A HAND TOUCHED DONNA’S ARM AS SHE WALKED PAST. She shuddered
slightly, then heard a familiar posh almost public school voice calling her name.
David Wallace, her boss. Closing her eyes for a second, she muttered, Oh no! under
‘Got a minute?’ he asked, raising his eyebrows expectantly.
‘Sure David – is there a problem?’ Her heart sank, as she glanced up at the
clock behind him. It was already five past five. Why did he always do this to her just
as she was about to leave?
‘Yeah - it’s this customer report of yours. I think we need to have a chat about
the analysis you’ve made. One or two of the trends you’ve shown seem a little
unusual, to say the least.’
‘OK, let me get my notes,’ she said with a frown.
‘Bring them to my office, would you?’
Gritting her teeth, she realized what this would mean. A dissection of her whole
analysis, bit by bit; which knowing David, would probably tear two weeks’ work to
She went back to her desk to fetch the necessary paperwork, cursing him for
doing this to her yet again. The realisation of how meticulous he was, made her fear
the chances of her leaving before six o’clock were virtually nil. Just what she didn’t
need, when she was supposed to be going out with Blake at seven-thirty, to celebrate
their forthcoming engagement.
David gave her a little smile on her return, making her cringe.
‘Pull up a chair, Donna.’
Sitting down, paperwork in front of her, Donna proceeded to try to clarify her
Every minute detail had to be explained, so determined was he to find out
exactly what she’d done. All the figures had been checked and rechecked, so there
couldn’t be a mistake in her analysis – could there? As time passed her nerves began
Her fingers moved up and down on his desk, and she almost felt like crying, as
David droned on and on, with no apparent conception of how late it was. The clock
on the wall struck six-fifteen. The man just wouldn’t shut up. It seemed like he didn’t
want to go home. Which wasn’t surprising really, considering he lived on his own
and appeared to live and breathe work, and expected everyone else to do the same.
Ever since he’d interviewed her for the Statistical Analyst job, two years ago,
she’d noticed his keen interest in her work. Obviously having seen something
beyond her supposed beauty. But now she suspected this interest was more than just
To his credit, he knew his subject inside out, but when he managed to find a
couple of little errors that changed her analysis completely, she could have died.
How stupid must she have looked right in front of him. God knows what he thought.
Finally he stood up and smiled faintly, much to her relief. ‘All right Donna,
let’s call it a day, shall we? Thanks for staying behind, I really appreciate it.’
‘Sorry I messed up.’ She gathered up her papers as she rose.
‘Think nothing of it. We all make mistakes, don’t we? Even me, believe it or
not. Have a good night.’ He gave her a warm smile, then hesitated as if he was about
to say something else. But he didn’t. Nevertheless, she felt slightly uncomfortable,
as on occasions she’d caught him gazing at her. If ever he’d asked her out – heaven
forbid - she’d die! Thank goodness he didn’t, she thought as she made to leave.
‘Donna!’ His voice was loud, and made her jump and turn round. ‘Can I give
you a lift?’
The colour on her face began to rise again. ‘Er...well...’
‘It’s on my way home – honestly.’ He stared at her with a slight grin on his
‘No, it’s all right, but thanks anyway.’ She quickened her pace, almost running
towards the main office door.
‘Oh come on, Donna...’ he shouted after her, but she didn’t stop. Didn’t dare.
Or was she just overreacting to his friendly gesture?
Making her way hurriedly down the corridor, she reached the lift, pressed the
button, and waited for it to arrive. It seemed to take forever – her heart thumped
against her chest, fearing she’d miss her train. At last the lift arrived. Once she was
inside, she drummed her nails on the chrome handrail as the floors ticked away, took
out her phone and tried to get in touch with Blake, but couldn’t get through to him.
