By Ken Compton
Her body was pinned to the ground by his girth, her shorts were snatched down and her panties were torn off. She squirmed against the warm soil, the effort more exhausting than helpful and cringed as he positioned himself between her thighs; his pants were unzipped and to his knees, he had threatened to slit her throat if she screamed.
What had she learned in self-defense? The practice dummy never attacked and the mace was unreachable in the shorts pocket-she clinched her teeth to block his slithering tongue but nothing else lent itself to capability.
A beam of sunlight shone through the trees giving her a lasting glimpse of the devil-white, balding-blonde, buggy-red eyes, scruffy beard, a scarred chin.
She laid her head back and rolled her eyes up to darkness-the pleasure in his face was too awful and the stench of oysters and whiskey was worthy of vomit. She saw someone…thank GOD, help finally…a figure had emerged from the shadows against the trees.
“You mine, bitch.” He head-butted her and spat.
Her body went numb…she blacked out.
Steven Reichert lay spread-eagle and partially awake under a single sheet. The plan was to sleep till noon, yet the rumble of his neighbors ‘84 Wagoneer disturbed his dream of winning a second set of keys to the city. His eyes remained closed as he rolled over and yawned.
The scotch from the night before made his morning breath worse than sour. He had gotten hisopen-bar worthat the awards banquet; winning Officer of the Year for the fourth time made it an occasion for more than a Bud light or two.
He stretched…what would it be today? He painted the porch yesterday and cleaned out the shed the day before. Maybe…a matinee, lunch by the pier or…
The phone rang.
He hit the speaker button. “Who is it?”
“Hey, it’s me.” Chief Zick’s voice filled the room with a familiar urgency.
Steven winced. “I’m still on vacation Chief.”
“You don’t know what I want yet.”
“Calling me this early only means one thing… two and two is still four, right?”
“I need you on this right away, Steve.”
“Can’t somebody else do it?”
“No, I need You. Consider it a favor I’ll owe ya for.”
Steven sighed and rubbed his brow. “What is it?”
“A rape and assault about three hours ago.”
“Why the priority?”
“Because it happened in Graffiti Park.”
Steven opened his eyes. “I’m listening.”
“Dispatch got a call right after dawn, the vic is a 23 year old Caucasian, jogging in the north sector when she got attacked.”
“Jogging, in Graffiti?”
“She’s new to the area, didn’t know about the park’s reputation.”
Steven sat up and reached for his Pall Malls, the first smoke of the day was his favorite. “What we got so far?”
“We’ve searched the park and the surrounding area based on her description of the attacker, the dogs picked up a scent from a bloody knife at the crime scene but the trail turned cold. The blood wasn’t the victim’s but matched a foreign DNA sample found on her.”
“What about the prints on the weapon?”
“No good for a match.”
“This isn’t a lot to start with, Chief.”
“You’ve solved more with less, Sherlumbo.”
Steven shrugged his shoulders. His case-solving ability earned him the nickname Sherlumbo Marple. And although he preferred the title of Detective (less cumbersome than Major Inspector) he thought himself less intelligent than Sherlock Holmes, brighter than Columbo and the Miss Marple reference was bullshit. “Okay, I’ll be in as soon as I can.”
“One more thing. There may be a witness. The girl saw somebody before passing out and we suspect this personcontacted dispatch.”
“You suspect?” Steven took a puff. “What about the call trace?”
“Get ready for the rub,” said the chief. “There wasn’t a phone call to trace.”
“Wait, wait, wait…” Steven threw his legs over the bedside. “…a call came into dispatch but there was nothing to trace?”
“Well according to the dispatchers, they weren’t notified by phone. I didn’t believe it at first, but they said that a voice just vocalized and said that a rape victim would be found behind some rose bushes in the north sector. They thought it was a joke but sent patrol to the areaandsure as shit the girl was there.”
Steven took a deep drag. But, before gratification could set in, the scar on his lower leg ignited with an itch.
“You there Steve?”
“Yeah, I am.” Another moment of silence while he scratched. Upon relief, a thought solidified. “Hey Chief…” He leaned towards the speaker phone. “…the voice that came into dispatch, what did it sound like?”
“The dispatchers heard an old lady with-”
“An Irish accent?”
“How did you-?”
“I can’t explain now.” Steven hit the floor. “I need to find the witness and see the crime scene for myself. I’ll be in later to talk to the girl.”
