Sarah rode the bus up Minnesota Drive, towards downtown. Hands deep in her pockets, chill even in the warmth of the heated bus, she stared out the dirty scratched up window at the icy snow piles outside along the side of the road.
Suddenly, a native face appeared at the bus window. The woman’s eyes were squeezed almost shut, her mouth stretched in a parody of terror, or humor. The woman’s eyes, leaked tears, from the cold, or…no. From fear and terror. Sarah glanced to the left, behind the woman, and saw the man in the ball cap, following the woman. With no expression on his face. All this happened in an instant, as the bus rolled up the street. Sarah turned around in her seat, jumped across the aisle to better track the people, and looked out the window to behind the bus.
Without much thought, Sarah grabbed the cord that signaled stop, ripping it clean from the metal supports that held it up. The bus driver put on the brakes, startled. THe bus slid to a stop. Sarah ripped open the doors of the bus and ran backward to the woman and the man she had seen. Hopefully, she had moved fast enough that the driver wouldn’t know what happened, wouldn’t know who to blame for the destruction.
The crying woman was across the busy street by now, climbing over the berm of snow that had been left by the street plow after the last big dump of snow. Her arms moved out and up, as if she were trying to fly away. The man in the ball cap walked the last few feet of street crossing left to him, behind her, inexorable in his progress. Sara couldn’t see his expression, but was sure it was grim. She ran to the man in the blink of an eye, and pushed him up and over the sidewalk berm, past the woman he had been pursuing. He hit the icy ground on the other side of the sidewalk, and slid down to the concrete. His ball cap flew off and stayed on top of the snow drift, while his head began to bleed profusely into the snow on the sidewalk; an obscene icy treat.
The woman startled and stared at the man, then began to scream. Her head swiveled, looking for the blur that had caused his arch through the air. Sarah, still full of rage, stopped and stared at the woman, defiantly. She let the woman see her full face, full anger, full rescuer. Sarah thought, Let her see me. I will be her savior. This rapist will never hurt her again.
The woman continued to scream. The animal noises became words: “Why did you hurt him! My husband! We were fighting! I was drinking, and he was following me! I was crazy! Why did you hurt him!”
Sarah’s rage turned to ash in her mouth. She stared at the screaming, mourning woman, at the slowly spreading icy pool of head wound blood at the man’s head. Felt her bones turn to ice, felt the hunger rise up and hit her in the gut like an angry fist. “I’m….sorr….”
She ran. Sarah ran and ran and ran.
And then stopped. She was out of town already. Small town, quick city limits. The hunger hit her even more forcefully as she caught her breath. What she had done was wrong. She could excuse herself for the first murder–the man at the diner. She coudl understand being afraid. But not this. This was wrong. Peter’s face loomed in her mind. Cliche as it was, great power did bring responsibility. And she was responsible for that man. What if he died? She would be the responsible one.
Sara ran. Back to where she had just left, five minutes before. The same woman, screaming. The same man, bleeding. A small group of cars, stopped by the side of the road, disgorging people to see what was happening. The bus driver, standing outside of the bus with the broken rear doors, on a cell phone. Sarah faltered, feet skidding on the snow, the DVD imagery of her fast passage through the world scuddering to a halt. What if they saw her? What if…?
Sarah pulled her hat down over her face, and her coat closer. Who gave a fuck. She needed to fix what she had wrought. She ran to the man, grabbed him and his wife in full speed flight, and ran to the hospital. It took 2 minutes. She ran in, set the people down and told the astonished receptionist, “Fix him, he’s got a headwound.” She turned to the woman, making sure the hat was in front of her face.
“I’m…sorry. Take care of him.” Sarah said, in a whisper. And then she ran. And ran. The hunger continued to rage inside her. The rage continued to hunger insider her. Nothing else mattered. She ran up to the roof, took off her coat and hat and scarf and gloves. Then she ran back down the stairs, and back home, and changed into one of the sets of outerwear she had used while sitting around and waitin gfor rapists. She ran back tot he hospital, past the receptionist and crying woman (it had only been 15 minutes), saw that the headwound man was gone, and headed up to Peter’s room.