Fear Potion

TW: Mentions of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault.

Dear diary,

It’s been six months to the day since I was raped.

I still haven’t gone back to school, I’m doing it all from home. It’s easier so I don’t have to face him. I sometimes miss my friends, but at least there’s Facebook. Not many of them talk to me anymore. There’s a few that do but half of those treat me like I’m… different. I haven’t changed.

That’s a lie. A lot has changed. But I’m still Alex.

And I’ve finally picked up going to the survivor support group.

The leader’s name is Krissa. She’s nice. I told them my story. For once I felt no judgment. Even my mom seems critical of my every move.

I’ll keep going back.

I don’t know if I can survive this still.

I survived today though. That counts for something, at least.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I want to be bold again. I don’t want to hide in my room anymore. I want to go out, and feel strong, and do gymnastics, and never feel like a victim again whenever I hear his name.

However, I don’t think taking a magic potion is going to help me.

The other girls seem really into it though. I went to the group tonight and Krissa was holding a case of glass bottles.

Her cousin had come to see her. His name was Greg or something, I don’t know, I can’t remember. But he was into this whole natural cure thing and he had created something to help you feel stronger.

I think my actual medication is doing the job of letting me function. I don’t need some ‘natural’ potion to do that. I did take a bottle home though. Mostly because everyone else did. Zoey looked so hopeful when she took her own, cradling it in her hands. She was so much smaller than the rest of us, and her mother wouldn’t let her seek out actual medications to help her newly found depression since the attack.

I might try it. Just to say I did. If it doesn’t work for me but it works for the others I’ll lie, in case it’s a placebo effect. I don’t want to tear down my new friends.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I took a swig of the ‘potion’ this morning, I couldn’t find my water bottle and I needed to take my medication. So I figured what the heck and I used it.

It’s initially sweet, but has such a bitter aftertaste. Burns like vodka too. Almost wonder if that’s one of the ingredients. Either way, I feel no different. Natural cures do have a more subtle change from day to day life. I wonder if that’ll be the case for this too.

I did my chores today at least. Took out the garbage. Did the dishes. Fed the cats. Just a normal day.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I’m going to school tomorrow.

One week into the potion and I feel. So. Amazing. Thank god Krissa has more! For the first time in months I don’t mind getting out of bed anymore. My mom’s stunned that I’ve done my chores and MORE over the past few days.

Diary, I cleaned. The. Bathroom. I scrubbed the whole thing, from top to bottom! It glistens in there. I think my mom’s eyes were a little wet when she’s realized I’m no longer staying in my room all day hiding away.

I feel so good. I could almost cry. I’ve already arranged it myself that I’ll not have any of Mr. Ocean’s classes. I’m still not going to press charges, I’ve decided I can’t make myself go through that. But I’m not going to let him win.

I’m stronger than him. I’m a goddess. I won’t be beat by a coward who targets little girls. If I have to come back home early tomorrow because I wasn’t able to handle it… well, at least I’ve tried, right?

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I’ve never seen a grown man turn tail and run before.

But that’s what Mr. Ocean did when he saw me in the halls today. He was talking with Mr. Thompson when he turned and saw me at my locker. We made eye contact. I felt sick to my stomach that I was in the same space with this man.

But I didn’t run. I glared.

Whatever was behind my eyes made Mr. Ocean excuse himself and hurry off. Mr. Thompson looked confused until he turned and saw me. He remembered me. He looked ashamed, almost like he remembered just what kind of person he was chatting with. It was likely about something trivial, maybe what was on the menu for lunch, or if there was going to be a study group tonight.

He walked away too.

Has my confidence changed that much? Just because of some drink?

The other girls have brought up similar effects. Boosted confidence, a look that can figuratively kill a man… it’s a sick crime that we’ve been forced to take drastic measures like this. But I won’t question it.

I’m going to be myself again. Whatever it takes.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

Nothing comes without side effects. My hair is falling out.

I’ve drunk at least two bottles of the potion. I’m half way through the third. I find myself taking more every day, I haven’t meant to. The burn fills my veins with fire and with it the boldness to keep returning to the school where my rapist walks free.

I was brushing my hair this morning when a whole lock just came out in the brush. It didn’t hurt, it was like the roots just… disintegrated. More’s already coming out.

I’m texting Zoey to see if she’s had that happen to. Think she just replied.

She has too. She’s admitted she’d mostly bald now, but has wigs she’s taken up wearing to hide the fact her head is nearly bare. I’ve told her to stop, but she flat out told me no. She’s finally having the nerve to take up the legal action against her father. She can’t stop now.

I don’t think I can either. I don’t have wigs… but I have a razor.

I’ve always wondered what I’d look like bald.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I got a lot of questions about my new ‘look’ at school. I just shrug and tell them it’s something new I’m trying. It’s just hair.

I’m afraid that my eyebrows are going to go soon though. That will be harder to explain. And I’ve never been the kind of person to draw them back in. I don’t know. This is so much to handle. On one hand, anyone who asks stupid and insensitive questions I can send away with a single look or glare.

On the other hand, is it worth this? Losing my hair? My skin growing dry and starting to crack on the back of my hands and my legs? Lotion stings so badly, even the more gentle kinds. I can’t use it. My heels and toenails keep bleeding. I’ve started to wear sandals to help ease the pain.

I’ll have to make a decision. And soon.

Is it worth it?

_ _ _

Dear diary,

He. Was going to do it. Again.

