It is quite a cold December evening. Even though I'm wearing a thick navy blue coat that I just bought recently at my favorite store but it isn't thick enough to keep my tiny body warm. I'm not that tiny though, standing at 5'4, just a little bit skinnier than I was a few weeks ago. I have just recovered from a fever. I think being sick is a great fast track to losing weight, not that I encourage it, no. I must have lost so much weight from being sick that I feel I am now just skin and bones. I just hope it's just a feeling and not the reality.
Aiden has been there for me when I was terribly sick until now when I'm recovering. When I told him I feel like I'm just a walking skeleton now, so fragile and weak, he was there to hold me and say that isn't so. He disagrees that I look like a skeleton however he does agree that I do look fragile and weak. He has been taking me to all the good eating spots this past few days to help me gain back my strength.
I've had a crush on him for a long time since I was thirteen until now that I am fifteen. I still get butterflies in my stomach whenever I'm with him. The first time I saw him was when I had just moved to this very small town and entered a new school. I was alone, nervous, and feeling awkward. I still remember when I was being such a klutz that I didn't see where I was going in the school hallway and bumped into him… hard. I swear I saw tiny birds chirping and flapping their tiny wings around my head just like in cartoons right after I landed on my back on the cold, hard floor. He picked up my books on the floor and offered me a hand. When I got up on my feet and almost regained my balance, I finally had a full, clear picture of him in front of me. He was smiling in amusement as he watched me swaying slightly from side to side trying to balance myself while rubbing my behind, with his short ruffled brown hair, his sharp pair of cloudy gray eyes staring at me, standing at about 5'8 and holding a stack of my books in his hands. He was 15 at that time and from the way he stood there, wearing his black leather jacket, white shirt underneath and a pair of jeans, I swear I thought I was looking at the junior version of James Dean from Rebel Without A Cause. He introduced himself as Aiden and the rest is history. Cliché, I know.
As we walk along the sidewalk, I look at my watch on my left wrist and it's currently showing half past nine. I need to be home before ten. Shops are preparing to close down for the night, and the street is almost empty. I feel so full even though I didn't even finish the plate of spaghetti Bolognese that Aiden treated me at Uncle Joe's, a small but famous restaurant among pasta and pizza lovers in this town. When Aiden noticed that I am slightly shivering from the cold, he put his left arm around my shoulders, pulling me closer to him as we continue walking. I could feel the warmth of his body and the sweet smell of his Calvin Klein's perfume and also a faint smell of smoke from the cigarette he was huffing and puffing earlier. However I wish that my jeans were a little bit thicker so my legs aren't feeling numb from the cold.
"I need to get you home," he said softly, almost whispering. He knows that I have a curfew and since I've known him, he has never taken me out later than my curfew.
I nod in agreement. As much as I want to spend more alone time with Aiden, but the cold weather is not helping my recovery at all. I'm starting to feel feverish again.
"I shouldn't have taken you out, it's not good for you, but if I take you to my place instead, your dad would kill me if he finds out."
I smile. My father is a bit strict on that but Aiden has never tried to break that rule and he respects it, which is a quality that I really like in him. He may look like a troublemaker, a rebel, but he knows not to mess with his girl's father. He has never forced me to do anything that I don't want to. For someone who constantly gets into trouble, he has a lot of patience in him when he's with me.
We stop at a junction and he looks around. There's not a car in sight. He sigh and I look up to see him looking disappointed and worried.
"I don't see any cab. Maybe we should call your dad to pick us up," he suggested but I quickly shake my head in disagreement.
"It's okay. We can take the bus," I suggested to him. He look at me, a little bit surprised. He knows I am not fond of the bus, nor have we ever taken a bus before but I seriously do not want to call my father at this hour to pick us up, and I also do not want Aiden to get into trouble with my father from going slightly past my curfew just because we are unable to find transportation. It's too bad that his mother wanted to use his car tonight because his father is using their family car.
"Seriously, we can try the bus."
Aiden is ignoring my suggestion, unconvinced. His silence and blank facial expression are enough for me to know that he is being hesitant about it. His eyes keep scanning the area for a sign of a cab.
"Really, I insist. Either we wait here in the freezing cold for a cab that's nowhere to be seen, face the wrath of my father or we can just take the bus that you know I hate so much, and get back home and sleep. I can forget my hatred for buses and give an exception this time only. If I can make that exception, so can you. What say you?"