“Sounds like you have a lead already, I’ll have some officer’s meet you.”
“You’re going to Graffiti Park, alone?”
“I’ll be fine Chief.”
“Okay, it’s your case. Solve it.”
“I’m on it.”
Steven paced in the master suite of his Old Victorian, the curtains were drawn but the adjacent hallway light lit the smoky room adequately. An Irish woman in Graffiti Park…it couldn’t be. He walked while searching for logic in the impossible and thumbing ashes in an empty cola-can with each pass around the king-sized Sleigh. He opened the curtains and lifted his leg onto an ottoman. The scar had turned red. Strange. It hadn’t bothered him since…he shook his head and glanced around the room; the plaques mounted on the wall, a broken DVD player covered with dust on the floor, two cartons of cigarettes on the dresser next to his parents portrait he kept faced down, focusing on other things helped to shake the memoryof that night. The day’s best smoke was burning to ashes.Steven took one final drag and dismissed all questions.
Wet still from the shower, his shirt felt plastered around the top of his broad back but his feet were light and ready in his old reliable loafers. He fed Bane, his Doberman but took no time for his usual bagel and cup of black walnut blend. A self-check at the front door for keys, wallet, badge, firearm and Blackberry broke his stride before setting the alarm and heading out.
The engine in the new Ford Expedition purred like a well fed tabby while hedrove north towards Graffiti Park. The sun’s rays were against him but with this eyes wide shut he could drive having lived in the area all 52 years of his life. Nonetheless, he squeezed the wheel tighter at ten and two the closer he drew to his destination. It was the perfect time to burn one but…no smokes in the new ride, he had promised himself.
At a red light, Steven tilted back onto the head-rest. The girl’s naivety about the park, he sighed…it had been covered on major news networks and reality shows from Ripley’s to Unsolved Mysteries. A syndicated radio show conducted a poll every year for the twenty most frightening places world-wide. And GraffitiPark consistently ranked number one.
Rumors of peculiar happenings were legend. A woman attempted to feed a pigeon and, according to witnesses, ran screaming that the bird replied with ‘no thank you’. A five year old girl, reported missing after a family picnic, was found weeks later after being nurtured by squirrels, she told authorities. And finally, a man wanted for questioning in the disappearance of his wife, alluded police for days but was discovered buried from the neck down; he babbled that the ground opened up and swallowed him.
Though skepticism shrouded these accounts, one phenomenon could never be refuted. The Mural Wall-a stone block standing twenty feet high and stretching an eighth of a mile long stood as Graffiti’s main mystery. The portraits from which the park earned its namesake were ever-changing; colorful mountain depictions transformed into black and white scenes of desert disparity while images of the sick and elderly changed to children skipping along a river’s edge. The pictures drew the viewer in, more thrilling than third dimension but the mystery was that no one was ever seen defacing the mural.
A film crew recorded the wall for a documentary. They spent hours shooting but their footage came out blurred and the sound was erratic. When questioned about what they witnessed as the image changed, no one could ever remember.
Some believed the paintings predicted the future. During the 1960’s a portrait of a black man lying dead on a balcony showed up on the wall. Days later Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered while standing on the 2nd floor outside of his motel room.
Nonetheless, the mural wall was a part of Graffiti as much as the park was a part of the city. There had been attempts to turn the landmark into a residential area but in spite of petitions and the support of city officials all efforts failed for reasons unknown. For the last several years, the entries had been barricaded with caution tape and the park officially closed.
Steven drove another block and took a deep breath before making the last turn to the park entrance.
Two rows of rotted, wooden plats and columns stretched for fifty feet on either side of the road leading in. A wrought iron gate too rusted to close completely offered a gothic appeal as did the oak trees that stood like chess pieces planted strategically to do battle.
Steven swerved on the spiraling road, passing gargoyle fixtures that seemed to change with every blink of an eye. He pushed the radio button to calm his stomach but instead of his soft rock favorites there was only static. He turned the station and adjusted the volume, changed stations again, volume up and down-there was nothing. On impulse, he pressed PWR on his Blackberry but the phone was dead too. The stomach sickness strengthened like a mass of maggots gnawing through his gut.
