This is from Fait Accompli, in what is currently Chapter 3. Previous excerpts from Fait Accompli were narrated from Claudia Bowen’s POV. This one is from Tasha Morgan.
It would be too precious to say it was a dark and stormy night, but it was raining. I don’t exactly know what she saw before I got the call. It’s not too difficult to picture, though, the way she described it.
Some time after midnight, they took her out of bed, blindfolded her, tied her hands, and bundled her into the car. They drove her around for…a while…between wherever the fuck they took her from, and where they decided to drop her off, probably meandering around the city for longer than necessary, to keep the girl confused.
They picked a spot in a swanky downtown neighborhood and stopped the car, but not for long. In the back seat, someone untied the girl’s hands, opened the door, and took off her blindfold as he shoved her outside.
Her feet hit the soaking wet pavement in those pathetic little slippers made for dry floors on summer days. She just barely got a look at the car’s license plate number as they drove off, but they probably switched the plates out before dawn. There she was, all alone in a strange neighborhood in the wee hours and dressed inappropriately for the weather. She headed for the nearest light and hoped for the best. Whoever was in there couldn’t be worse than the ones who’d just let her go.
The host saw her come in, and braced himself. She could’ve just escaped from the nearest looney bin, with the way she looked.
“Can I help you?” he managed as the girl made a beeline for him.
“My name is Nadia, I was kidnapped,” she answered. “Please call the police.”
I never did enjoy getting woken up at 2:34 in the morning, but with a live victim there’s no wiggle room and so when I got a call about a young woman who’d just left her kidnappers downtown, I hopped up and made like a shot for that bar. There was the girl on the front bench by the door–no, I need to stop calling her a girl, she was in her 20s already–sitting next to one of those fine-boned white BG boys that kind of bar likes to employ. I figured he was the one who made the 911 call, but that didn’t seem to mean anything to the vic. He was there with her, very nicely keeping his arm around her shoulders like he was protecting her from what some other jackass already did, but for all she cared, she was alone.
You know you’ve been a cop a long time when you look at someone as soaking wet and scared as Nadia was at that moment and you think to yourself, “please let that be the caller, because if she ain’t, then there’s someone else in here who’s in worse shape.”
There she was, drenched and shivering, hugging herself like there was no nice clean-cut BG boy trying to comfort her. She was staring at a point somewhere behind my ankles, but her face popped right up when I showed my badge.
“I’m Detective Morgan from DC Police. Are you Nadia?”
“Yes,” she squeaked, then jumped up from the bench and clung onto the front of my jacket like I was her mama and she knew I’d make the bullies go away.
At that moment what I thought of Nadia’s cerebral mechanics was something I’m not proud of, but I raised five kids as well as caught a lot of predators, so if Nadia wanted me to be her mama, then I could behave like her mama.
She was about as tall as I was when I started seventh grade, and about as heavy if you counted the baby bump. I motioned for the bar host to stay with me for the moment.
“Can you tell me what happened?” This tends to annoy the vics who’ve already told the 911 dispatchers all about it, but I was not that dispatcher and I can deal with a vic getting annoyed.
“Some strange guys kidnapped me months ago,” Nadia said, looking me right in the eye like a champ. “They raped me a bunch of times, and they just pushed me out of a car up the street and drove off.”
“And did they kidnap you before or after you got pregnant?” I asked.
“Before,” she said.
“I’d like a business card for this place with your name on it,” I said to the host. “If I have any further questions I’ll give you a call.” He complied, and I turned back to Nadia. “Come with me, baby, let’s get you to the hospital.”
I started a police report once we got her settled in at the hospital, and I started learning more about her. I took her to Rape Trauma first, but then she told me and the nurse that the kidnappers last raped her months before, which meant there was no evidence except the pregnancy. Okay, up to OB, where the story just got stranger. The doc assumed Nadia never got any prenatal care before that night, but Nadia set him straight. Just in case I had any doubts about whether this was a crime like all the other ARCs in the newspapers, Nadia assured us her captors had an old lady doc on call who worked on her about once a week, before and after she got knocked up. Even so, the OB at the hospital wanted to do some bloodwork and an ultrasound.
Nadia was younger than the rest of the ARC vics, only 22, and different in a more important way: she couldn’t defend herself. I started learning how to kick the shit out of threatening people before I learned to read, but Nadia never had the chance. Her parents were deeply conservative and religious people who had her homeschooled amongst a handful of their friends’ daughters. They kept her so sheltered she didn’t make any friends on her own terms until she left home at eighteen. Her lack of self-defense skills meant that her kidnappers didn’t have to tranquilize her. They met her at her front door with a chloroform rag, and every time they raped her, she was wide awake.
The doc on-duty checked her out to his satisfaction, but Nadia really needed a good few hours of sleep. I stayed there with her at the hospital while she got her first rest as a free woman in almost six months. She still needed help that I could not give her, so at around 7:45 I called Joy Harrison’s direct line.
“It’s Tasha. Can Bowen take a new case? I’ve got a rape victim at the hospital.”
“Claudia’s available, but Erin’s got more time for new cases.”
“I don’t like Erin for this, I want Bowen.”
“Any reason in particular why she can’t have Erin?”
“Joy, I don’t trust Miss Wishy-Wash for this vic, she needs a counselor who won’t go all deer-in-headlights at her case, now why isn’t Bowen at work already? Shit, I been holdin’ this poor thing’s hand for five hours now.”