I know Aiden is still very reluctant about it but he has no choice but to agree with me. We walk towards a nearby bus stand and we wait. I can see that he keeps turning his head left and right for a sign of a bus or hoping for a cab to appear and I know he's a bit nervous about it. I don't know why but I just feel like staring at him as if I'm never going to see this nervous sight of him again as he is always so confident and a little bit cocky.
Finally, out of nowhere, a bus just stops in front of us. We climb the steps hesitantly but Aiden decided to grab my hand tightly as he pulls me up. As soon as we boarded the bus, I could see a group of six rowdy boys at the back, shouting and screaming and laughing. Each one of them has a can of beer in their hands. They are young; I'm guessing about 20-25 years old. An old couple sitting at the front seat looks very annoyed and I can understand why. We take a seat behind the old couple and tries to ignore the boys. This is definitely the first and last time we are taking the bus. I wrap my arms tightly around Aiden's waist and hold myself close to him. For some reasons, I don't feel safe with the boys around.
10 minutes has past but it feels like eternity. All of a sudden the bus slows down and come to a halt, and the couple in front of us get up from their seat to get off the bus. I know from the look on their faces that they are relieved to get off the bus, away from the boys at the back who continues to make ruckus. It's just them and us now.
I look at my watch. 5 minutes past 10 o'clock. Just as expected, my cellphone started to vibrate. I rummage through my bag, grabbing my vibrating iPhone and answer the call. It's my father. I explained to him that we are on a bus home because we couldn't find a cab. He sounds unhappy. But the call ends abruptly when my phone is rudely snatched from my hand. I turn to look and one of the boys has my phone in his hand and a huge smirk on his face.
"Give me back my phone, please," I pleaded softly, not wanting to provoke him. The boy continues smirking and ignoring me as he tries to play around with my phone. He's medium built, with brown hair and eyes wearing a simple collared plain white polo shirt and jeans. He's not really good looking but he's not bad looking either.
"Dude, give her the phone back," Aiden suddenly gets up from his seat to speak to the boy.
The boy switches his view to Aiden. His smirk disappears and clearly he is now very unhappy. "Or else what? What are you gonna do?"
"I don't want troubles. Just give her her phone back, that's all I'm asking."
At this moment, I am so nervous that my heart beats so rapidly as if it wants to jump out of my chest. I try to pull Aiden back down to his seat but he's being very stubborn about it. I'm willing to lose the phone rather than get into trouble.
I could hear some footsteps getting closer behind me. The rest of the boys at the back have decided to join in. I quickly pull Aiden back down. "No, you can keep the phone, just leave us alone," I tell them as I turn my head away to face Aiden. I don't want to look at them, hoping they would go back to what they were doing before and leave us alone.
I hear the loud sound of beer cans being crushed and thrown onto the floor.
All of a sudden, two of them jumped onto the seat in front of us, smirking as they stand on the seat on their knees, looking down at us. This can't be good. On the right, the guy has jet black hair all tied up in a short ponytail with freckles all over his face and the other one has a peaked jagged cut brown hair with dark brown eyes and a noticeable earring on his left ear. There's a slightly faded scar on his left eyebrow as well. The guy on the right tries to touch my face but I flick his hand away. He seems to be enjoying my attempts at blocking his hand. The more I block it, the more he tries, chuckling in amusement at the same time.
I could hear clearly an unmistakable sound of a mouth chewing a gum.
"So this is your girl, eh?" I hear a voice next to me, followed by the continuous sound of gum being chewed loudly. "What a waste," his hand tries to caress the right side of my cheek but I brush it away. I hear laughter. I take a quick glance at the window and it's pitch black outside. I have no idea where we are. What I know is that we are definitely not heading towards my neighborhood. This is the only bus we have in this small town that goes to my neighborhood so there's no such thing as getting on the wrong bus.
"Yeah, what a waste. Haha. She should be with us. We'd make her so happy that she would scream my name for more! Oh Darren, ohhhhhh! More Darren more!" Another voice said while mimicking a girl's voice, followed by loud, obnoxious laughter.
I try to hold Aiden's hand and I could feel that he is clenching his right fist so tightly that the hand turns white. I shake my head slightly at him while mouthing the word 'no' silently. I can tell that he is trying to control his anger so hard that his face turns red. He does have a problem with controlling his anger sometimes. He does get into trouble once in a while but no, not tonight. He is alone, without a backup, facing a group of wild and drunk guys.
