I wrote this story for my Advanced Fiction creative writing course, and the prompt was to get out of our comfort zones using empathy. I hope you enjoy!

CW: Sexual assault

Angelica's Process

Name, she wrote. Seth Davidson. That sounded like it could be his last name. Angelica wondered if he was leaving a girlfriend behind, some unfortunate soul that he was one whore away from cheating on at a frat party. Maybe he had a roommate with whom he'd made plans for today. They needed a new humidifier because Ryan, the roommate, was feeling a little dry lately. They were going to explore the ABC store for some untested alcohol for the next party. They were going to visit some pretty florist because she was sad that her shop was being closed down and they were hoping she was sad enough to want to have sex with one of them so she could forget for just a little while. It all came down to sex with men.

Angelica noted that there weren't very many pages left in her journal. She sighed, thinking about the boy. Seth. His name rolled off her tongue, an exquisite flavor considering how basic and white he'd been. Seth. She scrawled "Number thirteen" across the top margin of the page, biting the end of her pen when she finished.

Seth.

He'd had brown hair like every other frat boy at the party. Blue eyes, but there were plenty of those to go around. Maybe it was his style that had caught her eye — jeans so ripped she could see large portions of his hairy legs, paired with a button-down that would have been suitable for a business casual interview. He'd completed this look with black and white Vans and an indiscreet gold chain tucked into his neckline. Maybe it was the occasional glimmer of hidden gold that caught her eye, shining blue and pink and red against the back of his neck in the sporadic flashing party lights.

On the surface, he was just another boy totally controlled by his dick. Like all twelve of the others, he had asked her back to his apartment. When he'd pinned her down and she had resisted, he hadn't stopped. The first time this happened, she'd been the victim. It had been her hands tied, her body violated. Her shame when her roommate came back and found her, mascara trailing down her cold cheeks, her naked body shivering.

So she hadn't felt remorse as she tightened the nylon rope around Seth's neck. Despite the odor of alcohol wafting from his pores, he'd fought vehemently for his life. It hadn't been enough.

Angelica had already recorded the logistics in her diary, though. This journal was a tribute to the boys, one last breath of the life she'd stolen away. What would each of them have done, she wondered, if things had turned out differently?

Seth smiled at the cute blonde in his bed, taking a swig of his beer. She was the best he'd had in a while, and that was saying something after the brunette a week ago. He set the beer can down on his nightstand, sitting on the edge of the bed and pushing loose strands of the blonde's hair out of her sleeping face. He wondered if it would be too much to prepare breakfast in bed for her in the morning. Maybe that was just the alcohol talking.

She bit her lip, looking at the ceiling when her eyes started burning. Who would find Seth? Had someone already found him? How old would Seth have lived to be if not for her?

But how many girls would he have assaulted if not for her?

Disappointed in her weakness, she blinked away the tears that had begun to form. He didn't deserve Angelica's pity; he'd deserved her retribution.

He hoped his roommate wouldn't come back before she left. The last time Ryan had found a girl in their shared apartment, he hadn't been happy. "Another one?" he'd demanded before retreating to his bedroom and slamming the door. Seth didn't want another episode like that. It would be hard to smuggle another girl in if Ryan was on high alert.

How many had come before her? Would have come after her? It didn't matter. The story was in her hands now.

He wasn't so sure he'd need to find another girl after tonight, though. Angelica seemed different somehow. Less temporary than the others. Maybe Seth could be different, too.