'The Secret Story'


He was coming back. Apparently he had turned around when he got past the turn in the road...and he was coming back.

I raked more leaves onto my head and buried myself in the pile of wet leaves, but I was keeping an eye on him. I watched in disbelief as his truck slowed down to a crawl...I could see that the truck door was open and his foot was on the road, much like it would be if he were on a scooter....his foot was sort of walking along with the truck...pushing off and stepping back onto the paved surface of the road, pushing off and stepping back....

His left arm was holding the door open, his right arm on the steering wheel and now he was calling my name. He was calling my name in a 'sing-song' manner that was chilling. And he called me some other names that I won't go into ....but then the threats came. He was mocking me ....taunting me ...."I'm.....gonnna....killlllll.....youuuuuu......"  Then I'd hear him mumble something and then go back to the 'sing-song' threats.....I never saw the rifle again, but I knew it must have been in the front seat...ready to grab. 

I heard the truck rev up and he was shinning his lights near the edge of the woods again. I held my breath and trembled. 

After what seemed like forever, I heard him squeal his wheels and burn out right in front of me.....he drove back to the house....he got out of the truck, without taking his rifle, and he went inside. I saw lights go out in some rooms....I never saw the front door close. So I waited. 

I was there for a few hours after I saw the last movements in the house. I was scared that somehow he had sneaked out the back door, which didn't have steps and was no longer in use, and went on foot to look for me. I was paranoid that he was lulling me into a false sense of security...leading me to believe that since he parked his truck that he had lost interest in me. But Brute also had a Compound Bow that he used when hunting deer....what if that is what he had now? What if he's on foot with that Compound Bow...what if he's right behind me?

After the few hours I began my journey on my belly. My nose had quit bleeding for the time being, but the pain of my injuries were getting pretty bad. I could still see my swollen jaw even in the sketchy light, and I was scared to death. To this day I have never been more afraid in my life. 

I was beginning to get into more rocky areas and running out of bushes and property line. The rocks and sticks were stabbing at me and I was soaking wet from the rain and freezing. My hands were numb and the rain had washed most of the blood from my hair and face and hands, but now I was covered in mud from the neck down. I stood up, safely behind a bush and waited. No sign of him. I began to walk along the road, and then I'd dive back into the ditch. I'd wait a while, and then I would stand back up, wait, and then walk a little farther, and then go back into the ditch. 

Time stood still for me...I don't know exactly how long each step of my journey took...but I know that it was one of the longest nights in my memory. Each time I was bold enough to travel the road a little more, I was holding my breath. I somehow thought that I could go faster, move more quiet.....go a little more distance. 

I was finally around the turn in the road and there they were, the tiny little houses that belonged to the neighbors. And that corner of the road was well lit....lit like a beam of light from heaven. I got back down into the ditch to think out my next move. I looked at the homes and rested. I began to cry...I don't know why I was crying....relief?....fear?.....Why couldn't I be in one of those homes? Why can't I be in a warm bed, oblivious to things like this actually happening to people? What must that be like?....to be in one of those homes? Look at them, I thought.....all safe in their homes, listening to the rain till they fell asleep....earlier tonight, those people were making their Thanksgiving plans....earlier tonight, I was running for my life. 

I spied out the house that I would approach for help. I could get one of them to call the police. I'll go for the small white house on the corner. I can hide behind the oil drum, if need be. Poor people...I'm about to ruin their night. 

Going across the road I felt so vulnerable. If Brute really was stalking me on foot, he would find me for sure now. I was away from the cover of the bushes and the ditches...I was right out on the open road. When I got to the house I quickly hid behind the oil drum, as planned. I waited for a while, then made my bold entrance onto their porch....knocking desperately and loudly on their door. I pounded like thunder. I wanted to yell so badly, but didn't dare. My throat was tight with fear.

At last, I saw the light come on...they turned on the porch light. But then I was regretting it because now Brute could see me, should he be out there. I saw the curtain on the door being parted and this older woman stuck her head through the curtains and looked at me. I can't imagine what I looked like. Thinking  back, I wish I would have thought to tell her I had been in a car accident...But, not anticipating that she wouldn't help me, I told her that Brute was trying to kill me and was stalking me....she turned off the lights and never opened the door to me. 

I was broken...how could this be?...Does she have any clue what I just went through? I spent most of this night trying to get to her door and now she's shutting me out. I began to cry out of despair....and I took my place behind her oil drum to wait and rest and think of what I could do next. 