"Ya know, I'll fuck her so hard until she howls my name like a fucking bitch."
The guy then howls like a wolf. Other guys laugh even harder.
I am terribly scared now. So scared that a tear rolls down my left cheek. I have never felt this scared in my life nor faced this kind of humiliation. All I could do is pray that the bus would stop this instant. Why isn't the driver saying anything? Why is he driving in the middle of nowhere? Why isn't he stopping?
It's too late to regret my decision on choosing to ride a bus. If anything happens to Aiden, I will be feeling so guilty about it. This is my fault.
"Oh come on man, look at her. You'll fucking break her. I'll do it softly and gently like a real gentleman."
Guys roaring with laughter.
Then, it happens so fast, that I hear a punch being thrown. Aiden's tightly clenched fist just 'flew' and hitting the face of the guy with an earring in front of us sending him flying backwards, his back hitting the handrails and landing on the steps of the entrance door. I jump from my seat in utter shock. Before I knew it, someone grab my right arm, yanking me from my seat roughly. Two arms now wrap around me across my chest so tightly that I feel them squeezing my lung, causing me difficulty to breathe properly. He drags me to the back forcefully. I struggle to escape but to no avail.
Another guy just grab Aiden by the collar of his black jacket and just yank him out from where he is standing, as the other two of them each grabbing him by the arms and dragging him to the back of the moving bus. He struggles to escape too but obviously he'd fail when two are against one.
I cry the hardest I've ever cried before, begging, pleading for them to let us go.
"What the fuck? You think you're so tough eh?" A guy with a dark blonde hair look pissed. He then grabs Aiden by the shoulders and kicks him in the stomach with his right knee. All I could hear is Aiden groaning in pain. That guy kicks him two more times in the stomach. "See, you're not so tough after all." He spits at Aiden.
Then comes the guy that Aiden punched, looking angrier than ever. He wipes the blood on his bottom lip. Without warning, he just threw a punch at Aiden's left face, sending him straight to the dirty hard floor when the other two guys let go of his arms. He moans and groans and curls up with his hands on his stomach.
Watching him get beaten up while unable to do anything just shatters my heart into tiny pieces. I could only cry, tears streaming down my face uncontrollably, knowing the situation would only get worse.
I fear for Aiden's life. They kick him repeatedly. His mouth starts to ooze blood. I panic.
I beg them as hard as I could. "Please, please, please let him go. Please stop. Please don't do anything to him. I beg of you." My pleading seems to be unheard. They ignore me and continue kicking him until he's half conscious, battered and bruised.
Then they stop. I freeze. My eyes are fixated on Aiden moaning in pain on the floor. The bus sways and bumps but not showing any sign of stopping. The guy that Aiden punched turns to look at me, taking a few steps toward me. My heart is beating so fast. I am terrified. So terrified.
"What's your name sugar?" he asks me. I look at him. Our eyes met but I refuse to speak a word.
Pain. So much pain to my left cheek and it starts to throb.
"What-Is-Your-Name, BITCH! Answer me when I'm asking a fucking question!" he screams at me.
The pain on my cheek intensifies as I try to open my mouth to speak. "Alyssa…" I answered weakly.
"Well Alyssa, we are going to show you a good time tonight, aren't we boys?" he grins devilishly, reminding me of The Grinch. "You hear that homo? We are going to show her what good time feels like," he turns his head to look at Aiden on the floor. Aiden glares at him furiously, blood trickling down his face, but he is too weak to even move. He starts to cough out some blood.
Roars of laughter again.
Before I knew it, they start to unclothe me, taking off piece by piece forcefully. I try to push them away, but what could a weak girl like me do to stop 4 strong guys while the other two watches and guards Aiden? All I could do is continue crying. In my heart I wish and pray that the bus stops, and someone would save us. I pray and wish for a miracle. But they are not stopping, and they won't stop until I'm fully exposed. Not a single strand of thread left on my body. I can't take this humiliation and all I could do is beg for them to stop.
