I can't believe no one's written something about this yet. Also can't believe more people don't like this film.
Rated M for reference to rape and language.
I Thought I Walked
Her fingers gripped tightly at the corners of the bar, one cheek pressed harshly against the smooth wood. Maggie had initially been scared and had cried a little, but by the time the first man had finished with her, she'd found herself too horrified, too shocked to feel anything except numb. Her eyes looked blankly ahead, focusing out the window where the snow was still falling. Her body jerked harshly forward one more time and she felt the man move away from her.
"Much obliged, sweetheart." He gave Maggie's rear a slap, effectively breaking her of her quiet complacency. In one quick movement she kicked her heel firmly back into the man's crotch. A pained yelp burst from the man as he stumbled back, giving Maggie a moment to painstakingly lever herself into an upright position and face her violator.
The man bent over with his hands on his knees, panting out quick breaths. He lifted wild eyes to Maggie.
"You fucking bitch!" He came at her, hand raised. Maggie didn't move.
"Hold up, now," called the other man, pausing the assault. "Don't want no one asking too many questions."
Maggie continued to look evenly at the man in front of her. His mouth twisted up into an unpleasant smile at his companion's words and he dropped his hand.
He smirked down at Maggie then after a moment reached up and brushed a finger under her chin.
"The night ain't over for you, missy." Maggie craned away from the touch and the man pushed past her.
The crude wooden floor creaked underneath the two pairs of boots, each squeak of the boards charting the journey of their despicable owners. Maggie let herself slowly slide down the side of the bar, hiding her from sight once she'd reached the floor. The door to the cafe opened she heard one of the men step out onto the porch.
"You'd best get around to your sweetheart quick now. Cold night like this, I'd reckon there's some hungry critters out and about."
A quiet noise escaped Maggie's lips as both men laughed and the door slammed shut. Her heart gave an anguished, halting pound. Immediately she scrambled for the edge of the bar to pull herself up.
Forrest's absence had been immediately and acutely felt when she'd stepped back into Blackwater Station earlier, but with the horrible things that had taken place, it had been pushed a little further back in her mind. Until now, that was.
A pained cry escaped Maggie as she got her feet under her, but she ignored all the protests from her abused body and hurried to the door. Cold air from the snowy night rushed her as she flung it open and ran out onto the porch. The two men were nowhere to be seen.
"Forrest!" Maggie called, a cloud of fog following quickly. She looked around wildly, settling for a moment on the wooden garage out to the right before turning to the woods, dreading even the possibility that Forrest was hidden out somewhere in them. Maggie's gaze swept the trees, searching, scanning for any indication. She froze suddenly, eyes focused not on the trees, but on the Bondurant's old truck and, more specifically, the figure lying on the ground next to it.
"Forrest!" The scream had barely left her mouth in a soft cloud of warm air before she was racing down the steps of the porch toward Forrest's prone body. She could already see the blood, pooling thick and dark around his head and shoulders and when she noticed Forrest's hands clutched to his throat, despair gripped her even harder.
"No!" She fell to her knees at his side. "Forrest..." Her hands immediately went to his face, gently caressing and soothing, the deep red of her nails a stark contrast to Forrest's paled skin. Short, raspy breaths were the only reply Maggie got from him. His eyes remained closed, his face lax and placid, but his fingers still gnarled at his neck, letting her know that a part of Forrest was still fighting and still as stubborn as ever.
"Just stay with me. Do you hear me?" She continued hushed reassurances as her eyes swept the man's body, evaluating the extent of the injuries inflicted on him.
Seeing no other visible harm done, Maggie leaned across Forrest, craning around to see behind his hands. A breath caught in her throat when she discovered the end of a deep, jagged slit high up on the man's neck.
"Jesus." Her voice pitched high in panic, horror mesmerizing her as she stared at the wound.
A sharp, choked inhale sent a sudden shudder through Forrest's body. The sound spurred a cry of anger that built in Maggie's throat until it came out in a loud sob. She cupped Forrest's face in her hands and leaned down until her forehead touched his. She had already failed to stop those men from taking something from her once that night, she would be damned if she was about to let it happen again.
"Come on then," Maggie whispered determinedly. Immediately she moved down and grabbed hold of Forrest's ankles. Standing, she dug her heels into the hard ground and pulled. The effort hurt. It made every sore spot on Maggie's body protest in pain, but she gritted her teeth and kept on. She channeled all of her strength, crying out in frustration when it wasn't enough and the going was still agonizingly slow. Inch by inch, foot by foot.
By the time Maggie reached her car the snowfall had gotten thicker and large, wet flakes had replaced the light, smaller ones from before. They soaked through her thin blouse and left a thin layer of slick mud on the ground. Trembling from exertion and cold, she let go of Forrest and flung open the passenger's side door.
"Damnit. Goddamnit," breathed Maggie as she moved the seat back as far as possible. So far she had managed to not jostle loose Forrest's hold on his throat, but Maggie realized now she may not have any other choice. Forrest had to get in the car. And Maggie knew that was not going to be accomplished gently. She hurried back to Forrest, around to his head this time, leaned down, and hooked her arms under his.
