herself from the taste of his sperm.
The STD test arrived the next day. She pricked her finger and squeezed the blood out onto the test window. After studying the instructions she placed it all back into the envelope. It would be a ten day wait. Spent playing Ground Rush, her injuries aching, making sitting for any length of time difficult. Fed up, she caught the underground tube to the gym, posting the samples in the red pillar box on her way.
Sarah wanted to concentrate on the ceiling bag, but her heart was not in it, rhythm escaping her. Her hands sore from glancing the bag unevenly. Even wearing sunglasses her anxiousness was rising to an uncomfortable level.
A group of pakistani men entered, laughing. She knew none of them but her breath still stopped in her throat, she made her way towards the doors to the gym locker room, the floor falling away from her and the smell of these men seemingly so strong that sweat pricked up on her neck and she was overcome with nausea.
Managing to get herself back out onto the street before she vomited, she stood there shaken, before gathering herself and walking back home along Green Lanes feeling small, vulnerable and not at all safe. With no cannabis and the last of the port she climbed into bed.
After a unrestorative nightmared night where she’d dreamt of Queen Boudicca charging through a hospital, smashing green glass bottles, slaying Romans who had dared to assault female patients – she got up and watched the sun come up. The dream was obviously muddled but she heard the message.
Sarah’s thin knowledge of history was enough to know the ancient warrior queen would get back in the fight. She looked at the photo of her parents which decorated the flat. If they were here, she’d want to make them proud. She would not want them to be worried because she was always under attack. Who was that unlucky?
“Don’t let the buggers grind you down.” He’d have said, probably with a comforting hand on her shoulder. She missed him. Sarah missed both of her parents but often wouldn’t allow herself to think about them. Too much heartache. Her thoughts turned back to her dream.
The soldier’s heads were driven from their shoulders by Boudicca’s sword, cleaving them from their necks. The loyalty of her troops were fierce and undying. She lay and brought herself to orgasm imagining lines of soldiers prostrating themselves before her. Struggling with images of Parish and/or Kevin photo bombing her fantasy, she managed a frustrated, short climax before getting up and showering.
The next day an email offered her work as an agency bank nurse for more money than she’d been on previously. At short notice she could be called upon to work at any London hospital. She replied immediately, confirming her acceptance.
Deciding she still had a day or two, she took two painkillers and called the gym before getting dressed for a run.
The air was crisp and sharp. Pulling up her hood and leaving the flat quietly she moved against the low hung mist covering the tops of the houses. She checked the time before raising her arms like an airplane briefly and then running down the middle of Mannock Road, along Westbury Way towards bus station.
It was just before 6am and there was already a queue building for the next bus. Running through Turnpike Lane bus depot she hesitated while the last night bus pulled into the station, she watched as the weary night owls clambered off. Crossing over the carriageway, she continued across Green Lanes into the park.
Her chest was tight, and throat stinging from the coldness of the morning. She stopped on the grass just inside the gate, stretched and punched the air. Jumping into the sand pit, she swung across the children’s monkey bars and jumped in and out of the tyres. She ran the length of the park and then out onto the road again towards the gym.
The Greengrocers were open, they often opened all night. The stock was being delivered and they took little notice of Sarah running past. She ran well, firm and steady, keeping her strides constant, falling into a rhythm with her heartbeat and jumping over anything put on the pavement. The traffic was intermittent but cars moving, would pass her on the road before she caught them up again at the traffic lights.
Through her sweating brow Sarah could see Ivor Mac, stood at the door with his morning coffee having one of his two cigarettes a day. She checked her stopwatch, twenty-two minutes, she was getting faster.
“Time?” questioned Mac.
“For a coffee.” replied a smiling Sarah, running past him into the gym, before calling back over her shoulder, “Faster than when I started!”
“So does this mean you are going stay around today?” Mac asked.
Her glance made Mac think better and he added,
“You thought any more about a fight? They may increase the prize if..?”
Mac tried to continue but Sarah cut him off saying,
“It’s not for me, I don’t want to be fighting. It makes me feel uneasy. But I need to keep learning, esp defence tactics. I was attacked, again.”
Ivor Mac took the kettle over to the sink, the gym was old, maintenance was constantly a problem and water was drawn up from a tank under the building. London was full of old buildings needing updating. Sarah liked the old look of the pump, it’s brass handle looked Victorian. The kettle clanked against the side of the sink.
“Must you make so much noise?” Sarah sighed, then laughed at Mac who pulled a face back at her request.
“Excuse me, princess! I have to be honest with you love, there is little more I can teach you without sparring. You need to get used to the contact. Do you want to talk about it, the attack?” he offered.
His face was sincere. He knew the thought of contact with another person filled her with unease. Maybe at work it was easy for her to cover it, rubber gloves, disposal aprons, masks all aided the social distancing element, or of lack of it in a hospital.
They stood, in silence, side by side in the gym doorway looking out across Manor House. Eventually, Sarah looked down at her watch. Making arranging for her next session, where she’d be looking at Tai Chi marital arts and promising that she’d think about fighting with one of his students she left, pulling up her hood, before running back towards home.
It was up hill on the way back. The traffic had built up on Seven Sisters Road, people making their to work. Running faster than the vehicles on the road, she watched a woman eating porridge from a cup, another doing her makeup in the car mirrors and a man reading papers all while driving.
Slowing as she turned in to Mannock Road, she met the postal worker, said morning pleasantries and was still panting heavily when she came in and shut the front door. Immediately throwing off her tracksuit and putting two pieces of toast in the toaster before running the shower and logging in to her game to collect resources and check her mail. She’d been offered a shift that morning!
