Icy winds gusted across my face and the robust smell of the imminent snowfall still lingered around me as I walked. It was late, the kind of late where it’s still night, but technically it’s the new morning and the only people outside were the undesirables--the addicts, the pushers, the whores, the people you’re warned to stay away from and as I walked unsteadied steps down cracked sidewalks, I was one of those people.
Fourteenth street projects were about ten blocks west away from my house, a relatively short fifteen-minute walk. I stuffed my hands deep into my pockets, trying to retain some sort of warmth to no avail. I kept my gaze forward, because looking down was a sign of weakness and I needed to fool everyone, seem believable--confident in what I was about to do even if inside of my head I was panicking. I wasn‘t a drug dealer, I despised drugs, yet here I was, pocket full of weed and a head full of fear trying to pretend I was something that I wasn‘t.
The projects are a mean place. Dirty street lined apartments, clustered together with hundreds of families born into poverty that will probably die the same way. Having no money makes people harsh to the cold realities of life and as I walked down the lonely, darkened street, I could read the pain on the faces I saw. Old men with browned bags of happiness that they drunkenly sipped from under street lamps and on benches, trying to numb the pain that was in their lives. Once attractive women now repulsive, wearing clothes much too tight and short to be just for style sashayed up to shiny cars with fat, old white men who knew they didn’t belong here, but wanted to escape the boring comfort of their suburban wives for just a few moments of cumming inside of a ghetto black china doll.
It was surprisingly quiet though. No noises, no cars filled with yelling people and excitement---just a calm, dead silence. Barren of trees and grass--just dirt and even that was tainted. Not smooth and brown like soil, but the dustiest of beiges littered with empty bottles and other debris. Tall brick buildings loomed above me in atrocities of seven stories. Some windows had black steel bars across them and I thought of the people who lived inside that must have felt like caged animals with the rages of beasts and God, I knew I didn‘t belong in a place like that. But Joey needed to make his money, I needed to do this for him, help him, so I kept on walking until I came to building three.
Once inside the hallway, the calm silence sharpened into hectic noise. There were a group of girls sitting on the inside steps talking loudly and laughing as they sipped on tall, clear bottles of malt liquor. The hall smelled of piss, cum and cheap booze, but they didn‘t seem bothered to be sitting in there. I kept my eyes forward, intent to not pay them any mind, but then one of them addressed me as “C” and I turned and stared, not recognizing her.
“Do I know you?” I asked. I tried to keep my voice neutral, but the fear of the whole situation manifested itself in a tone of annoyance. The girl looked to be slender under her baggy green puffy coat. Her skin was a pale shade of brown, dried from the winter weather. Her short black hair was the same shade of her eyes and was jelled up into a ponytail held sparsely together by a red rubber band. Everything about her appearance told you that she was living a hard life.
“Fuck you nigga! Don‘t act like you don‘t know me!” She hissed and her three friends started to laugh.
“Naw, I bet dat bitch Manda told him not to talk to us and shit!” One of the girls chimed in. She resembled the other girl only her hair was slightly longer and broken off at the edges, streaked with vibrant green and then I remembered her.
“Pasha?” I asked her, unsure if it was really her. She looked the same, I mean from what I remembered, but I hadn‘t seen her since she and Amanda fought. Kristi on the other hand looked different--worse. I can’t explain it, but I could tell that she was using hard drugs. There’s just something about an addict that you can sense before you know for certain whether or not they’re actually using. The shake of their hands as they fidget in their pockets, the way their lower lip seems to protrude and the way they avoid direct eye contact while somehow managing to still look you in the eye.
“Waddup C!” She said as she stood up. I was surprised when she hugged me and even more so when she kissed my cheek. We’d never been friendly.
“Hey-Hey girl! What’s up?” I asked, trying to make small talk.
“Oh nigga you still ain’t speaking to me?” Kristi chirped from her seat. I smiled at her as sincerely as I could as I leaned down and hugged her, her stench of cigarettes and hair products sticking to my skin.
“What ya’ll doing down here?” I asked.
“Just chilling waiting for our niggaz and shit to come out! They gotta do some shit and we gotta wait for em down here--wait-what da fuck you doing out here?” Pasha asked.
