(Trigger Warning: Contains some profanity and rape. It is meant to raise awareness of the victim-shaming our culture does to rape victims, not glorify it.)
When I woke up from what had happened, it was early morning, and I was sore from being passed out on the couch for so long. The group of whatever they called themselves…netjeri, was it?…were nowhere to be found in my apartment, and I still was a little sore from that headbump. I thought I’d dreamed the whole thing, save the Collar was still around my neck.
I had a few hours until I had to be at class, so instead of going back to sleep in my actual bed, I got my notes together and placed in my bag, made up some breakfast and checked my schedule for my workstudy job. I would’ve gone down and exercised at my apartment’s gym, but upon finding out that I had an afternoon shift at the library, I thought it best to use the campus gym.
It was a fairly normal day, classes went smoothly and my head didn’t hurt any more after taking some Tylenol to rid myself of the bump’s vestiges. My shift went well enough, though there was this one strange girl staring at me while I was doing cardio. She was seemed like she was about to come over and talk to me once I started on weights, but a frizzy blond woman with a slight tan stopped that by starting up a conversation with her. I dismissed her out of my thoughts as a friend of hers and kept on with my weight training.
It was dark by the time I started home. With how warm it was still on that September evening, I was decidedly lazy and wore my gym outfit, a pair of purple runner’s shorts and black sports top, out onto campus. Though I’d taken the Collar off while I was in the gym, I’d placed it back on after I picked up my bags, more or less absent-mindedly. I wasn’t far from the Alumni house when I spotted that strange girl and the frizzy blond woman go around a corner together. The strange girl looked to see me and gave me a look of…fear, I think, looking back on it, as they disappeared around the corner.
Something didn’t feel right. All that was around that corner was a blind cove that lead to a dumpster for one of the math buildings. The administration had been dragging their heels at the time about installing a security camera there, and most didn’t see the reason behind it until this incident was over. I would’ve normally just kept up on my way home, as I was wanting some dinner and a shower, but this feeling bugged me so much that I had to take action on it.
I got up to the corner, and as I peeked around, I saw that the light that had been put near the dumpster was out. The only source of light was from the waxing moon, peeking from behind the clouds off and on to reveal the terrible scene. Four men, each between their early and mid twenties, surrounded the girl in the middle. The frizzy blond-headed woman stood a little father back from the group, acting as both a lookout and a humiliation shout squad.
“Is she good boys?” the frizzy woman said. “If she is, Innis will award us handsomely.”
I caught a glimpse of one of the guys’ faces, wrought with powerlust as he replied. “Yeah, Innis will love this one. She’s so tight, it’s like she’s saved herself for marriage!”
Just then, I noticed as the moon came out again that all the men had their pants around their ankles, and one of them was restraining the girl. It looked like something out of the nightmares of any woman. They had her in a position that was telling and left her powerless. She couldn’t even scream because one of the guys filled her mouth with himself.
The tears and rage filled me to the brim. I couldn’t stand there and do nothing any more and expect to live my life without a care. I had to DO something, anything! There was no way I was about to let a gang rape of an innocent woman happen right in front of me!
I was saying the words to the song under my breath before I knew it. I felt as if a power, first affirmed the night before, spread through me and enveloped my every fiber. It overflowed from me and ignited the night. I felt my being change, becoming something not quite human, and yet humanoid still. When the light died down, I was holding a brass-colored staff with a cat motifed ankh head that looked like it doubled as a sistrum. My stomach felt a little cooler and my calves a little warmer. My ears didn’t feel like they were in their normal place and I felt as if I’d added an appendage to my backside. I could’ve wondered at my appearance more, but my anger came back to the fore. What came along with it, unexpectedly, were compulsions and words as well.
I stepped around the corner, the staff making a sound like a tambourine. “Hey,” I said, my voice more confident than it’d been in years. “rape is NOT the answer!”
One of the men cursed and pulled a gun from his bag as he pulled himself from her mouth. “Who said I should listen to you, bitch? I fuck whomever I damn well please!”
“This isn’t about sexuality, it’s about power. You dude, are one of the lowest levels of criminal there’s ever to be. The only screwing you’ll do is bending over for the other guys in prison when I’m through with you all!”
