“The One Who Got Away” Devil #3, Part II (Conclusion)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it? This is the conclusion to a true story that was begun yesterday. I don’t think you want to read the ending without reading the beginning first.  To do so, go HERE.

“The One Who Got Away”

Devil #3, Part II

Perhaps if I acted normal, it all would go away–
this little game they’d started that I didn’t want to play.
I said, “Please let me out right here, a friend lives down the block!”
But silence met my pleas, as though they couldn’t hear me talk.
As the three of them kept talking about which way to turn,
the man I’d danced with quickly turned cold and taciturn.

He had said he was a stranger who came from the east coast,
yet he didn’t ask directions of the one who knew the most.
“Which way should we go, man?” He asked the one behind
as though there was a certain road he wanted to find.
Of me they took no notice–as though I wasn’t there.
The driver just looked straight ahead with a hardened stare.

My life’s worst fear had been to be in someone else’s power,
so the thought of what was happening made me want to cower
and beg and plead and scream and cry; but I did none of that,
though I felt like a bird first toyed with by a cruel cat.
My heartbeat raced but my thoughts raced ahead of them to find
escape from what must have been planned by his devious mind.

They took the road past houseless land—a golf course and a farm.
I knew the way led out of town—a cause of much alarm.
“Turn right here,” I said as we approached a lighted junction,
but as he turned left I knew that there would not be any unction.
I won’t go into all the times I pleaded with them to stop.
“My friend lives down this road,” I said, “Just leave me at the top!”

“Are we heading out for Casper?” said the stranger on my right.
I wondered what would happen if I chose this time to fight.
To slug him once and climb over to jump out of the car,
but with three of them I knew that I would not get far.
I also knew the stretch of lonely road from here to there.
The bodies found along that road—and knew how I would fare.

When I had left my house a party had been going strong.
I wondered who would still be there for I’d been gone so long.
Yet it was a plan and there were neighbors who might hear my screams,
so I gave them an alternative to their frightening schemes.
“It’s so far to Casper,” I said in a normal voice,
“Perhaps it would be better if you made another choice.

A good night’s sleep and food and drink is what might serve you best.
I live alone, my house is near. Why don’t you come and rest
and start out again tomorrow for wherever you are going?
If you are strangers here, then you could have no way of knowing
how far it is to Casper with no place to stop for gas.”
My suggestions fell on deaf ears. No one answered me, alas.

Once on the open road I would have no chance to escape,
What would happen next? Would it be Torture? Murder? Rape?
In less than a mile we would reach the Interstate–
the beginning of the ending of this ill-fated date.
I thought of all the stories where women were abducted.
It was a grim sorority into which I’d been inducted.

How would they tell my mother, my sister, my best friend?
Would I be another story for which no one knows an end?
I tried to think how I could end it, but could see no way.
No knife, no gun, no poison to aid me on this day.
I looked at the glove box. Was there a gun inside?
Was there at least one bullet in it? Enough for suicide?

Years ago when I first worried how I’d fare if I were one
of those unfortunate women snatched for a sadist’s fun,
I thought I’d get a capsule of cyanide that fit
on a chain around my neck in case I needed it.
But that seemed so excessive, so improbable and crazy.
Now I chided myself for being too damn lazy

to cover every angle to protect myself for what
I realized was happening –and this was the cruelest cut.
How did I feel? Not panicked, just the deepest sort of dread
of all that they could do to me before they left me dead.
Though I’m brave, I don’t do well with pain, so I have to say
I’ve always known if tortured, I’d give everything away.

There was no chance these men’s intentions were anything but grim,
so I kept my eyes upon the road and never looked at them.
Then I shifted to the dashboard. Was there any help for me
I was overlooking? And then I spied the key.
What if I grabbed the keys out and threw them in the air
into the grass beside the road. I wondered, did I dare?

Then I saw two headlights in the mirror, far back, but coming fast.
At nearly 4 a.m., I knew this chance would be my last.
As the truck got nearer, I reached out for the keys,
ripped them from the ignition, and then fast as you please,
hurled them from the car into the tall grass by the side.
The car came to a rolling stop as the engine died.

