The Attack (c) kelly fitzpatrick

 When Evil walks the earth

 in a time of horrifying stillness,

no one is safe

off the narrow spiritual path.


I had left my big dog, Isis, at home, had had only two beers the whole night long, and, at 2 am,  I walk out of the neighborhood bar and feel dejected and rejected. The guy I liked hadn’t noticed I had no ride home and left without me. I walk over the railroad tracks overpass and on for a few more blocks.  As I turn the corner onto 12th Street, time stops completely. I walk smack into soft wall of evil and can walk no further.

I don't know how else to describe it. It is an invisible wall, a black pillow of terrifying, paralyzing evil, and I have never felt anything like it before.  


I look around and see no one. I feel no one. I look up at 12th Street ahead of me and see closed up rundown shops and, above them, dingy apartment windows sealed shut with old, torn blinds.  I look back where I came from, on NE Monroe Street, way down to the far away bar at the bottom of the hill. The bar that used to be a pickle factory thirty years ago. In the sixties, it was a porn film studio.  Now it is a creepy trendy fern bar, Colonel Brooks Tavern, named after a guy who never existed.


I still see no one. I still feel no one except the sleeping bodies in the apartments above who feel frozen in sleeptime.  The planet feels empty as far as I can intuite.


I know I could scream and scream and no one will hear me.


My body won't move forward and I cannot pick up my feet. I decided to walk ahead anyway, somehow.
I look down at my my red toenailed feet and force my right foot to slide forward. I almost rip my foot out of its yellow flipflop with the effort as I grab my right leg and pull it forward.  Ok, now this is bizarre.


I know I am not drunk.


What the hell....?
I move forward in inches. I watch my feet, long hair falling around my face, blocking out everything else.  I pull my right leg, then my left leg forward, as I slide my feet through a strong, unseen wall. My jeans get heavier and my brown wool shawl wraps tight around me.  


Fear mounting, I look up and see that the long street is empty before me. To my right further up ahead is my old bar I used to work at, Fred’s Inn, “Where Friends Meet.” It used to be a real neighborhood bar with college students, Maryland bikers and local pimps all mixing in and feeling at home. No one is there and it has been closed up for about a year.


Panic tells me to run off to the right, to run across the empty street and hide under overgrown bushes. Logic tells me I see nothing to fear.


My pace picks up, the deeper I go into the neighborhood , but I am tiny and afraid to my inner core, frozen in spirit.  Ahead, three blocks away, I now see someone, a dark figure wearing loose flapping clothing, almost flying up the hill toward me.


He is on the same sidewalk I am on and he moves quickly toward me, up the hill so fast I do not see his feet touch the ground. He is real.


I do not feel relief to see this stranger, only intense embarrassment at my intense fear. He begins to pass by me and he radiates a ferociousness of insanely broken thought that clouds his sight. He does not see me until my embarrassment pops the word “...hello...” faintly out of my mouth.


I see him startle and I see him see me. He is tall, scarecrow thin, dark skinned and dark tempered. He smells grimy and sweaty and his clothing is ripped and too big.. We are the only two people alive and awake.  We pass each other with inches between our shoulders.  Through the sides of   his eyes that roll googly huge pupils in white circles, he watches me pass by.


We continue to walk in our opposite directions, now faster and faster, almost running away from each other, as a long wordless scream builds and builds and explodes in my head: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE................


I look for a shortcut home as I walk as fast as I can, and see a street at the bottom of the hill, Perry Street. Instead of waiting another block to turn right on Quincy Street toward my home, which is on Quincy just past 14th Street, I think inside the scream “GO GO GO. NOW.  HURRY HOME. TURN OFF HERE.”


I turn off of 12th and face Perry Street’s downhill and then uphill. This street has a burnt out block where buildings were destroyed during the riots more than ten years ago. The long-empty lots are now filled with deep grassy ravines, rare in Washington DC., which line the block just before Perry Street becomes a steep uphill. In the blocks before and after the ravines are tall dark bloodred brick buildings filled with more bodies frozen in sleeptime. I see no lights on anywhere.


Faster, faster down the hill, l am ready to go up the hill, ready to be HOME. Wanting to be SAFE.