Finally the doors slid open, Donna rushed through, still annoyed at herself for
Walking out of the building she was surprised to see how dark it was. Then
heard the sound of someone’s footsteps clattering behind her. Oh my God, was
somebody following her? But when she glanced round there was no one there. Then
walking on, she heard it again. Closing her eyes for a second, she sighed, thinking
she was getting paranoid, then quickened her step, intent on getting to the station as
quickly as possible.
This was all David’s fault – for not being willing to accept the fact she didn’t
want a lift, and making her feel on edge. When people got overfriendly like that, she
felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. Why they thought her attractive, she couldn’t
work out, even though she’d been told this from an early age. There’d always been
remarks about her slender figure and turquoise eyes.
Walking briskly now, and looking at her watch, she thought it might just be
possible to make the six forty-five train back to their flat; leaving her just half an
hour to get ready. But it’d be a close run thing.
She crossed the main road, hurrying towards the subway, glad the sound of
footsteps seemed to have gone. Hopefully whoever it was had given up or she was
Dusk was fast approaching, the streets were deserted and grey. A spot of rain
pricked her forehead. She pulled her jacket together and hurried to the mouth of the
subway where the muffled words to `Let it Bè rang out. The entrance looked empty
and dim apart from the busker sitting cross-legged on the pavement. His out of tune
guitar sounded so bad it made his voice sound good. Donna smiled to herself as her
heels clicked on the concrete.
Although walking through this subway made her feel a little nervous, she was
in a hurry. No way did she want to be late for the meal. Blake would think... she
didn’t know what he’d think. At times he had problems dealing with other men liking
her, no matter how many times she reassured him. But the idea he might consider
David Wallace a rival was too ridiculous for words.
If only she could contact Blake, it wouldn’t matter. She pressed the keypad on
her mobile again, intending to let him know she was running late, but his phone still
seemed to be switched off. Shit.
At the end of the subway, she saw a figure standing there, his head covered by
a hood. As he coughed, a hand appeared in front of his face. The lights above him
were bright, but Donna didn’t look his way until he suddenly spoke.
‘Got the time darling?’ His muffled words made her jump.
He sounded young. There was a strange sweet smell close by him, which made
her want to puke and quickly get by.
It was six-forty, leaving her five minutes to get to the station.
‘Nearly quarter to seven,’ she mumbled, scurrying past.
As she hurried on out of the subway towards Dexford train station, suddenly,
out of nowhere, she felt an arm bend and tighten round her neck, dragging her into
a long narrow alley, that stank of stale pee and uncollected garbage. She started
gurgling at once, finding it almost impossible to scream or breathe, when a gloved
hand closed around her nose and mouth. Terror spread through her body as she
panicked and struggled to get free. Was this a mugging or something much worse?
Oh my God, don’t hit me, she prayed. Best give him whatever she had, and hope
he’d let her go.
He pulled her to one side and into one of the nearby derelict buildings, then
yanked her up by her long blond hair. A fist thumped into her stomach, causing her
to crumple and gasp in pain.
Wild large eyes glared at her through a balaclava helmet.
He snarled, then gave out a high-pitched chuckle as if he enjoyed frightening
her like this.
‘Oh no... please…leave me …alone. Take whatever you want… but please
don’t hurt me,’ she begged, pushing her handbag towards him. She tried to get up
but he grabbed hold of her again, his hand gripping her arm so tightly she winced in
‘Stuff your fucking money – pretty lady,’ he hissed in a strange gruff voice.
She began to tremble, and pleaded for mercy. Ignoring this, the man smashed
his fist into her face. Warm blood trickled down her nose. She whimpered, then he
struck her again several times in the ribs, and on the chin. The pain was so
excruciating, she could hardly draw breath.
She battled desperately to get up from the filthy debris filled floor to run. But
he was too quick, and caught her by her coat, forcing her back onto the ground. Soon
he was on top of her, kissing her roughly about the face as she tried to avoid his
horrible greasy lips. His gloved hands clutched her breasts hard, making her clench
her teeth and whine in agony. He ripped her blouse open. Buttons flew off in all
Donna sobbed, shockwaves of hysteria surged through her. Oh God, how she
wished someone would help her. This was unbearable, unreal - was he really going
to do this to her...surely not? How she wished Blake were here. Please...oh sweet
Jesus... help me, she thought. She’d rather die than have this happen. How could this
monster do this to her?