The man next to me grabbed out for the handle of the door,
but the driver screamed out to him with a mighty roar.
“Don’t leave the girl,” he said, and then he told the other guy
to hop out and find the keys—and then I knew that I would die
if I didn’t make a move and so I wedged my back and feet
and catapulted from the front right into the back seat.

I rolled over the car’s rear trunk and it was just my luck
that I landed in the road just as the headlights of the truck
came up behind and brakes went on and I went running back,
pursued by all three members of that frightening pack.
The driver of the truck was young—twenty-two or twenty-three
I beat upon his window, saying, “Help me! Please help me!

These men are trying to kidnap me! Please, let me in your truck!”
By then my former “savior” had arrived to try his luck.
“Don’t believe her, she’s a con artist. She’ll hit you in the head
and make away with all your money. Leave you in the ditch for dead!
She tried to do it to us, man. We were trying to find a cop
when she grabbed the keys out of the car and brought us to a stop!”

“My name is Judy Dykstra. I teach English at Central High.
Please don’t leave me with these men, for if you do, I’ll die!”
The driver then called out to him—angry to the core,
“You’re making a mistake, man,” as he opened up the door.
I ran around and climbed inside. The last things we could see
were three backsides in the grass, searching for a key.

We knew they couldn’t follow us, but still he floored the pedal
while I went on and on about how he deserved a medal.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I said three times or more.
Then, “Why did you believe me and open up the door?”
“Because two of those characters looked so low down and crass,
but mainly ‘cause my sister had you last year for a class!”

This story that I’ve told you could have had a different end,
But as it was I spent the night with a longtime friend
who persuaded me that I should never ever tell
what happened on this evening, for it had turned out well.
“Do you know their plate number? Can you describe their car?
Could you tell their face descriptions? Do you know where they are?

And even if they find them, what could you possibly say?
They’ll say that you were just a girl picked up along the way.
They met you in a crowded bar. You asked them for a ride.
They walked you to their car and you chose to get inside.
You asked them all to stay with you, but they all said no.
Then you suddenly got angry and said you had to go.

They didn’t want to let you out and leave you all alone.
They said that they would rather take you safely to your home.
But you were drunk and even though they all said, ‘Lady, please. . . ‘
You reached out and suddenly you grabbed for the keys.
You threw them in the tall grass and jumped out of the car
a totally different person than that lady in the bar!

You convinced some poor kid they were kidnapping you.
And there was nothing else that they could think of they could do!
They didn’t try to stop you or to argue if you please.
They simply went back looking to try to find their keys.
Can you imagine in a trial what they would make of this?
You know you are the sort of person that they love to diss.

A female teacher out at bars who had been heavily drinking,
closing down the barroom. What could you have been thinking?
Your friends all say that when they left, you just didn’t show.
So you left the bar at 3 A.M. with someone you don’t know.
You get into his car with two more men you’ve never seen
For a teacher you appear to be other than squeaky clean.

You could lose your job for this, and your reputation!”
She ended her soliloquy in a state of great frustration.
So tell me please what do you think, was I right or not
In not reporting these three men, so they were never caught?
All I can say is that I wonder to this very day
how many other women died because they got away.

*

50 thoughts on ““The One Who Got Away” Devil #3, Part II (Conclusion)

  1. Pingback: Devil #3 | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  2. Tamara Alaine Mitchell

    Quick thinking on your part and I’m so, so glad that truck came up behind you just when it did…and that there was a sympathetic person who stopped and helped. We were so foolish in our younger days! And you were so lucky! I wish this poem were published in a magazine for young people so they could get a dose of reality.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norma J Iverson Huhn

      Wow!!!! Judy I read your poem that was terrible what happened to u. u r so lucky, u had an Angel on your shoulder is all I can say. I do not blame u for not reporting this but I really think they would have been proven guilty but then again to drag it all thru the mud, and all with u being a teacher would not be the best thing for u either. So all in all u probably did the right thing. But on the flip side all of them may have a bad record also which would have helped u, but u do not know that either. The main thing is that u r safe, and I guess a lesson learned, never ever get in a vehicle with anyone that u do not know and even today it is worse than back then. Who would ever think that would happen in Wyoming but it can happen anywhere, especially today. Like I said u had an Angel on your shoulder and u r a very very lucky gal. One lesson learned Right!!!! Take Care ok Love you, an old friend from So. Dak. where our roots are left. Right!!!!! Norma J. Iverson Huhn

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  3. Lola

    Judy – thank you for sharing this life-altering experience with us.
    Your decision about reporting or not was yours alone to make
    and the best one for you at the time! Period! NO ONE gets to
    second guess or judge!

