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​Author: Anonymous Middlebury College Student

                  I have the place where his vampire fangs sunk into me. I have the place where his handcuff hands fastened around my throat. I have the place where his hammer palms pushed down into the thin skin below my collarbone. The skin was ghost white before but now it is simply the skin of a ghost. I am a ghost. Before I was a road with scarlet and tangerine leaflined trees, but now I am the dead-end-winter-bitten-alcove with trees that have branches kissed with death’s open mouth and trunks with vampire bites that look much like my own. I let the cold invade me as I press my fingers against the slashes in their bark, wishing I could push the sides together hard enough for the poison to ooze out and the tree to be whole again. And then I wish the same thing could be done for my heart.


                  I have memories that shoot out like bullets into the inside of my head whenever I close my eyes. Memories of words he said and words I should have, memories of the words I did say but didn’t mean that dripped out of my broken mouth. My lips were drenched in a raspberry venom and they housed a tongue suffocated by a clonazepam rattlesnake, who’s grip got tighter and tighter as the hours passed and my hazel eyes closed. The brush of my lashes against the hollow of my cheeks was the only gentleness I knew. I could not feel myself. I could not be there for myself. I am here and then I am there again.


                  Going through the motions—he speaks. Maybe he doesn’t know. He just sees me as a tool to make him happy—“From the second we met I wanted to see you naked.” Well now he has gotten what he wanted. He has successfully hunted his prey. He smiles and touches me. Here and there and there. To him I have no mind—I am just sexual and warm and elastic. If he’s so happy then maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe I am masking deeply seeded regret with deeply visceral feelings of victimization. I don't trust myself anymore. All I can say is I remember thinking—if only I can just get up and get to my phone, then this will all go away, he won’t be able to touch me anymore. But my body couldn't move from the plushness of the slaughterhouse he made for me, couldn’t move itself to follow my mind towards the last bit of light left in my eyes—-


                  No, no, no.


                  This is my fault.


                  This is my fault.


                  That is what I say to myself and what many will say to me. But then logic reminds me if that truly is the case than I must be the equivalent of a little child’s Barbie doll. Like a Barbie, my legs must have been meant to be moved without me. Wrapped above my head, tearing at my muscles, challenging my joints. I must have been meant to feel pain like this. I must have been meant to turn my back only to be turned back over, covered in my hair and an exhaustion so deep I was immune to care.


                  Confusion consumes me.


                  I stand in the shower and try to scrub his grimy rat tails off of me. I crouch down. I am so, so tired, tired to the very limit of the word. I touch my body, but I cannot feel anything. I grip my kneecaps. I dig my teeth right into the bone. If I bleed I cannot see it. I cannot see anything but the girl I wish I was. The girl that was not so reckless with what she was given. The girl that could comfortably sit in her precious purity. I have failed. I have savaged my own body.


                  And then I cry.


                  I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.


                  “I like my sex rough, I think you do too.” Well, I don’t, but I do remember wishing those handcuff hands narrowed in diameter. Wishing they would crack my neck and finish me. When I pulled his fingers off of me I remember wishing I pulled a trigger, aimed not at him, but at me. Then I would no longer be the damaged one, the milk at the bottom of the carton that no one wants, that’s lukewarm and smells like day old cereal, rotting. All I’ve ever wanted was to be somewhere that I can be beautiful and unafraid. Even now I dare to want, to dream. I want to be somewhere that I am not so tempted to fall back into the arms of yet another person that hurt me. Do you understand I have never known a kind love?


                  Stop, stop, stop—stop. The shower water spills down across my back. It is past the point where I can be taught these things. No one can save me. No one will ever love such a cold and broken thing. I am lost and confused, but this abyss must be where I’m meant to be. I was meant to be hit, his strength a tsunami and my body the shore. In a limbo of the mind where the tide is rising and I am falling.


                  I will admit to myself that even now in my “safety” I wish the night had invited me into it’s blackness when he crawled on top of me. Even now as I continue to breathe amongst the living I long for the finality of the dead. I look inside myself and see that there is no longer anything there. Can you blame me for coming to the conclusion that I was meant to be exterminated in youth, to be buried deep beneath the land of lovers and tender places that I was never invited to? Perhaps inside the box that will carry my cadaver I will finally be of use. Maybe the creatures that lurk in the dirt will appreciate me. Maybe there I will be loved. With this thought I finally smile. With the thought of a coffin my heartbeat regulates. I was not made for this world. I was not made to survive. This man impounded that belief in me. I was too tired to squirm away from the fates this time. The girl with a crescent moon smile that loved the wild side has finally been eclipsed by a terrifying darkness cloaked in the garbs of a friendly face. Now I am finally branded with the caduceus of all those who knew I was trouble from the start. I carry this mark with me, on my face, my chest, in between my thighs. If only I had been made to be someone who enjoyed walking the plank, instead I find that I cannot help but tremble as I get closer and closer to the edge knowing I do not have the energy to turn back this time.


                  I can’t talk about this anymore. I don’t have the time. I have to get to class. I hope this time he finally stops saying hi.

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