Not to me, oh no, he’s terrified to get near me. He was going to do it to someone else.

Her name is Chelsea. Chelsea’s another gymnast, my replacement actually. She’s got the right build to top a three high and can perform the most elegant splits. I’m not jealous. I’m proud of her.

But I had to return to my locker after school to pick up something I’d forgotten when I heard a scream coming from Mr. Ocean’s room.

I’m assuming he did the same thing he did to me to get her alone. Just an extra friendly teacher. Always looking out for you. Never an unpleasant word. When he asks you to stay after school to help him with some assignments, why would you say no?

But the minute he has you alone in his office, he becomes your worst nightmare.

If this had been before the potion, I would’ve ran the opposite direction. But this time, I ran to her aid. I practically broke down the door to his class to get to her.

Chelsea’s top had been ripped open, and she was trying to push Mr. Ocean off of her. She didn’t need to.

I dragged him away from her and took my nails across his face. I hadn’t clipped them in a while, I hope that I would at least startle him.

My fingernails ripped his face open. My middle finger cut his eye like butter.

I never felt so alive at that moment.

Chelsea covered her breasts and looked ready to burst into tears. I took off my jacket and covered her.

“It’s okay. He won’t hurt you with me around. Go home, okay? Tell your mom. Tell your dad. Tell the whole damn world what happened.”

Nodding, Chelsea ran from the room. After giving one last disdain filled look at Mr. Ocean, I walked out as well.

My fingernails aren’t broken, but his blood is still under my nails. They’ve grown sharp. I have claws now.

I think I’m changing.

I don’t know if I want it to stop.

Not if it can stop that from happening again.

_ _ _

Dear Diary,

Good news. Mr. Ocean’s been fired.

But that’s all the damn school’s doing about it. I’m furious. They announced they were ‘letting him go’ after ‘unscrupulous behavior.’ Fuck you. He’s a rapist who preys on little girls. Little girls who thought they could trust their teacher.

I can’t go back to school though.

My transformation has confined me back to my room. Which is the last place I want to be. But it’s… bad. It’s spread to my face and head. My skin’s constantly peeling and bleeding. My mom sent me to the doctor, but they have no idea what it is. They’re going to send me to a specialist next week.

I think I’ll skip the appointment. They might make this stop. I don’t want to see it stop. I want to see how it’ll end. I love my claws. And I love my new fangs. My canines fell out the night before last and already new ones have grown in. They’re sharp and ready to go.

My eyes are starting to ache. I suppose they’re drying out too.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I went into the bathroom this morning and I have a growth on my head.

It’s pretty ugly, if we’re going to be honest. Looks like a swollen zit, just ready to pop. I’ll have to wear a hat around my mom. who I successfully managed to fool into thinking I went to the specialist. I just chilled at Zoey’s with Krissa.

Krissa is changing too and she is excited. Her hair is entirely gone, eyebrows included, but she’s gone a step farther. Her eyes have changed. Lime green with slit pupils. She had no idea her cousin’s invention could do this, but she’s not complaining. Neither am I. Her eyes are beautiful.

She didn’t have a lump on her head though. Are our transformations taking different paths? I’d hope we’d turn out the same in the end, but we’ll have to see.

I’m going to spend the weekend at Zoey’s. See if she has any lumps. See if her eyes are changing yet. I might not come home. Mom’s getting too nosy.

This is my body, and this time, I’m taking control of it.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

I’m living at Zoey’s now.

My eyes have changed too, to a more forest green compared to Krissa’s, but there’s something much more exciting to me.

The lump hatched.

It did it around eleven last night. Zoey and I were talking while painting our new claws when she looked up and screamed that my lump was starting to move. I ran into the bathroom.

Sure enough, it was moving, and my skin was starting to itch. I scratched at it and god did it hurt. The more it squirmed though, the more I realized what was underneath was trapped.

So I took a pair of scissors and sliced open my skin.

A bloody tube of flesh burst out from the lump, hanging limply by my ear. It twitched a few times before raising up. Its tiny scarlet tongue darted out of its mouth inquisitively, smelling the air around me.

It was probably the shock of the pain, but I reached up and caressed it lightly under a finger. Its head moved back like a cat would against its owner’s strokes and stuck out its tongue again.

I stumbled back into the room and apparently passed out, at least according to Zoey. When I woke up, my new part of me had a few friends. Three or four. And I could feel more writhing under my skin, just waiting to come out and play.

Snakes. I have snakes for new hair. And I wasn’t just getting dry skin. I was shedding. Where the dry flakes have peeled away are shimmering scales.

I am the symbol of rage. The same as a woman wronged by a god.

I am the Medusa.

_ _ _

Dear diary,

My snakes look like the Western Bush Viper. I’ve learned how to make them coil into a bun. Zoey’s resemble the Common Garter snake, while Krissa’s are Southern Copperheads. All of us look unique, but are we so beautiful and strong now. No longer are we going to be afraid. We’ve been made strong.

This will be the last entry I write, possibly for years. For now, we are going on a roadtrip. We’re taking Krissa’s and Amelia’s vans. We’ve packed light. We’ll do what we can to survive.

But for now, we’re going to go around the United States. We’re going to find our attackers. Most of them still walk free, with nothing more than a slap to the wrist.

All they need to do now is look at the girls they’ve hurt. And they will feel the same petrifying fear we did.

We’re starting with Zoey’s father tonight. And if we have time we’ll be spinning by Mr. Ocean’s house.

I can’t wait to see what he’ll think of me now.