I can barely breathe and my chest is hot, my heart ready to burn through my skin. I slow to take a deep breath and slightly turn my head, looking back.




The man is hopping from bush to bush, hands held up in front like a cartoon bunny-rabbit.  HOP. HOP. HOP.  He is either a cartoon villain or a real monster.


He has a demonic grin.


I start to giggle and cry. I cannot get a deep breath and I turn away. FASTER. FASTER. GO. I try to think : “Can I get home before he catches up with me?”


SLAP. SLAP. SLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAP. Oversized shoes hit the  pavement behind me and then........


A silent jump way above me and the man lands on my back.   Piggyback and wrapped around me, smothering my spirit and my voice with a long sharp knife to my  neck.


 I sink, almost to my knees and my breath finally comes and goes out in a long throttled wispy “wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwooooooooooooooooooooossssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” that tried to be a scream.


My voice is gone and he flips me around dragging me on my back, his knife dragging a thin painless line across my neck.


Fear is an gargoyled animal sitting on my chest as he drags me backwards in the middle of the road  toward a deep, deep  ravine off the side and I face the darkly invisible sky, alone with him, knowing he is going to kill me and then rape my dead body.


I twist my neck and look up into his eyes. I see insatiable diseased desire to use the KNIFE THE KNIFE THE KNIFE. I see in his dark eyes that no longer have any whites that he can't wait to use the knife to draw my life blood out of me and then use his own over-drugged filthy manhood to rip apart my dead womanhood.


He drags me closer toward the ravine and I look deeper into his eyes and see his soul leap out.  I see in his eyes Evil, looking RIGHT BACK at me. I never knew that Evil could wear a man like a tight suit and look out of his eyes. 


I know I am only 22 years old and yet I recognize the feeling of death approaching as we are held momentarily  in a pocket of eternity. Otherworldly peace floods over me as my mouth opens and I hear myself say to him in a calm and supernaturally normal voice:”Whatever you do to me, I will describe it in detail  to you as you do it to me.”


Fear jumps off of me and, like a rabid possum, lands on him between his shoulder blades. Since the fear has become alive, someone has to carry it and it is no longer me. He drops me on my back and screams while he runs backwards up the hill away from me, toward my home. Knife pointing up to the sky, still clutched in his fist, he keeps screaming the scream I had been unable to find and he keeps running backwards. 


No longer afraid, filled with surreal calm and peace, confident and serene, I stand up. I slowly turn my back to him and walk a few steps toward  my flipflops that had fallen off me when he had dragged me a moment before. 


He is not going to kill me.


 I am going to make it safely home.


As I bend over at the waist to put on my right flipflop, my back to the fleeing man, I have a sudden thought: HE still has the knife!  I freeze.


 I straighten up and run back the way I had come with my left flipflop in my hand since he is now running in the direction of my home. I run crazily, left foot pounding black street, right foot slipping off my flipflop, shawl flapping open sliding off my shoulders, hair tangling across my face and choking around my neck.  Run. Run. I see a porch-light where there had been none, back at the corner where I had turned onto this nightmare road. I run up the porch steps and pound on the door until shocked nuns in nightgowns answer. I am pulled inside a convent and the police are called.


I have no idea where the calm words came from, or how they came through me. I now know Evil exists and it will be ten long years until I understand that God is just as real.


                                                                        + + +


Three days later, a nine year old girl going to the 12th Street drugstore at dusk for her grandmother, is murdered. She is stabbed more than eighty times and her ravaged body is found dumped miles out in the country.  I do see the man twice more, once in a mug shot and once on the street in broad daylight, laughing at me. The police are of no help to me, and one cop flirts and tries to get me to give him my phone number for a date. I try to talk with the homicide detective working the little girl's case but he never returns my calls.   Turns out the monster who attacked me is well-known because he grew up here in this neighborhood. He is addicted to PCP, giving him superhuman strength and insane desires. He has been to jail many times, but is always released because his cousin is a city council member. He is the sole member of a street gang he calls The Chosen Few.


Months later, he disappears forever from the neighborhood and I hear that the little girl's relatives and neighbors made sure he would never hurt anyone ever again.



 .           .             .        .             .                 .                   .                 .          .(pic: Edvard Munch, 'The Scream')


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