Inner Circle

Inner Circle by Evelyn Lozada

Book: Inner Circle by Evelyn Lozada Read Free Book Online
Authors: Evelyn Lozada
way past the kitchen and down the hallway to her bedroom.
    It happened so suddenly that she had little time to react. The first blow sent her head crashing into the shower wall with such force that she nearly passed out. Before she had time to recover, she felt herself being pulled backward by her hair as she gasped for air. Carmen tried hard to resist as her arms flailed wildly, but it didn’t work. Instead, her resistance just made her more vulnerable as her feet slipped, causing her to fall face forward into the water. Managing to turn over onto her knees, Carmen caught a glimpse of a figure completely dressed in black and wearing a ski mask. She punched upward, surprised when the blow landed on what appeared to be her attacker’s chin. Then she felt a kick to her side, and when she reached down to protect herself, she felt the heel of a boot stomping her wrist. The pain was unbearable. She grabbed her attacker’s leg, making the attacker lose balance and tumble backward.
    Carmen seized the opportunity to stand and run, but her attacker was quick, tripping her and sending her sprawling face-first into the wall. She landed in the hallway and could feel what she knew was her own blood splattering onto her cream carpet. She screamed out, not knowing if anyone could hear her. She felt her acrylic nails give way as she gripped the carpet in an effort to crawl away. She was too late, though. Her attacker was on her back, digging a knee into her shoulder blades, causing her to scream even louder. She searched for any identifiable sign from her attacker but couldn’t find one—the room and her attacker’s onyx-colored attire were way too dark. She opened her mouth with hopes of biting her attacker, but her face was forced into the floor negating any attempts at self-defense.
    Carmen braced herself, sensing that rape was imminent, but instead of penetration, she felt her attacker wind her braid around a fist, pull her head backward, then slam it into the floor. Dazed, Carmen struggled to keep her focus. Her heart raced as she imagined her own death.
    “Please . . . don’t kill me,” she managed to whisper. “You can take whatever you want, just please, spare my life.”
    Her attacker remained silent until Carmen heard a loud buzzing sound nearing her ear. Suddenly she felt a sharp pain at the base of her neck.
    “Stop! What are you doing . . .” she screamed while trying to toss her head from side to side. “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!” she screamed even louder, but the attacker pulled her hair, snapping her neck backward before slamming her head into the floor again. She fought to concentrate but felt herself losing the battle to remain conscious. With the next blow, the room went black.
    Carmen woke to the sound of the shower running. She was cold, and her head was pounding. She opened her eyes to darkness and froze, suddenly remembering why she was lying naked in her hallway. She listened, afraid to move, fearing that her attacker was still in the house. She had no idea how long she had been unconscious, so in fear, she continued to wait.
    Quietly, Carmen slid her hand between her legs, not knowing what to expect, and was surprised to feel no pain or soreness. Oddly, it felt perfectly normal.
    After what had to be thirty minutes but felt like an eternity, Carmen struggled to her knees and began crawling to her bedroom. A sharp pain ripped through her wrist making it difficult to move quickly, and when she finally managed to stand, her legs felt like Jell-O.
    She made her way back into the bathroom where she quickly closed and locked the door. The candle she’d lit earlier had already burned down. She turned off the shower and stood still, listening for any other sounds in the house. Finally feeling that she was alone, she turned on the light and looked in the mirror. She was horrified by what she saw.
    Staring back at her was a face she barely recognized. Her lips were bloody and swollen, and her face was badly bruised.

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