It was the snowy, quiet evening of January 12, 2015. Beautiful couples come and go, hoping to find peace on the street of Gamma Place. Austin, a friendly resident, silently watches these couples, yearning for the love that they possess. At 7:00 PM on this particularly lonely night, Austin finds himself in the middle of a rape case. Lonely, exhausted, broken, and accused of rape, Austin Richards travels through the moonlit night in search of something more. If Austin's neighbors, and an old friend, aren't able to save him from this wretched case, no one might ever be able to. Will you follow Austin through his painstaking journey?
The lights flickered endlessly, dancing softly through the barren ghost town. Along a beautiful street, proudly named Gamma Place, a handsome young boy walked slowly, hand in hand with a spectacular fair maiden. "The lights...they dance for you." said the boy. "They are all for you. My love, they flicker. They stride and gleam. They exist for you." The maiden slightly and gracefully turned her head to face him. Her eyes twinkled with passion, reflecting the light that was all for her. He paused, lifting her hand and counting each wrinkle, one by one. Oh, how she fluttered! Her heart pounced, silently whimpering, not believing what was occurring. He stared at her hands, whispering words of love, but with a treacherous tone. She quickly removed her hand from his bountiful grip, and eased his arms around her waist. A light quickly flashed from afar. A house light, they figured. Someone must be awake. She disregarded the light, and moved into his arms. He looked down at her, smiling, gleaming, wishing to hold her forever. She rested her head on his skeletal shoulder, slowly falling asleep.
As I continued to smoke a half depleted cigarette, I watched quietly from my vestibule as the intriguing, young couple strolled forward. For many years I have watched a billion couples stroll down this romantic, picturesque street. To me, this street holds a certain sense of captivity. In the spring, I always stand agape in the middle of the road on top of the cracked sewer cap, the same cap that trapped my mother's heel months ago, silently taking in the red, orange, green, pink leaves of the surrounding,aging trees.
After throwing the cigarette bud down the stairs, and attempting to catch a breath of fresh air, I quickly scrambled to close the leading door, for it was slowly beginning to snow. Something in the back of my mind screamed, "LOOK!" I turned around instantaneously, opening the door widely for the last time. My eyes caught sight of a disheveled couple, arguing intensely in front of the neighboring house. I was suspicious, mostly because I was able to faintly recognize the woman's face. She had a scar leading from her eye to the tip of her once beautifully curved mouth. Her clothes, however, were the same as the man's; torn, paint-splashed, and ragged.
The woman began to spit out her words, but was quieted by the quick movement of the man's filthy hand. I watched, not knowing how to handle the situation. "Who the HELL did you sleep with last night!? It's a different man every night, huh? YOU WHORE!" The hand screamed with another slap, then another, then one more. The woman laid on the ground, hopeless, dreamless, and covered with a light layer of snow. Eventually, I built up the anger and courage to scream, "What the fuck do you think you're doing to her!? Do you want me to call the police? Scram!" Hearing my roaring voice, the man fled, never turning back.
I ran down the slippery mahogany stairs, trying my best to not fall. When I finally reached the woman, she was unconscious. Nervously, I pulled out my iPhone, unlocked the screen, and dialed 911. For all I knew, this woman could be dead. The operator picked up, "911. What is your emergency?" "Yeah, there is an unconscious woman in front of my house. Can you please send an ambulance? Gamma Place, Glendale!" I hung up the phone, slammed it onto the concrete sidewalk, and began to check for the woman's pulse. "Shit! Where the hell is her pulse!?" I screamed. Knowing that the fire department was literally up the block, on Myrtle Avenue, I watched anxiously as an ambulance wheeled out of the garage, and firemen rapidly arrived at my side.
Apartments on both sides of the street began to sparkle with a lively, warm, yellow light. My neighbors gathered around me, watching as the EMT aggressively tried to resuscitate the woman. "She's responding!" I gasped. Her beautiful, piercing blue eyes opened cautiously, staring straight at me. "You...you...you did this to me!" She cried. "You raped me! Look at my clothing! It's torn...so...so torn..." The woman faded in and out. Before long, I felt the coldness of a metal lock being clasped onto my wrists as I watched the lifeless woman, who was lifted into the ambulance.
I screamed as Ryan, the "special" police officer, lowered me into the backseat of the whirling police car. "You fucking idiot! DON'T ARREST ME! That woman has lost her mind. Make sure a rape kit is done! I never raped her!" Ryan glared at me. "Shut your mouth, Austin. This isn't your first goddamn offense." Ryan's partner, Clara, turned around in the passenger seat and stared at me knowingly through the protection screen. "So, what was your first offense?" She laughed. I rolled my eyes. "Clara, do you ever shut the hell up?" Just as I finished my sentence, Ryan jumped into the driver's seat. "Austin, what in the world were you thinking?" He lectured me until we arrived at the 104th Precinct.
