I remember taking refuge in my hands as they took hold of the earth, the only other witness there. I clearly felt every blade of grass as it tore from its root. I felt the individual grains of the soil rub each other and slightly scratch the skin of my fingertips and push up underneath my nails. I felt a sharp pebble push hard between two knuckles from the inside of my left hand. The sensation of that grass and the somewhat damp soil and that one single and sharp pebble was so possessing. I hung on to it. I had to or I would die.
The end of the school holiday was nearing. There had been a teachers meeting at the school during which I kept away safely from the school grounds. I hang out at the park late that evening, watching, waiting for the last light in the school building to switch off and the last car to move out of the parking lot. They were taking their time. I was also trying to make up my mind as to where I was going to stay next. After the weekend school would start and sleeping there would just be too risky. Maybe the train station was safe again.
As I was sitting in a hide out at the bunkers in the park, I fell asleep. I was tired all the time lately. I just could not stay awake sometimes. Hours later I woke up. I was very cold and shivered. I pulled up my knees and remained silent for a while.
Ever since I had been out on the streets I learned that after waking up, you always check your surroundings first. Who is there? Are you safe to move? You just sit, wait, look, listen.
I was sure I woke up because of something I heard. So I listened carefully into the silence of the night. What time was it? I shivered again. It was way past midnight. All was damp and there was a windless and cloudless cold. The city was silent.
Then there were voices. Male voices. Two or three, I couldn’t make it out. I had an instant response of deep fear. I pulled myself into a small ball and made sure I was completely invisible. A small and thin voice cried out. I shivered. The small voice begged and pleaded. Was I making that up, or did I actually hear that? The male voices were talking with each other in a joyous fashion, a bit intoxicated, seamed to ignore the person with the small voice.
The beam of a torch all of sudden flashed through the shrubs in front of me. I stopped breathing. A small party passed by me on a trail no more than ten feet in front of me. Another torch followed. There were two men and a girl as far as I could see. And another man following them. The men were talking to each other. Friday drunken brawling stuff. The girl was crying.
The third man caught up with the small party. “I got it!” He held up a sleeping bag. He shone his torch on the girl. Fuck it! That was Lindsey. A girl from Aruba, much younger than I was. Maybe she was not even fifteen years old. She was at the train station a lot too when I was there. She hang out with David sometimes, but I saw here a lot with Juni. Juni sort of took care of her. Or so I thought. She was now crying and begging and … O, Christ …
I lost sight of the party as they walked on. Where were they going? I got up and gathered all of my courage and started to follow them. What could I do? What could I do? How could I help? I must do something! The party stopped. The men were laughing. One of them spread the sleeping bag on the grass besides the pond. No, please. God, no. What could I do?
I dropped to my belly underneath some bushes and looked. There was some light of the torches and from some lampposts in the street next to the park too. I mean, God damn, fuck it, anyone passing by in the street would have a clear view into the park and would see what was going on. Please, let somebody pass by and look! Please?
The men stripped Lindsey. The men, they never even responded to Lindsey’s faint cries. They just laughed with each other, talked to each other, pretended like she was not there even.
My limbs froze over as I saw the first of the men turn Lindsey on her belly. He grabbed her face by the mouth so she could not cry out. My tongue turned into dry ice. Her tiny body just disappeared underneath that big guy. I watched. I watched them take their turns with Lindsey. They never really interacted with her. Never responded to her cries or pleas. So she stopped crying eventually. They just did not care and she came to realise that.
The last man took his time with Lindsey. The two fellows who already had their turn with her, were sitting at the edge of the pond, drinking. They only looked back once as the last one came with a loud growl and out of nowhere he started to smack Lindsey really hard a couple of times. Lindsey cried again.
When all was done, one of the men handed Lindsey her clothes. She got herself dressed again.“Come on. Stop sobbing. You got paid, didn’t you? Wasn’t it enough? I like it better if you don’t cry.” It was all I heard them say to her all the time I saw them together. The three of them walked back to where they came from, Lindsey with them.
As they passed by where I was lying, I noticed how deep my fingers were dug into the soil. My face was wet with tears and I had to bite my teeth really hard to stop them from chattering lest I would be discovered.
I heard car doors slam shut and I heard a car drive off. But still I was too damned scared to move.
I let my face drop to the ground. I cried for my mother.