It seemed awfully foggy, the young girl thought, as she
walked along the isolated path leading home. She didn’t
like walking home this late by herself, but she had been
talking with a friend after basketball practice, and didn’t
reaize how late it was getting. But, it wasn’t dark, yet. She
knew Mom would be worried about her, but everything
would be OK when she explained. Isn’t that Jerry just
ahead, standing almost in the bushes along the path? What
is he doing here, she wondered? Jerry was a real creep
from her school, and he was always being rude, or popping
up with off-color comments’. Joanie always felt
uncomfortable around him, and tried to avoid him when at
all possible. But it looked impossible today!
She glared at him as she neared his still form, not speaking,
not smiling. She definitely did not want to encourage a
conversation with him! Then, as she walked just about even
with him, she shifted her eyes to look straight at the path
ahead of her. Just as she passed him, though, deciding he
wouldn’t bother her today, she felt him grab her arm from
behind and twist it behind her back! Joanie cried out in
pain, and tried to break his hold on her, but to no avail. She
tried kicking behind her, but was unable to connect with his
flesh. When she tried to turn, the pain from her twisted arm
seared through her joints, warning to avoid such
In her fury and panic, she screamed out, “What are you
doing? You’re hurting me! Quit that!” Tears of helplessness
began to roll down her cheeks, as he held her tightly from
“You’re a real snob, aren’t you? Think you’re too good for
old Jerry, do ya? Well, I’ll bring you down a notch or two,”
he said hatefully, his breath hot on her shoulder and neck,
and coming rapidly.
Almost dragging her, he pulled her from the path into the
brush, and threw her down hard into the weeds of the little
Quickly, she sprang up, aware of the freedom of movement
again, but just as quickly, felt herself being shoved back
down! The hate and fury began to turn to fear, as she saw a
new look in his eyes.
He threw himself down on her. Her screams and strength
seemed far from her, as he viciously attacked her. What
was actually minutes, seemed like hours. Then, just as
quickly, he was gone, his last searing words ringing in her
ears, “You rat on me, and 1*11 kill you!”
Painfully, she rose from the ground, feeling as if her whole
body was bruised, and aching all over, but the pain in her
heart was even worse! The humiliation, the violation, the
terror, caused the tears, and loud sobbing to become
uncontrollable! How could this have happened? What had
she done to deserve something like this? She questioned
herself in panic, as she tried to cover her near Unclad body
with the ripped shorts and top.
Where was her bag with her school clothes? On the trail,
probably, she decided in alarm as she tried to gain control
of her panic. What would she tell Mom? What could she tell
her, but the truth? How else would she be able to explain
the ripped basketball practice outfit? How could she have
let this happen to her? Why couldn’t she stop him?
In the fog, suddenly, she saw herself in the hospital, holding
her own precious baby girl in her arms for the first, and last
So much had happened since that fateful evening of the
Molest. Jerry had been convicted of the Molest and sent
away to a juvenile detention center, and she alone, except
for her Mom, had to deal with the terror, guilt, and
unwanted pregnancy. And now, this little baby was to be
given up for adoption. As her Mom had said many times, a
fourteen-year-old girl just couldn’t handle all the
responsibilities of bringing up a child, and of course, the
financial burden would be unbearable. But, to let go of this
precious little bundle was almost more than she could bear,
and she was crying out with the pain of separation, already.
Then the scene switched, in her mind, to the highway. She
was within fifty miles of her destination, and very tired from
traveling. There had been very little traffic since turning on
this highway, but she had noticed for the last few miles, a
car behind her, and now, he was blinding her with his bright
lights shining in her rear view mirror.
She glanced back frequently, noting the car weaving in the
road, speeding up and getting closer, then backing off, still
all over the road.
Deciding that the driver must be drunk, she sped up to get
away from this unpredictable vehicle. But, as she sped up,
so did the vehicle behind her, almost as if she had
challenged him. Surely it was a him!
