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Damaged

coffee © 2008

Using the rental car's navigation system would have been a good idea if she hadn't programmed in West "Road" instead of West "Street"... a mistake that sent her 45 miles in the wrong direction, down a long, desolate stretch of road while her gas gauge steadily plummeted and her cell-phone coverage dropped entirely. Hopelessly lost she eventually turned down a dirt road, praying it would reunite her with civilization, because there sure as hell weren't any gas stations on the road behind her... or anything else for that matter. When the car's engine finally sputtered and died, she started walking in the hot Kentucky sun. Forty-five minutes later she was soaked with sweat and barefoot. She’d hung her blazer and torn pantyhose on a tree branch along the roadside and was carrying a designer shoe in each hand. Finally she stumbled upon a clearing where she spotted a small house set far back from the road. The windows were boarded up, but she could hear a dog barking and the scent of burning firewood hung in the air. She was a few steps away from the porch when the front door swung open and a huge brown-skinned, bearded man stepped outside holding a shotgun across his wide, bare chest. A thin, brown dog gave one suspicious “woof” and stood steadfastly by his side.

"Why are you on my property?" he asked, sounding more annoyed than curious.

"I ran out of gas a few miles back. I just need to use your phone," she said plaintively. The wind had suddenly kicked up, and as she stood there barefoot before him, hair whipping across her face, the skies began to darken.

"I don't have a phone," he said flatly.

"Well, can you give me some gas? I'll pay you whatever you want." She knew she wouldn't make it to the job interview on time but she at least wanted to call and explain what happened.

"Storms coming…" He pointed the barrel of his shotgun toward the tree line to the right of her.

"What?" She turned in the direction he was pointing and her jaw dropped. In the distance a huge black funnel cloud was forming along the edge of the horizon. "Oh my God! What the hell is that?!"

"There's a storm cellar around back," he said, trotting down the stairs and heading around the house, brown dog in tow. She followed after them, glancing back anxiously at the looming clouds.

They spent the next thirty minutes in his dimly lit cellar surrounded by crates of supplies and canned goods. She discovered he was an Army veteran trying to rebuild his life as far away from society as possible. He listened as she chattered nervously about her career and life up north, and when she shivered slightly in the damp cellar he gave her a thin blanket to wrap around her shoulders. He was attentive in his own way, and she was definitely attracted to him, but she couldn't read him and that bothered her immensely. She was used to men falling all over themselves to possess her, yet oddly, he didn’t seem interested in her at all.

When they were sure the storm had passed, they returned to the house. Luckily his area wasn't hit with the full brunt of the storm and there wasn't much damage. Since it was getting late and they had no idea how bad the roads were he took a shower and then prepared a modest yet delicious dinner. He'd cleaned up very nicely too, and neatly trimmed his hair and mustache. She felt herself becoming even more attracted to him.

She slipped the dog a bit of meat under the table. “How come you aren’t married?" she asked, "A big, handsome guy like you… hard working… and a good cook?” she smiled warmly. Never having been one to take compliments gracefully, he frowned slightly, stared at the table and the cleared his throat.

“I came back from Iraq... damaged,” he said softly, “There’s no woman who would want me like this… I’m not looking for sympathy… it’s just the truth.”

“Damaged?” she asked, “You mean something happened to your um…” her eyes drifted down toward his crotch.

“Jesus Christ… What is wrong with you east coast women? I meant damaged mentally, not physically.”

“Ohhhh..." she laughed, “Everyone is mentally damaged in New York. That’s what therapists are for!”

“I tried that,” he said, “They had me so medicated I couldn’t even walk straight.” He picked up his plate and started clearing the table. “I left you a quilt on the couch. I figured you’d want to sleep down here. We can go get your car in the morning.”

"But it's so early!" she protested, following him to the sink. "At least let me help you clean up the kitchen," she sidled up next to him.

"No," he said firmly, stepping away from her, "You're a guest, and besides, I know where everything goes. You'd just make things difficult."

He obviously didn’t seem interested in socializing, so she thanked him for dinner and rubbed him gently on the back. She felt him instantly tense up at her touch and decided she’d just go to bed.