I don't know how long I was there...I was exhausted, scared, hurt, cold, wet, hopeless. Then I saw a car slow down and approach her house...it was the police.....THE POLICE....thank God.....I came out and was never so happy to see two cops in my life. 

As I came from behind the oil drum I saw the lady's porch light come on again and her pointy nose peeking out from the curtains....and I couldn't resist saying to her, "That's all I wanted you to do....that's all I wanted." And I began to cry again...and I could not stop. These were tears of pure relief...I was no longer afraid. At that very moment I wished that Brute was there to see that I made it...and that he didn't get to me....

The police officers came out of the car, radioed  something or another, and I couldn't even talk....just cry. One of the officers took off his coat and put it around my shoulders and held me. It was like an embrace from God himself. I felt so safe in this faceless, nameless man's arms. He was warm and kind and gentle and he would protect me from all bad things. I was going to be alright. 

The lady never did come out from inside of her home...but she watched. 

The officers knew who I was. As anonymous as we may think we are, we aren't. The police were very familiar with Brute and who and how he is...and everyone knows the girl with no legs. 

I got into the back of the police car and they drove off. My parents only lived about two miles or so up the road from there....and they took me to the bank parking lot across from my parent's house....and they parked the car, facing mom and dad's . They turned off the lights on the car, kept the engine running for the heater, and they had a long talk with me. 

They were very limited in what they could say to me....but they did let me know that Brute was ready to get into some serious trouble. Apparently, he had been watched for a while and was involved in something, I still have no idea what, in Pennsylvania....some place called The Animal House...and he was going to get busted. The officers let me know that if I went back with him, and in most of these cases, the couples do get back together, if Brute went down, I was going to go down with him. They told me that they knew I wasn't involved but that if I was with him when he was arrested, I would go, too. They told me I could lose my kids, go to jail, the whole bit. As if what he just did to me wasn't bad enough, what the officers were saying really made me know that I could never go back with him. I have never been arrested or been to jail...I wasn't going to go because of Brute.

Of course, the officers also knew my dad and all the violence that went on in his house, as well, but, as they explained, at the moment dad was the lesser of two evils. They knew that my dad had a drinking problem and was a hot head, too. But the main thing was to get away from Brute and stay away from him.

I already knew that I could never make it work with him, not now....once he got to this point, to do what he just did, he would only get worse. This would mark the beginning of more brutal attacks and next time I might not make it. Or worse, I could end up killing him and sit in jail for the rest of my life.

It was my moment of clarity........my epiphany...I was through with him. And it's been that way for 20 years now.

 There were a few more scuffles with Brute during the split up. I had called him when I got home from the hospital, the day after the attack,  to tell him I was never coming home, and to ask him why he beat me like that. He said that he didn't remember a lot of that night....he had taken a Quaalude and drank a lot of beer and just didn't remember all that he did to me. How convenient. 

Brute explained that earlier in the evening, when he should have been with us, he was in a neighboring town and thought he saw me in a car with some guy. For one thing, living with a guy like Brute, I would never have been so stupid, plus, I was waiting for him with our  friends...doing what I was supposed to be doing. It was all a case of mistaken identity. Just that simple. And with that, he then asked me to come back home, since it was all a mistake. Said he was worried about me all night long. Yeah, I was worried about me all night long, too. Needless to say, I never did go back with him. 

A few days later Brute beat up one of his best friends because he thought he was trying to 'slide in' on what he still considered 'his' territory. It totally wasn't true. The guy and I went to the commissioner and filed assault and battery charges against Brute. That was the only way I could keep Brute away from me ...and Brute's friend thought the same thing. 

Then, as expected, Brute's very fine, up-standing, pillar-of-the-community family smuggled him out of the state to go live with relatives, in another state. They have a son-in-law who is a State Trooper and the moment the APB went out on Brute, this 'fine officer of the law' promptly alerted the family and Brute was whisked away to avoid trouble. He remains gone to this day...having started his life over in another state. A few years ago he served eleven months of jail for dealing drugs and getting caught in a sting operation....in Pennsylvania...and that's not the state he lives in. Isn't that a co-incidence? 

The next page tells where we are today....this Epilogue is very important....please read it. It's a very important part of this story.

Copyright June 13, 2000 Cathy Palmer-Scruggs / Catt Alexander 


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