The second thought of leaving eased his fear. He hit the brake but the SUV accelerated to 35, 50 then 70 miles per hour. He grabbed the wheel and slammed harder yet the Expedition ignored any maneuver or mechanism and turned at the first left. Steven reached for the door handle but all locks clicked before he could pull. The car grinded up a hill, forcing him against the seat while rocks and debris pelted the underside and smoke from the hood made it impossible to see. The truck jumped the hill-top and bounced onto the ground, the seatbelt’s firmness cut across his waist and shoulder. He gritted his teeth and scrunched down when the radio blasted Britney and Bach, unable to assume the full fetal as the noise grew louder. His breathing was heavy and sweat stung his eyes. The car turned and sped faster. A small incline, a sharp turn, a veering to the right and a sudden dip, his stomach dropped and his sides ached. The vehicle turned again but the speed decreased. Steven felt some relief as the car coasted. The smoke stopped, the music diminished to static before shutting off. A slow turn right and the truck parked itself in the north sector.
The doors unlocked.
He sat up and wiped his face with a rough forearm. Okay, he thought widely. “I’m here, son-of-a-bitch, I’m hereeee,” he pounded the wheel before resting his head against it.
Some time passed-twenty minutes maybe, but three cigarettes were burned in less than half of that. Drenched in sweat, he turned the key and the truck refused to start, rumbling low and lethargic.
Steven surveyed the area before opening the door. To his amazement, there was no damage. He wanted to check the hood but couldn’t risk diverting attention. Rubbing the back of his head and resting against the passenger’s door lent comfort in uncertainty. He glanced around as if new options were available. Moments later, he sighed, unsnapped the tiny strap securing the 9mm and started on the runner’s trail.
With the exception of his loafers thumping the ground, he heard nothing, no birds chirping, no squirrels scampering, no wind rustling tree limbs and leaves-no sound of life anywhere. A play area with a swing set, slide and sandbox appeared innocent but no child would be safe there, he thought. The pond on the opposite side held waters as still as mud. What secrets may lie beneath the surface? The thought made him shudder.
Up ahead he eyed a robin’s nest; a mother and three baby birds sat inside. The expected activity of the babies begging with open beaks and the mother working to feed them was absent. Instead, four birds sat almost inert, their heads turned slowly as he moved, a judge and jury eye-balling the accused. He hastened his steps and looked back. The beady little heads were still watching. Hestarted jogging.
Atunnel of forestation where the tree-branches intersected too sporadically for much sunlight lay before him. Steven hesitated; never had he been afraid of dark places but this was a moment when his courage could be measured with embarrassing results. He reminded himself that the area had been filled with police only hours before however he was alone. He wished he had brought Bane yet even a Doberman might piss himself here.
Small spots of sunshine filtered through the crevices of the thick vines allowing him to see enough to avoid panic. The shapes of the light-specks entranced him. As inconspicuous as a Christmas tree ornament was a solid gold crucifix. An all-seeing eye, bloody and accusing, nearly coerced him to confess sins and repent. But there was something else. Steven squinted. It was his mother’s crying face and his father’s sullen demeanor. He saw himself beyond his parent’s caricatures, the vines contoured to form a furrowed brow, pursed lips and eyes squinted with fury. His hands shook. His eyes were fixated as the light-specks showed it all again-the courtroom, the judge, the questioning, the fighting, the abuse-the memories that made his childhood shitty. The sickness swirled in his stomach and up through his throat. He collapsed and threw up, dry heaving. Breathing hard, he wiped his mouth, stood, looked in both directions and struggled to the end of the tunnel.
The DO NOT CROSS tape was just beyond, Steven staggered to the crime-scene. He looked around still breathing hard-his pride would take a hit if anyone saw him this way. He leaned against a tree and reached into his pocket. The cigarette was worth the extra effort to light as the luscious smoke filled his lungs, he blew it and watched it dissipate; the silence of Graffiti was appreciated while he processedall the other crazy shit of the day.
After the last drag, he smashed the butt and flicked it.
“Pick it up Stebben.”
He drew his gun and spun but a crushing blow sent the 9mm hurling while he fell hard to the dirt. He shuffled his feet but was unable to regain footing at the sight of her.
Black skull cap, silver hair rippling from underneath, her skin was ghostly white and wrinkled like unfolded laundry. Wide green eyes contrasted a small nose and tiny lips scrunched in the center of her face. A long black wool coat swallowed her thin frame in spite of the blistering summer heat, her hands resembled catcher mitts clutching the tattered purple bag she held in front.
