RUNNING - donna d. vitucci


donna d. vitucci

The news reported a man with a knife etching hairline scratches along victims' inner thighs after the rapes, but Suzanne double knotted her laces and bounced on her toes because fear would not rule her.

Horizontal and vertical grey of air, land, sky, a road without signs on a pseudo-mild winter day, no wildlife, nary a car. Birds. Where were the birds? Observations through the brain like clouds burning off, known, then not. Breath matched even pace two miles before her hamstring tightened, her lungs sucked the wet Georgia air. She'd quit after three, and until then she'd dig deep. Smart enough not to plug her ears, she heard other amplified running.

Short of breath, the tips of her ears burning, a stitch in her side. She endured these, she could endure anything, even the ground vaulting up. His weight snuffed the work clamoring inside her ribs. Automatic processes sky-rocketed the way you'd expect--adrenalin, sweat, pulse.

“You won't forget me,” he said.

Hitch at the back of her throat where the run had dried her. No spit for hiccup, or scream, or whimper.

He sliced her new singlet from neck to hem, also the long sleeve undershirt. The running bra kept her decent. Her small breasts did not entice him to remove it. Shorts unsalvageable though, and panties too, his fingernails gouged like skate blades atop a frozen lake.

Gravel worked its way into her shoulder. The ground was merely cold on her neck while the sun tried to pierce the dumb-colored sky. She closed her eyes and would be unable to describe the knife. Gingerly, she turned her head from the browned-out grass where she had partitioned her ego, entered the vacancy above, grateful, brought her sticky knees together. It took two trembling times and the help of her hands, hands which were marvels she could not stop watching.

Donna D. Vitucci
Ron Rash