As Abigail watched her attackers from inside her car, her thoughts drifted to one of the last conversations she'd had with Timothy.
"What do you think your inner animal is?" He asked.
"Sure. I feel like mine is a cheetah. Fast as all out."
"No argument there."
Abigail got quiet as she thought about the question. Then, she got serious.
"I don't think I have a specific animal."
"Oh, come on, A." Timothy replied. "You and I both know you got something in you."
"That's what I'm sayin'. It's something, but it a'int a specific something. With me, it's just an animal. And if aggravated enough, it can become a monster."
Back in the car, Abigail closed her eyes and lowered her head as she thought about what she was about to do. She had been patient with everyone. Exhausted all her other options when it came to dealing with those boys, but to no avail. For months, they'd mocked her patience. Disrespected her boundaries. Desecrated her safe spaces. No one she'd reached out to for help had done anything to get them to stop. Tonight, those boys had introduced the option of violence. And they'd done it with the expectation that Abigail wouldn't retaliate. They expected her to go home, and keep her mouth shut. Raising her head, Abigail took a deep breath and winced as pain shot through her broken rib. She picked up her bike chain from the passenger seat and wrapped it around her left hand as she got out the car.
Every step towards her attackers sent waves of pain through Abigail's body, but she ignored it. Her thoughts were on the words she'd told Timothy two days before he was killed.
"With me, it's just an animal. And if aggravated enough, it can become a monster."