This post is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Ten months had passed since the day the FBI found her hanging by the thread of her life with her hands tied above her head, her back whipped till the core of her bone, her last breath hidden at the bottom of her lung. It had been ten months since the day that she was finally free from the torments of Colin Phil. Ten whole months had passed yet the wounds still felt fresh on her back and the memories fresh in her mind.
He was embarking on a new documentary, a project in collaboration with the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV), about scars and the stories behind each. His next particular subject was about one of the most infamous cases of domestic violence against women – psychopath Colin Phil who had romanced and then tormented 13 women across five states with only one survivor.
Preparations for the next New York Fashion Week were just beginning. Work was picking up and she was enjoying it. The work took her mind off the therapy sessions she had been made to attend and the pain that she still felt from the scars on her back, especially when it rained.
She was surprised to hear from Lisa Dean of the NCADV. They had not been in contact ever since she was certified fit by the doctors four months ago and she had proven that she was capable of moving on in life. The NCADV had been great to her and definitely one of the reasons for her speedy recovery but having them hanging around her had always made her feel like a nutcase so having them off her back was a huge relief for her.
‘Hey Lisa! What’s up?’
‘How’ve you been? It’s been a while since we last checked back with you.’
Lisa was definitely one of the nicer ones in the NCADV who weren’t all apologetic and sympathetic around her all the time. Yes, she, like the rest of the victims, had gone through some unfortunate times but the last thing that they needed was for everyone to send their condolences all the time as it just made them angrier at why they were the ones having to go through all that they have.
‘I’m good, things are starting to pick up at work so I’m hoping to just get back in the motion of life.’
‘That’s great! Look, remember the last time I spoke to you about the documentary that NCADV was going to do about awareness on domestic violence?’
She vaguely remembered when Lisa spoke to her about their plans on doing a series to raise awareness on domestic violence but she had just shrugged it off then, thinking that her story would not be featured or that it would not happen so soon. She kept quiet while Lisa rattled on.
‘Well, the guy doing filming is here in New York for the weekend and he would really like to meet up with you on how he will be going about with the filming. You think you can spare some time for him?’
‘Lisa, do I really have to do it?’
‘Look, we’ve talked about this. It’s all about the awareness for others. Besides, you’re one of the strongest women that I’ve known despite all that you have gone through and I’m confident that this would be a big step for you and it would benefit others who are too afraid to step out as well. You know you can do this and I promise you, it will be a hundred percent anonymous.’
She hesitated, ‘but I…’
‘Why don’t you just have a chat with the guy first, find out how he’s going about with the documentary and if you’re still uncomfortable then we’ll think about swopping your story. How’s that?’
‘Well, I think I can give that a shot.’ No obligations with that right, she thought.
‘Great! He has your number and he’ll probably give you a ring shortly. And look, you know you can always reach out to me if you have any problems!’
‘Thanks Lisa, I’ll keep a lookout for his call.’
The phone clicked and she bit down on her lip. She couldn’t believe that she was doing this. It had only been ten months! The average person couldn’t even recover in ten years. Even though her therapy sessions have told her that she was very unlike the average person, deep down she knew that she was not as strong as others perceived her to be. She had her own insecurities, her self-doubt, her weaknesses. And it was all that that had gotten her into this predicament in the very first place.
Flashbacks of Colin Phil suddenly filled her head – the night he had peeked through the crack of her door, when he offered her his portable heater, when he offered her his warmth, his friendship. But the bliss was short-lived. Soon after she had begun to trust Colin and thought they had become friends, Colin started making advances on her. She had at first been mildly attracted to him, thinking that perhaps love would blossom, but soon became uncomfortable when his hugs had lasted longer and tighter and his hands on the small of her back went lower and lower. That Christmas Eve night when Colin had tried dosing her with a tad too much wine, forced himself on her and she had rejected him, he lost control. The weight of the wine bottle had knocked her unconscious just after she had dialled 911 but before she could speak to the operator. Colin Phil had then tied her up and with his belt, began whipping her from the back.
The thought of all that suddenly overwhelmed Sam and a sharp headache hit her like the wine bottle that Colin Phil had sent shattering on the back of her head. She began shivering and lost control of her tears.