“Nothing…..just taking care of some business. I gotta bounce, I’ll see ya later!” I said and they looked at me, then to each other and busted out laughing.
“Aight nigga! Keep talking slick!” They laughed and I knew they must have been surprised to hear me talk so loosely because I was not known for it, but being around Joey and my friends for so long affected me. I laughed softly even though my stomach twisted and I walked past them.
I made my way up the stairs and to apartment three. I heard loud music coming from behind the closed door and I was tempted to turn around and leave before I did something I knew I would regret. But then the thoughts of helping Joey made me bring one fist to the chipped dark blue painted door. I knocked softly and it came as no surprise that no one answered. I took in a deep breath and pounded harder this time, the sound of my knuckles colliding against steel reverberated down the narrow hall. The music stopped and I could hear a chain being brought to the door as it slowly open and the shadowed hidden face of an unseen man appeared from the darkness.
“Who da fuck is you?” He asked.
“I--I--got da Hydro.” I replied, voice wavering.
“Yeah--who da fuck you fooling nigga! What, you da cops or sumthin?”
“What? No, I ain’t no cop!” I replied trying to do my best at playing the tough guy role.
“Show me da shit den!” He commanded. I reached into my pockets and showed him the bags of weed I had and that seemed to satisfy him. He slammed the door shut and unlatched it as he opened it just wide enough for me to squeeze past him. He was a little taller than me, not by much though. He was wearing a green sweatshirt and his skin was a light shade of coffee, almost tan and he looked to be in his late teens, early twenties. The apartment was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything in front of me. My defenses immediately went up. Something wasn’t right, I felt it and when I made a step to turn back around and leave, the door was already shut and I was left in the quiet hollow of my sharp breaths. I felt someone move past me, quickly and purposely brushing against me just forceful enough so I was aware of their presence. I turned my head, left to right, searching for who it could be, but everywhere I turned, there seemed to be someone else there. I knew something was wrong, I knew it.
A rush of air flew past my face and I knew it was someone’s fist. I could hear the whispers of deep voices annoyed and ordering for a light to be turned on and seconds later a light flickered and the bare room--with the exception of a dingy white leather couch sitting along the far end of the wall, was illuminated and I was able to finally see where I was at and just how many people were around me. I was surprised to only see three faces, one whom I recognized from school.
“Monty?” I asked and he looked at me puzzled before walking over and slap-hugging me.
“Chris, what da fuck you doing here?” He asked with a laugh. He motioned for his friends to back away.
“Working? What the hell is going on here?” I asked.
“We thought you was dis nigga Tearz and shit! Aye yo Petey! Nasty said a tall white boy looking Spanish kid, does he look like that to you?” He grunted to the guy who had opened the door. The man shrugged his shoulders in response and looked down at the ground, none too pleased to be getting reprimanded by someone younger than him.
“What was you supposed to do to this kid?” I asked curiously, but inside really knowing already.
“We need to teach dat nigga a lesson. He not ya boy or sumthin is he? You rep’n East Side? Yo, I can’t be down wit you den!” Monty stated.
“Naw, I don’t rep nothing, but me and Joey---Tearz, is cool peoples. I was just doing dis run for him as a favor.” I replied.
“Shit! Nasty is gonna be pissed about dis one!” The other man, who until this moment had remained quiet said. He was short, looked to be mixed with either white or Spanish because his short hair was light brown, soft and curly, but his skin was a smooth shade of brown.
“Shit! He wanted us to fuck dat cat up bad! We betta bounce before he come out here!” Monty stated and the rest of the guys agreed and headed towards the door with me following closely behind, still trying to shake off the eerie feeling of bullet dodging. The sound of one of the bedrooms opening made everyone stop and turn around.
“Yo! Why ain’t I hearing a beat down!” A loud voice yelled and I felt nauseous at the instant recognition of Nate’s voice. I steeled myself, content that I would not let him intimidate me, no matter how much unease and trepidation I felt around him.
“We was on our way to find dat nigga! He sent his boy and shit!” Monty replied and Nate turned his gaze to me and smiled when our eyes met.
“C? Long time no see!” He stated with a friendly smile and I nodded my head in response. Eyes void of emotion, almost robotic in my delivery.
