She arrived in Minneapolis with the world on a string. The rush of the big city was a heady drug. Unfortunately, few of her friends from her hometown ended up going to college, and the ones who did almost all went to the University in Duluth. Never one to let such things get her down, she immediately began talking to people in her classes. Through this, she discovered that one girl from her high school did indeed end up in the U of M, but it wasn't someone she would have associated with all that much in school. Ashley was one of the party girls, and was initiated into a sorority. Undaunted by Ashley’s wild girl reputation, Tina joined her in applying to the sorority as a pledge. They both made it through pledge week, and so began a long standing friendship. Not long after being made full members by the sorority, Tina and Ashley were invited to a party being held at a nearby fraternity. Psyched out of their minds, they dressed in their best skirts, and carefully did their hair and makeup. Looking far older than their 18 years, Tina and Ashley set out to take their college by storm. They walked with some of the older girls from the sorority, and kept hearing them giggle about one of the frat jocks.
Eric Jorgenson, the Scandinavian god. Tall and blonde, Eric was the goal of many a sorority girl, and one look made Tina understand why. He had the looks of some Norse deity, and a smile that could melt a fjord in December. At the party, Tina made up her mind. She had never let a goal pass out of her reach, and Eric seemed worthy of the attempt. She sauntered up to him, swaying her hips and putting on her best sexy smile.
“Hi there. I’m Tina,” her voice practically sizzled. “Would you like to dance?”
Eric smiled and led her out onto the dancing area. All night, he flirted and danced, refilling her drink when it was empty. By about one o’clock, Tina was having a hard time standing.
“Here, why don’t you come lay down in my room for a while?” he asked. Tina, unable to do much but accept, went with. Some small voice in the pit of her stomach was whispering, “no,” But she quieted it and put her arm around his neck. Eric laid her down on the bed, and then he lay next to her. Minutes ticked by, stretched into eternities. Tina felt the room begin to dance and sway. Eric put his hand on her leg.
“No, Eric, I don’t feel well. Maybe I should just go home.” The sounds of the party continued unabated below.
“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll like it.” He began to move his hand up. Tina panicked. That small voice became louder. “Eric, I mean it. I’m getting up.” As she tried to stand, the world tilted crazily. “What’s wrong with me?” she whimpered.
“Don’t worry, just relax,” said a voice she recognized as Eric’s, but somehow not Eric’s. It was silky and smooth, a serpent’s hiss. Panic exploded in the pit of her stomach, and she reacted on sheer instinct. Her hand shaped into a claw, she screamed as she swiped at him. Just as she reached up and scraped her nails across his chiseled jaw, her world sank into blackness.
Tina awoke with Ashley standing over her in a hospital bed. She learned that Ashley had heard her scream, and with the help of a couple of younger frat boys, she had burst into Eric’s room. He was expelled from his fraternity the next day, but Tina hadn't awoke for another twenty four hours. She had been given a mix of several rather potent drugs in small doses over several hours, and it took a long time for them to wear off. Tina could do nothing but shudder at the violation she felt. If it was not for the intervention of a great friend, she could have been made a victim surrounded by people. Victim. The word was sour in her mouth. Victim. How she despised the very thought. No, she decided. She would never be a victim.
From that day on, she shaped her life to never be in that situation again. Ashley would sometimes laugh at her for getting her own drinks at parties, or for turning down guys whose only mistake was to find her attractive. Nevertheless, Tina prevailed. She took up a physical education minor, along with her major, sports medicine. She began boxing lessons, and was taught the fine art of brawling by one of the frat boys that helped rescue her that fateful night. Her days were filled with learning, and her nights with physical training. Finally, she made it to her senior year. This was the year of all her hopes. She would be going to grad school soon, away from the watchful eyes of her newfound friends. The thought terrified her and excited her at the same time. She hadn’t been away from Ashley in four long years. She sat all night one night talking about it with Ash, and they decided she should take a trip. She would go on vacation somewhere she had always wanted to go, and she would come back perfectly fine. She decided on New Orleans because while still in the US, and therefore still in the safer parts of the world, it held distinct possibility for adventure.
And so she set out, with only a backpack, her purse, and some basic essentials. If only she had known...