Once again, the same pervert followed me in the darkest streets; he had never managed to catch me yet. When I run out of breath and the split second before he lays a hand on me, I usually trip and hit my head on a curb or crash into a traffic light pole on the street corner and wake up in cold sweat.


The minute I fall asleep, I have to run for my life. I’m living a rerun episode of the same nightmare over and again. Last time as I was escaping from this maniac, I thought, “I can’t run forever, especially in my sleep.  The main purpose of sleep is to rest, not to run!   A rapist or a murderer he might be, I’ll face him.” Then I stumbled and fell. As soon as I woke, I rushed to my brother’s bedroom and grabbed the baseball bat from under his bed and the pepper spray from my purse and anxiously closed my eyes hoping to face him again.


I buried the spray in my blouse pocket and hid the bat on the next street corner behind the newsstand counter where I had planned to make a right turn during the next chase.


       Sure enough he was waiting for my arrival exactly where I expected. I paused to give him a chance to recognize his victim and to start his routine. He noticed my presence but made no move. Now that I was ready, he had cold feet. But I was determined to put an end to this charade.


He had his hands in his pockets whispering words I could not hear. Since he was reluctant to agonize me tonight, I took the first step toward my night stalker.


“So, your next move you fucking bastard?  I don’t interest you anymore?” I shouted fearlessly.


       His lack of response worried me. He either knew what I was up to or had lost interest in tormenting an easy target like me.


       “What the hell are you waiting for? Don’t chicken out! Not tonight,” I taunted him.


He was anxiously trying to tell my something without uttering a word. I walked a few steps closer not to listen to what he was saying but to tempt him to attack. As I reached my predator, he took his hand out of his pocket and the switchblade clutched in his fist flickered.


       I rushed toward the street corner where I had my weapon stashed and he ran after me like never before.  He was about ten yards behind me when I made the turn and swiftly grabbed the baseball bat, suddenly stopped, turned back and faced him. He was now within my striking distance still flinging his hands in the air.


Before he got a chance to make a move, I struck him in his kneecap causing him to slouch to reach his shattered knee, and to give me another opportunity to take a swing and smash his face. After the second blow he collapsed at my feet squealing like a wounded animal loud enough to wake me up and ruin the experience, but he didn’t.  For a moment, I decided to wake up and leave this agonizing nightmare behind me but the terror of the previous episodes trembled my entire being and convinced me otherwise. So I walked back to him and viciously crushed the same fingers clamping tightly on his injured knee.


       His suffering was bound to turn into vengeance and I could feel his haunting return to my nightmares forever. So I sat down next to my predator and carefully opened his squinted eyes moistened with tears, trying to understand his perverse pleasure in tormenting an innocent girl. The deeper I probed, the darker my nightmare became. He seemed like a helpless child taking refuge in his mother’s lap and I was reflecting his bizarre mélange of wickedness and vulnerability on the tarnished mirror of my soul. He had become my defenseless victim and I have turned into his ruthless torturer and both morphed into a single being.


       Desperately I waited for him to say something, tell me anything, anything at all to set me free from this everlasting labyrinth of perdition. I shook his head violently and threatened him with a harsher punishment for his lack of cooperation but the more I persisted, the less cooperation I received. So I forced his mouth open only to see he had no tongue to speak. 


       I felt sorry for him for being the victim in the haunting nightmare he had created for me and hated him even more for the same reason. So I forced his eyes wide open and gave him two full blasts of pepper spray, one in each eye. Seeing him suffer gave me a pleasure beyond my imagination and a pain beyond my threshold of tolerance. As much as I was tempted to stab him in the chest with his knife, I refrained to do so.


       I deserted my battered victim in the hazy streets of reverie and woke in sweat; and when I did, I found myself in an emergency room. A doctor with the help of two nurses was tending to my broken knee and casting my shattered fingers.  I barely opened my burning eyes and noticed my sobbing mother listening to a police officer telling her how they heard me screaming in the darkness and found me bleeding in the street corner.