“Character – 47 year old man, quiet and unassuming, was sexually abused as a child.
Setting – present time, anyplace USA.
Conflict – he is attracted to young children sexually. He hates these urges, but he is having a difficult time overcoming temptation. Thus far, he has only fanatsized about it, and he always feels guilty about his fantasies afterward, but he wonders…”
Jim sat in his car. He couldn’t believe the memories were flooding him in the middle of the day. Usually, they only came at night. While he slept. Waking him as he sobbed and retched and died a small bit more.
The dreams were horrid. Flashes of remembrance. A closed door. The ceiling fan spinning. Him, trying to go somewhere else in his mind. Anywhere. Even some place bad. Because it couldn’t be worse than where he was right at that moment. Then the voice.
“Don’t tell…Our secret…I’ll hurt you…It’s your fault…I love you.”
He didn’t tell. Kept their secret. Because he’d been afraid of being hurt. And he wanted to be loved.
But on that day, in his mid-life, he shivered in the driver’s seat. He was still silent and terrified and in pain. But not loved. Not even by one person.
“Get it together,” he said. He pounded his fists against the steering wheel. “Don’t be the victim! It’s done. He can’t hurt me anymore.”
After several minutes and many deep breaths, Jim calmed. He was able to drive back to work. Walk into the office. Sit at his desk. Act normal.
At least normal for him.
“Long lunch, Jim?” his boss asked.
“I’ll stay late,” Jim answered.
“What were you doing that made you 35 minutes late?”
“I just got lost in my thoughts.”
“You went to that movie theater on Center Street, didn’t you?”
The movie theater that showed the bad films. The ones that made Jim feel both fulfilled and filthy at the same time. It was where Jim went when the urges got to be too strong. It kept him from being with someone else. From hurting someone like he’d been hurt as a boy.
“I’ve seen you there, Jim. Remember? I said ‘hi’.”
“Yes. I remember. But I wasn’t there today.”
Jim wanted to smack the man. His boss. A man who had everything. A wife. Children. A wonderful home. Friends. And still, he turned to the screen, the artificial, the lustful. Disgusting. But no better or worse than Jim himself.
“Right. Listen, Jim. I need that accounting report by the end of the day.”
He worked, not looking away from the computer screen, for hours. When he’d finished the report, he checked his email.
His sister invited him to a cook out. But he would not go. He never went to be with family. It was too much. Too hard to be around his mother. She had turned her head, believing that nothing bad was happening to him. He couldn’t be around the kids. Nieces and nephews. Too much temptation. Too many thoughts that could swarm his brain.
The family didn’t understand why he stayed away. He did it to protect them. So that the kids wouldn’t have memories of closing doors and circling fans. And his voice telling them to keep it their secret.
He refused to do that. Fought it. Lived his life killing urges.
Because the fantasies were there. The thoughts, the pictures in his head. He would scratch his arms and legs with sand paper to take his mind off the desires. His body was covered with bruises from his own fists.
“I will NOT let him win. I will NOT let him win…” was written on pages of paper. Over and over and over again.
Jim understood that touching a child would only allow that man, his abuser, to control him. Every time Jim said “no” he defeated that evil man.
He would win.
He won by throwing his home computer into the trash. By cancelling his cable. He won when he said “no” to leading a boys and girl’s club.
But still the urges came. Day after day. For all his victories, he kept coming under attack. The neighbor kids liked to play in his front yard. The receptionist at work showed him pictures of her baby in the bathtub. The minister at his church asked him to work in the elementary class. Alone.
Whenever he turned from one temptation, another was right there, waiting to splatter in his face.
Jim left work. Early. He didn’t stay later like he promise. He couldn’t. He felt crushed, compressed by the temptation. By the nagging doubt that he would ever be able to defeat the evil that tried to consume him.
He drove. For miles and miles. Avoiding public parks, school zones. Willing himself to only look at what was ahead of him on the road. Demanding that he make it to the station.
Jim parked his car. Waiting a minute, he prayed for strength. The prayer that got him through urges before must now get him the help he needed.
The air outside was full of water. It would rain soon. He opened his door, stepped out, walked to the station. He went in.
Cold, dry air smacked him in the face when the doors opened. Chills and goose bumps covered his arms. Still sweaty and so very cold.
A police officer walked by. He nodded a greeting to Jim.
“Sir,” Jim said. “I need to turn myself in.”
The officer stopped. “Excuse me?”
“I’m turning myself in.”
“For what crime?”
“No crime. Not yet, at least.”
“Then you can’t turn yourself in. Not until you’ve done something wrong.” The officer started to walk away.
“Wait. Something’s wrong with me. I need you to lock me up so I don’t end up hurting anyone.”
“Who are you going to hurt?”
“That’s the point. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“What would you do?” The officer readied himself, just in case Jim became violent.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to find out. But I don’t know how long I can fight it anymore.”
“Just stand still.” The officer’s voice grew firmer. He put a hand on his gun.
“Here, let me show you something. I have it in my pocket.” Jim reached into his suit jacket. Inside was a journal. Of all the times he defeated the temptation. He wanted to show the officer how many times he felt the urge.
“No! Put your hands up!” The officer was nearly screaming.
“It will help you understand what I’m afraid of doing to someone.” Jim pulled the journal.
Within a moment the officer had pulled and shot his firearm. Jim was on the floor. Shiny, clean linoleum. Now stained with blood. The life poured out of Jim.
He smiled. His struggle was over.