The road stretched out in front of her, somewhat undulating
with the occassional hills, frequent small bridges, and
culverts. The threat of being overtaken, as if it were a game,
invaded her weary consciousness, striking again the chord
of terror, and helplessness. What could she do? If she
slowed down, would he also slow down, or would he pass
her, perhaps wrecking? The car was weaving all over the
road, as if being jerked from side to side.
How fast would she have to go to get away from him, she
wondered, looking at the speedometer. It was already on
eighty- five mph. What if she just stopped, off the shoulder
of the road, and let them around? Was there a danger of
him stopping, if she should stop?
The car was now almost on her bumper, the lights glaring,
blinding her as she, without making a conscious decision,
moved onto the shoulder of the road, slowing automatically
to let the other car around.
Then the feeling of floating in air, bouncing painfully, the
sound of metal crushing, glass splintering, and something
wet and sticky running over her in the darkness, consumed
her thoughts. She heard someone in the background
screaming, screaming.. . Maria, the nurse on duty, rushed
into the room where the frightened scream continued, not
even realizing it was Jane Doe’s room, for a minute.
But there she was, the previous ‘sleeping beauty’, as Denise
had called her sympathetically, her hands drawn up in fists,
clutching her chest, eyes closed, screaming as if her life
depended on it.
Pushing the emergency call button, the nurse attempted to
quiet the patient, speaking in soft, reassuring tones,
grasping her hands, carefully guarding the I.V. site. Almost
immediately, other nurses were present in the room, and
the doctor on duty following only slightly behind. When soft
tones and touch were unable to quieten the frightened
patient, the doctor ordered a quick acting, but mild
tranquilizer, which Maria administered quickly and
efficiently, as two other nurses held the patient, and
continued to speak softly to her.
Within minutes, the screaming ebbed, and as the nurses
continued ministering to the fragile-looking young woman,
she slowly began to relax her tense muscles. She opened
her eyes, just barely at first, and fearfully asked, with a soft
voice, “Where am I?”
“You’re in a hospital near where you were found in a
wrecked car. You’ve been here for some time, now. Are you
hurting anywhere?” Maria asked gently.
“No,” the lady answered, “I’m just weak, very weak.” Then
noticing her leg in a cast, and traction, asked, “What’s
wrong with my leg?”
“You have a fracture, but it’s healing nicely. It won’t be long
until the traction setup will be removed. We’ve been worried
about you, you’ve been unconscious for so long. We didn’t
even know who you were, there wasn’t any I.D. found. Do
you remember your name?”
“Joan–Joan Weston. A lot of people call me Joanie,” she
answered hesitantly, as the memories began once more to
flood her mind.
“Are you getting sleepy, Joanie?” Maria asked, as she noted
the patient’s eyelids getting heavy.
“I think maybe I should rest a little while,” Joanie answered,
her speech becoming slightly sluggish.
After orienting her drowsy patient to the call light system,
Maria left the room, and headed straight for the phone at
the nurse’s station, to spread the good news.
“Does anyone know how to get in touch with Denise
Whitaker, the volunteer? I know she would want to know
what’s happened.” After a few minutes discussion,
someone found the phone number for Denise’s
grandparents. Maria dialed the number, waited as it rang,
then heard the pleasant voice of Denise’s grandmother
“Hello, this is Maria Marshall. Is this where Denise Whitaker
“Why, yes, it is. I’m her grandmother.”
“Well, I’m a nurse out at the hospital, and a friend of
Denise’s. Is she available? I would sure like to share some
good news with her.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. She’s gone off today with her boyfriend for a
picnic in the pasture, and I don’t really expect her back
before dark, but I’ll tell her you called.” Nana said sweetly.
“Would you just tell her that Jane Doe has regained
consciousness, and it looks like she’s gonna be fine?”
“Well, praise the Lord! I will surely tell her.” Nana exclaimed.
“She’ll be so excited to hear that! We’ve been praying for
her. Thank you so much for calling.