Steven froze for she was not alone.
Eight to ten white-tailed bucks with antlers no shorter than 3 feet stood alongside her. An equal number of gray wolves appeared barring teeth and growling. Dozens of raccoons and opossums clung to tree barks while flocks of owls and ospreys swooped onto available branches. The ground came to life with moles, rabbits and gophers scurrying in mass.
Steven retracted in the uproar.
Until the old woman lifted a single, elongated finger and ceased all activity. She floated closer to him. “Pick it up, Stebben, there be no littering in this ‘er park.”
He rose, and at 6’4, he was about a foot shorter than she, her feet hovered just above the ground. Without a word, he picked up the cigarette butt.
“My, my Stebben. Yer grown into quite a man. Tall and broad shouldered, no longer a runt of a boy.”
“I need your-” his voice cracked, he cleared his throat and threw back his shoulders. “I need your help.”
“Yer here to investigate the attack on that poor young lady and ye hope that I can help ye apprehend that evil man.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“Ah Stebben, where he is doesn’t matter.”
“We need to get this guy off the street before he hurts somebody else.”
“Trust your instincts, Stebben. Ye know all ye need to find him.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t understand.”
“Yer forgotten what I taught ye years ago…” her voice lingered.
Steven maintained eye contact yet his mind drifted. He felt 7 years old again, running through Graffiti the night he learned his parents would be getting a divorce. He hid behind some shrubbery for hours after the sun went down, determined to never return home. The sirens were faint in the distance-he scurried to go deeper in the woods when something from the ground grabbed his ankle and caused him to fall. He cried from the three inch cut on his leg.
That’s when she appeared.
“Who, who, who….are you,” he bawled.
“Ye may call me Bag Lady Betty.”
“How do, do…you know… my name?”
“Oh I know a lot about ye, Stebben. I know that yer been a bad boy. Ye ran away from home so that yer parents would worry.”
“I want them to stay with me… and…and not leave.”
“Oh they be not leaving ye Stebben. They love ye very much. That’s why it wasn’t nice fer ye to leave them.” She glanced at his leg. “Let’s have a look at dat.”
She dabbed the blood with a tissue from her purple bag and covered the wound with her heavy hand. She tilted her head and muttered, “Me yung din, me yung din, me yung din, me, me, me, me yung din, me yung din.” Her eyes batted and her hand glowed green.
“What are you doinggggggg?” It burned like alcohol and boiling water.
She tightened her grip, undeterred by his thrashing, “Me yung din, me yung din, me yung din…”
He suffered until her chanting stopped.
Before she released him, “Ye best be getting home now. Don’t hold any anger towards yer mother and father fer what they must do to be better parents to ye. And never forget Stebben that bad deeds are always punished.”
Young Steven Reichert ran. He looked over his shoulder and she was still watching. He ran up a hill and down the other side. He looked again and she was standing at the top of the hill leering at him. He ran through the park entrance. He turned once more and she was posted at the gate like a giant awaiting a toll to enter. The burning intensified while running home, but he had to get away. He had had the eeriest feeling that the old woman was still watching even though he couldn’t see her.
The cut had healed once he arrived home but a scar marred his leg.
Steven shook his head. “That was a long time ago. And this is about a rapist, not a scared kid who ran away.”
“Bad deeds are still punished.” A grin curved her lips yet there was no humor in her tone.
“Please, I need your help. You know this area better than anybody.”
She said nothing but the grin remained.
Steven lowered his head and closed his eyes. He chose his next words carefully, “All I’m asking-”
But she and the animals had vanished.
He spent the next forty minutes examining the grounds.
“Find anything?” Zick handed Steven the case file.
“Nothing, nabbing this asshole won’t be easy.”
“What about your lead on the witness.”
“A dead end.”
“How the hell did you know she was Irish?”
Steven made up something that sounded more believable than the truth.
The chief gave a head nod, “Excellent work.”
“How’s the girl?”
“Stable for now, reluctant to speak at first but the counselor made some leeway.”
He opened the folder to the sketch-the reddish eyes, unmanned beard and scarred chin exuded a particular evil; a cobra’s poise before striking was less menacing. But, it was just another creep that would be taken down. He read some details about the vic. Her name was Terri Grant, recent college graduate, lived most of her life in a small town back west etc…he thumbed through the rest before going in to speak with her.