When she left the kitchen he slumped over the sink, hands clenched tightly into fists. She’d touched him, and he knew what would come next. There were things he saw in Iraq that refused to leave him after the war... flashbacks that replayed themselves in his mind. They’d tried to fix him with psychotropic meds but it’d only made him more disjointed and suicidal. The only thing that brought him relief was total isolation from other humans, but that came with its own price. He was a strong man and a good soldier. Some had even called him a hero, and he had the medals to prove it, but there were things that happened in Iraq that were more than he could bear. Killing had become easy to him, maybe a bit too easy, but he’d found disassociation was a good defense mechanism when faced with daily human casualties. The flashbacks were often the same… The screaming woman crouched over the lifeless body of a young child who’d been practically ripped in two by a mortar round. The twitching, bloody body of a soldier he’d called his brother after half his head was blown off. The lifeless body of a tiny beige cat with a torn ear. He’d named the kitten “Pecan”, and against his better judgment, had made plans to bring it back to the states where they’d spend the rest of their days together. He didn’t even like cats, but Pecan kept him sane and he believed God would not take away the only object of affection he had left in the world. When Pecan was killed by a soldier who mistook him for a stray, there was nothing left. He’d lost his only friend, his faith in God, and his last tiny link to sanity. They’d sent him home on a medical discharge to a world that had basically moved on without him. He had a pistol in his mouth, with the trigger pulled half way, when he decided he’d try living off the grid for one month, and if that didn’t work he’d off himself. Two years later, somehow he was still alive.

The next morning she awoke to the sound of nails being pried out of moist plywood as he removed the storm boards from the windows. She washed up and pulled on a white cotton tank top she’d found in his bedroom dresser that was just long enough to cover her bare ass. When she came outside to greet him she saw her rental car parked in the driveway, her rain soaked jacket and pantyhose were hanging on the clothes line nearby. The dog regarded her lazily from his spot the porch.

“You found my car!”

He nodded and gave her outfit a disapproving glance. “Do you always dress like that in front of strangers?” he asked.

“Like what?” she asked, flipping her hair off one shoulder, her dark nipples straining against the thin fabric in the cool morning air.

“I came outside to do some chores on the farm,” she said happily. He was bare-chested again. A slight sheen of sweat covered his muscled body and she found herself even more aroused than she had the night before.

“This isn’t a farm,” he responded dryly.

“Well, whatever you call it… I want to help.”

He shook his head at her freshly manicured toes, "You aren't wearing shoes."

“So? Isn’t this how you country people do things? What do I need shoes for?” She had no intention of getting mud on her expensive pumps anyway.

“Alright,” He tossed a bucket of feed down at her feet. “The chickens need feeding, but watch yourself around the rooster.”

“The rooster?” she scoffed, “I’m from the Bronx, ok? I’m not scared of a chicken. I eat chickens.”

With her head held high she set off towards the pen, struggling to carry the heavy aluminum pail while gingerly stepping around pieces of gravel and muddy patches. Less than a minute later he heard a blood curdling scream and she came tearing around the side of the house followed in hot pursuit by a large rooster. The bird finally fell back and she stood there in the yard for a moment with her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath.

“That rooster… tried to fucking kill me!”

He laughed. He couldn’t help himself, and the moment wasn’t lost on him because it’d been a long time since anything made him laugh out loud.

“Come here.” He picked up a burlap sack, tossed it over his shoulder and headed around the other side of the house, away from the angry rooster. Several yards back stood a huge garden with more plants growing than she’d ever imagined one man would be capable of maintaining.

“The storm will have knocked some things off the vine… especially the tomatoes. Pick them up and put them in the bag, and pull off anything that looks ripe. Can you handle that?” he asked.

She glared at him with mock indignation. “YES, I can handle that... Which one is the tomato?”

“Are you serious?” he asked incredulously.

“I mean where are they? Where are the tomatoes at?” Her bare feet were sinking into the damp, dark soil and she wriggled her toes blissfully and smiled at him.

He shook his head disdainfully and led her through several neat rows of vegetables.

"Oh my God! Are you growing weed in there?" she asked.

"Stay away from that." He stopped near the tomatoes and she plopped down onto the cool soil in between two tall rows of vines.

“How can I tell if they’re ripe?” she asked.

He sighed and knelt down next to her. “If they’re red, like this one…” He plucked one off the vine and handed it to her and she took the opportunity to reach out and stroke his arm as he passed it to her.