Sarah liked her toast cold and often ate some on the journey, allowing her to concentrate on getting ready. Usually she’d laid out the new uniform on the chair as her parents had always taught her, today she pulled it out of it’s clingy, plastic bag and put it straight on. It was identical other than the logo. By 7.30am she was out the door and walking towards the underground.
The weather had cleared a little now and the mist was replaced with blue sky and little white clouds. Sarah sat down heavily onto the bench in the carriage and finished her toast. She got out her phone and looked at the message from nursing bank agency again.
Getting into Northwick Park was unremarkable but as she entered the Accident and Emergency department the scene was chaotic. Children were crying, people were lying across benches, women screamed at each other whilst their partners stood moodily by. Police were everywhere. There had been a random knife attack. It had happened the evening before but there had been multiple victims, causing a backlog in regular service.
Trying to walk through the department, people asked, several times, how much longer it would be…she ascertained that some had been waiting all night. No one was on reception. She confidently told those asking that she’d be back with information.
Putting her bag in her old locker she discovered Ted asleep. She checked down the staffing list for Parish’s name and relieved at not finding it, realised he must be still off recovering from his injuries.
“Tough night huh?” She said to an unresponsive Ted before checking her hair and uniform and going back into the A&E department. The hospital was extremely short staffed, but she had been assured by the nursing agency that another bank nurse was on their way in to help.
The patients in the waiting room were relieved to hear that things were moving be it slowly but grumbled, and some left, as she put a notice up saying waiting time could be four hours.
Going through into the cubicles Sarah found beleaguered nurses chatting. From the patient bays, two alarms were calling, flashing on the board.
“Good morning all. Looks like you’ve had quite a night.”
All three laughed, “Good luck.” Said one, as they, holding their Starbucks, turned to walk away.
“Hang on,” said Sarah, “who’s doing the handover?”
“Who knows?” Retorted one, having pulled off her uniform, her tight curls bouncing and stood up from the effort, was already stuffing it into her bag.
“Dr Brown is in the locker room but he’s not great. He had major dramas. They lost a young man, one of the stabbing victims, only twenty years old. The parents… They are waiting for someone to tell them what happened in the quiet room.”
Sarah couldn’t believe her ears. “Shit.”
She looked around at the department, the bins were overflowing, the floor was filthy, bedclothes were lying in the corners, soiled bandages were spilling out of the bins. She looked at the patient list. It was a mixture of elderly patients and minor injuries with priority given to life threatening injuries, there was nothing that couldn’t wait. Seeing the nurses move towards leaving she shouted,
“Please take the laundry out on your way down, it’s a tripping hazard. I’ll not have time as I’m on my own.” The three nurses looked her, clicked their tongues and then walked out leaving the laundry and medical waste.
Sarah let it go, knowing too well it was never worth complaining about certain hospital staff.
Breathing deeply she looked at the board and went to the nearest bed with a sounding alarm. The scene in the cubical was distressing. The elderly gentleman had accidently caught his catheter on the bed and his penis was red, sore and swollen. According to his medical notes he’d recently undergone prostate and rectal surgery. He’d been sent home the next day to recuperate and been unable to pass urine for 24 hours. His GP had arranged for him to come into A&E. He’d been on the ward awaiting admittance since 1am.
It seemed the correct tube had been placed into his penis to collect the urine but as the patient had been laying on the line it hadn’t been able to draw away the urine. No consultant had attended so she was confused as to who had placed the line.
Nurse Sarah Cacroft introduced herself to the elderly man and explained what she needed to do to as she moved the patient, shunting the gentleman around until he was off the tube. His bag starting filling immediately, so she was able to leave him to check the other alarm.
Cubical three had a young woman of twenty-one, sobbing into her pillow with pain and with a high temperature. The young woman told her she’d been there all night and hadn’t see a consultant or doctor yet. She was worried about her pregnancy as she’d been bleeding.
Sarah pulled back the bedclothes and saw blood covering the lower half of the woman’s body. Promising to return as soon as she could Sarah excused herself.
Her anger was immense. How could anyone leave a person like this? It was obvious the woman had miscarried or was in the process of losing her baby and would need to go to Obstetrics or Gynecology as an emergency. However, as a nurse she was not able to discharge, refer or admit patients. She calmed herself and returned to the cubicle to reassure the woman.
“Do you fancy a cup of tea or coffee while you wait for a Doctor, hun?”
Tearfully the young patient replied, “No, thank you, I just want to know that my baby is okay.”
Sarah closed the cubical curtain and went to the locker room. She shook the sleeping doctor, his body odor was repellent, and she was forced to step back before saying,
“Doctor, can you come and see this patient? I think she has miscarried, or something is wrong with her pregnancy, she definitely needs referring to Obstetrics or Gynae. She may have lost the baby already.”
“Yes, will do.” He didn’t open his eyes. He didn’t stir at all.
“Doctor, please wake up!” then, under her breath but loud enough for him to hear, Sarah seethed,
“For fuck’s sake, bloody lazy foreigners.”
His eyes opened, he sat up.
“What did you say?”
Sarah Cacroft, lent down close, ignoring the foul stench, and shouted loudly in his face, spittal flying out from her mouth.
“I said, ‘please fucking wake up’!” Looking him straight in the eye, Sarah continued firmly; “There is a young woman out there bleeding heavily and on the verge of septic shock, with fever, you need to get her examined, or she will die unneccessarily on your watch. I think her baby already has.”
Eight hours later she was travelling back home again. She messaged the nursing agency that she would not be available as a nurse again. She added that she was sorry and hoped that they would pay her immediately for the day’s work done.
copyright sam J harris 2022
all characters and interactions are fictional
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