Copyright© 2020 by Olga Chinka
I hear voices in my room. Chatter that wakes me from my sleep. With eyes fighting hard to stay open, I look around and see a room full of people. Jane in the corner, resting on a chair. A nurse is near me, typing into a computer, and two police officers waiting near the door of the room.
“Good morning honey” the nurse is the first to notice me. “I’m nurse Tiffany and I’m just checking your vitals.”
“Rachel you’re awake!” Jane springs out of her seat and rushes to my bed. Plopping down on the edge she motions towards the officers. “They’re here to talk to you about the attack.”
The officers take a couple of steps closer to me as the nurse finishes on her computer and leaves the room.
“Miss my name is Officer Pierce, do you know why you are in the hospital?”
“I was attacked in my room.” I answer, barely recognizing my own hoarse voice.
“Did you recognize your attacker?”
“Yes. It was Mr. Whitmore, our neighbor.
The officer nods towards his colleague behind him as he writes something on a clipboard.
“Can you tell us as much as you remember about the incident? I know this is all fresh and reliving it can be traumatic.”
I close my eyes and try to take a deep breath. It hurts to breathe. Tears well up in the corner of my eyes as I think back to last night.
“I was asleep in my room” I answer quietly. “I don’t know what woke me, but I remember feeling cold. My window was open. Before I knew it, I heard a man’s voice.”
“Do you remember what he said?”
“He told me I should have minded my own business and that now I was going to pay.”
“Did you recognize the voice?”
“Not at first, but then when he came closer to me, I knew who he was. It was Whitmore.”
“His full name is Scott Whitmore!” Jane chimes in. “He is the choir director at our church and also Mrs. Wheeler’s next-door neighbor.”
“Miss, what happened after you saw him?”
“He jumped on me. He wrapped his arms around my neck and started to squeeze hard. I couldn’t breathe. I tried to get him off me, but he was too heavy.”
“Do you remember anything else?”
“No. I remember everything going dark. Next thing I know I’m in the hospital.”
I can see the second officer writing fast on his clipboard, trying to document everything.
“Miss can you think of any reasons why you would be targeted?”
“Because she saw him hurt Mrs. Wheeler!” Jane interrupts, you can feel her excitement at finally being able to tell the story.
“Is that correct?” The officer looks straight at me and suddenly, I am the one who feels guilty. All this time and I never reported what I saw.