“A’ight boss, we out!” Monty quickly interjected and it was easy to see that he was just as eager to get out of Nate’s presence as I was. Nate didn’t even bother to reply, he just stared at me. I could see something unnatural in his eyes, something dark that made me want to heave. He was the furthest thing from being subtle and I wondered why no one called him out on it. I stared back at him, trying to show him no fear, but when I saw Monty and the others leaving, I made a move to go too. Shit, I was no fool.
“Yo! Where you going?” Nate asked me and everyone stopped and looked at him.
“I gotta get home. See you later.” I replied and made a move to go.
“Naw, you ain’t going nowhere yet!” He said in a harsh tone, no longer using the guise of a friendly smile.
“Yeah, I gotta go.” I replied and began to walk towards the front door. I didn’t even make it three steps before someone roughly grabbed me by my shoulders and pulled me back inside, violently slamming the door shut.
“Naw! You ain’t leaving! Petey, let dis fool go and ya’ll get the fuck out!” Nate commanded.
“Nasty, he’s cool peoples! Don’t worry bout--” Monty started to say, but Nate walked over to him and brought his face close to his, challenging him with a stare as he looked down on him.
“Did I ask you to talk? HUH!! I don’t give a fuck what you gotta say! I told you to get da fuck out, now get da fuck out---PUNK ASS!” Nate yelled, pushing Monty in his shoulder. Monty looked down at his feet, knowing that challenging Nate wasn’t an option. He threw me a quick sorrowfully glance before walking away, with Petey and the other guy following silently behind.
The door closed, the slow creak screaming in warning for me to leave. I knew something bad was going to happen and I was already forming plots in my head on how to avoid it.
“So, waddup?” I asked him calmly and he grinned. His smile was wicked, creepy and sent a chill dancing up my spine. He walked over to me slowly-methodically, placing his forehead against mine forcefully with a bang, pushing against my chest and walking forward so I’d have to walk backwards with him leading me. I backed away and looked at him as sternly as I could. I thought to myself that even though he was bigger than me, I could probably take him if I had to. I could tell from the glint in his eye that he loved making me uncomfortable, he loved it and I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.
“Suck my dick.” He stated and I could literally hear the beats of my heart speed up as my chest constricted.
“What?” I asked with a nervous laugh as I backed up even further. My back was against a wall and I felt like I was in a dream. You know that surreal feeling you get when you know something terrible is happening, like you’re in a car crash and you know nothing is in your control? That’s how I was feeling.
“I said suck my dick nigga, you heard me!” He stated again. The calm coldness in his voice was icy, relaxed and calculated. His eyes glazed over something wicked as he began to unbuckle his belt. I could hear the clinking of the metal on his buckle and the sound of the leather pulling.
“Yo, chill man!” I stated and he laughed ignoring me. I stood there shocked. My mind just could not process what I was seeing. He was unzipping his fly and I could see the peak of his smooth brown stomach. The muscles were tight and I wanted to throw up when I saw his boxers. They were the color of evergreens with white stripes. His slender brown hand dug inside and I watched him grope himself. I lost it. I just lost it and I ran towards the door. He was so quick that I didn’t even know he had slammed me back against the wall until the dull ache in the back of my head throbbed.
“Don’t make me have to get rough yo! I don’t feel like breaking no mutha fucking sweat!” He grunted, one hand on my shoulder gripping me and the other inside of his boxers. He was touching on himself and licking his lips as he stared into my eyes. I was numb, completely, utterly anesthetized. I closed myself off. I don’t know why I didn’t throw a punch or kick him or something else, but I was frozen. I felt like that same scared little kid that cried the first time Hector made me kiss him in the place that smelled funny. I pulled away from the situation. I closed my eyes and counted to ten inside of my head.
In my mind I was back home with my adoptive parents. We were sitting around watching the television set, a comedy from the seventies playing. I was happy, truly happy. I could smell my mothers perfume and for a moment I actually forgot where I was. Then I could feel Nate’s rough hand pushing down on my shoulder. I never thought of myself as weak or fragile, but underneath his strong arm that’s all I was. I fell to my knees almost effortlessly and the stench of his cock still hidden away in his boxers made me realize what was happening. I tried to stand but he kept me down.
