I suppose the first question that most people will ask is why I was willing to allow myself to be taken captive, especially by a woman who may have killed a man. The short answer was that even if she did kill him, in doing so she may very well have saved my life. The complicated answer is that if she did kill him then I might actually be culpable for not having reported what happened in that alley, so I really needed to find out what happened after I crawled back to the street. The honest answer is that she was offering me her story and I was in desperate need of a good story.
At first I was rather disappointed that her instructions for our meeting sounded like something out of a cliché detective novel: Change my voice mail message to indicate that I had been called out of town for a few days, walk to the nearest bust stop and catch the next bus downtown, and walk into the alley where we first met. I didn’t like the idea of returning to that alley, but that was precisely the detail that jolted me back to the realization that I wasn’t dealing with a cliché detective novel; I was dealing with the most dangerous woman I had ever met.
For a few moments I began to worry that she had only invited me back to that alley in order to eliminate the only witness. On the other hand, she could have just as easily killed me on the night we first met. In the end, my fears were overwhelmed by my curiosity to discover the fate of my attacker and the story to be told by the woman who had so easily dispensed with him.
In retrospect I guess I should have expected that she was watching me from the time I left my apartment. I had been a bit agoraphobic since the attack though, so I was quite distracted by having to stand at the bus stop and too anxious on the bus to focus on much more than my heart rate. The downtown streets were as empty as they were on the night that we met and for the first time since the attack I found myself craving the safety of a crowd. As strange as it may seem, I rushed to the alley to meet her, hoping desperately to return to the relief I felt when I first looked up at my rescuer.
As I rounded the corner into the alley I was startled to find it empty. I froze instantly, fearing something had gone terribly wrong. Then I was startled again as a large SUV rounded the corner and stopped right beside me. The passenger window descended with a buzz and just before I bolted back out into the street I heard her voice.
“Get in,” she said casually.
My mind began to race. What the hell was I doing? This woman might have killed a man - she was dangerous even if she hadn’t killed him. I couldn’t bare the thought of heading back out into the empty streets though. I had made a terrible mistake and desperately wished that I wasn’t there. I was there, however, and there seemed to be only one way out. I opened the door and climbed in.
“There, that wasn’t so hard. Was it?” she said.
I struggled to control my breathing. She was a lot smaller than I remembered and I began to feel disoriented. The man who had pulled me into that alley had to have been well over six feet tall and nearly three hundred pounds. I remembered the expression of agony that overcame his face as he rolled off of me. I looked down at this tiny woman in the driver’s seat, even more amazed now than then that she had been able to so quickly and quietly subdue him.
“Buckle up,” she chirped with a smile.
As I began to pull the seatbelt, it stopped short.
“It’s stuck in the door,” she said.
As I turned to dislodge the seatbelt I felt her move towards me. In an instant the little bit of light there was in the alley faded to nothingness.