    Resourceful. Powerful. Agile. Strong. Potent. Super-Heroine.
    “…so I wedged my back and feet
    and catapulted from the front right into the back seat.
    I rolled over the car’s rear trunk and it was just my luck
    that I landed in the road just as the headlights of the truck
    came up behind and brakes went on and I went running back,…”
    Simply Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      I was prepared for some big criticism re/ my not reporting it but the truth was that unless they were still there looking for keys, there was no way I could give the police information about the car, short of three men in a convertible. And what had they done, really? It was all the threat of their absolutely not listening to me or letting me out of the car. And that very scarey feeling when I saw my dancing partner’s personality completely shift. I know I would have been killed but in fact by the time I escaped, they had not harmed me in any way short of scaring me as much as I’ve ever been scared in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Jennifer Nichole Wells

    Judy. Thank you for this. I applaud how inventive you were. And I’m so glad you were safe. I don’t want to get into the story, but something happened to me of which I never reported the man. I’ve wondered who else he’s hurt. I go back and forth with what I should have done. But your friend is right to some extent. For crimes like these, it’s crazy hard to get a conviction. And in the process the victim gets dragged along and beaten down. Questions that should never be part of the equation get asked and used against her. You never know whether going to court or not would have been a better call. Best not to dwell I tell myself. What’s done is done. (Not that that makes me feel much better)

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I read a good lot about Ted Bundy and although it seemed as though they had so much evidence, they kept saying it would be hard to convict him. My real problem was that there was really nothing they had done other than refusing to let me out of the car. It was just that it was obvious that they had plans or why would they not have let me leave…and the switch in personalities was terrifying. The other strange thing afterwards was tht I felt guilty for going with him in the first place, even though I really had no alternative. No one left in the bar, no police, no phone. And one detail I forgot to mention ws that someone hd taken my purse while I was dancing, so I had no money. I remember worrying that perhaps they had taken my purse and so had my address, so i was even afraid to go home that night.

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      1. Jennifer Nichole Wells

        Everything you did, thought and currently think are valid. You were taken advantage of. And their plans were clearly more malicious than we know. You’re right that there probably would have never been a conviction due to lack of evidence. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t guilty.

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    2. lifelessons Post author

      I’ve been involved in two court cases and in both, invasive questions regarding my sex life were asked even though they had nothing whatever to do with the case. In both cases I was the plaintiff, not the defendant, but still these questions were allowed by the judges involved and in both cases no such questions were asked of the male defendants! They were the ones being charged, I was the one being judged! My friend knew this and it had something to do with the fact that she encouraged me not to set myself up for the same trauma. I won in both cases by the way, but both experiences changed my view of the world and had lasting effects–some bad, some good.

      Liked by 3 people

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  5. angloswiss

    I was really discover how this experience met its end. A good end? – for the victim yes and There are so many legal traps with this sort of thing and the frustrations of proving what really happened. It was suspense and horror in one and yes, a result full of courage. I could say I enjoyed this piece, and I did, but if it is not fiction and leaves me with a sense of being glad to be alive. Bravo for writing it and in a very original way.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Angloswiss , for understanding exactly the frustration thousands and perhaps millions of women have felt in having to decide between their own safety or reputations and vindication.

      Liked by 2 people

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  6. Linda Lee

    An almost identical thing happened to me in 1971. I was 17, married, and 3 months pregnant with my first child. My abusive husband had left me — without a car — and I had walked from our rented trailer several miles to the nearest payphone to call my dad for help, because I had no money, the rent was overdue, the electric company had left a notice saying the electricity would be cut off tomorrow due to no payment (it was winter and very cold), and I was running out of food.

