I stood at the foot of his hospital bed gazing at him with pure hatred while he slept. There was a tube up his nose and his left arm was hooked up to an IV drip. He had two black eyes and sported a huge purple welt on his right cheek. Wow! Had I done that much damage? He was young and deceptively handsome, with curly dark hair and deep brown eyes. The kind that could melt any girl’s heart, even a woman of fifty. But those eyes hid a dark side. I found that out last night while jogging in the park.

I did not feel threatened when he stopped me to inquire about the time. Only startled as he came up behind me quickly when I slowed to catch my breath.

“You got the time?” He asked, pretending to jog next to me.

“Yeah,” I said, and looked at my watch. He should have known by the setting sun that is was past seven in the evening. And I should have known something was up when he touched my shoulder sending shivers down my backside. My gut finally woke up, signaling something was wrong.

“It’s. . .” Those were the only words I could utter.

“Come with me,” he grunted, grabbing my arm. His face twisted into a snarl as he shoved me into the brush.

“What?” I fought and screamed as he dragged me into the woods, out of sight. No one was around so my efforts went unnoticed. I continued to scream and fight him off with everything I had, until he produced a small penknife and held it to my throat. That’s when I stopped. I could hardly breathe let alone move.

“I’ll slit your throat if you make a sound bitch.” He said. And he meant it. His smile turned into a sinister grin as he pulled my jogging pants to my knees. “It’ll be quick bitch.” He whispered in my ear with hot sour breath.

I turned my head and froze, letting him violate me. It was painful. He was quick, in real time that is, but it seemed interminable. I knew this horrible event would replay in my mind for the rest of my life. I wanted to die. And in that moment I felt like I was suffocating. Nothing would be the same.

When he was done he pressed the knife to my throat and whispered. “Now you die whore. You deserve it.” And he would have followed through except a dog started barking in close proximity. He turned his head away and loosened his grip. The knife was no longer pressed to my throat. It dangled from his hand. I seized the moment and bit his wrist. Hard. He jumped up yelping like a wounded animal. I screamed, knocking him to the ground and ran back onto the path where a man was walking his golden retriever. I must have been a sight. The dog kept barking, knowing something was wrong. “I  - I was . . . . just r - raped!” I gasped, pulling up my pants.

The man looked horrified as my attacker ran out of the woods.

“She bit me,” he yelled. “The bitch bit me for no reason.” He started to run, but the dog pulled away from his owner’s grip and tackled my attacker to the ground. The man then jumped in and together, all three of us, the dog included, kept him down until the police arrived.

I don’t recall much after that except I was brought me to the hospital where I had to undergo an exam. My only memory is of a nice nurse and someone taking samples from me and asking lots of questions. After what seemed like hours, they released me. My husband was on his way, they said. I was instructed to stay in the waiting area outside my cubical. I did, but only for a few moments. I couldn’t sit still. So I got up and wandered around, asking questions about a man being brought into the emergency room. I learned where my attacker was located.

It turns out he was in worse shape than I thought, so I walked down the hall and found him in another section. He was in a holding area waiting to be admitted.

Wow. What had I done? He was bruised, but in worse shape internally I learned by reading his chart. He had damage to both kidneys and a few broken ribs. Huh? I was confused. I wanted to kill him, then and now, but it looks like someone else got to him. I stood there stunned. And the longer I looked at him, the more I wanted to kill him. He took something from me. The bastard. Something I’ll never get back.

I began contemplating murder. I imagined covering his face with the pillow. And then a memory stirred.

The man with the dog. He saved my life. He had my attacker pinned down and just before the cops arrived he told me not to look. “Turn your head.” He said. “So you won’t witness what I’m about to do.”  I did, without question. And the dog, Goldie, stood quietly by on guard while the man pounded the crap out of my attacker.

All I remember was the pounding out my heart, along with the punches.

“Take that you bastard. This one’s for Susi.” He yelled. I saw him kick my attacker in the back, probably in one of his kidneys, as the cops arrived on scene. By then it was pretty dark.

“His name is James Errol Marconi.” My savior said, coming up behind me. “He’s a serial rapist and pedophile. “He’s been eluding the police for a long time.”

I nodded. “Sounds like you know him.”

“He raped my wife and left her for dead. It happened a few years ago.”

“And you know it’s him?”

“I do. She fingered him in a line-up, but he fled after making bail. I’ve been waiting to catch the bastard ever since. I always patrol the jogging path with Goldie knowing one day I’d find him. He’s from the area. I knew he’d eventually return.”

“And he did.”

“I’m only sorry I didn’t find you sooner.”

“That makes two of us,” I whispered.

“You know what I’d like to do?” He asked, eyeing the sleeping pervert in his hospital bed.

I shook my head.

“I’d like to suffocate him with the pillow.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” I snickered. It was a rhetorical question, right?

We looked at one another. It was the first time our eyes met. His eyes were blue. A deep sea blue. One look and I knew he had suffered too. His wife would never be the same and neither would I.

Without second thought, we nodded in agreement, looking around to be sure no one was watching. He walked over and grabbed the extra pillow on the chair. I drew the curtain. Together we took the pillow, he on one side of the bed and me on the other. Our eyes met again. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. My rapist bastard would die. What the hell. He desered it.

Together we pressed down over his face. He stirred under the sheet and pushed the pillow off his face. I caught a glimpse of those cold dark eyes. He looked stunned, then he grinned in recognition. “Go on. I dare you.” He mocked. “You won’t get away with it.” He said, letting the pillow fall.

But we did.