It was a night, a surprisingly warm night, when Ava was walking in Brooklyn, on her way to a stranger’s home.
Ava grew up in an environment of paranoia. She was born in the mist of the Romanian revolution and even though she had lived in the United States for over fifteen years, her parents who had miraculously survived the war, raised her to fear and distrust humankind.
She had been warned several times not to accept drinks from strangers; she had been told frightful recounts of young women slaughtered by strangers; she had read fearful chronicles of innocent girls abducted and tortured by strangers.
“Strangers, strangers, strangers! Why am I not afraid of strangers?” Ava asked to herself. She continued walking at a steady pace while she listened to Lou Reed, until she suddenly realized she was already two blocks from the “forbidden” stranger’s home. Each and one of her steps involuntarily slowed down, she blew the smoke of the last drag of her cigarette and said to herself, “strangers, strangers, strangers; I hope I have fun with this stranger.”
She was not afraid, she was not concerned, she was not nervous. Ava did not care, she just wanted to experience the thrill of the unknown.
Ava felt bored, she felt asphyxiated from her uninteresting adulthood. She was unable to understand the conventional definition of “adulthood” and aimed to challenge it, just for the sake of the stimulation triggered from the unexplored.
Strangers are of great interest for Ava, she enjoys unfolding the leaves of their past while daring fate by choosing enigma over her established, ordinary life.
The specific stranger Ava was about to meet, was an Italian man named Julius. Julius was on his late thirties, worked as an accountant during the day and was a poet at night. These were the only things Ava knew about Julius.
She messaged Julius for the first time just two hours before she was walking to his house. She told him about her doomed week at school, he cheered her with a poem he wrote the night before. Their conversation lasted less than fifteen minutes, before he invited her to his house. She reluctantly agreed, only because he understood a reference she had made earlier about Nietzsche.
Ava arrived to the stranger’s house, the house of Julius. It was an old Victorian style house in Flatbush, Brooklyn. All the lights were off, but the main door was open. She messaged Julius, to let him know that she had arrived. She anxiously waited in front of the house for about ten minutes, while she applied a cheap pink lipstick to her lips, but Julius never responded to her message. She felt anger, confusion, but she mostly felt disappointment from the idea that this night was going to be another tedious, boring night.
Ava refused to endure the pain of her everyday life and decided to take a risky chance, and intentionally walked in the house. An aura of confidence protruding off her, instantly filling the entrance of the house. The excitement for the unexpected made her shiver, as a chill went down her spine.
“Ava, is that you?” She heard from a room on the other side of the entrance of the house. A sudden odor of salty sweat distracted her from her plan to find and spend the night with the stranger, with Julius. She started to doubt her judgment and began walking out of the house.
Before Ava was able to step out of the house, the stranger screamed, “You can’t leave!” She stopped walking and remained paralyzed for a few seconds, until she felt a cold hand over her wrist from the stranger behind her. She did not say anything or do anything, but realized that her heart was palpitating faster than usual.
“Julius, is this you?” Ava asked, confused and restless. The stranger did not respond, and instead proceeded to kiss her neck. Ava felt electricity rushing all over her body; she felt ecstatic.
The grip on her wrist tightened.
“Julius, please tell me this is you.”
The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable.
Ava needed to turn around, she needed to see his face. She leaned her waist to the side and began lifting her right foot to position herself in front of the stranger. She needed to see Julius. She needed to know it was him. Her intentions were so simple, so clear- and yet the result, anything but.
A shocking cold hit her face. Ava did not make it more than three hours counter clockwise toward the face she needed to see, and black. All she could see was black. And cold. Her eyes, her face- so dark, so cold. He was holding it over her. She could not get it off from her face. A towel, or a cloth. Not rough, but smooth- yet it had been dipped with something that radiated an unpleasant odor.
As she struggled and breathed, the odor held a calming effect. Her arms and legs betrayed her. She commanded her legs to act as she desired, yet their reactions were lazy with minimal efforts.
The last thing she remembers before she found herself lost in unconsciousness was the stranger whispering to her ear, “You’re mine.”