Major Inspector Steven Reichert had seen countless victims yet the initial shock of this one brought sadness where one would struggle to fight back tears. Splotches of hair were gone; the few strands remaining partially concealed a massive knot on her forehead while crusts of blood under the nostrils and a wired jaw completed her victimization.
Terrishook his hand and avoided his eyes. Stevenreminded her that cooperation was needed in capturing the one responsible-empowerment was a proven tactic.She recalled the horror as if it were happening again-the rapist’s look, his stink, his raspy, drunken voice. It was a tearful testament but her anger served the purpose that Steven had hoped for. He gathered as much as he could, after nearly an hour, and assured her that justice wouldn’t fail.
The follow-up included a sketch comparison to known sex offenders, verification of the DNA profile with forensics and contactingconvenient stores near the park for possible surveillanceof recent patrons buying alcohol and tints of oysters. Everything depends on the first day of the investigation, is what Steven lectured at police academies across the country. But nothing substantial was obtained from his effort. The best hope was to post the sketch on the 6pm news and wait for a lead.
He finished a pack of cigarettes and was almost done with a second before ending the day. Zick and a few others invited him to a happy hour but with his mind still on the case, he refused. He was usually able to remain detached…but what this guy did to her. If he had a daughter she would be around Terri’s age. He held his hands on the steering wheel and nibbled his lower lip. A pain shot through his wrist and reminded him of the brief conversation with Bag Lady Betty. She knew something indeed. You know all ye need to find him…what did she mean?
Steven closed his eyes and replayed the events of the day; the assault, the call/no call to dispatch, his arrival in Graffiti, the tunnel, the bag lady’s appearance, her disappearance, the victim, the evidence collected-there had to be some clue that could…that’s when it hit him. He opened his eyes. The chief called him this morning and gave all the details of the case, but there was one question that Steven didn’t think to ask. Trust your instincts Stebben, he heard her voice in his head. He reached for his Blackberry and searched the contacts for Chief Leonard Zick.
The conversation was brief but the chief confirmed what Steven had suspected. He started the engine. He had to go back to GraffitiPark.
Steven drove to a different sector, slammed the car door-head cocked and chin jutted. He came to a baseball field where a dilapidated gate behind first base and strips of tin, near collapse that had once served as bleachers were all that remained.
He trekked across the terrain and felt the liveliness of what used to be. He sawhimself lining up to bat while other little leaguers waited in the dugouts. He heard parents screaming when a base was stolen or an umpire called a bad play. He smelled the buttered popcorn and tasted the sugary sweet slurpees when fun had flourished.
Halfway across, Steven squinted at the sun and wiped his face with his forearm. His shirt was damp at the armpit, he loosened the buttons and un-tucked it from the Khaki’s that stuck to his legs like wet thermal. He pressed forward but the sweltering air had plans against his determination. He spotted the trees-the need of shade expedited his effort but intensified the heat. The closer he drew the further the trees appeared to be. His feet dragged, his mouth hung open, bone-dry as he panted. Within seconds, his head spun, his vision blurred. He fell to his knees and collapsed faced down, an inhale of dirt made him hack. He turned to breathe better, but sun-beams seared down. He moaned as his eyes watered and his sight dimmed…he lost consciousness.
The sun was gone when Steven awakened. He hacked, spat and coughed. He spat again yet the grittiness remained. He rolled over…what the hell am I doing here? He took a moment to collect his bearings…come on Steve, come on.
He rose and gazed at the moon, full and blue, its brightness was comforting but the darkness shrouding GraffitiPark was not. The tree barks were concealed and the branches above were like black paint splattered against the illuminated clouds. Steven looked across the field where the moonlight flicked upon the bleachers and signaled his exit. Why not leave and return in the morning? He looked towards the darkness ahead, a mental image of the rapist flashed. He envisioned Terri and her wired show, how pretty she must have been before that son-of-a-bitch raped and beat her. Got to keep going.
He moved along the fields edge, his shoulders wide and ready like a lineman fully suited. Trees and shrubbery soon engulfed the pathway, the full-moon appeared in pieces through the branches. Pairs of tiny pinpricks disappeared and reappeared. A cracked twig was heard here and there. A scamper was in the brush. “Things” swooped overhead. A hiss of displeasure was very close. Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.