They pin me down; my bare back feels itchy on the dirty floor. They take turns to ravish my tiny and weak body, beating me, slapping me, punching me, kicking me and forcing me to do despicable things against my will. I try to block them, kick them, and push them away but my attempts don't seem to have any effect. The loud roaring of bus engine drowns my scream and there's not a soul out there that could hear or see me and come to my rescue. I keep screaming as long as my throat and lung allows it. I feel as if I'm choking with my own saliva mix with vomit, gasping for air to breathe and my body is in so much indescribable pain. I am so weak, I could barely move anymore. My body finally succumbs to their brutality but my heart curses their every move. I could no longer scream; in fact not a single sound could be projected anymore.
All of the disgusting and brutal acts are done in front of Aiden who is lying motionless on the floor not far from me. I notice tears forming in his eyes, but he could barely move. All I could do is stare at him blankly. My mind is blank. My body is numb. I can only hear laughter, insults, excessive profanities, groaning and moaning as they take pleasure in sexually assaulting me.
But then the engine stops. The bus stops.
I could see the bus driver getting up from his seat and walking towards us from where I am lying. For a split second I had hope that he would come to save us from the brutality. But the hope was crushed when instead of being the angel I was hoping for he turns out to be the devil as well. He turns out to be part of them. They are his friends.
I don't know how long it has been since they started. I have lost all hopes of being rescued and could not care any longer. I could not see Aiden's eyes staring at me anymore. Is he sleeping? Did he pass out?
They must be done now. They've stopped. I feel so cold and I could not even move any parts of my body, not even my fingers. I feel exposed and dirty. Every inch of my body hurts like hell. I can feel parts of my face especially my lips swelling up, throbbing in fast rhythm. What now?
Two of them suddenly walks up to Aiden, and grabs his arms. They starts lifting it up and proceed to dragging Aiden away. Where are they taking him? No, please, no more. Please leave him alone. They drag him towards the entrance door, leaving a trail of red blood along the way from where he was lying before and Aiden disappears from my sight. Not long after that, the two guys reappeared and standing at the entrance door, they nod their head at the rest of the guys at the back. Then I could feel someone picking me up. It's the guy with the earring. He carries me off the bus, and then puts me down on the cold grass outside not too far from the bus. I could not see anything, as there are no lights in the area except for the dim lights inside the bus.
I could hear their footsteps walking away and going back up into the bus. The sound of the entrance door closing confirms my fear that they are leaving us there. I hear the engine being started, and the bus moving away. Going… and going… and going… and gone. Complete darkness and total silence surrounds me now.
I lay on the grass, exposed to the coldness of the night. I try hard to move but I couldn't. I am too weak and in too much pain. I could only move my eyes, and could barely see Aiden lying motionless at my side. He's not making any sound. Is he even breathing? I want to call out his name, but nothing is coming out. Tears just streams down my face.
I stare at the dark sky. There's not a star in sight tonight. The moon is hiding behind the dark clouds. The clouds serve as a screen like in the cinema, with my whole life playing in front of me like a movie. I begin to have images of my parents waiting for me at home, not knowing of the tragedy they are expected to face soon. Then I see Aiden's family, shocked to hear what has become of their son. Would they blame me? Mother, father, I'm so sorry. Aiden, please forgive me. I should not have suggested us to take the bus ride to hell. You don't deserve this. You have so many things to look forward to in life. Dear God, please spare his life.
My eyes are getting heavy. My head is spinning. My vision is getting blurry. My mind is getting fuzzy. Is this how my life will end? I am snatched away from my loving family, friends and Aiden by some merciless bastards, snatched away from my happy life; I will never know now what it's going to be like to be an adult, to love Aiden, to get married, to have kids, to grow old and to die peacefully from old age knowing I've lived my life to the fullest… those bastards!
My breath is getting shallow. My chest hurts. My heartbeat is slowing down. My body's system is shutting down. Am I dying? Is this what death feels like? I fear death but I can sense it approaching. I'm terrified. Why? Why did they do this to us?
A question I will never get an answer to.
A/N: This story is a fiction heavily influenced by the recent case of rape in India where the girl finally succumbed to her injuries, may she RIP. I wanted to write a story about rape so badly but I almost quit halfway, because I could not bear describing the inhumane acts in details so at the end I try not to go into too much details as I had planned. Please be kind if you want to R&R.
This story is dedicated to the memory of the deceased Indian girl, Noor Suzaily who was also raped on a bus and killed in Malaysia, Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, a little girl kidnapped, abused, sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in Malaysia, and to all the rape victims around the world. It saddens me that women become subject of cruelty, and we can no longer trust public transportation.