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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 9 page 07

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She froze. Her blood literally ran hot, then ice-cold. She recognized his voice instantly. She had never seen his face but she would never forget the voice. Low, seductive, chilling.

She still held her purse in her hands. She had only seconds to act. No time to scream and faint. A primal rage from deep inside took over. He’d already taken so much from her. No more! She opened her purse, palmed the pepper spray and turned to face him.

“I knew you wouldn’t let it go” she said evenly. “No one believed me. I’m not surprised that you found me. I’m surprised that it took you this long.”

He started to say something but she lunged to the side and held out the pepper spray in front of her. Her hand was shaking badly but she managed to shoot it right into his face. He yelped in surprise, then again in pain. His hands went clawing to his eyes. “You bitch! I’ll get you.”

He didn’t see the Swiss army knife coming at him next. Jabbing, jabbing, at his arms, at his face.

Alex threw open the bolt and ran for her life, out the door and down three flights of stairs. Outside her building two bicycle cops were chatting with the bouncer from the night club next door. She ran up to them. They got her unit number and were on their phones in seconds. They told her to stay with the bouncer, then they ran into the lobby. In minutes, a police cruiser pulled up and two detectives entered the building. Then an ambulance arrived. A crowd gathered. Finally, they brought him out in handcuffs. His eyes were bandaged and he was bleeding from his face and arms. Alex watched as the cops put him in the back of the cruiser. He was sobbing. They brought Bill out on a stretcher and the ambulance took him away. They told Alex that he was unconscious but he would survive. She spent the remainder of the night at College Street headquarters giving her statement.

“We'll give you a lift home,” said one of the detectives when it was finally over.

“Thanks, but I’d like to walk. It’s been a long time since I’ve walked at night.”

But in fact as she left the police station the sun was starting to rise. An ordinary day dawning for most people, but a pretty good one for me, Alex told herself. I’m thinking a window seat at Fran’s, a tall stack of pancakes. Looks like I’ve got my appetite back. She smiled and picked up the pace.