A heavy scuttle announced the arrival of something behind him. Steven turned and met orange, crocodile-like eyes surrounded by a shaggy face, short snout and jagged shards serving as teeth. His stomach knotted and his mind swirled. He had his gun but this thing looked strong, fast and determined. It lowered its head and growled. It was either him or it. A single bead of sweat trickled towards the corner of Steven’s mouth, he licked and tasted its bitterness. A shot to the head, he thought…or maybe…he paused. He backed up slowly and raised his hand in peace, the other hand on the 9mm just in case. His anxiety quadrupled as three smaller sets of orange eyes bounced under the larger pair. But the smaller ones didn’t look as ferocious. Steven turned slowly and walked away. After several paces, he looked back…and there was nothing there.
He reached a clearing where the moon appeared to be waiting. A path littered with gravel lay before him. Steven kneeled and grabbed a handful of stones. He let the pebbles sift through his fingers and chided himself for not putting the pieces together sooner. The chief told him that the dogs picked up a scent but the trail turned cold, yet Stevenfailed to ask wherethe search had ended. His heart raced. He was getting close to it.
The air was cooler, the moon was brighter and all was silent as if in reverence to the Mural Wall. The brown mineral was ancient, massive and imposing.Steven approached it from the side as goose-bumps prickled on his thighs. He felt perspiration on his forehead, on his back andon his feet. His mouth hung open, his eyes were unblinking for whatever he was about to see.
But the wallwas blank, an empty canvas so to speak.
Steven walked towards the center and felt a chill made worse by his own sweat. With each step the air grew more frigid, he could see his breath when he exhaled.
“What the….” The ground trembled. Steven spread his arms to maintain balance but the roaring that resounded forced him to cup his ears. He grabbed onto the wall yet it shifted and shook. He realized that the rumbling wasn’t emanating from the ground but from the Mural Wall. He forced himself back, nearly falling.
But, as mysteriously as it started, the turmoil stopped.
Steven rubbed his hands through his hair while confusion and relief inundated him.
An odor pierced his nostrils, a mortuary stink of the decaying dead, rotten fish and Jim Beam. He looked around to find the origin and gasped. A white, chalky outline was etched out on the wall. The figurine held its hands up as if pushing from the opposite side of the rock itself. Within the boundaries of the trace, the surface melted and boiled like ingredients in a cauldron. He took several steps back but continued to stare as color brightened and the shape took on white skin, receding blond hair and a mangled beard. Red ovals for the eyes emerged and a scar was cut upon the chin to complete the rapist’s portrait.
Steven covered his mouth and nose yet moved closer. Something about the image seemed more real than imaginary; he had to touch it. He ran his hand over the face of the rapist’s likeness. It felt warm and cold, soft and hard, smooth and rough, a conglomeration of flesh and stone beneath his fingertips.
Pleasseeee, help me, help me, have mercy…merrrrrrccccyyy,said a small raspy voice fromsomewhere in near vicinity. Steven glanced around but saw no one. He stared at the image and noticed drops of moisture streaming from its eyes, a red substance dripping from its crotch. Heunwrapped a piece of tissue paper from his wallet and dabbed the fluids, careful not to taint the sample as he sealed it. A DNA comparison to the blood on the knife would strengthen closure. But whether the rapist was alive, dead, trapped between hell and purgatory or imprisoned forever within the concrete of the Mural Wall, Stevenwas uncertain. He was positive however, that the guy would never harm another. She had seen to that.
The temperature was normal. Steven sighed and released all the pressures from the day and perhaps a lifetime. He felt a sense of peace, a stillness from within that he didn’t want to hinder by thinking too much about it.
The scar tingled. He lifted his pant leg to examine it; the night in Graffiti when he met Bag Lady Betty came to mind. Bad deeds are always punished-the words echoed in memory as did her wisdom about his parents that he had never considered until now.
Theysurfaced in thought. He pictured his father living in a retirement home on the east part of town and his mother residing alonein the house where Steven grew up. Tomorrow, he would pay them both a visit, not for their sake but, more importantly his own.
Steven took a final look at the rapist as the tears and blood continued to pour, the tiny voice grew more faint. Helit his last cigarette, took a deep drag and turned to leave Graffiti Park.
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