Maggie honestly couldn't say exactly how she did manage to get Forrest Bondurant into the car all by herself. The fact was that he now lay slumped on his left side in the passenger's seat, hands fallen away, allowing blood to further saturate the front of his shirt.
Maggie slid behind the wheel, having run quickly back into the station to fetch a clean towel and her coat. She folded the towel lengthwise into quarters and leaned over to wrap it around Forrest's neck.
"On our way, Forrest," Maggie could only manage to whisper the words. "Just a little while longer." She turned the key in the ignition and the car sped down the snow-covered road towards town.
Maggie's hands were white-knuckled where they clutched at the wheel. Her lips pressed tightly together, her expression otherwise lax and blank, as tears wandered gently down her cheeks. Forrest's breathing was labored and infrequent but the sound of it still was the only thing that broke the silence filling the car. The towel around his neck was reddened by blood but not soaked; Maggie couldn't decide whether or not this was a good thing.
Her gaze dropped down and to the side, lingering on Forrest's bloodied left hand where it lay stretched out toward her, just shy of her seat. She recalled how earlier she had held its mate, the contact brief, but filled with meaning. That moment, that exchange, had been what had turned Maggie back toward Blackwater Station in the first place. She had wanted to confess to him about her past, knowing Forrest wouldn't be bothered by it. Maggie knew he would understand, and that he wouldn't judge or ask questions. He would just listen, then nod his head a little. "Alright, then." Then maybe they could touch on everything they hadn't been saying to each other since they first met. Maggie'd had such hope when she'd first entered the cafe earlier that night. And now...
She shook her head lightly. It was amazing how fast life could kick you right in the ass. Unblinking, she turned her eyes back to the road, flexing her hands on the wheel.
"He's gonna pull through. If there was ever a stubborn sumbitch to survive getting his throat slashed, it'd be Forrest." Maggie nodded, her gaze sliding past the doctor to Forrest's room. The door stood ajar just enough for her to glimpse the foot of his bed. "He'll rest while. I called Howard and Jack, they'll be here soon enough."
Maggie looked back at the doctor and began buttoning up her coat. "Thank you," she said in a quiet voice before walking past him down the hall. The doctor nodded and turned with her.
"I'll let them boys know you were here."
Maggie stopped at Forrest's door and pushed it a open a little more. Forrest lay comfortably on the bed, hands resting at his sides. Aside from the thick swath of gauze bandaged around his neck and the unhealthy pallor of his skin, the man looked normal and peaceful. Peaceful as he ever was capable of looking. Maggie's eyes held on his face for a few moments and a decision was made
"Pardon?" came the doctor. Maggie pulled the door shut, watching Forrest until the last possible moment, then turned back to the doctor.
"Don't tell them I was here. Not even Forrest."
The doctor's brow furrowed. "What am I supposed to say? That Forrest walked here with his neck cut open?"
Maggie just looked at the man evenly. "You said it yourself, if there was ever a man...and can you think of anyone in Franklin County who wouldn't believe that Forrest Bondurant cheated death? Again?"
The doctor's face softened as he considered the question. After a moment he lifted his hands from his sides, resigned, and nodded.
"If that's what you want, Miss Beauford. Seems a goddamn shame, though...them boys not knowing you saved their brother's life."
Maggie took in a slow, steady breath. "No shame in it at all. Goodnight, doctor." She then turned and walked away.
It wasn't until Maggie had gotten back to her rented room and shut, and locked, the door behind her that she allowed herself to surrender to the abuse that had been inflicted on her body that night. She moved slowly to her bedroom, her body bowing forward a little as she walked, hands moving to grip every piece of furniture she came across for support.
Immediately she removed her coat. She'd been able to wash her hands and self at the hospital, but there was little that could be done about her blood-stained clothing at the moment; she would decide exactly what to do with them later. Her skirt followed, then her blouse. The left sleeve caught stubbornly on her hand and she frantically tugged at it until it game free with a quiet rip of fabric. Fingers shaking, Maggie clamored to her vanity, sat, and desperately selected a cigarette from the carton in the drawer there. Lifting it to her lips, she lit it and took a hungry drag. The events of the nights replayed, unchecked, in her mind in cruel vividness as she exhaled a puff of nicotine.
This was Chicago living. Not the small-town, country lifestyle Maggie had sought out when she'd first arrived in Franklin County. She knew she wold have to leave. She would wait a few days, of course, to see that Forrest came around and got to feeling better. Then, she would say goodbye and go. Where, Maggie wasn't exactly sure. Not back to the city, but somewhere.
Maggie took another long inhale of her cigarette, moving her hand up after to brush away a quiet tear from her eye; she'd had quite enough of those for the night. Yes, leaving seemed to be the only choice. Her only choice. Maggie just hoped to god Forrest would find a way to change her mind.