In her desperation, she raked his arm with her fingernails, then went to gouge
his eyes, but his hand grasped hers, wrenching it back with such force that she wept
in agony. The man laughed hideously at her futile efforts to stop him. He was so
strong, and could do whatever he wanted to her. She was simply too weak to prevent
it. Please God, make him stop.
Suddenly he moved his hand away, back towards his own body, and fumbled
with the zip of his trousers. She tried desperately to wriggle free, but he caught hold
of her ripped blouse, then slapped her on the face with the back of his hand. Her nose
felt numb and she could taste her own coppery blood. She tried to raise her head, but
he pressed his body down hard almost suffocating her.
As he continued, she closed her eyes, trying to shut out the horror of what was
happening to her. Unable to defend herself in any way, she just lay there passively,
wanting it over as quickly as possible. But it seemed to go on forever. And the pain
deep inside was torture, like some hot blunt instrument splitting her in two. She felt
his balaclava clad face close to her own, spit from his mouth trickled onto her cheek.
There remained a foul pungent sickly smell about him that repulsed her.
Finally, he uttered a great groan of exquisite pleasure, stopped, and giggled.
Donna shuddered, lying prostrate on the ground.
He got to his feet, breathing in deeply, and stared down at her. ‘How does it
feel? Bitch! Not so pretty now, are you, eh?’ He growled.
Cold eyes stared at her; and widened with desire again making Donna’s heart
flutter with dread. Her mouth flooded with sour saliva. She felt bile come up through
her throat. He began to kick her in the stomach, her legs, face, just about anywhere
– and when he’d finished, he looked down at her and gave out a high-pitched laugh
that almost sounded like a hyena, that same vile odour still on him, and then he was
Remaining on the ground, hardly able to move, relief at being alive passed
quickly. She needed to cover herself up. Her whole face felt as if it was swelling up
like a balloon - in fact she hurt all over, and found it difficult to breathe. Her private
area was deadened by what he’d done. Dear God – she felt so sick and dirty. Why
had this happened to her? If only she could wake up from this horrible dream.
It took some time, but at last she staggered to her feet, wrapping what was left
of her clothing tightly around her. Leaning against the wall, unsteadily she stumbled
forward out of the building.
When she heard what sounded like a gang of youths approaching, her heart
lifted slightly, in the hope they might assist her. They looked across at her, some of
them giggling, while others just looked the other way.
‘Please...help me,’ she begged, but they just made lewd remarks, before
walking past. Weeping, she found their behaviour incredible.
Donna didn’t see the man whose arms she finally fell into. She glimpsed a grey
beard, and a woman with her mouth gaping open.
‘Oh my God!’ the man exclaimed. ‘What on earth...?’
‘I…I…,’ she whispered, tears streaming down her blood soaked face.
‘Harold – she’s been attacked. Look at her face and clothes. Oh you poor thing.
Quickly - call the police and an ambulance!’ the woman shouted, covering Donna
with her coat. She placed an arm round her, and guided her out to a nearby bench.
Donna heard Harold mumble something into his mobile phone.
Shaking as if with ague, her body ached all over. As she glanced up, a crowd
of people had gathered, talking, staring as if she was some kind of freak show. Why
did they have to gawp at her like that? She just wanted them to go away and leave
her in peace?
Upon hearing the sirens of the ambulance, Donna was glad to see the flashing
lights. The ambulance stopped close to where she was sitting. Two figures dressed
in green uniforms emerged, and rushed through the crowd to her. One, a paramedic,
bent down and put an arm round her, and having introduced herself as Anne, began
to talk to her, but Donna could hardly take in what was being said. Finally Anne
helped Donna up and guided her towards the ambulance, then assisted her to climb
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