“Don’t do that,” he said, pulling away from her.

“Don’t do what? Touch you?”

He stood and turned away from her but she could see the tension in his shoulders building and knew he was in the same place she’d seen him in the kitchen the night before... somewhere dark and closed off from the rest of the world. She stood and touched his shoulder and he spun around to face her, anger flashing in his eyes. “Do NOT touch me!” he said angrily. She stared him in the eyes defiantly and touched his chest and in a flash he hauled back and slapped her. She stumbled back a step and he turned to walk away, but she grabbed his arm. He pushed her hand away and slapped her again, harder this time, and yet she reached out and touched him again, angling her chin up as if she wanted him to slap her… and he did, so hard that she stumbled backwards pulling him down on top of her into the dirt. Their lips met and he kissed her with an intensity that frankly frightened him. She’d wrapped her legs around his waist and was grinding against him.

“You’re just a whore, aren’t you? Is that what you are?” he asked, his rough, calloused hands pulling off the tank top she’d worn as a dress and squeezing her naked breasts.

“If that’s what you want to believe...” she said, tugging eagerly at his belt buckle.

He pulled his jeans down just low enough to get his dick out and slammed it into her, truly fucking her like a whore as she moaned and met his every thrust.

“Harder,” she begged.

“Don’t you tell me what to do,” He grabbed her hips and flipped her over onto her stomach and she pushed her round ass back toward him, her wet pussy entirely exposed. But instead of fucking her, he grabbed a fistful of her hair and spanked her ass over and over until she was screaming for mercy and then he fucked her some more, wrapping his hands tightly around her throat and pressing her cheek into the dirt until she almost lost consciousness. He’d lost count of how many times she’d cum and that made him even angrier for some reason. He pulled his jeans all the way off and yanked the belt from the loop.

“Whore,” he said through clenched teeth, “Fucking New York City whore.”
He doubled the belt over and began strapping her across the ass and thighs.

“You better leave now while you still can,” he warned her. But she had no intention of going. She lay there writhing in the soil between the rows of tomato plants taking every lash he gave her until her backside was bruised and streaked with red welts… and then he fucked her again, pinching her nipples so tightly she was whimpering in agony but still meeting his every thrust. Finally he pulled his throbbing dick out of her and stood over her breathing heavily.

“Put your clothes on and get out of here before I really hurt you.”

But instead of leaving she crawled to him and took his dick in her mouth sucking him feverishly until he couldn’t hold back any longer and shot his load deep down the back of her throat. After a moment, he took a few steps away from her and yanked his dusty jeans back on. She crawled after him, clutched him tightly around his ankles and kissed the tops of his feet. Before he could stop himself he was down on one knee gathering her into his arms and pulling her tightly against his chest as if he was scared she would suddenly slip out of his grasp and disappear. She clung to him breathlessly, her nails digging into his skin.

He sighed and squeezed his eyes tightly waiting for the flashbacks to start, but there were no muzzle flashes, no broken bodies, no bloody babies or mothers screaming. There was only the sound of her warm breath on his neck, the wind blowing through the vines, the chickens clucking, and somewhere far away a dog barking. With the back of his hand he wiped a single teardrop from the corner of his eye and pushed her away brusquely sending her careening back into the dirt. She lay there naked in the sunshine, eyes half closed, staring at him shamelessly. She had a look of pure bliss, and longing, and peacefulness… the same emotions he was feeling.

"I'm not going to let you leave," he said finally.

"They'll come looking for me," she replied, grinding her ass in the cool dirt.

"They won't find you."

He stood over her, unzipped his jeans and pulled his flaccid dick out. As she lay there in the dirt he began pissing on her, directing the stream of urine from her feet upwards. He noticed how the drops sparkled in the sun as they splashed off her body into the soil and realized that he hadn't been able to see beauty in anything for so long that he almost didn't recognize it.

He thought she must be damaged also, and that together they somehow “fixed” each other… or maybe they weren’t damaged at all… maybe they were the ONLY ones who weren’t damaged. Her blissful expression didn't change until the stream of urine reached her face... then she slowly closed her eyes and parted her lips.

"I'm keeping you," he said softly as he buttoned his jeans back up.

"I'm keeping you," she replied.

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