    After my abusive father coldly told me that I had made my bed and now must lie in it, I stumbled away from the payphone in tears. I got about a block away when a car with 3 clean cut, preppy looking guys in it stopped and, the lone guy sitting in back rolled down his window. With a look of deep concern on his face, he asked what was wrong and could they help.

    In a rush, I tearfully told them my story — pregnant — abandoned — out of money — out of food. In a chivalrous manner, the young man got out of the car, gently took my arm, told me they would take me to their apartment and feed me a good meal, then help me figure out what to do.

    I wanted to believe in White Knights and Prince Charmings…. so I got into the backseat of the car and let them take me to their apartment, which turned out to be the bottom floor of a grand old Victorian house, clean and well-maintained and expensively furnished.

    The guy from the backseat gave me a sandwich and a glass of milk. While I ate, his two buddies left but soon returned with 3 more young men. Now there were 6 — all of them clean cut, with short haircuts, no facial hair, and prepping manners. They looked like college students from wealthy families.

    As soon as I finished eating, everything changed…

    I… need to finish this later. Maybe I will make it into a post on my blog, with a ping back here. But right now I want you to know that I did report them. And I was advised by the police to drop it…

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      When I finished writing my story…especially the second part…I thought, “No one is really going to believe this. It just sounds too fantastic. ” But instead you are the third person who has said something similar happened to her. Thank you for being so brave in commenting. If you do tell your story, I’d love to hear it. I felt just as you do yesterday. After telling half the story, I felt so transported back to the experience and so frightened all over again that I had to stop and the second segment was even harder to write, but I’m glad I did. In a way it is like getting support all these years later and assurance that it really wasn’t my fault–even though rationally I know it wasn’t. The thing I can’t figure out is why I suddenly had to write it in verse, which made it ten times harder to write. Harder to write authentically and sincerely. I not only had to tell the truth but also to force a rhyme. I keep wondering why and it feels like it was some sort or punishment or, perhaps, it added another element that made me concentrate on it instead of the fear and humiliation of the situation. Or, perhaps, it added a new challenge and puzzle and somehow made use of the situation in a way that gave me back power. This is all so complicated, this revelation of secrets, but I’ve found in blogging–this very public platform–a pretty supportive place to bring to light what for most of my life I’ve needed to do. That is, to really deal with and try to understand the circumstances of my life by writing about them.

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  7. Linda Lee

    Whew. I.. whew.

    I hit the Post Comment tab without rereading my previous comment for errors. One glaring error: I was 17 when this happened, a couple of months away from my 18th birthday. (I was 16 when I married my then 18 year old husband. He did not tell me until after we were married that the only reason he had wanted to marry me and get me pregnant right away was to avoid the draft to Vietnam. A man with a wife and a child could get out of being drafted at that time.)

    One of the reasons the police officer suggested that I not press charges was because I was 3 months pregnant. Going public about being almost-raped, he said, “might raise questions” about the paternity of my baby. Yet this same cop also told me that one of the “preppy” guys who lived in that apartment had just gotten out of prison for manslaughter. He also told me that I was the second teenage girl to come forward with a similar story about this group of well-mannered, clean cut guys.

    I don’t know why this story hits me so hard. Like you, I escaped being raped by them. And when I was 15 I actually was drugged unconscious and then raped. Because I was drugged I don’t remember much of the rape, so maybe that makes a difference? Although that was still very horrific, because I nearly died from the drug he gave me.

    But maybe because there was only one of that rapist, while there were 6 of these guys, it seemed more…. surreal. Nightmarish. They all looked so normal, they did not appear to be high or drunk. I just couldn’t grasp the fact that not a single one of those young men would say: Wait a minute, we can’t do this!

    Whew.. it’s a hard world to be female in, isn’t it?

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    1. Linda Lee

      …there WERE 6 of these guys, not there WAS… it isn’t easy to be coherent when writing about trauma, not even when it’s about a gang rape that almost happened.

