If I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I’d have never believed it. Michelle told me how dangerous he was, and I wouldn’t accept a word of it. I rushed over after she called me, frantically, in a heavy pant, gasping in disbelief after Michael demolished her condominium in a fit of rage. The front door was ajar, squeaking on its torn hinge.

“Michelle…you okay?”

No sound. I looked around in desperation. Michelle was not only my co-worker, but a dear friend going through a terrible domestic nightmare as of late.

I peeked in through the kitchen area; broken glass covered the tiled floor like remnants of a frat party at its worst. She had to be here, God, please don’t let her be hurt.

“Michelle, are you here? It’s me, Nancy.”

I stepped over fallen furniture into the bedroom. The door had a gash mark the size of King Kong’s fist. I didn’t want to imagine what might lie just inside this room; violence of any kind horrified me.

I pushed it open, slowly, and it creaked against the wall. The devastation was visible everywhere. I just couldn’t believe this much damage could be done by one person.

“Michelle…please…where are you?”

Nothing. The only sound in the place was that of the air conditioner running. What could he have done with her?

I walked out of the room and made my way back into the living room area and heard a sound at the front door. Michael, I just knew it…he’d come back for more! What could I do, where could I go? He’d see me here and finish the job he started with Michelle. He never liked me anyway, Shelly had told me so. I looked around, reached for the first blunt instrument handy…too late, the door was pushed open.


“Michelle! My God…you scared me! Oh God, look at you, you’re a wreck!”

She looked destroyed. Make-up smeared, hair tousled, rips in her clothes, and she held her right arm up with her other.

“Oh, Michelle…what did he do to you?”

“Nancy…oh Nancy…”

She fell against the couch and crawled up with a cushion. I sat next to her, tried to console, but she’d been through this so many times and I could never manage to show up in time to help her. What exactly I’d do, I had no idea; I’d never even met Michael, but he seemed to be a huge man with a lot of rage stored in him. Why men even attempt to dump their anger on women I’ll never know; it had always been a sign of cowardice and a warped mind as far as I was concerned.


“He did this to you, didn’t he!? That jerk. Where’d he go?”

“He left…gone…”

“Michelle, get up…I’m taking you to the emergency room…then we’re going to call the police and get him legally barred from ever stepping as much as a foot near you.”

“No…I can’t, you don’t understand.”

“Don’t understand? Michelle, look at what he’s done to you…to your apartment.”

“He’ll be back…he’ll find me, he always finds me…”

She was weak and delirious. I reached over for her, held her frail hands, and tried to pull her up.

“C’mon Michelle, get up…we’re going to the hospital.”

As I slowly got her up on the couch and willing to stand again, I heard heavy footsteps hurrying up the stairs just outside her door. The door was left open and I knew we wouldn’t have time to do anything. Michael was coming back, back to finish the job his temper and strength only had just begun minutes ago.

“It’s Michael…he’s coming up, Michelle, come on, we’ve got to get out of here…”

“No, not him…” she gasped still in a daze and drenched in sweat.

He’d reached the top landing and swung around inside the apartment. I prepared a scream to at least notify the neighbors that two women were in the presence of a highly disturbed and dangerous man.



“Baby, what happened here?”

My boyfriend. Thank God; if anyone would keep a level head through all this hell, he could.

“Michael, he was on a rage again. Look at what he did to Michelle. How’d you know to come?”

“Michelle called me, or someone did, using her number. I tried calling and couldn’t get through.”

He quickly bent over to Michelle, swept her short blonde bangs away from her tear drenched eyes.

“How long have you been here, baby?”

“Just got herel Michael must have just left when I came in,” I told him.

“Michelle. Look at me, Michelle,” he said in deep concern, gazing in her spaced expression, “this has got to stop. You can’t keep putting yourself through this. This is getting very dangerous. We need to seek help.”

“I tried that, Eric; she won’t budge. She says Michael will follow her.”

“Yes, I’m afraid he will.” He sighed.

I clung onto his arm, watched him care for my friend with the compassion he showed more than once for a friend. Being a psychologist was his calling and he used his knowledge and compassion for other people to become one. Eric David Dominguez, helper of the people, as his business card states. I’m very proud of him, and he’s my future husband.

“Is she going to be okay?”

“Well you know her as well as I do; she won’t go for medical attention, so we’ll have to take care of her here. I’ll go to the store and get stuff she needs, first aid and groceries; he seems to have trashed the entire kitchen, too. Just stay here with her and don’t open the door for anyone. Lock it as soon as I leave.”

“What if Michael comes? He’s probably got a key.”

“A locked door probably won’t stop him, but I doubt he’ll resurface again this soon; he rarely does. Keep your phone by you.”

He bent over and kissed me. A soft, caring peck on my lips and gently stroked my face in his caring hand.

“I love you…” I whispered.

“I love you, too…now, take care of her ‘til I get back. I’ll call the police, too.”

Michelle rested back on the couch, rubbing her forehead.

“Ohhh…my head…”

“Michelle, I’ll be right back. Stay with Nancy; everything’s going to be okay.”

He walked out and I quickly got up to bolt the door behind him. I looked around into the apartment. She’d decorated the place so nicely. It was a graduation gift from her father years earlier, a beautiful two-bedroom condo in the University section of our hometown, Tampa. And in one sweeping moment of blitzed anger, her boyfriend entirely demolished it. He’d done her in twice before since I’d known her and trashed her place, too. But she picked up, cleaned, and refurbished it repeatedly. She had kept him such a secret to all of us. The first time I’d even heard of him was when I saw her bruised from the first of many encounters she’d had with him. Such a pretty girl to go through so much for a jerk like him.

I gazed into her eyes. She stared back, a blank expression that held me there for the moment. Then she twitched. A pang of pain seemed to register inside her somewhere. She and Eric had had sessions before. He couldn’t even tell me what she shared with him because of the agreement of his practice, but I do know he’d never met Michael either; he never wanted to come to any of the sessions.


“Michelle…it’s me, Nancy. I’m here, it’s going to be okay…”


She reached for me. She was strong. Pulled me down on the couch near her face.

“Nancy…he’s coming back!”

“Michelle, grab a hold of yourself. It’s going to be okay; Eric will be right back…with the police.”

“The police!? No!!”

She jumped up, pushed me away. I could see fear and anger in her eyes and couldn’t understand either emotion coming from her from the statement I made. I got up and reached for her.


She grabbed me, slammed me against the wall, and held me there in her grip.

“Michelle!? What’s come over you!?”

“Nancy…oh Nancy,” she grunted in an angry smile.

“Michelle, let go of me!”

She threw me against the divider and reached over the counter behind her…the gleam in her eye was soon outshined by the gleam of the large knife she pulled out.

“Michelle!? Michelle…please!!! What’s come over you? Michelle!!”

She patted the blade against her other hand and emitted an evil smile.

“Michelle?” she groaned, now in a low, gravelly voice that wasn’t her own. She cocked her neck and it snapped; it looked painful to me, but it seemed to please her.

“…Michelle isn’t with us anymore…” the creepy voice coming out of her grunted. “…Hi, I’m Michael.”