He took two shots at me with his 9 millimeter, both would have hit me, but both didn’t. A force, invisible until then, shimmered like a pond that had a drop placed into it as it reflected the two bullets into the surrounding brick facing. Finding that I was, in fact, not shot, I charged the group of men, deftly maneuvering around their frizzy-headed lookout who seemed too startled to do much of anything.
“Tear, Pakhet!” I said the words that surfaced in my mind as I approached the first man. My hands morphed into a pair of midnight black paw-hands with some razor-sharp claws at the end of each finger. I grabbed the man by the back of his neck, pulling him out of the girl and throwing him to the ground a few feet away, his member just starting to twitch. I swiped at the guy with the gun next, missing with my claws as he backed up into the brick facing. His unloading the clip into whatever was protecting me didn’t faze my forward movement as I took a firm grip on my staff and smacked him in the balls. He doubled over in pain as I turned to the other men that were now pulling out of her, but still restrained her as they came at me.
It ‘s a damn good thing I remembered some of the judo class I’d taken as a kid, because the first guy out would’ve grounded me if I didn’t use his force against him and grounded him with a good new piercing to the shoulder instead. The second guy was a lot more squirrely and got around behind me. Before I could react, I was down on the ground with my staff knocked away from my hands.
“What’cha gonna do now, little kitty cat?” He said mockingly. “No staff to reach me and you’re claws aren’t that long! I’m gonna have some fun with you before we send you to the boss. He likes the feisty exotic ones.”
Just as he was starting to lean on my feet, I felt some powerful words bubble up into my mind. I made the circular gesture with a few finger flicks that came with the words. “Ra…aha!” I pushed the beam of golden light at his chest, point-blank and sent him flying off of both me and the girl. I got up off the dirty cement, pulled the girl up and extended my hand for my staff, which came flying to my grasp. “We are no one’s playthings! It doesn’t matter what we wear or how we look, if we’ve been in an altered mind-state from any sort of substance, no means no means NO! You are responsible for your own actions!” I looked fiercely at the four men, all now strewn across the cove, with their frizzy headed lookout now nowhere in sight.
I walked up to the first guy I’d clawed, who was now getting back up. I clocked him with the staff and placed my foot on his chest. “Stay down! I want to know who this Innis is that you were talking to your lookout about.”
“Go to hell!” I stomped his chest at that remark. “I swear I won’t tell you, you’ll have to find her first!”
I thought about giving him another stomp, but seeing as the other guys were starting to get up and I still had the girl to take care of, I decided against it. “Hotep, Pakhet,” I said and my paw-hands went back to being hands. The girl had gotten her pants back up by this time and looked so scared that I just grabbed her hand, weaving the both of us through the scene and towards the campus police station.
Thank the gods that the campus police station is open 24 hours, or else we would have had to walk a long ways to the nearest sheriff’s office, over three miles away. The girl, whom I found out was named Stephanie, was so scared that she didn’t want me to leave her side at first. I don’t blame her, the trauma of being raped and then the report to the campus police would be cause for anyone to cling to a caring person. It was as we were waiting for the women’s crisis representative that I saw what Ms. Feline had meant. I’d been turned into an Egyptian catgirl, and the collar had a hangtag of anthropomorphic Bast-Mut, not just Bast.
The costume was a lot more revealing than I’d normally wear, but it was within my tolerable limits. The cops had me fill out a supers’ police report, but I didn’t put any of my real contact information on the form. I just finished filling it out when both the crisis rep and my monocre popped in. I told the crisis rep how I’d found her, and spotted the guy I’d balled going by the doorway leading to the other offices, still looking a bit in pain as the officers lead him to who knows where.
Once the crisis rep was done with me, she approached Stephanie, and I turned to leave.
“Aren’t you going to stay?” Stephanie asked. I shook my head. “What do I call you then, so if I see you out there I can thank you?”
“My name’s Senet-Ra,” I said. “I know it’s hard right now, but the transition from victim to survivor will happen. I’ll make sure to find that frizzy haired woman and find out why you were targeted.”
“Her name’s Delilah,” Stephanie said. “That’s what I remember she called herself in the gym before escorting me out there.”
I nodded and took my leave.