It was 4:30pm on a Friday. School was let out at 2:30pm, as it is everyday, and mostly everyone except for the janitors had already left the building by 3:00pm to get a start on their weekend. I had decided to work late at school since I finally had an uninterrupted chunk of time. It was nearly dark outside, being that it was winter, and I didn't have any plans to go out this evening anyway. Tonight would be the perfect time to get some of the items checked off my To Do list.
I'm the band director at a big high school on the East Side of the city. It's an "inner city" school that has had its fair share of face time on the news with the rising number of gang members who attend; even the surrounding area has a higher constituent of GD members, or Gangster Disciples as they are called. Sure, our school has been known to have a lot of fights, heck I've broken up 3 fights myself in 6 years of teaching here, but I love it. I love the students, the staff, the diversity, and I'm proud of the strides our school has made these last couple years; not to mention, when you work at a school like this, you know you're making a difference.
The music area is far removed from the rest of the building, in what literally feels like a dungeon. In fact, that's what the choir director and I call it. To get into our area, there are two different sets of double doors, one on the band side, and the other on the choir side. Once through the doors, there is a short hallway of practice rooms, followed by 7 steps down, then another couple hallways that eventually lead to the band room. I have often thought how anyone could come down there, murder me, and no one would see or hear anything. This is why I always close and lock the doors to our area when I'm there alone working late. And I especially take precaution since the performing arts area is located next to the back door where the custodians take their smoke breaks. They have been known to occasionally leave the doors wide open, forgetting to lock them when they're done.
I was working in the band room, searching through some music orders online when I heard the far door on the choir side unlock and open. It was obviously Kevin, one of the night custodians coming around to empty the trash. I could hear the squeaky wheels on his big trash bin as he pushed it down the hall.
"Hey, Bethenny, what are you doing here so late?
I turned to Kevin and smiled. "Oh, I finally have the time to get something done and I'm on a roll, I guess."
"You look nice today." He must have seen the quizzical expression on my face because he added, "It's just that it's Friday and usually all the other teachers wear jeans on Fridays." It's true; I was a bit dressed up for a Friday in my tweed brown pants, brown heels, and raspberry colored turtleneck sweater that was rather form fitting, especially around my bosom. But the real truth is, it didn't matter what day it was. I always got compliments when I wore that outfit.
"Yeah. No jeans today. I'm getting backed up on laundry. That's my goal this weekend."
Kevin chuckled. We were very good at small talk. "Well, the basketball team won't be back for a few more hours so the building won't lock up until then. Be sure to come find me before you go. I will walk you to your car."
"Thanks, I don't plan to stay too long past 7."
It's now 5:30pm. I am slowing down and thinking I'm definitely not going to make it to 7:00pm. It is very quiet and the only thing I occasionally hear is the ticking of the hot water pipes in the walls, behind the brick. I'm staring at my list to see what else has to get done when I hear the door at the top of the steps on the choir side open and shut. Shit. Kevin forgot to lock it when he left and now I have to chase a kid out. I listen for footsteps, thinking he or she will come ask if they could practice the piano in a practice room. Instead, I hear more than one voice talking softly and the clicking of each door knob as whoever-it-is checks to see if any of the rooms are unlocked. Definitely some kids up to no good, perhaps looking to steal or vandalize school property, or just searching for an open room to hang out or even screw in. Great.
I walk across the band room and I can hear them coming down the stairs, their voices getting closer. I step out into the hall just as they round the corner. There are three black men standing in front of me. Two have short hair, nearly shaven. The taller one of the two has a goatee and the stockier one has a scar that goes across his left cheek. The third guy has longer hair and tattoos that come up and cover his neck. They look to be in their early to mid 20's. I know immediately they shouldn't be in the building by the mere fact that they're displaying their colors. Our school has a very strict dress code policy and the students know not to show their gang signs or wear their colors. I know these guys have no reason to be in the building right now.
"Can I help you?", I ask in my assertive, teacher voice.
"Nah, man, we're just uh ... lookin' for the bath room."
"Well, you're not going to find it down here," I smiled. "You need to go up the stairs and take a left."
I'm no dummy. I know they aren't looking for the bathroom, but I need them to think I believe them so they don't feel threatened. I want them to leave as peacefully as they came. Then I can call the security guard at the front door to let him know about the intruders in the school.
"Sorry, our mistake." The three of them turn and walk back around the corner toward the steps and I am relieved they aren't going to be difficult. I'm two strides into my room when I hear them talking and one of them walking toward my door again. Within seconds the taller one is standing just inside the band room. I turn to face him.
"Excuse me, Ma'am, I just had one question. What time does the basketball game start tonight?"
His charm was turned on high volume in the way that he spoke, even flirted. He had a very nice smile that probably got him his way more often than not. I instantly feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I could tell something was off. A couple things you learn when working in a tough high school over the years: notice the red flags, listen to your instincts, and trust your bullshit detector.
"It's an away game tonight. You can take a look at the schedule outside the gym."
"You're pretty cute." He is looking me up and down, but his eyes never quite scan high enough to meet mine. I watch his charming smile turn into an evil grin as he strokes his goatee.
"You need to go," I reply curtly.
"How old are you?"
"Listen, I don't have time for this." I try to put more space between me and him by walking over to the whiteboard as if I was continuing with my work. But what I'm really thinking is, I need to get over to my desk located next to the whiteboard without him suspecting anything so I can call for help. There's no doubt I'm cornered; just a matter of whether or not I can let someone know my need for assistance before my window of opportunity closes up.
"You a cougar? You like a young piece of chocolate in your bed?"
"Really, I have a lot of work to do here. You need to go."
"The only work you need to do, Bitch, is the work on my dick." As he says that, his friends enter the room laughing, and shut the door behind them. If it wasn't obvious before why they came back, it is now. Fight or flight instincts kick in and I make a dash for my desk. I no more than have my hand on the phone and the first number dialed when one of them grabs me by the waist, picks me up, and pulls me away. My arms are pinned down at my side as I kick and scream.
"NO! Let me go!! HEL --" A hand covers my mouth in attempt to shut me up. I continue to scream through his tight grip across my face while kicking and struggling, but my 5'2" frame doesn't have a prayer of breaking free against this guy. I look at the other two who are now standing directly in front of me, obviously amused by my fight. This close to them, I notice they are all much larger than I had realized before; even the short, stocky one was rather big.
The two with the shorter hair standing in front of me both pull out knives and flash them. The one with the goatee, who is clearly the one in charge, speaks first. "You're going to stop screaming and we might not kill you. You understand me, Bitch?" I am frozen at the thought of them having to use their knives on me. "Do you understand?!" he repeats, pointedly. I nod my head in silence. My heart is racing and my eyes are wide with fear. He motions something to the guy with the neck tattoos holding me. Suddenly my mouth is free, but both of my arms are being held tightly behind my back and I still can't move. He comes even closer, and as he rubs up against me, I am very conscious of the fact that my breasts are being thrust outward due to the way my arms are clenched tight behind me. He presses up against me and his face is now inches away from mine as he slides his knife slowly down my cheek. I can't help but make a soft whimper. "You are a pretty lady, aren't you." He smiles knowing I am completely terrified. "Call me Lover. That's what all the cunt whores call me." I hear the swish of his blade retract into itself and suddenly I have two large hands molesting my breasts, squeezing, kneading. "Fuck! This bitch has nice, big tits. Let's get this shit off and see what they're really like."
I can see where this is headed and I begin to squirm again. The fight within me has recharged and I decide I am not going to sit back and just let this happen. I try to twist out of his hold. "UH! Get OFF of me!!"
.... There is more of this story ...