“Get the fuck off of me!” I grunted and attempted to stand again.
“Shut the fuck up!” He hissed through clench teeth. With his free hand he pulled down his boxers and I could smell it before I saw it. It was a dry stench of musk and sweat and I could taste the bile rising up in the back of my throat. God, this was not happening to me….. this was NOT happening……this was happening……
He forced it into my mouth and that nausea I was feeling only intensified. It wasn’t very big, but it was thick and the force made me flinch back and cough. I turned my head to spit and he grabbed my head in his hands and forced it in again.
It was disgusting. It was violating. It was demeaning and I pounded at his thighs trying to push him off, but I couldn’t. I was digging my nails into his skin, leaving the brown flesh underneath my nails and he still held be there.
“Ouch! Keep doing that shit and see if I don’t fuck you up!” He yelled as he pushed me back so hard that I fell back off of my knees and was sitting on the floor--my head wedged between the wall and his body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. All I could do was taste him……taste him.
It was four more pumps before he finished. He held my head in his palms and shuddered and then it was over. He walked away and sat on the couch. It was over and I couldn’t even believe what had just happened. It was so quick that I thought I imagined it until I could taste what he’d left. It pooled underneath my tongue and I gagged.
I spit it out. I couldn’t look at it. I looked over at him. He was five feet away, his feet propped up on the coffee table. Using the remote control he flipped the television on. I got up, my disgust being replaced by anger and I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to hurt him for hurting me. Vengeance is a deadly emotion and if I had had a gun with me, I wouldn’t have thought twice about shooting him. I wanted to hurt him so bad. He was just sitting there nonchalantly like he hadn’t just forced me to demean myself, do something to him that I only did with Joey. I was so angry that my breaths were short and I could see red, I physically saw red and felt something like thunder burning in the pit of my stomach.
“Sit the fuck back down! I ain’t done wit yo ass yet!” He grunted over his shoulder. I could hear him suck in his teeth and I lost it. I ran up behind him and started to choke him. I’ve never considered myself a relatively violent person, but I wanted to kill him. I could feel the warm flesh of his neck tight in my hands. I squeezed….. and I squeezed…….and I squeezed.
He didn’t know what to do, but his hands struggled to pull mine away. But he couldn’t. They say when you work off of fear you find strength inside of you that you may not have known you had before. Well I was working off of hatred. Pure hate and anger which combined, was stronger than anything else could have been.
He managed to pry my fingers from around his neck. I don’t know how, but he did. He stood up coughing and before I knew it his fist was crashing against my jaw. I felt something snap in my face and a pain so sharp spread around my cheek like hot fire that my eyes welled up with tears. The punch dazed me for a bit and I didn’t even feel the kick in my side, but I did feel the smack across my face.
“What da fuck, you gonna try and do that shit to me? Huh? What da fuck is wrong wit you!” He yelled and my vision was blurred. My face was sore and I could taste blood in my mouth--the faint flavor of his body still lingering and intertwining.
He flipped me on my stomach and I knew right then what he was about to do.
“Get the fuck off!” I yelled, the anger leaving and fear of what he was about to do returning. I felt my pants slash down my hips and I could feel the full weight of his body on me. Time was moving slow. Time was moving fast. Time wasn’t moving. Time was still……
“Shut the hell up! I’m gonna fuck your faggot ass! I’m gonna fuck you!” His voice rasped in my ear. I heard him spit on his hand and then I felt him jab a finger inside of me. It burned like something awful, stung like something dreadful and I involuntarily clenched. That only made the burning worse.
“Stop!” I heard myself yell, but it was like I wasn’t there. No, I was somewhere else just watching. He put another finger inside and I gritted my teeth. It just burned so bad.
“Shut the hell up, shush, shush…..” His voice whispered.
He pushed it inside all the way. I felt myself tear like cheap elastic, ripping like dirty jeans. I screamed, but his hand wrapped around my mouth and it was muffled. He pulled out and pushed back inside rough. It was like I wasn’t even a person to him. I felt like I was on fire. I felt dead. I closed my eyes and pretended I wasn’t there. As he moaned into my ear, the weight of his body suffocated me and I pulled away. I pulled away so far that soon, it was almost like I wasn’t even there anymore……………..