Christi’s Corpse

It didn’t matter any longer whether she ran or walked.  He was playing games with her.  Though he had caught up quickly at first, he now kept the same distance of about forty feet behind her no matter if she forced her exhausted limbs to move any faster.  Considering this, she slowed her pace.  Rapid hot breaths steamed from her mouth.  He was still keeping his distance, but still right on her trail.  The snow got thicker as she approached the edge of the dense, tall pines and her steps grew slower, more fatigued.  She gave a worried glance over her back as her light brown boots stepped deep into the snow covering of the large field now in front of her, but this time he was not there.
Confused, Mattie held her breath, trying to hear through the muffled winter air a footstep, or, worse she feared, his breathing.  But the air was perfectly still.  Even on the most tenuous pine branches the snow rested undisturbed.  She turned to the far end of the field where there appeared to be a complex of some kind.  A seemingly abandoned old school or factory, she judged by the smokeless stack piercing the horizon. Renewed vigor lifted her right foot out of the snow and onward.  Halfway out, she stopped again to check behind her, but still there was only the columned wall of trees.  Possibly, she thought, he had aborted the plan.
She had been raped before, once on her sixteenth birthday party.  Her mother had warned her strictly to invite only genuine females.  But she had been wrong about one.  Stellexia, whom she had met through another friend, had figured out how to mask his or her pheromones -sexes were difficult to assign- and raped her in the basement when she went looking for a board game to play.  Stellexia was hanged from a surviving Elm in the front yard not an hour later.  Only three families came out to witness it, the others peeled their curtains back and fogged their windows watching from the warmth of their homes.  No protesters, likely due to the rapidity of the sentence.
Mattie cleared the second half of the field and approached a brown utility door.  She pushed down hard on the metal thumb latch, but it stopped sharp not half way, and she worried the rest were locked too.  From up close it appeared to be a school, though she couldn’t see through the high windows, there was, in the same area the dumpsters were kept, a piece of practice gear for football players.  It was the type four or five guys would run at as a group and try to push backward.
Around the corner she spotted the main entrance and hurried towards it.  School would be in session right now but Mattie knew that this school could have been rendered unsafe once the Phalanx had evolved to appear traditionally feminine.  Her boots scraped on the concrete walk in front of the door, she pounded hard on it four times but stopped with a sigh of relent remembering the vacant parking lot behind her.  If he was still watching her, this would be the worst thing she could let him see.  She pulled together a strategy quickly.  A rock or piece of blunt metal could break a window, and in the front of the building, the windows were lower to the ground.  She ran around the far side of the building, scanning the foundation line for shards of building material or other scraps.  The door off the gym was locked, she cussed.  There was nothing she could throw to be seen.  Desperate now, and panicking, she ran back to the front of the building and took off her right boot.
Getting herself psyched up, she dug her arm deep into the boot and balled up her fist.  The glass in the doors was too thick, there was no way to break them, so she made for a window off of the former principals’ office.   Her face was locked in jagged lines of determination.  She reeled back and set into the glass pane with all she had.  It broke but did not shatter.  She knocked large, serrated pieces stuck in the sill onto the floor inside, with smaller shards landing discreetly in the snow at her feet.  Once wide enough she climbed through the hole, careful not to catch her knees, and made quickly towards the filing cabinet at the other wall.  She shoved it across the carpet until it blocked the open window completely, and realized then her violently shaking hands and pulse beating so loud in her ears it seemed they might burst.
[ there is a picture in the hallway display case of a production crew for a play held at the school on what appeared to be christmas, her mother is in it ]

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December 2010
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