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      1. Linda Lee

        I felt so stupid for getting into that car in the first place. But.. I had two younger brothers and three younger stepbrothers. I loved them all and could never imagine them ganging up to rape a woman!

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          I know. Innocence can be dangerous, as can be the belief that all of us have only one face. That pack instinct is present in humans as it is in animals, and the group becomes assumes its own personality aside from the individual identities of its members. Have you read any of the postings by female East Indian bloggers about the gang rape and murder of the young Indian college student? It has become a rallying point for women’s rights in India. If you want to know about it, I’ll find a link. Horrible, but a case where somet positive change seems to be happening as a result

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          1. Linda Lee

            Yes, I would like a link, thank you. My granddaughter, after earning a BA in Social Anthropology from Temple University, traveled to India on her own earlier this summer. I was so worried while she was there. Now she is back, taking grad classes at Harvard. She is so smart and sophisticated, and yet… still too naive, I fear.

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            1. Linda Lee

              I just read the Wikipedia article. Horrifying. I don’t understand such evil. How lucky you and I were.

              I escaped by pretending to comply so they would stop suffocating me. I told them I would do whatever they wanted. I was told to go stand by the bed and undress. I removed my dress, then started to remove my slip — while one of the men was holding a weapon near my face, another undressing, and the other four were blocking the doorway, watching with broad smiles. With my slip halfway up my thighs, I suddenly sprang for the large glass hurricane lamp that was on a chest of drawers beside the bed, I threw it at the man with the weapon, and then I picked up the heavy chest of drawers and flung it at the men, screaming bloody murder as I did this. Behind the chest of drawers was a tall window covered with a cloth blind.I flung myself at the window, hoping to break the glass and escape that way. I was still screaming at the top of my lungs as I did this. I was a skinny girl, though, and bounced off the window, not even cracking it. So I backed up to try again — and that was when I realized that all six of the men had run out of the apartment, including the one who was naked! They jumped in their car and sped away! Like I said, i was lucky. And so was my unborn son, who turned 44 this month.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Linda Lee

              Sorry about the huge wall of text in my last comment. It was the only way I could get the rest of my story out, like one big vomit.

              How did you manage to write your story as a poem? Wow. Maybe, like you said, doing it that way helped take your mind off the horror you feel when you remember.

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            3. lifelessons Post author

              I love long comments. It means I moved someone to think. It is a huge compliment to inspire such a well thought out comment, so blab away my dear. I always do. But, I also listen!

              Liked by 1 person

      2. lifelessons Post author

        So maddening that we can’t edit our own comments. I’ll edit yours for you. I, too, forget to read until after I’ve sent and I’m often afraid people wont’s recognize mistakes as mistakes.

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  8. Laura L.

    Yeah, I have no idea how you did this in verse. I, too, have violence in my background, a totally different story from yours but the fear is universal. Like you, I didn’t tell, for other reasons. Very powerful. I don’t really have a lot to say, as the work and the story speaks so well for itself. Thankfully it ended as it did…

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  9. sheenmeem

    I waited two days before reading your story. I couldn’t find me brave enough to read the rest of your story. Today trying to find courage I read it. I am relieved and glad that you escaped from them. Damnation to them to eternal hell

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  10. Pingback: The Patience Stone | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  11. janebasilblog

    I’ve read all of the comments, but I’m still shivering. The terror those evil men put you through! It’s horrible. You were saved by a combination of your own quick thinking and lucky timing. I won’t forget these two poems.
    It would be innapropriate for me to saymuch more on the subject – you’ve already had to relive it while you were writng the poem and responding to other comments. I applaud your courage, and am very glad that you are still here to tell the tale.
    Thank you for sharing xxx

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      1. janebasilblog

        It’s hard to imagine people getting a kick from lots of things. I find it hard to understand how anyone could be so lacking in compassion. I have a serious anger issue with those who want to hurt others just because they like the idea of it.

        Liked by 1 person

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I know. Sometimes it seems impossible to me that I lived through these things. For such a scheme to work–so many factors had to work in unison. It wouldn’t seem plausible in a movie or book, but that is how it happened.

      Liked by 1 person

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