Ryan roughly pulled into a tight parking space, while an amateur police officer opened the door, grabbed my arm, and attempted to pull me out of the car. This kid squeezed my arm so tightly that I instantaneously developed a bruise. "Justin, let him go. Austin is mine to harm." Justin nodded, letting go of me. The three of us scurried to the building's entrance. I tried to slow them down, mostly because I wanted to admire the pearly white snow. Ryan jerked me forward, screaming at me until I moved.
Once inside, I was led into a familiar room. "Ah. My favorite room in the entire building; the congressional room." I sighed, admiring the vintage light fixture situated above the metal table. Ryan smirked. "Detective, we've got another one!" I heard in the background. Detective Harrison strolled into the room, sat me at the table, and glared at me. "So, tell me. Did you rape that woman?" He abruptly asked. "Listen, Harrison, we're friends, right? You know that I would never lay a hand on a woman unless she was mine. Clearly she did not belong to me." I winced. "You're no friend of mine, Austin." The questioning seemed to have lasted for hours, but I knew that it was only a mere forty-five minutes. "Austin, are you ever going to tell me the truth!? I know you raped that fucking woman!" Harrison stormed, pushing back his chair. He rose, stomping over to where I was sitting. A hand was laid on my shoulder. "I will find your DNA. I will prove that you raped her." Harrison whispered into my ear. Our amusing conversation was interrupted by Ryan, who had just returned from Wyckoff Hospital, where the "victim" was being treated.
"This just in! The rape kit came back positive, but Austin so far isn't our attacker. The DNA is sort of hazy right now, but we should have a definite match soon." Ryan relayed. "I told you, Harrison." I said in a low, harsh tone. After two hours of what I like to call "story time," Ryan finally released me, but gave me a clear warning. "I swear to GOD, Austin. If you leave Glendale, I will find you, arrest you, and make sure you're put in jail for the rest of your life." "Sure, Ryan. Whatever." I said while walking out the door.
I started to walk home. The precinct happens to be only ten blocks from my apartment, so the walk was basically nothing. Once I hit the fifth block, I heard the siren of a police car. "Why is Ryan following me?" I said under my breath. Turning around, I saw Ryan's pale face through the windshield of his police car. He pulled up to the side of me. "Need a ride home, Mr Richards?" He giggled. "No, Ryan. I just want to be alone." "Austin, get in the car. Now. You and I are going to go to a diner and discuss this case." I rolled my eyes, sighed, and walked to the passenger side of the car. The door handle slipped under my fingers, but I managed to pull it and slide in.
We rode in silence, passing through the many streets of Glendale and Middle Village. We made our way to Francis Lewis Boulevard, where we stopped at my favorite diner, Blue Bay. I got out of the car, slammed the door shut, and shuffled my way to the diner's entrance. Ryan followed close behind, and I could feel his piercing stare on my back. I was greeted by Annie, a fellow waitress who used to be my girlfriend. "Annie! Long time no see." Ryan beamed. "Leave her alone, Ryan." "What? I can't talk to a pretty lady?" I glanced at him, ready to slap the back of his head. I seated myself at the nearest booth as Annie hurried to bring me my favorite coffee. She knows me so well. Ryan sat across from me, never taking his eyes off of my bruised arm. "We should have stopped by your apartment to g-" I cut him off. "I don't need a jacket."
Ryan and I ate our dinner, discussing the details in hushed voices. "I told you, Ryan. She was arguing with some guy. He slapped her repeatedly, then pushed her to the ground. I scared him off, found that she was basically dead, then called the police." I said. "Right, right. I get that, Aus. But something doesn't seem right. Are you sure you've given me all of the details?" "Yes, Ryan! I have given you ALL of the damn details!" I boomed. Ryan looked hurt, but I knew he was just tired of my shit. "Austin, I'm going to talk to some of your neighbors tomorrow morning...just to see if they saw anything or if they have cameras set up that face the crime scene." "Sure, Ryan. Whatever. Go for it. I'll be asleep."
After finishing our dinner, I walked up to Annie, kissed her on the cheek, and watched as Ryan paid the bill. I couldn't help but stare at his perfectly ironed uniform, silver belt buckle, and finely polished gun. I wondered if I could use that gun sometime. I need to escape this damned world. "Aussie, are you okay? I know we haven't spoken in a while, bu-" "Annie, please. I can't do this right now." I walked out of the diner.