Emily spent Saturday tossing the football around the back yard with her brothers. She watched football with her father, and went shopping with her mother, which was not quite the torture she thought it would be. By suppertime, she needed a family break. She decided things at home were best taken in small doses.
Saturday night, Susan had that party at her mansion of a house. Emily knew about half of the people there, and did her best to be friendly, but it was hard. The music pounded, and the drugs and drinking were everywhere. She got tired of explaining that New Jersey State was primarily a school for applied sciences like engineering and nursing, and things like architecture, archaeology and antiquities. The Institute of Technology was in Newark, and the University of New Jersey was in New Brunswick. It was called Rutgers. Maybe they heard of it? She met one young man who knew New Jersey State had an excellent engineering school, but he was so drunk he could not remember anything else about it.
Emily noticed Susan and her friends were at their mindless best that night. Susan’s parents were down the street at a party of their own and not expected back before one or two. That left Susan and her friends the run of the place, though Emily noticed they spent most of the time going in and out of the upstairs bedrooms with one boy or another. She hardly knew what to think about that.
“You’re not drinking,” It was Chuck, the high school quarterback who barely made the squad at Miami of Ohio. Emily felt embarrassed as Chuck handed her a tall glass. She remembered a time in the tenth grade when she went to bed at night wishing the boy would talk to her. “Drink up,” he encouraged her and stepped away. Red flags went up in Emily’s mind, but she stuffed them back down. She smelled the alcohol in the drink and put the glass on the coffee table. She was not interested in getting drunk, and instead walked out on to the deck for some fresh air.
It was a nice night and quiet on the deck. She checked her phone, but not a peep from Lisa, Jessica, Maria, Amina—no one, not even Pierce. She sighed and enjoyed the cool air for a time.
Ten minutes later, Chuck returned, or rather, found her outside. “All drunk up?” He asked. Emily nodded. She certainly drank all she was going to drink. “Good,” Chuck smiled. “So let’s get to bed before you start getting it off right here.” He grabbed Emily’s hand. She grabbed his wrist hard enough to make him squint and was not moving.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s okay, baby. I know what you are feeling and I promise to satisfy those feelings to the best of my ability.”
Emily did not need to have it spelled out for her. “What was in the drink?”
Chuck shrugged. “You didn’t drink it.” He was not slow either. “Peters brought it.”
Chuck made a move to grab her, but Emily was faster. Her hand let go of Chuck’s wrist and caught him around the throat, and she squeezed just a little. “Don’t tempt me to rip your throat out.” Chuck put his hands up and tried to breathe while Emily got out her phone and dialed 9-1-1. She pulled her hand sharply from Chuck’s throat and he fell to his knees, hacking and coughing.
Emily gave the address, said the words “multiple rapes” and threatened if they did not send at least three cars, stat. Then she had to jump as Chuck decided to run. Emily caught his shirt and flung him into the bushes. When she extracted him from the broken branches, she said one word, “Peters.” She placed her hand on his shoulder as a reminder and she walked him back inside.
“I swear, I didn’t do anyone. You were the only one I was interested in. I swear.” Chuck was babbling when he pointed to Peters. Emily let go of Chuck and tackled the boy hard enough to slam his face on the floor. She felt afraid she might have broken whatever she expected to find, but in rifling through Peters’ jacket pockets, she found the vial. She pulled it out only to have her hand kicked by one of the other boys. The vial flew. Emily flew after it and grabbed a metal nut dish on the way. She caught the vial in the dish. It cracked near the top, but she figured between what stayed in the vial and what seeped into the dish there would be plenty to analyze.
Then the boys were on her. She kicked the first in the stomach and sent him sprawling back over the couch. He took the couch with him. The second found his legs swept and he landed hard and hit his head on the hardwood floor. The third paused as Emily turned and growled at him. He backed up, and all that time Emily held the nut dish perfectly stable. Then she said something that got Chuck and the others moving in the right direction.
“If you don’t want to take the blame for this, you better hold Peters for the police.”
Emily spent several hours at the police station under the watchful eye of Lieutenant Reese Anthony. Emily could not believe that Lieutenant Anthony treated her like she was the one who did something wrong. She understood that she was not from the richy-rich side of town, but still. She just tried to help, and stop a horrendous crime. She learned a valuable lesson, what maybe Detective Lisa tried to tell her. Some police foolishly resented any “civilian” help, as if they are the only ones in the world worthy of upholding the law. Ordinary citizens are nothing but dirty vigilantes. Calls to Trenton and to a woman named Miriam at the FBI settled most of the questions the police had for her, even if Emily was at a loss as to what the FBI might have said; but the whole police experience left a bad taste in her mouth.
As she walked out of the station with her mother, Emily saw Lieutenant Anthony pick up some papers and ignore her. She just could not stop her tongue. “Nice to meet you, jerk!” The man looked up briefly, though not in Emily’s direction, before he went right back to his papers. He pretended to be unfazed by Emily’s words, but Emily knew. Her mother knew, too. She scolded Emily all the way to the car.
Emily had her mother drive by the hospital on the way home. There was little to report. Susan and the others were just coming out of it. Susan’s parents and the other parents had no idea what this was all about, being as clueless as their daughters. The victims had no memory of what happened, but by then there was plenty of evidence of rape and DNA evidence besides to pin to the boys involved.
Emily was sure the local police, lieutenant dipshit would lose her carefully saved samples of the drug and she was equally certain that the prosecutors would screw up and the rich boys would get off with a mere slap on the wrist, but she could not worry about that. She was tired and needed her sleep.
Come Sunday Emily was glad to be going back to her nice cooperative zombies.