I can taste blood in my mouth. I run my tongue along my teeth. I can’t reach them all right now. Right now, my jaw is dislocated. Or broken. I have no idea.

He came up behind me without making a sound and shoved me to the ground into a dark street corner. Several kicks jolt me toward the gutter. My first instinct is to protect my face, but the blows are moving up and down my body with shocking precision. They feel strangely orchestrated, almost rehearsed.

He sits on me and stuffs his tie in my mouth. The swelling and bleeding are so intense, it is difficult to breathe in or out. I am drifting. Not fighting back. Just choking on my own blood. There isn’t a self-defense class that can help me now.

I hear panting. I...

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