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Low Caliber

April 6, 2009

I’m shaking so hard, I don’t know how I managed to hit him. But the warm drops slowly running down my bare skin are blood. I can see it on my arms and on him.

I fall back against the wall, clinging to the gun. He weekly pulls himself toward the door, leaving a smear of red, before finally going still. I don’t know how long it takes. I don’t know anything but the feel of the grip in my hand.

I feel something soft wrapped around my shoulders before a large hand settles on the gun.

“It’s alright. You can let go of the gun now. There’s a girl,” he says.

I look up at the unfamiliar face, “I told him not to hit me. I told him.”

The man nods and hands the gun back to another man, who puts it in some kind of bag. I finally pull the blanket tighter around me to cover my nakedness. Not out of any sense of shame, but because I can tell it is distracting some of the other men in the room.

I can’t help but wonder when they all showed up, as the man with the large hands coaxes me up and leads me out of the motel room. His words wash over me without any real meaning and the numbness starts to fade. I feel the vague stickiniess of his blood attaching the blanket to my skin. I feel the bruises from his blows and the cold ground against my feet.

He helps me into the back of a car. One of the unmarked types. A crowd is gathering on the street and I see a stretcher being rolled toward an ambulance. I already miss the comfort of the cold gun-grip.

The man with the large hands sees to it that I get some clothes and a cup of coffee. I can’t help but assume he’ll want payment for his gestures of kindness before the night is through. He’s a bit older though. He might trade me to one of the younger ones for a favor.

The interigation room leaves almost no impression. An agitated man in a uniform is with the man with the large hands this time. I’m sure they both give names. I answer there questions with as few words as possible, toying with the styrafoam cup. The uniform occasionaly starts to raise his voice, but the other man draws him back every time. They finally leave the room to discuss. Deciding my fate, I suppose.

It’s the man with the big hands that steps back into the room. “I’ll take you home,” he says.

I blink at him and slowly stand. He leads me back out to the unmarked car and drives me home.

I pause when he stops to let me out of the car. “That’s it?” I ask.

“I’m sure there will be more questions. Don’t leave town.” He says, and then leaves.

I finally let myself cry.

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